Monday, November 30, 2009

ABC Wednesday: T is for Tree

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a dove tree - it's called handkerchief tree in German - T for Taschentuchbaum
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cherry tree across the street from my apartment

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a pine in the Planten und Blomen Park in Hamburg

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a crippled tree at Devil's Orchard (Craters of the Moon National Monument), Idaho

What else does T stand for? Find out at the ABC Wednesday meme

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Camera Critters: Hagenbeck

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It's been a while since my last visit to Hagenbeck, but I think the Panther chameleon (Fucifer pardalis) still recognized me ;)

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a Blue-Headed Tree Gagama (Acanthocerus atricollis)

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a Northern Caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis) - I think they have the most beautiful eyes

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four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) - they have just two eyes, but with two pupils each and the eyes can see both underwater and above it at the same time. The fish spend their time swimming on the surface and wait for insects and other prey to fall in.

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a rock hyrax (Procavia capensis)

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a Red-Crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) - he always came back to the same tree to display by jumping from one branch to the other with spread wing. Cute bird.

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a young Eastern Diamondback (Crotalus adamanteus), a rattlesnake

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Blue-Tongued Skink (Tiliqua scincoides) - they have a vividly blue tongue that they show to frighten off enemies. He wasn't in the mood, though.

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Lookdowns (Selene vomer) - those are really weird fish and look like someone ran them over with a pressing iron, their bodies are only an inch or so thick.

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a leaf scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) - I like their eyes

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an Upside-Down jellyfish (Cassiopeis spec.) - they sit on the ground with their tentacles in the..um, air. Sometimes crabs will carry them around for protection.

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a goby - some species of goby live in symbiosis with shrimps. The shrimp builds a cave for both and the goby watched out for the almost blind shrimp.

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a Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) - touch those spines in the fins and you won't die, but you may wish you had. The sting is extremely painful. But they are amazingly graceful fish, displaying their fanned.out fins so that everyone knows not to touch.

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a Gold-Breasted Starling (Cosmopsarus regius)

I hope you enjoyed the trip to the zoo! More critters can be foudn over at the Camera Critters meme

All photos taken at Hagenbecks Tierpark, published with kind permission.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ABC Wednesday: S is for Sleep

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red kangaroo

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polar bear

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coati

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Esme, one of my fancy mice

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binturong

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tapir

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arctic fox

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Schlewsiger draught horse

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Capybara

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Siberian tiger

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my bearded dragon - he loves sleeping in weird positions

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Frida, one of my budgies

If you are not too tired, go and find out what else S stand for at the ABC Wedneyday meme

Zoo photos taken at Burger's Zoo and Hagenbecks Tierpark, published with kind permission.

Monday, November 23, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Black and White

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The Chilehaus, a Kontorhaus - that's what the office buildings were called in Hamburg and other cities, but Kontorhaeuser are typical for Hamburg

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The Nikolaikirche was destroyed during WWII, the church's spire was widely visible and bomber pilots used to for orientation. After the war, it was decided to keep the tower as a memorial.

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Heinrich Heine - his uncle Salomon Heine owned a bank in Hamburg and Heinrich worked there for some time, but pereferred to write, to his uncle's annoyance. Nevertheless, Salomon gave money to Heinrich throughout his life. Heine's publisher Hoffmann und Campe was and is based in Hamburg.
The first statue, errected in 1926, was destroyed by the Nazis who also burned Heine's books because he was Jewish. The current statue was erected in 1982.
Heine had a sharp tongue and his poetry is often fierce and acrimonious, even the most romatic poems often have a sharp twist to them. I'm always a bit puzzled by the worried look of the statue because it doesn't really fit with the image I have of Heine. But maybe it was modelled after this drawing of Heine, made some time before his death.

Discover the world with MyWorld Tuesday
By the way, is there anything in particular that you would like to see of Hamburg? Let me know and I'll try to make it happen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ABC Wednesday: R is for Ruins

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Bodie, California - a ghost town in a state of arrested decay. A mining town, Bodie's population dwindled after the mines stopped flourishing. These days, only a small part of the town is still standing, but it's well preserved and a fascinating place to visit.

