Bluebirds of a feather

The Eastern Bluebirds

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” -Maya Angelou

Eastern bluebirds are the most widespread of the three types of bluebird. They’re found in in grasslands, forest clearings and meadows across a huge area from southern Canada to Central America.

A vibrant male Eastern Bluebird pirches proudly on the branch of a tree. Photo online

All bluebirds are cavity nesters, making their homes in the hollows of trees, often in holes vacated by bigger birds like woodpeckers. Nest boxes have also played a big part in helping the eastern bluebird population rebound after a steep decline in the early 20th century, due to reduced habitat and the introduction of non-native species, which compete with them for nesting holes.

An adult female Eastern Bluebird – photo- internet

Other types of bluebirds are the mountain bluebird and the western bluebird.

The eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) is a small North American migratory thrush found in open woodlands, farmlands and orchards.

The bright-blue breeding plumage of the male, easily observed on a wire or open perch, makes this species a favorite of birders. The male’s call includes sometimes soft warbles of jeew or chir-wi, or the melodious song chiti WEEW wewidoo.

I do hope that you fell in love with the minute bluebirds that make the meadows, the far away forests and the familiar orchards more beautiful, colorful and enjoyable. Their song is enchanting. Next time you see one, stop and listen to its chirping.

the source (partly) – the internet

Cristina David

Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain

 “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”

There is a place in the south of PERU, where a mountain attracts, not so much for its grandeur, but  for its spectacular look. We are talking about Vinicunca, or rainbow mountain, which has become one of the greatest tourist attractions in the land of the Incas.

Located in the Cordillera de Vilcanota – southeast of the city of Cusco, Vinicunca offers a wonderful show, from the same path that leads to it. It is a journey of approximately five hours by car and on foot that, even though demands a high physical preparation, culminates in a postcard image that is forever engraved in the memory of the traveler.

The popularity of Vinicunca expanded only five years ago thanks in large part to trekking and mountaineering lovers who were amazed by this unique phenomenon. The majesty of its colors and the peculiarity of its landscape began to be posted on social networks. The trek on the way to this Rainbow Mountain is as beautiful as the mountain itself.

Vinicunca, the mountain of seven colors – Photo on internet

On Instagram, for example, thousands of Internet users reacted to the publication and shared it on their own social networks, creating a multiplier effect. The American site Business Insider included Vinicunca as part of a list of the 100 essential places to visit in the world.

Geological origin

The color of Vinicunca is because a geological formation accumulated over time by the mixture of marine, lake and river elements. This gathering of minerals dragged by the waters of the mountain range, the winds and the humidity, has caused the oxidation of the place and has made that the mountain acquire that magical diversity of tones.

Explaining the rainbow-like colors

Geologists and experts in the field affirm that this phenomenon has been discovered thanks to the melting of the glaciers that formerly covered the mountain and that constantly received snow until the early nineties.

The altitude of the mountain is around 5200 meters or over 17,000 feet, so time for acclimatizing to the high altitude may be necessary during the trek up to the summit. Travelers to Peru and locals generally agree that the best time of the year to visit the colorful site is in August, since it is dry season and provides a beautiful view, maximizing the vivid colors of the mountains. Nevertheless, the famous colors always look beautiful.

The Andes – by drone

Enjoy!

Cristina David

5 Spectacular Rock Formations

On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.— Jules Renard

While I have a great appreciation for manmade wonders, nothing comes close to the beauty of the natural world.

We all yearn to spend time in nature, and thankfully there’s no shortage of incredible sights to enjoy; from mighty mountains and roaring waterfalls to thick forests and beautiful beaches, we’re spoiled for choice. In this article, we will explore one natural phenomenon in particular—rock formations.

Whether for their shape, components, location or beautiful surroundings, tourists have long been drawn to these spectacular-looking rocks. Many of them are huge, and viewing them is breathtaking. Here, I endeavour to showcase 10 of the most incredible rock formations in the world.

1 Church Rock – Utah

Photo – Internet

Church Rock is a solitary column of sandstone in southern Utah along the eastern side of U.S Route 191, near the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. This 200 foot roadside oddity near Monticello is called Church Rock.

Photo – Internet

2 Aphrodite’s Rock (Cyprus)

This is one of the most famous spots in Pafos, a coastal city in Cyprus. It is also known as Petra tou Romiou, which means ‘Rock of the Greek.’ Its popularity is linked with Greek mythology and the belief that Aphrodite—the goddess of love, beauty, procreation and pleasure—was born here. There is a belief that swimming around Aphrodite’s rock brings one eternal beauty.

3 Old Harry Rocks (England)

Photo – Internet

Old Harry Rocks can be seen up close on foot by walking from either Studland or Swanage across Ballard Down, a gorgeous chalk grassland . This UNESCO World Heritage site at the end of the Jurassic Coast is simply spectacular.

Further south from Old Harry Rocks along the South West Coast Path is the charming coastal town of Swanage, and beyond that Durlston Country Park and Dancing Ledge.

Old Harry Rocks is a spectacular cliff formation and one of the best places to visit on the Jurassic Coast. This is the very eastern end of the Jurassic Coast and the white chalk rocks gleam brightly in the sun.

