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Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Dufferin Islands

Dufferin Islands Bridge Niagara Falls

 Location:
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Address: Dufferin Islands
Date: Jan 2022
Website: www.niagaraparks.com

   Dufferin Islands is a secluded area tucked away from the roar of Niagara Falls.  It is a series of waterways and islands located south of The Falls as you travel along the Niagara Parkway.  It is a great spot to escape from the flashing lights and crowds of the more touristy areas of Niagara.

Moose Christmas Lights Niagara Falls

   In the winter time,  the Niagara Parkway is filled with magical light displays.  The lights continue into Dufferin Islands and along the road that wraps through the islands.  Dufferin Islands is also the point where you can leave a donation to show your appreciation for all the work that goes into creating this show each year.

Waterfowl Dufferin Islands Niagara Falls.

  If you are looking to do some bird watching then Dufferin Islands is the place for you.  No matter what the season, the water is teeming with various geese and ducks.

Dufferin Islands

  The area is the perfect habitat to sustain a variety of wildlife.  You can take an enjoyable stroll through the island pathways connected by various bridges.

Niagara River Rapids From Dufferin Islands

  If you follow the water eventually you will find yourself headed towards the Niagara River where the upper rapids rush towards the falls.

Scow Stuck In Niagara River Rapids.

    If you look out into the Niagara River, almost directly from Dufferin Islands, you can see what looks like a rusty boat stuck in the rapids.  This is a scow which is used in dredging operations.  Back in 1918 two men were trapped on this scow when it came loose from the tugboat that was pulling it further up river.  A day later they were finally rescued using a canvas sling suspended from pulleys.  The men escaped without harm, but the scow has remained here for over 100 years.

Niagara River Rapids.

  You can see how powerful the water of the Niagara River is even before it reaches the brink of the Horseshoe Falls.

Niagara Falls Table Rock and Skylon Tower.

    From this angle you can also look past the edge of the Horseshoe Falls and see where the mist rises as the water plummets over the edge.  In the photo above is Table Rock on the far left.  Table Rock is  right at the top edge of the falls and is the best spot to watch the water as it starts its descent.  The Skylon tower can also be seen on the right hand side.

Inukshuks At Dufferin Islands

    Once you have had enough of the rush of the falls you can walk back to Dufferin Islands and try to spot some of the light displays that remain set up year round. 

Canada Geese, Seagulls, Ducks And More Dufferin Islands

    While the islands are normally full of the usual waterfowl, once in a while there are other birds in amongst the Canada geese, mallards and seagulls.  It may just be a challenge to spot them.

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck Niagara Falls

  Visitors come from far and wide to see Niagara Falls and this duck is no exception.  We had heard of a rare visitor to the islands.  It still took us a while to finally find him despite the fact he had been right in front of us the whole time.

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck Walking Niagara Falls

    This rare visitor is a black-bellied whistling duck.  They normally live in South and Central America only coming as far north as southern Texas in order to breed.  This duck had travelled even further north to find itself up in southern Ontario, Canada.

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck Curled Up Niagara Falls

    This duck had been reported as visiting the islands in the summer.  When we visited in January the duck was still there despite the weather being about -20 C.  We imagine it was dreaming of warmer climates as it tucked its head beneath its wings.  We also know many human visitors rethink their clothing choices as they visit Niagara Falls during a Canadian winter.

Black-Bellied Whistling Duck And Seagull.

  At least as the duck climbed up onto the bank it was not alone.  A seagull walked over to join it.  A bit later a female mallard also came over to be near this special visitor. It reminded us of Niagara Falls and the Dufferin Islands.  A place where people from all over can come together and marvel at the beauty and power of nature.

Buffalo Lights Niagara Falls

Map of Our World
Dufferin Islands
1918 Dumping Scow Barge


Post # 307

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Elephants of Toronto

Toronto Zoo Elephant

   In 2013 the last African elephants left the Toronto Zoo. They were headed to California to live out their days in a larger space away from cold Canadian winters. We miss the elephants when we visit the zoo.  But don't worry, if you know where to look you can still find elephants hidden around Toronto.  Below is a list of places to include on your search. If you know of any more, please let us know.

