Category Archives: Nature

Finding Flamingos

flamingoI’d heard that one of the sights not to be missed on the Yucatan Peninsula, was the tens of thousands of flamingos that live here year round.  There is a special biosphere reserve in Celestun that the flamingos favour but it is a good ninety minute drive away from where we are staying so we opted to look for flamingos near the ocean side city of Progreso which is much closer.

We hired a driver named Daniel and the hunt was on.  We drove through the salt flats near Progresso looking for flamingos.  Daniel spotted some and we hurried out of the car but the flamingos were so far away even my husband Dave the Nature Photographer couldn’t get a good close up shot.

Daniel our driver was an expert flamingo spotter

Besides the dry mud- caked marshy ground we were walking on was starting to sink deeper and deeper beneath our feet for every step we took closer to the flamingos.

posing like flamingos with rudy

Pretending to be flamingos with our friend Rudy

So we opted for posing like flamingos ourselves before heading off to look for more. dave photographs flamingosAfter we’d made yet another stop where the flamingos were far and few between……….. we finally got lucky!

When they want to rest flamingos stand on one leg.

Daniel spotted a whole flock right near the road. Dave the Nature Photographer got to work immediately and took some darn good shots!

flamingos merida

Flamingos live in large groups called colonies that can number up to a million. 

flamingos salt flats

Flamingos spend nearly half their day cleaning their feathers. Oil produced in a special gland is spread over their feathers with the help of their beak.

a flamingo pair in mexico

Flamingos are monogamous and produce one egg each year. Both mother and father keep the egg warm and feed their chick with a milk-like substance.

Flamingos get their pink color from the organisms they eat

Flamingos are not pink when they are born. The pinkest flamingos are also the strongest in the colony since they find the most food.

I think we can safely say we have seen the flamingos of the Yucatan in the wild. It’s the first thing I can check off my list of things I really want to be sure to do on this holiday. 

Other posts………..

Finding the Elusive Quetzal in Costa Rica

The Storks of Portugal

Dave Driedger- Bird Detective

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Tree in the Algarve area of Portugal

My husband Dave tree planting with a student in Borneo

Winter trees in Steve Juba Park Winnipeg

Tree Children by artist Leo Mol at the Richardson Building in Winnipeg

In a trillium forest with my sister-in-law Shirley in southern Ontario

Root Dress by Barb Hunt photographed at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Family photo in front of a big tree on my sister’s yard in Winnipeg

My husband with a knight in shining armour and a Christmas tree in Bamberg Germany

Painting trees at a paint party at a bridal shower for my niece

In a sculpture called Edge of the Trees outside the City of Sydney Museum in Australia

Women knitting dresses for the trees at the Regina Folk Festival

A lava tree on the Big Island in Hawaii

Our church Christmas tree made of books.

Autumn tree in Quebec City

A glass mosaic called Ash Trees in the Late Afternoon by artist Sharon Loeppky

Arched tree in Sedona Arizona

My husband biking through a forest in Austria

Trees in Zion National Park in Utah

Trees in A.D. Penner Park Steinbach

Trees on Thomas Edison’s estate in Florida

Lone tree photographed on Lake Winnipeg

Hugging a redwood tree in Yalta Ukraine

In the Cloud Forest in Costa Rica

Other posts……..

Imitating Emily

Two Trees- Forty One Years

Edge of the Trees- An Aboriginal Perspective


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Waterfall in Cox’s Cove Newfoundland

Waterfall at the Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong

At the Tad Se Waterfall in Laos

At a waterfall in Costa Rica with my brother

At the Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland with my sister

Waterfall artwork by Theresa Himmer on Winnipeg’s Millennium Library


Little waterfall discovered on a hike near Kenora Ontario

At a waterfall in Colorado with my friend Rebekah

Montmorency Falls near Quebec City

waterfall rotarua new zealand

Waterfall in Rotarua New Zealand

Other posts ………



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Butterflies in Nunavut?

Chasing Butterflies by Mary Yuusipik Singaqti

I was preparing to give a tour of the Mary Yuusipik exhibit that just opened at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  The exhibit includes twenty-six drawings that show what artist Mary Yuusipik’s life was like growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in the interior Back River area of Nunavut. I was reading about each of Mary’s drawings and studying them and when I came to this one called Chasing Butterflies I said to myself, “Butterflies in Nunavut? Wouldn’t it be way too cold for butterflies there?” Turns out according to this beautiful and interesting book by Carolyn Mallory The Common Insects of Nunavut there are eight kinds of butterflies and moths in Nunavut  including the Brush Footed Butterfly, the Gossamer Winged Butterfly and the White and Sulphur Butterfly. 

