My husband and I are presently traveling from the north of the United States – Alaska – to the south of it – North Carolina. I have gotten some unbelievable photographs of wildlife, including a close encounter with a grizzly bear that was digging up roots alongside the Alaska Highway (you can see them here).
Jasper and Banff National Parks in Alberta, Canada were spectacular. Surrounded by sunlit mountains, we drove through the parks with our mouths agape, peaks above us and streams meandering through valleys below us. And though we saw barely a creature but tourist’s dogs in the parks, I did catch a few up close photos of scurrying chipmunks at Athabasca Falls in Jasper.
Canadians definitely have their national parks figured out, if these two are representations of them as a whole. Athabasca Falls had wooden stairways interspersed between towering rocks – sometimes you have to duck to or go single-file to get through. Lots of concrete walkways in different viewpoints of the falls, accessed by sun dappled paths with views of game trails through the moss. A peaceful and necessary stop, and in our case at least, not too crowded.
The only large wild mammal we saw in the parks was Bighorn Sheep. A group of 6 or 7 were nibbling something on the rocks (my husband says they were ingesting minerals from the rocks). The chipmunks were also nibbling, moving with rocket speed over the concrete and moss, not too scared of us big hulking humans except perhaps to be caught underfoot.
So, no birds this time. The only ones I’ve managed to capture with my camera are swans and ravens, back up in the Yukon Territory. But that’s a post for another day. Until then, best wishes to you all…
Sian Ka’an is close to Tulum, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula – a dazzling coastal ecosystem. My husband and I rambled along in our rented Jeep with no A/C on a long white gravel road that winds along the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It was a drop dead gorgeous sunny hot day. The shining white beaches were radiant even with the washed-up garbage strewn about. I hopped over photo op after photo op, looking for pieces of beach glass (something I could do for days, weeks, months!).
If it had been our choice, my husband and I would have driven that road till the end. But as we all know, daylight is limited and vacation time goes especially fast.
Possibly the best part of Sian Ka’an was the old weathered bridge that stood alongside the newer bridge that we traveled on. They cross a beautiful blue-green river that flows into the ocean. You can see a video of them here.
Locals fished off the bridges, breezes relieved the heat, and I found bird after bird to photograph. To the left are female and male Great-Tailed Grackles. The gull, tern, and turnstone were firsts for me (below).
I’ll fondly remember this old weathered bridge for all my days, along with the fine feathered friends I met that day.