1 ) Toronto Zoo

Three Little Elephants Toronto Zoo

   A good place to start your search for elephants is at the Toronto Zoo.  The big elephants may be gone, but these three little ones still remain.  They are near the African Pavilion looking towards the old elephant exhibit.  The exhibit is now home to the zoo's Masai giraffes.

Savanna Snacks

  We also spotted a couple of elephants on the roof of the Savanna Snacks store.  This store is located near the African Zoomobile stop and the old home of the Masai giraffes.

2)  Commerce Court
Tembo Mother of Elephants Commerce Court Toronto

    If you are looking for bigger elephants around the city then Tembo is for you.  Tembo, Mother of Elephants stands in Commerce Court just north of Bay & Wellington. She is over nine feet tall.

Tembo Elephant Calves Toronto

  Behind Tembo are two little elephant calves following their mother.

Tembo Elephants Commerce Court Toronto

  These bronze sculptures bring some extra life and fun to Toronto's financial district.

Tembo Elephants Commerce Court Toronto

    Tembo is small compared to the towers of Toronto's downtown.  If you don't know where to look, you might just miss her.


3)  Toronto Police Museum

Elmer The Safety Elephant

  Elmer the elephant has been around since 1947 teaching school children about safety.  He has been helping keep children safe in playgrounds and on the roads.  This little Elmer (above) can be found in the Toronto Police Museum.  

Elmer Flag On A School In Toronto Canada

  Many schools around the city still fly the flag and participate in the Elmer school program today.

4)  Elephant & Castle

Elephant & Castle Logo

    The Elephant & Castle is the name of a group of pubs.  There used to be a couple of locations in the Toronto area.  The location at Yonge & Gerrard closed. This one (above) is located on King Street West near Roy Thomson Hall.

Elephant & Castle Logo

   The pub is named after an area of London, England.  The logo has an elephant with the turret of a castle on its back.

5)  Yarmouth Road

Elephant Yarmouth Road Toronto

   This next elephant stands on the front lawn of a private house on Yarmouth Road in Toronto.  When we visited it was hiding behind a tree.

6)  My Roti Place
My Roti Place Elephant Toronto

   The elephant painted on the wall of My Roti Place on Queen Street West looks ready to pull the crown right off of your head.  While you are there why not build your own meal served on Indian flatbread?

7)  Starbucks
Starbucks Kenyan Elephant

     A lot of people inside Starbucks don't notice anything besides their cellphone and their coffee.  We noticed this Kenyan elephant on the wall of a location near Leslie & Sheppard.  It was there to show where the different coffee beans come from.  There was also a Sumatran tiger and Guatemalan parrots.


  8)  Utility Boxes


Seaforth Road Utility Box With Elephants

   At the east end of Seaforth Avenue you can find this pair of pachyderms.  More and more utility boxes around the city are being painted by artists.  We liked the colours and style of this elephant pair.

Animal Covered Utility Box Sewells Road Scarborough

   Up on Sewells Road in Scarborough is a utility box that is just full of animals.  And yes, there is an elephant included.

9 ) Pearson Airport

Elephant Deicing Truck At Pearson Airport Toronto

   If you have ever found yourself departing from Toronto's Pearson International Airport in the winter, you may have been in the presence of another Toronto elephant.  These trucks are called elephants after the hoses that are mounted on a crane.  They are used to spray a glycol / water mix that looks like orange Kool-Aid.  The orange spray is de-icer.  Thanks to these elephants, planes are able to take off safely in even the coldest conditions.

10 ) York Cemetery

York Cemetery Elephant Toronto


     In the far back corner of York Cemetery in North York, we found another elephant.

Asian Sculptures In York Cemetery North York

   The elephant was in a section with dragons, sheep, birds and more.  It appeared they were still waiting for the humans that would eventually join them.

11 ) Beechwood Cemetery

Beechwood Cemetery Elephants

    Our last elephants can be found at Beechwood Cemetery.  This mother and baby are located a little bit outside of Toronto just north of Jane & Steeles.   We could have stopped our list at ten but we thought it should go to elephan.