Thousands of years ago, Old Harry Rocks and the Needles on the Isle of Wight were linked by a line of chalk hills that eroded away. What’s left is a series of impressive rock stacks and cliffs. Old Harry Rocks can be reached from South Beach Car Park at Studland Bay and its a 1 mile walk along the fields and grasslands to reach the clifftop, with great views over Studland Bay  along the route (a 4 mile stretch of golden sand).

4 Uluru Ayers Rock (Australia)

Photo – Internet

Visit one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Uluru. Not only is it a spectacular natural formation, Uluru is a deeply spiritual place. You can feel a powerful presence the moment you set eyes on it.

At 348 metres high, Uluru is one of the world’s largest monoliths, towering over the surrounding landscape and some 550 million years old.

Made of sandstone, Uluru is often referred to as the heart of the ‘Red Centre’ and is one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks. Breathe in, see the colours change before your eyes, hear the stories of time and be amazed as Uluru captures your heart.

For the local Aboriginal people, the Anangu, World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park holds a special cultural significance where earth and memories exist as one.

Feel the connection to the land as this iconic rock formation hides ancient wisdom and diverse plant and animal life. Discover an awe-inspiring landscape where creation stories are whispered on the winds.

5 The Arbol de Piedra (Bolivia)

Photo – internet

The Arbol de Piedra is another stunning example of geological erosion; over millennia, strong winds have rendered this volcanic rock formation thin at its base. Situated in the Desierto Siloli in Bolivia about 4,600 metres above sea level, the uniqueness of this isolated rock lies in its resemblance with a stunted tree.

Beside the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, you’ll find the stunning landscape of the Siloli Desert, a starkly contrasting scene to that of the vast white salt flats. Here, at the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve entrance you will find crazy rock formations that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The stand out among these different volcanic rock figures is the Arbol de Piedra, meaning ‘Stone Tree’.

Named after its unique appearance which resembles a surrealist vision of a tree, the Arbol de Piedra is 5 meters tall and has been formed by the work of wind erosion over millions of years. The base of the tree predominantly consists of quartz which is sensitive to erosion from strong winds in the area. The winds here carry sandstone and salt which increases the erosional effect on the rock. The upper part of the Arbol de Piedra is made up of iron that has a stronger defense to the winds which is what gives the Arbol de Piedra its large mushroom shape.

Enjoy these breath-taking formations made of stone and maybe, some day you will get to see at least one of them!

Cristina David

The Great Lakes National Parks

National parks offer an unparalleled experience for watching wildlife and appreciating the interconnected network of life in and around parks.

“A normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.” — Dan Egan 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Photo – internet

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on the largest and deepest Great Lake, includes cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, and forest for outdoor adventure.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Photo internet

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore encompasses over 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. Situated on the largest, deepest, coldest and most pristine of the Great Lakes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore derives its name from the many sandstone cliffs that dot the shoreline. In addition to the sandstone cliffs, the park includes beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, lakes and forest.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Photo internet

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Photo internet

As old as continental ice sheets and as young as the 1970 Establishment Act that set aside the lakeshore for preservation and public use, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers countless opportunities for discovery. The naturally elevated dunes along Lake Michigan offer visitors spectacular views, all-season hiking trails, pristine rivers for paddling, and a wonderful array of wildlife to explore. 

The most prominent features are the dunes above Lake Michigan, perched atop the already towering headlands. The dune overlooks at the Sleeping Bear, Empire, and Pyramid Point bluffs are about 400 feet above Lake Michigan, and with 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous inland lakes and streams, the park is wonderfully water oriented. 

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park Photo intenet

Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park encompasses 850 square miles of natural wilderness, spacious lands, and aquatic life.  

A cool climate, crystal-clear waters, and the wild North Woods forest characterize Isle Royale National Park. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extend over four miles out into Lake Superior, and 99% of the land mass is federally designated wilderness. The archipelago is composed of numerous parallel ridges, the result of ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated.  

Isle Royale Photo internet

Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers, paddlers, and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses, and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife.  Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane.

Isle Royale Photo internet

While enjoying a Venturing Crew backpacking trip two of the boys decided to sit quietly on the rocks at Sisskiwit Bay on Isle Royale. Even the roudiest of boys can find a little quiet for introspection while on the Island. It is good to see them deprived of their handheld devices for more than a day.

My advice: take some time, relax and plan a 2 week vacation to spend in the picturesque spots I described above. You won’t regret it! And try to remember:

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

Cristina David

One of the most beautiful villages in France

“I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.” 

Apremont sur Allier

Located on the banks of the river Allier, not far from the confluence of this river wih the Loire this little mediaeval village full of charm and surprises, offers an authentic romantic and luring ballad.

The place is not just an old and picturesque village, it displays a magnificent park and one can visit a historic museum, The Stables and Carriage Museum.

Enter into the magic of this garden and let yourself be charmed by the colored and scented festival of the many varieties and species of trees, plants and flowers from all over the world.

