Welcome to Alexandria, Egypt

Update: I’m sorry to report that there are travel advisories being issued for Egypt, including beautiful Alexandria, at the moment. Let’s hope that stability returns soon. I’ll never forget my first trip to North Africa. It was my first time abroad, many years ago, and I was an inexperienced lad in Morocco for the first time, traveling with a group of drunken Australians. I had […]

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The Penguins of Chile

This is home to Magellanic penguins- they’re Patagonian specialists, and Chile and Argentina have hundreds of thousands of birds. Looking back on my childhood, I think it’s safe to say that my world view was overly influenced by cartoons. I suppose that’s true of any child of the 1970s, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that some of my impressions of faraway places […]

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Scenes from the Shoreline, Stanley Park

This is a quick sequence of shots featuring glaucous-winged gulls and black oystercatchers, those amazing and loud shorebirds that look like a “crow smoking a carrot”, to quote a colleague of mine. I was trying out the video capacity of my Nikon D7000 with a Sigma 50-500 “Bigma” lens. This is why I live in Vancouver. Not ten minutes’ walk from my apartment, I am […]

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Tenerife: The Day I Drove Up A Volcano

To a naturalist, the Canary Islands are pretty much a dream. My mother once told me that the true test of a relationship was hanging wallpaper together. But having returned from the fantastic Canary Islands, I can go one better: we rented a car in a foreign country and survived. In fact, we had a blast. We were cruising the islands of Macaronesia, which are […]

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Faces of Madeira: the Mercado dos Lavradores

Morning in a Madeira market First-time travellers sometimes over-plan. I know I used to; there’s a real security in knowing exactly what you’re going to do when you arrive in a new place. And there is genuine risk in spontaneity: there’s so little time when we travel, and the last thing you want to discover is that you missed something great because you hadn’t done […]

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It’s a great summer to be a tiger swallowtail

On a recent trip to beautiful Manitoba, we stopped for lunch at Pinawa Dam and I ended up spending the entire time chasing these guys. I’m a sucker for butterflies but they so rarely cooperate with me and my telephoto lens. These Canadian tiger swallowtails (Papilio canadensis) were really intent on getting a bit of nectar from the late-blooming lilacs that someone had thoughtfully planted […]

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The Canada Goose Problem

Why are Canada geese nesting and pooping all over our cities? ‘Tis the season for goslings again: adorable, fluffy, peeping, traffic-stopping broods of wee Canada geese, following their parents through all sorts of inappropriate and dangerous areas. As a result, many of us who work or volunteer in parks, sanctuaries, animal hospitals, etc. find ourselves responding to panicked calls for help or for information regarding […]

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The Ruins of Dominica- A Photographer’s Field Day

How quickly Mother Nature reclaims her own here in Dominica. A few years ago I had the privilege of traveling the Caribbean as the naturalist/presenter aboard the exquisite Azamara Quest. The Quest is a smaller vessel, as cruise ships go, and visits lesser-frequented ports of call. Thus we made our way to Cabrits, on the tiny Caribbean island-nation of Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-EE-ca). (Don’t confuse it […]

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Thank you for keeping your cat indoors!

If every cat in North America caught only one bird per year, that would be over seventy million dead birds. Today, a salute to the winsome dark-eyed junco, and with it a plea to please keep your cats indoors. Cornell University reports that this tame little sparrow is the number one victim of backyard cats, with more juncos taken than any other species, including the utterly expendable […]

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Bird Science: Here’s Looking At You

As a bird photographer, I’m learning to judge just how closely I can approach a bird before it starts to show signs of alarm. Of course there are two good reasons for this: I don’t want to stress my subjects, but I do want to get a decent shot before they flee. One of the things I’ve noticed consistently is that some birds will allow […]

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