Day #107 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Birds over mammals?…

This adorable kookaburra posed for me in the yard in Trinity Beach, Australia, while sitting on the fence next to the rain gauge. These birds are much larger than they appear in this photo.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 8, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.



Yesterday’s post included a remembrance of our time spent in Kauai, Hawaii in 2015 and a little about the story of our exciting experiences with the Laysan Albatross on the Garden Island, as shown here

After a while she/he relocated to the roof, looking down for a possible morsel of food.  They are known to snatch food off of plates when cooking on the “barbie.” More on kookaburras will be coming in a few days with our wildlife posts.

Today, as I pursued past posts for today’s photos, I stumbled across photos of the ever-so-fascinating bird, the kookaburra, while spending time in Trinity Beach, Australia in 2015. 


Contrary to our usual distaste for zoos, although we appreciate their existence as an opportunity for humans to learn about animals, while in Trinity Beach we visited a local zoo when we weren’t seeing many animals in the wild, except for kangaroos and wombats.

These common Yellow Allamanda were growing like crazy in the garden of our holiday home.

When we were welcomed to “do a story” on the Cairns Tropical Zoo, avoiding an entry fee and providing us with a personal tour with one of the zoo biologists, it was hard to resist.


Having an opportunity to learn about the indigenous animals which the zoo housed exclusively, certainly opened our eyes for future possible sightings of the birds and mammals we learned about on that special day.

Bottlebrush blooming in the yard.

There were three birds that particularly caught our attention; cockatoos, pelicans, and kookaburras, of which we’ve included a few shots today. As we continue sharing photos from past posts, in a few days, we’ll include photos of more of the stunning creatures we were fortunate to see on that tour.


In 2017, we stayed in Fairlight, Australia, close to Sydney, and were thrilled to have the opportunity to interact with these special birds by hand-feeding visitors to the garden of our holiday home when they stopped by each day. Those photos will follow soon.

We drove up the mountain behind the market to Kuranda. When we began the steep and winding trek it was sunny. By the time we arrived at the first overlook, it was cloudy and rain began to fall. We turned back with a plan to return to see the village at the top on a sunny day.

When we began our travels, we didn’t realize how significant birds would become in our constant search for wildlife. Not only in Africa and Australia, but we also had many memorable experiences with birds in many other locations as many of our long-term readers have seen.


No, we aren’t expert bird watchers like our friends, Lynne and Mick from the UK with a home in Marloth Park, our friend Louise in Kauai, Hawaii, and our friends Linda and Ken from the UK and South Africa. But we certainly are bird enthusiasts, spending time learning about those we particularly enjoy. 

We could imagine how beautiful this expansive view would be on a sunny day.

Oftentimes, I’ll post a photo of a bird we don’t recognize and our friends will jump in and help us identify the specimen. Bird watching and savoring the beauty of birds can be quite a hobby and at times a lofty obsession, coupled with excellent camera skills. 


For us, we love seeing everything that walks, runs, flies, swims, and slithers. If it’s moving, we are curious about it, including a wide array of insects we’ve spotted in our years of world travels. Some of our favorite experiences and photos include closeups of insects and spiders.

The mountain and ocean view reminds us of Kauai, Hawaii.

Nothing new is on the horizon here at the moment. The hotel continues to be fully occupied. The monsoon season is in full force with raging rain and floods almost daily. Covid-19 continues to infect more and more each day and the prospects for leaving anytime soon diminish as the contamination escalates.


We’ve come to the conclusion that this is our lives now and spend less time searching for travel options than we did in the past few months. We’ll know when we can leave and make decisions from there. All the speculation, expectation, and anticipation won’t change a thing. 

The sections of land always create such an interesting view both from the air and scenic overlooks at higher elevations.

The more we accept this as our fate, for now, the less stressful this scenario may be. It is entirely possible we could be here for a total of a year or even more. Laughter is our best panacea. Hope is our salvation.


Stay safe.

_____________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, July 8, 2019:

A repeated photo of me and a few Gentoo penguins on Saunders Island, Antarctica on January 26, 2018.  What an experience! For more photos from the year-ago post, please click here.