Brush Footed Butterfly- photo by Carolyn Mallory

Carolyn includes traditional stories she heard from people about the various insects in her book. Several older women in Baker Lake told Carolyn that if you placed a butterfly on newborn girls they would grow up to make beautiful designs on the things they sewed. 

Untitled wall hanging by Mary Yuusipik -2013

Looking at a gorgeous wall hanging like this one which is part of the current Mary Yuusipik exhibit  one might speculate that Mary herself may have had a butterfly alight on her as a newborn. 

Other posts……….

Stitching a Story

Cut in Stone

Transferring the Real to the Unreal

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It Caught Georgia O’ Keefe’s Eye Too

desert flower“What a beautiful flower growing in the middle of the desert.”  I was on a hike with friends in the Red Cliff Desert Reserve in St. George Utah, when I caught sight of this lovely flower. I took several photos and since it was a bit windy one friend even held a blossom still so I could photograph it better. jimson weed red cliffs desert reserve st. georgeA few days later I was visiting an art gallery and saw a reproduction of a painting by famous southwest artist Georgia O’Keefe. “That’s the same flower,” I said recognizing the flower I’d photographed in the desert. georgia-okeeffe-painting

Turns out it wasn’t a flower at all but the Jimson Weed, a  plant that originated in Mexico but has now spread throughout the southwest and…… Georgia O’Keefe was just as enamored with the flowering plant as I was.  She painted several different versions of it. 

jimson weed 2 by georgia o keefe

Kind of made me feel special to know I shared an artistic eye with someone like Georgia O’ Keefe. jimson weed utah

Other posts………..

Desert Walk

Georgia O’ Keefe Inspired Me


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Desert Walk

red hills desert gardenOne morning our group of Utah women adventurers decided to do a trek through The Red Hills Desert Garden.

cactus designThe garden is beautifully designed and we enjoyed discovering some new species like…indian fig cactus the Indian fig cactus blackfoot daisyand the Blackfoot Daisyjoshua tree loriMy friend Lori had learned about the Joshua Tree on her recent visit to Arizona so she shared her knowledge with the rest of us.

marge crosses the brook

My friend Marge crosses the stream in the garden. We spotted two pairs of mallards swimming in the stream although we couldn’t spot any fish.

It rained for a bit during our walk but we didn’t let that deter us. rainblow desert gardenAnd we were rewarded with a beautiful rainbowdino tracks in the desert gardenOne of the knowledgeable garden employees helped us find the dinosaur footprints the park is famous for.  learning about dino tracksThey think the kind of dinosaur that made these prints might be a Dilophosaurus. tracks of the dinoWe posed with some of the dinosaur prints.

desert reserveOur helpful guide suggested we head off on a walk through the Red Cliff Desert Reserve adjacent to the garden.  He thought we might spot a tortoise.  

rock formation

Doesn’t that rock Marge is looking at resemble a turtle’s shell?

We didn’t see a tortoise but we did spot a rabbit and some very interesting rock formations.  desert flowerWe also saw beautiful flowers blooming in the desert. 

walking in the desert reserveWe could have stayed longer but it was soon time to head out to the ball diamond to cheer for our husbands in their next game.  We’d had a great morning in the Desert Garden and Desert Reserve. 

Other posts…….

Better With Friends

Linda’s Garden

Blooming Portugal

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Hiking the Virgin

fran and dave hike utahWe are visiting the state of Utah. On Sunday we did our first hike with our friends Fran and Marge.  We picked an easy walkway called The Virgin Trail that led us along a riverbed and through some beautiful rock formations.  We took to naming the rock formations we saw.  hedgehogs mating utahFran called this one Two Hedgehogs Mating.  sleeping drunk formation utahI called this one  Face of a Drunk Man Lying on His Side.  half man half apeDave called this one Half Man- Half Ape. iguana tree formationThere were some dead trees carved by wind and rain along the trail too.  This one reminded me of an iguana.  Beautiful flowers grew along our way.  brown eyed susanI recognized these brown eyed susansflower utah but although on the hike I had no idea what these lovely blossoms were called I found out later they were Yellow Birds of Paradise. bird watching utah

When you are on a hike with Fran you are always looking for birds.  Here Fran is pointing out a road runner to Dave who is trying to capture it on camera.  Unfortunately none of Dave’s bird pictures really turned out but in addition to the road runner we saw trumpeter swans, turkey buzzards, white crown sparrows and a beautiful blue heron. wind swept rock utahI loved the way the wind and water had shaped this rock to look like icing on a cake. The multi-colored rocks made a motley photo back drop. The scenery along the trail was spectacular. 

Walking the Virgin Trail was a lovely way to start our Utah sojourn. 

Other posts……….

You Call That A Stroll? 

Sunset Walk in America The Beautiful

A Perfect Afternoon in Gambo


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