Birding the Quebec Maritimes’ Islands near Rivière-du-Loup

Lighthouse at Pot du Phare (Photo credit: Roberta Sotonoff ©2012)

The Quebec Maritimes are a haven for people like me who are into nature. This northern part of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River provides both a serene escape from the city and incredible scenery. Jagged rock formations erupt from the water. Birds … [Read more...]

Seeking the Birds of Portugal’s Castro Verde Steppe

Great Bustards (Photo credit - Jorge Safara)

Jorge, our guide, certainly knew where to find the birds. And when. He had convinced us to abandon the comforts of our hotel at 7 am, and had negotiated with the management to provide us with a packed breakfast to bring with us. In the early morning … [Read more...]

Birdwatching on the Estuaries of Portugal’s Alentejo Coast

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We spotted our first birds within half-an-hour of leaving Lisbon Airport. Crossing over the Tagus estuary on the 17.2 km Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest in Europe, we gazed over a vast area of mud flats, dotted with waders too distant to identify. … [Read more...]

Sailing to Les Ecrehous in the English Channel in the Early Morning

La Marmotiere

As the boat slowly sailed past the St Catherine’s breakwater, on the north-east corner of Jersey, a small flock of Brent geese, winter visitors from the Arctic, took off ahead of us. Clearing the breakwater, our skipper, Richard, revved the motor, … [Read more...]

Exploring Horicon Marsh in Southeast Wisconsin

Hundreds of bird species flock to Horicon Marsh. ©Melanie Radzicki McManus

Small knots of birders are standing on the floating boardwalk, all gazing in one direction. What has caught their collective eye? I'm not a "birder" (the proper term for what we non-birders would call a "birdwatcher"), so I assume it's some tiny … [Read more...]

Searching for the Yellow-eyed Penguin in New Zealand

Yellow-eyed penguin in nest (Courtesy Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust)

The word “maybe” is out. We might see some, but there is no guarantee. Do we still want to go? We do. A guide points us toward our transportation, an 8-wheel-drive Argo. We'll be taking this vehicle, a cross between a tractor and a boat, to see … [Read more...]

Taking a Break at Biocentro Güembé in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Macaws rescued from illegal trafficking in Bolivia (©Coen Wubbels)

"Another Inca ruin?" "Again so many hours in a bus?" "Can't we go swimming somewhere?" "More markets? I want to go swimming! Please!" I don't have kids but I can imagine this being a frequent scene between kids and parents on vacation (or … [Read more...]

Watching Brazil’s Bird Whisperer at Work

Nest of spectacled owls (©Coen Wubbels)

A rough road leads up into the mountains. Apart from a couple of houses the countryside is devoid of habitation. A low, wooden barrier marks the limits of a private property. Behind it I see rows of small aviaries, a cluster of trees and a house. The … [Read more...]

Learning About Bird-Banding and Migration in Gulf Shores, Alabama

A thin piece of numbered metal is put onto a songbird's leg.

I am holding a life in my hands. It consists of less than half an ounce of feathers, one fast-beating heart, and not much else. This tiny gal -- the plumage says it's a female -- has just flown over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a solid … [Read more...]

Living among Wildlife in Australia’s Croajingolong National Park

two kangaroos adjusted cropped final

"Take the next turn!" my husband Paul cried. "Why?" I asked, as we barrelled along Australia's Princes Highway between Melbourne and Sydney, hellbent on making it to the town of Eden--our randomly chosen stopping point--by nightfall. I eased off … [Read more...]