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What else does R stand for? Find out with the ABC Wednesday meme

Monday, November 16, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Port at Night

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This weekend I had the chance to take some night pictures of the port.

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The Kehrwieder, an island in the Elbe, part of the Speicherstadt. The name means Come Back and the island was the point where sailors left the port, hoping of course to return safely.

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container ships being unloaded

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the Rickmer Rickmers
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Travel around the world with MyWorld Tuesday

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Camera Critters: Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

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I'm just kidding. And actually, there will be no pigeons in this post because we didn't see any. But we took some chicoree along to feed the birds, especially the coots who really like it if you make the pieces small enough. The gulls didn't say no either.
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They're Black-headed gulls in winter plumage - called Lachmoewe, laughing gull in German, but the American laughing gulls are different birds alltogether (look very similar, though).
The crows didn't like it, but that didn't stop them from watching us closely in case something better would be produced. It's a bit creepy to be busy feeding gulls and then you feel the eyes of about twenty crows on you, standing behind you. Talk about The Birds.
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carrion crow
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hooded crow

Visit Camera Critters and see more animals!

Monday, November 9, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Q is for Qualle

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Q is Qualle and Qualle (['kvalə]) is German for jellyfish. This one is a Rhizostoma octopus, a Barrel Jellyfish.
Photo taken at Hagenbeck Tierpark, published with kind permission.

What else does Q stand for? Find out at ABC Wednesday

MyWorld Tuesday: Panzermuseum

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A while ago my boyfriend and I visited the Panzermuseum in Munster. I'm interested in WWI and II and the Panzermuseum has quite a few exhibits that are unique in Germany and very rare. One of my earliest memories is of three huge tanks driving down the street in front of our house (there was a Belgian barracks in the vicinity) and I've been fascinated by tanks ever since. I'm glad that I have to go to a museum to see them, though!

This is a mock-up of the first tank the Germans built, the A7V. It's the only model that's to scale anywhere and to see a real one, you have to go to Australia.
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After WWI, Germany was forbidden to own any tanks, but an exception was made for the police in the Weimarer Republik who used about a hundred of these massive armoured vehicles, a Daimler DZVR 21. It's the only surviving exemplar and was found by accident in a junkyard.
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I would be scared as hell if I saw it coming towards me and I can only guess how scary it must have been in the 1920s with people much less used to cars in general. The whole thing is almost three meters high.
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a 8,8 cm Flak, Fliegerabwehrkanone/anti-aircraft gun. It was used in WWII, but more often against tanks than against aircrafts and with such success that both the British and the US army used 8,8s that had been captured.
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a detail of the controls
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a Russian T34 - really huge.
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an amphibious vehicle made by Volkswagen called Schwimmwagen
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a Sturmtiger, a tank used as a rocket launcher. 18 were built, 2 can be still be seen (the other one in the Russian tank museum in Kubinka)
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a Sherman tank - the soldiers named that one Battling Bitch
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a Koenigstiger (Royal Tiger), the biggest tank ever built by the Germans in WWII, but it was a failure. It was heavy (too heavy for many bridges) and it used enormous amounts of fuel, not a good idea in 1944 - many Koenigstiger were abandoned because they simply had run out of fuel during a retreat. The arms were impressive, but all your guns won't help if your engine overheats which very often happened with the Koenigstiger.
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a contemporary German tank, a Leopard, equipped for driving underwater
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a Keiler (wild boar), a mine clearing vehicle. The mine flail is extended to the front of the vehicle and detonates any mines in the path of the tank. Here's a video of a Keiler, the quality isn't so good, but you can see how it works

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a Biber, a tank used to build a bridge

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a Nissenhuette - after many cities and towns in Germany were destroyed, a lot of people lived in such huts.
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See the world with MyWorld Tuesday!