Wetland wildlife watching

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Ever tried Duck-face?

Well Hello March!

Couldn’t believe we’re already on the final stretch of  winter. German winter is surely  long, freezing cold and grey, but it’s definitely a beautiful season, especially here in Bavaria. I love snow, not the cold, but there’s so much more to the whiteness all around. I saw some spring buds sprouting already in our garden and looking closely at the trees, I know that Spring is just around the corner. One of the things that I am enjoying nowadays are the wild sounds of the birds and wild life animals. Who needs music while running? It’s amazing! Walking in the woods, the silence is golden, with only the twigs crackling beneath my steps  and the crazy hooting, chirping, and orchestra of wild birds enough to make me hum.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed this winter was wetland wildlife watching. If you live near a wetland natural areas, such as lakes, rivers, wildparks and reservoir dam, these are really great for spotting ducks, geese and swans in winter. I remember on  sunny days in January and February many wildfowl are displaying with drakes flashing their bright colours, bobbing their heads and calling noisily. A great winter wildlife spectacle.

Our favorite is when we bring a pack of stale breads and just tossed on them and it’s a crazy frenzy party there in the water.

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White swan

I am so grateful that I live in a place where nature is close by. A 25- minute walk, then I am into a different world where I have close encounter with wetlands, forest, wood park, lakes, river and wild life animals. I love this since walking outdoors with my toddler on weekends are more enjoyable especially during Sundays where most shops are all closed. What a great way to show to her in real life the animations she love to look  millions times already  in her favorite book “Alle Meine Lieblingstiere ” ( All my favorite animals) and Gonnie gaat varen.

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Survival of the fittest

I have learned that most of the wildlife cannot deal with the harshness of high-altitude winter conditions. The snow also makes it easy to spot animal tracks as well as the animals themselves. In summer, these creatures spread out to graze grassy mountainsides, munch leaves in the woods, or hunt for prey in the hills. But in winter the animals mass in the lower elevations.

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Walking in grace

Winter is tough for wildlife – food is in short supply and the days are short. But as leaves fall from hedges and trees, birds suddenly become much easier to spot and winter can be a good time to look for tracks and signs left by animals. One of my favorite sight was watching how the ducks waddle and float while the swans are  fierce, proud and flipping its wings. When it flies to catch something, it’s a time I normally just watched in silence.

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Wild ducks and birds
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Birds of the same feather…
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Flirting in the frozen waters

You see, the best things in life are free, and on the sidenote, have you ever wondered why bird’s feet and those of the ducks don’t freeze?

 

Any thoughts? Have you ever tried bird-watching in winter?

 

Coron , a fantasy island that actually exists.

I am not a savvy traveler, but my love for natural, virgin beaches and lakes brought me to a fantasy island that actually exists– it’s in Coron, Palawan!

Just look at these photos I am going to share with you, no filters, all exuding in beauty that left me in awe that I revisited this place not only once, but twice in a row. I am already looking forward for our next trip to this tropical paradise. If there is a place I wanted to bring my foreign friends, then it would be here.

Coron has a distinctive charm, it has a rich cultural history that it’s no wonder it’s on the Tentative list in Unesco World Heritage Centre.  It’s the best kept jewel for  beach enthusiasts and nature lover like me . It won my heart , and I’m sure it will capture yours. It already captivated millions of tourists .Well why not , Coron is simply wonderful !

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Approaching Busuanga island, Palawan
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No words…

Coron is just one of the beautiful travel destinations in the island of Palawan .What makes it quite unique from others is its virgin beauty and part of the cultural heritage of the Calamian group of Islands.  Coron covers half of the Southern part of Busuanga. It is the Island of Tagbanuas , natives or the local tribe inhabiting the vicinity , they are descendants of some of the oldest people in the Philippines . Coron has  steep limestone cliffs ,our friendly guide told us that every year, these mountain grows an inch . As your boat cruise around , you see breathtaking rock formations , crystal clear & white sand beaches , green virgin forests , and 7 mountain lakes. This place is so diverse .

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Tropical Paradise Banol Beach

The best way to explore this place is by Island hopping  and explore the Islands of your choice . To get into the famous Kayangan Lake , you need to do a short  by trek  uphill into the wilderness in order to gaze  the amazing views .This can be done with a guide. While boating , you can  also see magnificent views of the steep mountains and the bird’s eye view of the sanctuaries which are protected by the local tribe . It is an Untouched Paradise .

