Wild Baby Animals: The Next Generation

Wild Baby Animals: The Next Generation

Wild baby animals have sprung with coming of Spring but, with all the rain, who’s been outside long enough to notice? This weekend, nice weather changed all that. Aside from pulling up 500 pounds of weeds, we found plenty of little critters growing just like them all around the property.

Robins

Wild Baby Animals: RobinLook who’s taken up residence in our Rhododendron! Four baby robins hatched so recently, only one is old enough to open his little eyes. They’re growing so fast, just ” being” exhausts them. What’s the one thing they do muster some energy for? Each time the wind blows, these little babies enthusiastically snap their big, hungry mouths open thinking their mother has landed on a nearby branch with a fat, juicy worm.

Phoebes

Wild Baby Animals:  PhoebesOur family of frequenting phoebes has called our house on Curtis Hill home for four years in a row, raising two broods each time.

This year’s first brood is the largest to date, with four healthy, happy babies just itching to fly. With plenty of fuel imported by mom and dad, these kids spend afternoons polishing and preening their tiny pin feathers, firing up their little jet engines and, flapping their wings in a test run while hanging on for dear life.

Tree Swallows

Wild Baby Animals:  SwallowDon’t tell these tree swallows they aren’t in the right house. They’ve forfeited any and all trees (as well as their first condo in the side yard) for this bluebird house in the dog yard. Yes, swallows live in close proximity to humans on purpose to keep predators away. Who knew dogs were equally beneficial?

And is that a dragonfly in your mouth or are you just happy to see me? This photo and the footage below are from last year, but the parents are back this season and sitting on a new nest.

Red Squirrels

Wild Baby Animals: Red SquirrelLast year, at this time, red squirrels were nesting in our chimney. Four sweet babies grew from tiny squeaks in the wall into full-on screaming mimis when they saw us through a crack in the mortar. Hearing them shuffling up to the roofline, I watched them test their boundaries as they attempted to descend the logs and bricks.

Watch the video below for unseen footage of Momma taking these curious babies into the forest by mouth as they wrap themselves around her neck for ease in transport.

House Cats Love Wild Baby Animals 

Wildlife preservation starts with us. Cats will be cats. To prevent senseless killings having nothing to do with sustenance, I now keep my killer cats in the house, always. Might you consider doing the same?

Mexican Riviera Cruise: Yelapa Lagoon

Mexican Riviera Cruise: Yelapa Lagoon

Yelapa LagoonLet’s take a small boat From Puerto Vallarta to the remote beach resort of Yelapa, a magical oasis for tourism, local crafts and wildlife. And yes, there are bottomless margaritas for all on this journey! The trick is not to spill them while riding the waves. (Yelapa is only accessible by boat.)

Once at the resort, bargain with locals for one-of-a-kind bead work or beautiful sarongs and drink a Mexican beer – all from your beach lounger. Of course, you might have to compete with some pretty beach-savvy Mexican dogs for that coveted seat at the shore. You’ll see what I mean… (Aside from the dogs, this video is mostly human. The next is about local wildlife if you prefer to skip ahead.)

Yelapa boasts a population of roughly 10,000 residents with its very own school and hospital. Still, the economy has much room for growth and tourism offers an opportunity for locals to persuasively peddle their wares. While this can be a bit too persuasive for comfort at times, we found a peaceful escape to quietly enjoy the beauty.

Walk with us to a lovely lagoon where Mexican dogs playfully romp along-side herons, horses, humans, egrets, cormorants and sand pipers, as soaring black vultures with white-tipped wings glide through bluebird skies.

As an important aside, while we love iguanas and find them fascinating, to see them leashed and manhandled by sweaty, suntan-lotioned people during every sunny beach hour just doesn’t seem fair. For that reason, we refused to pose with one for a photograph.

WHERE WE’VE BEEN SO FAR

  • Part 1:  Vacation in San Diego — We see shore birds, pigeons and fish which are pulled fresh from the water at the Empire Beach pier, and we ride a silver Mustang seeing more than a few Black Hawks as we drive through San Diego to Coronado Island and beyond, to the beach.
  • Part 2:  Ship Sets Sail — The sun is shining, sailboats are gliding through the bay, and the whole of the military is doing flybys to keep us in line on Lido deck. Enjoy the daytime view and stunning sunset from our veranda as the ship makes an impressive half-turn and heads for sea.
  • Part 3:  Wildlife of Bahia Magdelena — Bay waters teen with breaching gray whales, humpbacks, a harbor seal swimming for its life and other beautiful sea life.
  • Part 4: Whales of Puerto Vallarta — We board a small boat, the only means of transport to Yelapa beach, but find ourselves detoured by 7 feeding humpback whales. All this, after the most beautiful sunrise over Puerto Vallarta.
  • Part 5: Banderas Bay — After our crew’s entertaining dance, we relax in this beautiful landscape, snorkel with orange and black striped fish, and kayak the shoreline.
Mexican Riviera Cruise: Wildlife of Bahia Magdelena

Mexican Riviera Cruise: Wildlife of Bahia Magdelena

Welcome to part 3 of our Mexican Riviera Cruise video logs! Part 1 shared the start of our  vacation in San Diego and in part 2, our ship sets sail. Now for part 3…

WILDLIFE AT SEA

Wake to a beautiful sunrise over Bahia Magdelena, the gateway to the Pacific ocean and natural reserve to California gray whales. Gray whales, known for their friendliness and curiosity toward humans, frequent these waters from January through March to complete their biological cycle. This makes it one of the best sites in the peninsula for gray whale watching. Our first sighting  is one lively breach as if to celebrate the new day.

