Posts tagged: birds

The Unspoken Heroes Of The Galapagos

By , July 22, 2011 12:01 am
Animals of the Galapagos

Animals of the Galapagos

On our bucket list for places we want to see before we die, the Galapagos was very high.  We were concerned that it was going to put a big dent on our budget, but we managed to get to the Galapagos and not spend too much.

Yes, everyone wants to go to the Galapagos.  And yes, everyone that does go says they love it.  I want to have another response, yet I can’t. Maybe I don’t want to go on another cruise in the Galapagos, but I do miss those special animals.  So my video of the week goes out to those animals of the Galapagos, the unspoken heroes, and the great folks we met out there.

Enjoy and have a very very nice weekend.
 

 

Galapagos Cruise: Day 1&2 – Santa Cruz and Genovesa Island

By , December 1, 2010 3:06 am
Baby Frigatebird

Baby Frigatebird

Many of the islands in the Galapagos can only be explored by taking a cruise. We decided to go with Yate Floreana, an economic cruise line that goes to Genovesa Island in addition to the western and central islands. We met our group at the Baltra airport and from there, we boarded our home for the next 8 days. The boat was small and the cabins were tiny, but we knew that at the time of booking. There was a total of 16 passengers onboard and a large group of them were biology students. They were studying abroad and part of their curriculum is to go to the Galapagos; how cool is that.

MuiMui-Tortuga

MuiMui-Tortuga

Day 1 – The first day was essentially a half-day. After having lunch on the ship, we explored the Santa Cruz Highlands. Here we found large tortoises grazing on the grasslands. I was impressed how fast they could move. Next we found ourselves walking inside a lava tube that was large enough for us to traverse a good part of it. It started to get dark fast so we made a quick visit to the nearby Twin Craters and called it a day.

Tortoises In Santa Cruz Highlands

Tortoises In Santa Cruz Highlands

Inside A Lava Tube

Inside A Lava Tube

Day 2 – We took a seasickness patch for the first night and it helped with the overnight bumpy ride to Genovesa Island. In the morning after having breakfast, we did a wet landing onto the beach in Darwin Bay.  We were surrounded by bare trees and exotic birds. It was very important for us to stay on the walking path, as there were bird nests scattered all over the grounds, in the trees, and perched on the rocks. Boris and I chose this island specifically because we wanted to see lots of birds, but we couldn’t believe how many species there were in this one area and how close we were to them. My favorites birds on this island included the super fuzzy babies and the red-footed boobies.

Baby Nazca Booby

Baby Nazca Booby

Baby Booby Learning To Fly

Baby Booby Learning To Fly

Time For Feeding

Time For Feeding

Red-Footed Booby

Red-Footed Booby

Just when I put my camera down, one pelican was feeding another and it was such a bizarre scene. It looked as if the pelican was going to swallow the other.

Pelican Feeding Another

Pelican Feeding Another

Before we knew it, it was time to get off the island and go snorkeling. I was feeling a little sick so I opted out and of course I missed out on an incredible school of rays. Luckily Boris and the other shipmates captured the moment for me.

Thanks Kelly For The Photo Of Rays!

Thanks Kelly For The Photo Of Rays!

After lunch, we headed to El Barranco (a.k.a. Prince Phillip’s Steps), which is another part of Genovesa Island. Again, there were massive amounts of birds hanging out in their natural environment. The Nazca boobies (or Masked boobies) were making so much noise with the females quacking and the males whistling at each other. When the day couldn’t be any better, our guide was relentless about looking for a Galapagos owl. I badly wanted to see one and when our guide finally found one, my heart stopped beating. Staring right at us and well camouflaged against the brownish-orange volcanic rocks was a short-eared owl resting by its hole. Twenty pictures later, I still did not want to leave.

Short-Eared Owl

Short-Eared Owl

Nazca Booby

Nazca Booby

Tropic Bird

Tropic Bird

If you are a bird lover, Genovesa Island is worth the long boat ride and the money. With each snapshot we took, it was sad to realize we were never going to see these birds anywhere else.

More to come …

Me & Frenchie At El Barranco

Me & Frenchie At El Barranco

Group Shot

Group Shot

Lava Heron

Lava Heron

Swallow-tailed Gulls With An Egg

Swallow-tailed Gulls With An Egg

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Lyon: World Capital Of Gastronomy

By , October 6, 2010 5:00 am
Lyon

Lyon

Joining us from the states is my friend, Megan, who came all the way to visit us in France. It is so wonderful to see a familiar face from home and a great excuse for a road trip.

With a reputation as the French capital of food, our first stop is Lyon. We are very lucky to have Roger (former roommate, Alex’s, Dad) and Lily host us. Once you step inside their home, the first thing you will learn is their passion for birds of all kinds. In their kitchen is hidden over 50 hens! Next is a tour of their garden. They have about every basic spice needed to cook, which is important since they also, love to cook. Something new that we discovered in their garden is Verbena. Lily took some leaves off this plant and made a delightful herbal tea. Megan and I became instantly hooked.

Roger, who we call master chef, cooked for us a few times during our stay. He loves experimenting with different recipes. Everything he makes tastes like perfection. It could be something simple like Tapenade but with Roger’s touch, you can’t tell what he does differently to the recipe and you can’t stop eating.

Roger, Lily, MuiMui And Megan In Front Of The Bartholdi Fountain

Roger, Lily, MuiMui And Megan In Front Of The Bartholdi Fountain

They gave us a local tour of Lyon and we explored the different parts of the city which we would not have discovered if we were on our own. My first impression of Lyon was how clean it was. There were people of all ages walking around and it was nice to see a busy, clean city. The new city had lots of museums, grand buildings, shopping, and things found in most large cities. However, I found the old city to be much more interesting.

Fourvière Viewed From The Bank Of The Saône

Fourvière Viewed From The Bank Of The Saône

The old city of Lyon is known for its traboules which are passageways built starting back in the 4th century enabling silk workers to get to the river faster for transportation of their goods. Since the traboules are integrated in the design of the buildings, it is very interesting to see it from a architectural and historical perspective.

A Famous Staircase

A Famous Staircase

Inside A Traboule

Inside A Traboule

To finish off our tour, we went to dinner at Le Bouchon des Filles. Bouchon restaurants serve local dishes and wines but the great thing is that you don’t have to order; usually everyone eats the same thing. It was so irresistible that I had to eat everything on my plate. This was not good because I didn’t realize how many plates of food you are served at a bouchon. I was so full that I failed to make it to dessert.

We cannot thank Roger and Lilly enough for taking time off their busy schedule to host us. Lyon was so wonderful gastronomically and visually that we will have to come back again. Many thanks again!

Bellcour Plaza

Bellcour Plaza

The City Hall Of Lyon

The City Hall Of Lyon

Look Up

Look Up

A Cool Tag

A Cool Tag

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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