The Twin Lagoon is one of the many beautiful lagoons in Coron. This masterpiece of nature has two lagoons, one where boats dock and another where tourists swim in.To get to the other lagoon, you need to either swim under an opening or climb up makeshift stairs and jump into the lagoon.Just like what you see in the movies. The lagoons are embraced by towering limestone formations. The mix of warm and cold waters of the lagoon adds to its mystique. Totally amazing experience!

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Twin Lagoons

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The majority of Coron Island is still off limits to tourists  who do not have permits to be there. In 2003,  Coron Island and its surrounding waters was declared ancestral domain for the Tagbanua and they now restrict where people can visit on the island . We are told that many of the most beautiful lakes on Coron Island are sacred burial grounds for the Tagbanua and only those Tagbanua who own land on the island can visit them. A photographer and traveller Jacob Maentz , wrote a very nice article about  Coron , as well as Up close & Personal with the Tagbanuas  and their way of life. To view the full article and his amazing photography , See it Here .

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Azure blue , crystal clear waters surrounded by mountains

It’s serene and away from the crowds . A perfect setting for slowing down and just do some reflection. It’s just between you and nature . Isn’t it one of the reasons why we are taking a vacation or a breather? To have a moment of peace . Here , you can  just swim to your heart’s delight , snorkel ,kayak and paddle yourself while gazing to the beauty around you while you hear the birds chirping. If you are interested in wildlife safari and game reserve,you can visit the Calauit island . It is home to various species of exotic African and endemic Palawan flora and fauna where hundreds of giraffes, elans, waterbucks, Calamian deer, monkeys, fresh water crocodiles, zebras, bear cats, bushbuck and a variety of birds roam freely.

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Little fishes in Siete Pecados

For years  now , Coron has also been  a popular destination among diving enthusiast and it has been listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine`s as one of the 10 best scuba diving sites in the world. It boast its unique underwater topography . With clear water as this, you have the best view underwaters!!! It’s like peeking into another world to see the colorful colors and fishes. Snorkeling here is absolutely the best.

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Barracuda Lake

Ever dreamed of owning an island for a day? that you can have the whole island by yourself?In Coron , you can have an island by yourself  for a day… and the options are priceless. I am so grateful that through traveling, I’ve got to experience this.

You can arrange with your guide and  if the island is free , then you can have the whole island for yourself .We were so lucky to experience the exotic Malcapuya Island to ourselves! This beach , with its rugged beauty is really a paradise. One word to describe it is ,WOW! Our guide arranged for us a packed picnic , barbecue , tons of tropical fruits & drinks and the whole beach front as our threat . We retreated in the hammock while sipping fresh coconut juice  while we watch our guide climbing and picking it fresh from the tree. We  also had a huge fresh catch fish .

For me, this is a perfect island getaway and  I had a beach overdose on this trip. The horizon is so beautiful, endless like a painting larger than life where the beach touches the blue skies in infinite contrast. My mind wanders off and my eyes never get tired of this beauty.

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Malcapuya Island with its pristine powder sand beach

Visiting Coron would not be complete without  climbing Mt.Tapyas and having a wonderful Sunset experience . Here you can have a panoramic view of the Coron and just enjoy each moment  while you see painting in the sky.With 700 concrete steps ,this requires endurance & patience .Mt.Tapyas is the 2nd tallest mountain in  Busuanga .

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Chasing the Sunset on top of Mt.Tapyas in Coron

Coron is a wonderful place . Life is taken in a slow pace and it seems that simple living makes the people here appreciate life more. If you spend some time exploring the markets , small native houses along the fields ,the quaint shops ,the neighborhood , the delicious food and the warm friendly locals ,then you would appreciate them more .

Waking up each morning with a view like this from your window is priceless .

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My morning view  from the window  in Coron

Travel Tips !

  • Coron is accessible all year round but its best to visit on the months of March to June where you can enjoy the most of good weather especially on your Island-Hopping trip. At the start of rainy season , and typhoon seasons , Flights are often cancelled.
  • Wear sensible clothing and water shoes.The treks could be slippery and you need to protect your feet from the sharp limestone rocks.
  • Watch the big waves during your Island Hopping .You can even watch a local fisherman get his catch of the day .
  • Experience diving in the sunken ships and diving spots and just enjoy the beauty of  underwater topography .

Where is your next tropical island destination ? How was the experience ?

Thank you for reading , my friends.