Travel by Any Means Necessary

Tag: birds

Alaska Raptor Center

Quigiq the Snowy Owl

After our time at Fortress of the Bear, we headed to another wildlife rehabilitation center in Sitka, the Alaska Raptor Center. Where Fortress of the Bear takes in orphaned bear cubs, the Raptor Center focuses on rehabilitating birds of prey: eagles, owls, and falcons. Many of the birds in their care eventually are able to be released into the wild, but some have injuries that are too severe and they get to live out their lives in the center, educating guests about these magnificent creatures and the work of the raptor center.

Raptor TalkWe started our visit at a raptor talk where we met Owlison (left), a great horned owl, and Hannah, an avian care specialist. Owlison came to the Raptor Center with a fractured wrist bone and possibly some damage to her wing. Through Owlison’s rehabilitation, she is now capable of flight but not well enough to hunt on her own, so she is now a permanent resident at the Raptor Center.

Volta the Bald EagleAfter the raptor talk, we got to see the Flight Training Center where rehabilitated birds are able to practice flying from perch to perch as they would do in the wild. Rehabilitators watch the birds in the training center to determine if they are able to fly well enough to survive in the wild and be released. When we visited the birds weren’t very active but it was very good to see the steps the experts at the Raptor Center take to make sure the birds will be able to survive on their own once they are well enough to leave the center.

While many of the birds at the Raptor Center have sad stories, it is good to know they have a place to live out the rest of their lives (many of which are longer in captivity than if they were still hunting for themselves in the wild). Volta (right) has one of those sad stories. He was found electrocuted, most likely from stretching his wings between two power lines. His carocoid bone was fractured in his fall and without that, he is not able to take flight.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about their raptors in residence, plan your visit, or donate to their cause, visit To read more about this trip check out my Planes, Buses, and Boats Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Ithaca in the Winter

After our morning exploring Watkins Glen, we headed for Ithaca. We didn’t venture to Ithaca on our last trip to the Finger Lakes so this was something new for us. Our first stop in Ithaca was Ithaca Falls (top). This huge cascade was at the side of the road, across from an elementary school. We parked at the school and walked across the road to get a better look. We were able to get pretty close to the falls and being that it was winter, there weren’t very many other people around. I imagine this is a hot spot in the summer.

After admiring the falls, we decided to head to Cornell. There’s not a ton on the campus that we found that was opened to the public, but we did stop at the botanical gardens. Not much is blooming at the end of December. The visitor’s center (left) was even closed, but it was nice to get out and walk around. There was a “winter garden” which was basically a bunch of conifer trees. I can only imagine the gardens bursting with color in the spring and summer. I really wanted to see the arboretum, but it is closed in the winter.

From the Botanical Garden, we headed to the Cornell Ornithology Lab. This was a little way from the campus, but I guess it is a well-known place for birders and scientists. Once again, the Visitor Center closed between Christmas and New Years, but the hiking paths were open. We took a walk on this boardwalk through a swamp. We had to stop where the boardwalk ended because it was too muddy to continue. It was a beautiful day, though and it was nice to be outdoors listening to the birds. I am in no way a bird person, but I could enjoy spending some time on the trails and trying my hand at photographing birds.

All in all, it is always nice to explore new places, but not much was open during our visit to Ithaca. I would definitely enjoy returning when it is warmer, with proper footwear. From Ithaca, we headed back to Corning for our glass making appointments at the Corning Museum of Glass. Be sure to come back next week to hear about that!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit

Wordless Wednesday: Hawk


Bald Eagle

Eagle Eye

Someone on Facebook had recently posted some awesome photos of the birds at the Howell Nature Center and I had been dying to get over there and try to get some pics myself! Well, last weekend, the weather was finally nice enough to go outside without completely bundling up, so I dusted off my camera gear and made the trip to the Howell Nature Center.

All of the animals in Howell Nature Center’s Wildlife Park are animals that could not be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Besides Keelee, this beautiful Bald Eagle, the Wildlife Park is home to bobcats, porcupines, and Livingston County’s Groundhog – Woody the Woodchuck. While the Nature Center is fabulous for photographers, kids love it too because of the beautiful, interactive nature playground!

About this Photo:
Since Keelee was behind bars, this was shot with a longer focal length to blur out the cage (this was trickier when the animals were sitting close to the bars). This photo was definitely not a one and done, I stayed and watched him for a while, and luckily someone he knew walked by and he started to talk! This was a single RAW exposure with basic edits done in Lightroom. Those basic edits didn’t remove or lessen the bar lines that were in the dead space (this is what’s tricky about shooting through a cage) so I pulled it into Photoshop and removed the background. Voila!

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
March 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on  Flickr! This month I am taking part of an Instagram Travel Challenge, posting a travel photo a day on Instagram and I’d love for you to follow along! For more information about the Howell Nature Center, visit

Wordless Wednesday: Swans at Sunset

Swans at Sunset 56/100

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