Filed under Bird watching

A Winter Escape: Blackwater Falls State Park

A Winter Escape: Blackwater Falls State Park

I was longing for some snow. Serious winter snow. So when our friends proposed a pre-New Year escape to the Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia, we signed up. We stayed at the lodge in the park, a comfortable place overlooking the canyon that the Blackwater River has carved over millennia (it is worth the extra … Continue reading

A Day in “That Astonishing Chicago”

A Day in “That Astonishing Chicago”

“…in a few hours [we] were in that astonishing Chicago–a city where they are always rubbing a lamp, and fetching up the genii, and contriving and achieving new impossibilities.” (Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883) The trip that eventually took us to the great parks of the American Southwest began in Chicago, my first taste … Continue reading

Zion National Park: A Glimpse of Paradise

Zion National Park: A Glimpse of Paradise

“…for glory of scenery and stupendous scenic effects [Zion] cannot be surpassed…It is a marvelous piece of Nature’s handiwork that is worth going a long distance to see.” (Thomas Moran, artist) We almost missed Zion. It was difficult to tear ourselves away from the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, and, for a moment, we even thought … Continue reading

Gatorland: In the Realm of Birds and Crocodilians

Gatorland: In the Realm of Birds and Crocodilians

After a couple of days in Orlando, we wanted to take a break from amusement park lines and steep entrance fees. Gatorland (Alligator Capital of the World) did not sound entirely like our cup of tea, but, at $26.99 for adults/$18.99 for kids 3-12 (and a $2.50 discount available online), it seemed at least try-worthy. To my … Continue reading

Into the Dreamscape of Antelope Island

Into the Dreamscape of Antelope Island

“Lovers of science, lovers of wildness, lovers of pure rest will find here more than they may hope for.” (John Muir, Chapter 8: Bathing in Salt Lake, Steep Trails) Seeing Antelope Island for the first time is like entering a dream, a vision of a Dali landscape, its colors subdued. The largest of ten islands … Continue reading

Sunrise at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Sunrise at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

“The air is wild with voices, avian dialects are being spoken from every direction. The sky vibrates with wings.” (Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge) One of the things I love about going to Utah is the inevitable early mornings: I wake up before dawn, otherwise a painful procedure. Last week, such early morning happened to be … Continue reading

Assateague Island: Where the Wild Horses Roam

Assateague Island: Where the Wild Horses Roam

“My treasures do not click together or glitter. They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night.”  (Bedouin proverb) A trip to Assateague, where wild horses graze and shore birds fly over dunes, marshes, shrublands, and forests, all within a 37-mile island shared by Virginia and Maryland, is an early-October tradition. Goldenrods are in … Continue reading

Unexpected Orlando: Bok Tower Gardens

Unexpected Orlando: Bok Tower Gardens

My memories of Gatorland, got me thinking about other off-the-beaten-path Orlando destinations. Bok Tower Gardens come instantly to mind. About an hour away from Orlando, this place is beautiful, magical even. My visit there deserves a story all of its own, but, as a preview, here are some tidbits from a January visit. Highlights: Wild southern groves, … Continue reading

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens: The Lotus Season

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens: The Lotus Season

Did you know that July is the lotus season in DC? Last week, I wrote about my late-June stroll through the serene and beautiful Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, “where water and wind dance,” and the lotus ponds were just beginning their bloom. This weekend, I went back for the park’s Lotus and Water Lily Festival. Ponds upon ponds of … Continue reading