Tag Archives: Nature

(Extra)ordinary Winding Roads

I love winding roads.  From the Moki Dugway (see what the heck is a Moki Dugway), to crossing the Andes, descending toward Cerro Castillo and finally ascending to Machu Picchu.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I loved riding on the roads.

Great Birds in Flight

Today was a highlight in our Peruvian trip.  After visiting a couple of cities we are in Colca Canyon, deeper than the Grand Canyon, and we get to witness the spectacle of the magnificent Andean Condor.  Thankfully there are conservationists and environmentalists who believed these great birds should be saved regardless of the cost.  The result is being able to watch these great birds in their natural environment instead of a zoo.

I will be posting more of this trip whenever internet connections and time allows.  But for now here are three pictures of this magnificent bird.



New Name Wanted

Denial doesn’t slow it or stop it.  Facts remain unaffected by opinion and political rhetoric.  By 2030 the namesake glaciers the park is named after will have all melted.  When I look at the pictures I took on our travels last summer I am saddened with the knowledge that soon all that may be left are images like these of Glacier National Park.

After working two decades in science and research fields, Wooly finds the practice of construing opinion as scientific fact misrepresentation at best and using statistical outliers to promulgate bogus science that promotes a hidden agenda an even more abhorrent practice.

Enjoy these pictures and please consider we have the privilege of experiencing the real thing, something future generations may be denied.  Which plants and animals will survive after the glaciers melt?

I will leave you today with these final thoughts.  Allowing the most serious issue humanity has ever faced to become a political football is wrong.  Doing the right thing for future generations will require honesty and sacrifice by virtually every human being on the planet.  What legacy will you leave to your grandchildren and great grandchildren?

And remember, nature bats last.

Endangered glaciers
Endangered glaciers
Shrinking glaciers
Shrinking glaciers
Something smells good here.
Something smells good here.
Breaking rules
Breaking rules
Staying close to mom.
Staying close to mom.
Keeping it cool on the ice.
Keeping it cool on the ice.

Trickster, god, bad omen or opportunist?

Demanding RavenWhen they fly they seem as though they are having fun.  With one of the largest brains of all birds they are known to work out problems.  They are noisy, mischievous, can recognize and remember faces, and above all are opportunists.

They are loyal and mate for life.  They protect their territory and young vigorously.  When used to humans they are somewhat fearless.  While you may see their cousins (crows and grackles) in the city, ravens prefer the wide open spaces.

In different cultures, superstitions, and mythologies, ravens have known as a trickster (one I can believe), a bad omen, or a god.  Wooly just thinks they are opportunists.

A Bold RavenWhen Wooly and Raeski arrived at a trailhead in Canyonlands National Park we were greeted by a Raven.  He? was bold and vocal.  As Wooly pulled out the camera Mr. Raven took a liking to Miss Mini and flew onto her.  Now Wooly knew enough to make sure there wasn’t anything handy for Mr. Raven to make off with.  Raeski on the other hand was more concerned with Mr. Raven scratching Miss Mini’s sensitive paint.  And this wasn’t Miss Mini’s first encounter with ravens.  Apparently her shiny chrome is irresistible!

However Wooly happens to enjoy the decidedly uncommon Common Raven of the Southwest.  When I spoke to this one I got a very vocal CAW CAW back.  My guess is he was telling me, “I know you have food and shiny bobbles in this car, now hand them over!”

Chile’s Flamingos

Tres Flamingos

Smoking volcanos tower on the horizon as you stand on the vast salar.  Shallow pools of water teem with brine shrimp. Flamingos flock to these lagoons to feast on them. As you watch you quickly become parched courtesy of the thin, dry and windy air.

You are standing on the vast salt flats (salar in Spanish) of Salar de Atacama, the largest salar in Chile. In this desolation life carves out a precarious niche that is being threatened by global warming. As the earth heats, the rivers send less water to the vast salt flats where rain doesn’t fall and evaporation takes its toll.

As the habitat shrinks, so does the population of these large and beautiful birds. Nearby mines disturb and pollute the environment with chemicals that are highly toxic to flamingos. As roads are improved tourism and poachers take an additional toll.

Conservationists are trying to protect these birds. The Andean Flamingo was declared an endangered species in 2010. Many of the places flamingos reside in the summer and winter have been made national parks. However many of their breeding grounds remain unprotected.

Enjoy the photos of these Andean Flamingos and please tread lightly when you are a guest in their habitat.

Flamingos filter feed by scooping up the brine shrimp.

Flamingos aren’t the most graceful birds taking off.

We have lift-off!

Graceful in flight.

Flying in formation.

And not so graceful landings. But who cares? They’re beautiful birds and we should treasure them.