Pacific white sided dolphins make a splash on our way through too, with numbers in the hundreds, causing a ceaseless wave of motion between the ship and the coastline. Later, as we admire the graceful flight lines of a Magnificent Frigate-bird from our veranda, the dolphins come closer to greet the ship and jump through its shift in current.

Pacific Dolphin

Watch with fascination and horror as a harbor seal wriggles through the water for its life as something unseen has it in pursuit. And watch for occasional pelicans and gulls as we continue past the white sand dunes of Cabo San Lucas on our way to Puerto Vallarta. And all this is yours to view before lunch rolls around.

PEOPLE PLAY

BettyTo back things up just a bit, our first day at sea was all about people play as we enjoyed cruising with a view from our veranda suites. We had never had these before, and now we’ll have to have them always. Betty played in a dress-up scavenger hunt having to wear everything she found and, while she did discover every item on the list, she lost to a skirted man wearing a bra on his head. (Really, who could compete with that?) Afterward, we gussied up for a formal dinner and annual portraits. As you’ll see, we clean up well, but you can’t take us out…

Come back next week for more exciting adventures!

Cruising the Mexican Riviera via San Diego

Cruising the Mexican Riviera via San Diego

San Diego BoatsLET’S GET AWAY

As the weather forecast calls for heavy snow, sleet, and rain topped by more snow (that’s just this afternoon), I’m ready to revisit our vacation to the Mexican Riviera. What do you say? Want to come?

TO THE CRUISE!

The first part of our journey is traveling from Albany, NY to San Diego, CA where we’ll catch our cruise on Holland America the following day.

In California, we see shore birds, pigeons and fish which are pulled fresh from the water at the Empire Beach pier, and we ride a silver Mustang seeing more than a few Black Hawks as we drive through San Diego to Coronado Island and beyond, to the beach.

Our only hiccup? After turning into a heavily guarded Naval Base, top down like it was a tourist attraction, we are convinced that those Black Hawk sightings actually have us in their sights, surveillance-style. See what you think.

COMING UP:

We’ll spend next Friday relaxing on the ms. Oosterdam, drinking margaritas while looking out over the bay at the various water and aircraft. Then we depart into the sunset, passing Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) on our way to the Mexican Riviera.

Following Fridays will explore Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas, where we’ll see breaching whales, hundreds of wave-surfing dolphins, pink pelicans, perched osprey and so much more. You can even join our exciting zip-line adventure over a rocky, water-filled canyon and ride a tractor through 6 miles of coconut groves alongside surf.

GET YOUR TICKETS!

Be sure to sign up for email alerts. These are your tickets to a fabulous time, and you don’t want to miss a single moment!

Kim Clune’s Alaska: Eagle’s Hunt in Victoria

Kim Clune’s Alaska: Eagle’s Hunt in Victoria

Clune PalinThe last adventure of our Alaskan cruise takes us not to Alaska, but to Victoria, British Columbia where we took a frigid boat ride around the islands at sunset in search of orcas, porpoises, eagles, cormorants and sea lions.

While unlucky in whale sitings, we watched dumbfounded as a magnificant Eagle made an unusual kill, snapping a gull from the air overhead and flying off with it while chased by other gulls. The sheer power was breathtaking.

Our guide said a kill of this type is highly atypical for an Eagle. Normally, they feed on fish and carrion. While he had never seen anything like it in all his years of coastline travels, there it happened, right in front of us. Amazing.

Come back next Friday for the blooper reel! And if you’ve missed any Palin-free, Alaskan Adventures:

Kim Clune’s Alaska: Ketchikan- Misty Fjords

Kim Clune’s Alaska: Ketchikan- Misty Fjords

Clune PalinSo far, while cruising Alaska, our Palin-free excursions have offered amazing whale, bear and glacier sightings in Juneau (episode 1) , access to the pristine heart of Glacier Bay National Park (episode 2), and a ride on a high-speed pontoon boat through the intrepid waters surrounding Sitka (Part 1 – episode 3) and a visit to Alaska’s Raptor Rehabilitation Center and the town of Sitka (Part 2 – Episode 4) .

This week we head into the Misty Fjords of Ketchikan – only accessible by boat or float plane. Long saltwater fjords, sculpted by glacial impact 17,000 years ago, are flanked by cliffs shrouded in mist, beautiful waterfalls and the seemingly endless and evergreen Tongass Rain Forest. The beautiful lighting effects of the clouds on the mirror-like surface of the water make this place most magical and we had the perfect mystical, misty day.