Shocking effects of Hurricane Harvey…The devastation continues…

 
All of these young rabbits appeared to be part of a herd, living in a “warren” in the well designed spacious habitat of Zoo Ave.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

From the veranda, we spotted another fire burning on a nearby mountain.

















































As we continue to share more photos from our recent visit to Zoo Ave, bird and animal sanctuary and rehabilitation center here in the Alajuela Valley, we’re reminded of all the animals being rescued from floodwaters in Texas and other states due to Hurricane Harvey.

The habitat for the rehabilitating birds and animals was as natural as it could be with wide open spaces, vegetation and obvious cleanliness in the care of its inhabitants.

Of course, the devastation of the loss of human life supersedes all else, along with the loss of all of the worldly possessions of individuals and families across the land.  But, in the mix, in the hearts and minds of many who’ve already lost so much is the frustration and fearful pursuit of finding beloved pets, including dogs, cats, birds, horses and barnyard animals.

A parrot pair sharing a large banana leaf.

As animal lovers well know, an animal can be as much a part of a family as its family members and for many, their only day-to-day companions.  When we’re reminded of our loving dogs over the years, we can’t even imagine the fear many are possessing at this time as they try to find their beloved pets, now that they and their family members are nearing safety.

Many enclosed areas housed a number of compatible birds and other creatures.

Can we envision the chaos as citizens of the ravaged areas scrambled to their own safety coupled with the worry that their pets may be lost to them forever?  What a comfort those pets could be at this horrible time of loss and grief; losing people they love; belongings they treasured while finding themselves homeless without sufficient funds to rebuild their lives.  It all takes time and money, neither of which survivors may have at this point.

Bunnies are commonly seen in Costa Rica in the vegetation rich environment.

Although not a good comparison and certainly under considerably different circumstances, I can recall the last few weeks we spent in Minnesota.  The four-day professional estate sale found us reeling over how little value there was in our treasured personal belongings, all of which we had to let go. 

Based on the size of their habitat, most likely they had no concept of being confined, as was the case for most of the residents of Zoo Ave, a highly rated animal rehabilitation center.

We were left with a paltry sum as a result of the sale of our belongings and our home, during poor market conditions at the time.  Tom continued working 12-hour days up until the day we left on October 31, 2012. 


Please see this link for our story during that painful process.

We had to leave the house during the sale of our belongings and stayed with dear friend Karen at her lovely home in a nearby suburb.  I was swamped with the preparations for Tom’s retirement party and finalizing details of the many items we’d overpacked to take on our journey. 

Large birds sitting in trees.

During the difficult last days, I came down with the flu and lost my voice.  I was very sick but couldn’t stop.  I had to keep going.  Each night of the four-day sale, I met with the estate sale company to reprice items.  Little did I know the devastation I’d feel when I’d show up seeing people walking down the road carrying “our stuff” for which they paid but a pittance. 

We noticed hundreds of turtles of varying sizes and some ducks, all seemingly busy sunning and foraging.

It was during this period that for the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to forfeit every “thing” that I knew and loved, let alone the upcoming process of saying goodbye to every “one” we knew and loved.  And this was voluntary! There’s no comparison to the horrific sudden losses so many have suffered as a result of Hurricane Harvey and others.

The grounds at Zoo Ave are meticulously maintained.

Can we even imagine the loss the people of Texas and other states are feeling when every “thing” they knew and loved was ripped away from them, not by choice as in our case, but coupled with the fear of losing their lives and in many cases, having lost people and pets they’ve loved. It’s heartbreaking.

The gift shop at Zoo Ave (Ave translates to “aviary” in Spanish)

We’ve all experienced losses in our lives.  That’s all a part of the “human condition” over which we may have little control.  How we respond to those losses determine the meaning, the purpose, and the quality of the remaining years of our lives.  And, for all those lost souls in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we pray for their healing and recovery in times to come.