The Park – Photo on the internet

The Park has been awarded the “Jardin Remarquable” label by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

The Park – Photo – the internet

Your fairytale walk will be punctuated by waterfalls, buildings and invitations to travel and to discover the talent of its fanciful designer, the great traveller and nature lover, Gilles de Brissac.

I hope you liked what you have seen in my post and some day you’ll decide to visit this mirific place on the Loire.

Cristina David

The Black Sea in September

Not a very usual time of year to choose for spending a few days at the shore. The weather was gorgeous, though, we decided that we will go. I ma referring here at the Black Sea, one middlesized body of salty water situated in Europe, the south-eastern part.

Why do they call it the Black Sea? The sea was first named by the ancient Greeks who called it „Inhospitable Sea.” The sea got this reputation because it was difficult to navigate, and hostile tribes inhabited its shores. …

The Black Sea is all colors, but black. Emerald green, sapphire blue, aquamarine, silvery and sparkling gold , all due, in turn, to the particular time of the day . It could also be steel like, restless or stern looking in times of stormy weather.

Actually, I meant to show you something myrific about one particular morning when I happened to go out on the balcony with my coffee. I realized something amazing that one can catch maybe a few times in their life, or none at all .

Photo – Cristina David
Photo – Cristina David
The sun rising slowly in perfect silence slowly….Photo Cristina David
Photo – Cristina David
A seagull welcomes the life giving celestial body

I sincerely wish you had a similar experience, it is breath-taking, literally!

Stay safe and healthy, my friends!

Cristina David

The Sea Secrets

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.     

Jacques Yves Cousteau

Have you ever wondered why the sea has such a magnetic attraction to us?

Its infinity attracts us, our souls dream of boundlessness because they are part of the endless universe.

Looking for hours at the waves and listening to their enchanting, ceaseless, rythmic song we might get a glimpse of ETERNITY.

Cristina David

How to improve our declining vision

More than ANY other sense, we use our vision the most on a daily basis. However, the National Eye Institute reports that age-related vision decline happens to everyone. Small warning signs now can mean devastating problems around the corner.  

Declining eyesight is one of the biggest signs of old age. Perhaps words are getting blurier or driving is getting a bit more scary. Maybe your own children treat you like you’re delicate and fragile, always asking if you should be driving.

Besides vitamins and medical treatments for the eye, there are natural remedies such as carrots in your diet and the simple, decorative plant in your home, called aloe vera!

If you have problems with your eyesight, you might want to watch this video:

Try this, you may be glad you did!

Cristina David

The Garden of Europe

In case you haven’t heard of them, Keukenhof (or commonly referred to as the ‘Garden of Europe’) is one of the world’s great flower gardens. In short, the gardens are renowned for their spectacular tulip displays which draw thousands of visitors in Spring each year. Given present circumstances, that’s not an option unfortunately but the gardens have kindly put together a stunning virtual tour for us all to bask in this year’s majestic display.

The sea of fresh tulip flowers is truly astounding. What’s more, in amongst these delectable blooms, look for an array of daffodils, lilies, roses, carnations, and irises. Floral meditation at its finest.

Due to the malefic Coronavirus, this gorgeous park was closed this year in March, April and May – a period of time in which the most amazing, beautifully colored flowers are blooming all around. Since its opening in 1950, visitors from all over the world- for 8 weeks, actually – had been most welcome to come and enjoy, to take photos, to smell the enchanting parfumes . Not this year.

Violinist Rosanne Philippens embraces the sunrise in Keukenhof – Keukenhof Virtually Open

One single photographer, the Dutch landscape photographer, Albert Dros, was granted a special voucher/permission to go in and immortalize the floral splendor in his pictures. Good for him!

I found an interesting video on youtube that gives you an idea….which premiered in May 2020. Take your time and enjoy!

Cristina David

The Chrysanthemums Mirific World

Some call them mums, others call them chrysanths. By whatever name you call them, Chrysanthemums are a gorgeous genus of flowering plants, with over 40 different species within its family. Not only do they come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, they have also had a myriad of uses throughout the centuries. They are native to East Asia and Northeastern Europe. Most species originate from East Asia and we could say that the center of diversity is in China.

These magnificent plants with gorgeous flowers, more than anything, are undeniable symbols of beauty. Just see for yourself, enjoying the abstract rainbow that this single family of flowers has to offer.  

Anastasia Green Chrysanthemum 

Tiger Tail Chrysanthemum 

Spider Bloom Chrysanthemum 

Chrysanthemum Vesuvius 

Chrysanthemum Pacificum 

Indian Summer Chrysanthemum 

Chrysanthemum Sun City 

. Hillside Pink Sheffield Chrysanthemum 

Most people cultivate these gorgeous flowers for ornamental and aesthetic purposes, adding color and fragrance to both public and private gardens worldwide. These flowers have been known for their symbolism, representing everything from death and adversity to honesty and positivity in different nations and cultures. When fall comes in our mundane world, the vividly colored mums are used to decorate the doorsteps of every single house in our neighborhood, mine included, of course. Such a magnificent view!

photo source : the internet

Have a great Sunday and stay safe!

Cristina David