Saturday, May 30, 2009

Camera Critters: Wildpark Lueneburger Heide

We visited the Wildpark Lueneburger Heide last Monday. It's a zoo that focuses on native species (German/European), with a few additions and has huge enclosures in a lovely landscape. I like it because apart from the zoo animals, you can see tons of other wildlife since it's kept as natural as possible.
I saw a Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) for the first time in my life, the most beautiful of all native species for me, just look at the red face!
Photobucket

A White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), there were a lot of those around. The are called Wippstert in the Hamburg dialect, wipp is wag and stert is tail
Photobucket

A male Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)
Photobucket

and a male Dybowski's Sika Deer (Cervus nippon) - the antlers are just growing and are very warm and soft to the touch (but he didn't much like being touched there - he enjoyed being scratched behind the ears, though)
Photobucket

A Husum Red Saddleback Pig, also called a Husum Protest Pig. At the beginning of the 20th century raising the Danish flag was forbidden for the Danish living in Northern Frisia (it had been something of a Danish colony before, but then and now belonged to Germany). So instead the farmers bred these pigs which show the national colours red and white.
Photobucket

a European Robin that came to see if we dropped any crumbs - it came very close and wasn't shy at all - I didn't zoom in for this picture.
Photobucket

a Heidschnucke, a special breed of sheep once common in the area around Lueneburg. The Lueneburg Heath was created by those sheep and depends on them, so after almost dying out, the Heidschnucke is now bred again and you may even see a shepherd with a flock of them wandering across the Heath.
Photobucket

a baby Mouflon (Ovis orientalis orientalis), one of the ancestors of domestic sheep.
Photobucket

a Fallow Deer (Dama dama) - it had learned how to operate the water fountain meant for humans with its mouth and so could have a drink in peace while the other deer had to jostle at the fountains actually meant for them. It has to press down a switch with its tongue or maybe bite on it, but anyway it worked well enough.
Photobucket

a Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi), the largest of all brown bear species.
Photobucket

an adult and a baby Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra)
Photobucket
Photobucket

a Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) busy gathering food for her chicks
Photobucket

a very content wild boar (Sus scrofa) snoozing in the sun
Photobucket

an Ural Owl (Strix uralensis)
Photobucket

can you see the butterfly? It's amazing how well camouflaged it is with its wings closed.
Photobucket

it's a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) ... butterflies have such cool English names!
Photobucket

I hope you enjoyed the tour and if you want to see more animals, check out the Camera Critters meme



Monday, May 25, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Ohlsdorf

Photobucket

two angel sculptures guarding graves on the Ohlsdorf cemetary

the cemetary itself was opened in 1877, but there are older graves to be found:
Photobucket
a prehistoric burial mound, around 4000 years old.

Photobucket
some old graves, but these are only about 100 years old

Photobucket
a chapel, the land in front of it is used for anonymous urn burials

Photobucket
around this time of year, the rhododendron is blooming and it's spectacular - a lot of those bushes are several meters high.

Travel around the world with the MyWorld Tuesday meme

Monday, May 18, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Alster

Photobucket

that's the view across the Binnenalster, an artificial lake right in the middle of Hamburg. It was created as a reservoir for a mill originally in 1190 and now it's one of the most noticeable landmarks in Hamburg. The bridge in the photo if the Lombardsbrücke, build in 1865.

Photobucket
The Alsterfontäne, installed in 1987 and affectionately called the biggest burst pipe in Hamburg (about 60 meters high). Behind it is the Hapag-Lloyd, originally a shipping company that established the first regular ship lines from Germany to the US. Many emigrants who left Germany to live in the US from around 1850 on travelled on Hapag ships. The Hapag-Lloyd funds the Alsterfontäne.

Travel around the world with MyWorld Tuesday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Camera Critters: Flight of the Bumblebee

Photobucket

A Large Earth Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) aiming for a flower.

Photobucket
It has landed and scrambles inside the flower to get a drink of nectar.

Photobucket
The flower deposits pollen on the back of the bumblebee (with the long stem you can see in the first picture).

See more animals at the Camera Critters meme

Monday, May 11, 2009

Have you seen this man?

MyWorld post below, but I would appreciate it if you read this one, too.

Ivan gdje si?"pliz check it" by ~tomislav-moze on deviantART

I spend a lot of time on DeviantArt and came across this a while ago. This is brother Tomislav posted t

MyWorld Tuesday: Volcanic Italy

Photobucket
The Campi Flegrei, the Phlaegrean Fields near Naples. The place was thought to be the entrance to the underworld by the ancient Romans and it was considered to be the home of their God Vulcan. It's an eerie place, full of ponds with boiling mud and steam vents. The smell of sulphur is almost overpowering until you get used to it. In Victorian times, people used to travel to the Campi Flegrei to take a sauna, a few of those (no more than artificial caves) can still be seen.
Photobucket
a fumarole venting hot steam

near the town of Aragona (Sicily) the Vulcanelli di Macalube can be found - a area in the middle of nowhere with lots of tiny mud volcanoes - at least that's what it looked like when I was there.
Photobucket
I could walk around between the Vulcanelli, but at other times the whole area is active and it looks more like one big mud volcano.
Photobucket
The mud they spout is cool and most of them were no wider than my hand, the biggest ones came up to my knee (and I'm not that tall).
Photobucket
They are a bit tricky to find, but well worth a visit!

Take a trip around the world with the MyWorld Tuesday meme

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Camera Critters: Coot family

Photobucket
a family of coot - the parents were leading their chicks and offering them morsels of food every now and then, although the chicks were also searching for food by themselves.
Photobucket
I can never watch a scene like that without worrying after I found out that when food is scarce, coots will actually kill some of their own chicks. The chick begs for food and the parents will bite and peck it until it eventually stops to beg and starves. At least I'm reasonably sure that this won't happen with this family because I took the photos at the zoo.

The chicks are so ugly they are cute and look at those feet - it's amazing that they can actually walk with them (not that the feet of the adults look any less weird)
Photobucket

This post is part of the Camera Critters meme - go there to see a lot more cute critters!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Grundloses Moor

Photobucket

I've spent a few days in Walsrode, a small town about 1 hour from Hamburg in the Lueneburg Heath. The heath has many fens and the Grundloses Moor is one of them (the name means something like Bottomless Fen).

Photobucket

It's a nice two-hour walk around the fen and the lake, with many changes in the landscape: from fields to forest to fen and back again.
Photobucket

We saw quite a bit of wildlife, among others this small butterfly:
Photobucket

It's a Callophrys rubi, the Green Hairstreak and don't you just love that name?

Explore the World at the MyWorldTuesday meme

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Camera Critters: Eagle Owl

*snore*
Photobucket

Hmm, what?
Photobucket

Keep the noise down, willya?
Photobucket

Eurasian Eagle owls (Bubo bubo) are the biggest of all owls (in length and weight) and they are striking with their orange eyes and "ears". They are called Uhu in Germany, after the sound they make, which you can listen to here

The Camera Critters mem has lots of cute critter photos, go and check it out!