Map of Our World
Post # 304

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Uluru

Uluru Ayers Rock in the Centre of Australia
 
 Location: Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia
Address: 3 Yulara Drive
Date: May 2012
Website: parksaustralia.gov.au
 
  Uluru is located right in the red centre of Australia.  The giant sandstone rock is a sacred spot for the aboriginal people of the region.  Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock when it was named after Sir Henry Ayers who was the Chief Secretary of South Australia.  We prefer the original name.  During our Australian trip we spent a couple of days and nights exploring the area around Uluru.

Kata Tjuta Uluru

   We stayed at a place called Emu Walk Apartments.  In the distance we could see Uluru and another important group of rock formations called Kata Tjuta.

Kata Tjuta

  Kata Tjuta is made up of about 36 domed rock formations that jut out of the earth. We took a tour which gave us the opportunity to see some of these formations up close.

One Of Kata Tjuta's Valleys
  
   We walked into one of the valleys that is formed between the domes.  You can see how the sandstone rock is shaped by rainwater running down its walls.  While the mass of rock was impressive we had hoped to see some of the desert's little creatures on our walk.  We would have to wait until we returned to our apartment.
 
Crested Pigeon

  As we entered the property a few crested pigeons ran across the walkway.  These pigeons seemed to prefer running around to get out of our way rather than take flight.

Spider In Uluru Australia

    As we walked through the apartments, a spider was spinning a web right at face level.  We are glad we noticed it in time.  We snapped a photo in case a doctor needed to see it later and carefully passed by making sure we didn't get tangled in the web.  Australia is full of deadly insects and spiders.  We are not the best at identification so we just generally avoid everything that crawls or slithers.  We believe this is an orbweaver spider which, while its bite might be painful, is thankfully not deadly.  If anyone reading this knows otherwise please post in the comments.
 
Caterpillar In Uluru Australia
 
   Outside on the ground we found another fuzzy critter.  Australia is known for having processionary caterpillars that follow each other in long lines across the desert.  This caterpillar was all alone so we don't know if later it would join up with a group for a game of follow the leader.

Uluru Camel Tour Camels Sit On Ground

  The next morning we had our own version of follow the leader.  We had signed up for a sunrise camel tour.  The tour started in the dark so that we could be out on the trail when the sun finally started to rise.

Sunrise In Uluru Australia

   When the sun did rise there was a beautiful orange glow that grew from beyond the horizon.

Wild Camel On Hill Uluru

  We noticed a large animal walking along the top ridge of a hill.  It turned out to be another camel.  This camel wasn't an escapee from a camel tour, it was a feral camel.  Dromedary (single humped) camels were brought to Australia's desert for transportation back in the19th century.  Today, close to a million wild camels roam Australia.

Wild Camel Near Uluru Australia

  We also saw other wild camels walking beside the road when we travelled to Kata Tjuta.

Camel Rides Uluru Australia.

  The camels on our tour we not so wild.  They followed each other slowly and steadily.  Everyone was riding two people per camel. 

Uluru Camel Tours

  Our camel had a bit of an itchy head and took any opportunity to rub against the camel in front of us.

Camel From Uluru Camel Tours

   Our camel was named Chester.  As the guides called him it is pronounced "Chestah!"  It is quite high up sitting on top of a camel. When they sit down they fold their legs underneath them.  This means the riders are tilted way forward as the front legs fold under and then levelled out again as the back legs fold.  The process is the same for when the camel stands up.  Chester did a good job and we remained in our saddles the entire time.

Uluru Sunset

  After an early morning of camel riding, we had plans for a late night too.  We headed to Uluru to watch the sunset.

Sunset BBQ Near Uluru.

  There were some tables set up so we could enjoy a meal and some drinks while the sun went down.  We hate to admit it, but the kangaroo was tasty. After dinner we would look up at the sky and see the stars in the reverse of how we are used to seeing them in the Northern Hemisphere.  

Desert Mouse Near Uluru.

  During dinner we had a few friends scurrying under the table looking for scraps.  Uluru is known for having the cute Spinifex Hopping Mouse.  We are quite sure our visitors were just regular mice.

Uluru From Ayers Rock Airport.

   Our time in Uluru came to an end and we caught one last glimpse of the giant rock formation as our plane started down the runway.  We had seen some creatures big and small and even more reasons why Australia is such an unusual and special place.


Map of Our World
Uluru Camel Tours
Emu Walk Apartments , Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Post # 299