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, September 2, 2016:

When we returned to Bali for our second two-month stay after a two-month stint in Southeast Asia, we were excited to see the buffaloes walking along the beach shortly after we arrived.  We only paid for the villa for the two non-consecutive 60-day stays and were happy to return to the beautiful villa and location in Sumbersari, a four or five-hour harrowing drive from the airport, the only part we didn’t care for.  For more details, please click here

Part 2, a day to remember…Thanks to new friends…The Laysan Albatross story begins…

Here’s our video of the Laysan Albatross.
 When we lived in Africa, whether on safari in Kenya or in our yard in Marloth Park, each time we had the opportunity to see wildlife, our pulse quickened and a rush of feel good hormones, one of which is dopamine rushed through our bodies.
Looking up to see if her mate is coming back with dinner.

It may be a work of art, an animal, or a stretch of beach that triggers the release of the powerful hormone that makes us feel great. For many, the triggers may be different. For us, seeing wildlife sends us both into a level of joy that is hard to describe which has only escalated these past few years as we’ve traveled the world.

This nesting albatross was the first one we spotted, sleeping on her/his nest. Both the male and female tend to the nest.

When our friend Richard invited us to walk with him in his neighborhood to see the many nesting Laysan Albatross in various neighbor’s yards, upon sighting the first bird, I felt as if someone shot me in the arm. An immediate smile overtook my face, my heart raced with excitement, and for some odd reason  (hum…) I felt as if I was “home” (wherever that may be).

The dark coloration around their eyes varies from bird to bird.

For at least 30 minutes, we wandered from yard to yard, occasionally waving or talking to neighbors who were comfortable seeing us with Richard rather than tourists snooping in their yards. 

Even a hibiscus plant is a good spot to nest.

What our eyes beheld was awe-inspiring; as many as five albatross at one time in various yards throughout the neighborhood, paying little attention to us as we made a special effort to stay far back to avoid disturbing them.

 

These two were hanging around the dense vegetation in the center of the cul-de-sac.

It’s important not to get too close to these seemingly friendly birds. They release a hormone when frightened which may be dangerous to them. Staying as far back as possible is imperative for their good health.

Then, there were three…

Luckily, our camera has an excellent ability to zoom in, making it possible for today’s video and photos.  Our course, the dopamine coursing through my body, made my hands a little unsteady, so I did my best. Usually, I refer to this shakiness as excitement and enthusiasm when in essence, it is dopamine.

Then there were four…

As we walked from house to house, we couldn’t believe how many nesting, dancing, interacting, and sleeping albatross we spotted. If we say that we saw the exquisite birds in no less than a dozen yards, we wouldn’t be exaggerating. 

A loner, nesting close to a house.

I wondered how residents would be able to go about their daily lives when these precious birds were living in their yards. Surely, if it was us, we’d be sitting outside on lawn chairs, at a safe distance, watching their daily interactions with the hope of eventually seeing a hatchling.

This one reminded me of Tom, “Oh, I hate going for a walk!”

Well, we’re the people who sat outside all day in the bush in 90 degrees, bug and snake-infested Africa waiting for the next moving creature. Of course, we’d be equally enthralled with these birds.

So beautiful!

For Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology’s information about the Laysan Albatross including a clip of the sound of the birds, please click here.

Flying is the Laysan Albatross’s forte, not walking which appears awkward.

Again, we thank our friend Richard for bestowing this amazing opportunity upon us. Without his assistance and friendship, we’d never have known about these exquisite birds, only seeing them when they occasionally fly over our heads.

It was surprising how they paid no attention to us walking by, continuing with their adorable antics.

Contemplating their next move under a lemon tree.

Once again, we find reasons to be grateful for perhaps another bit of “safari luck.”

These smaller two may have been siblings, were grooming each other.
Marine Conservation Biologists in Hawaii band the birds in order to maintain an accurate record of as many birds as possible.

Tomorrow, we’ll share a wonderful story of the oldest banded Laysan Albatross. Do check back and have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 27, 2014:

Neither of us had ever seen the Sickle Bush which grows in Africa. We were fascinated by its prickly feel and look, along with its beautiful colors. For more “small things” we found in the bush, please click here.