Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Google me!

"electric bill bearded dragon"
If you are doing things right, you will notice your dragon on your bill, I'm afraid. They are desert animals and sunlovers and bright lighting is essential. A 100 watt basking spot, a 100 watt UV spot and three 75 watt HQI (spots or fluorescent tubes) are a good setup for example. You can do the maths if you know what your supplier charges per kilowatt hour (that's what 1000 watt of electricity will cost you per hour). Bearded draong.org has more info on lighting and general stuff.

Ewer Elbe
a type of ship that used to be common on the Elbe Here's one

Breeding mice
You'll find detailed instruction on how to breed mice for snakes here. It's more complicated than people think, but I'm happy to see that more and more snakeowners don't want to feed their snakes the prekilled mice from the shop - you really don't want to know how those were bred, kept and killed. Better do it yourself and offer the mice acceptable conditions, just make sure you know what to do, especially when it comes to sexing the mice.

Das Boot Captain
U96 had four different commanding officers, but the one you're probably looking for is Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrook. He's the one the captain from the book and movie Das Boot is based on, also known as KaLeu for Kapitaenleutnant or Der Alte (The Old Man). You'll find more on U96 and it's captains here and more on Lehmann-Willenbrook here

Monday, April 26, 2010

MyWorld Tuesday: Police!

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This is a patrol car of the Hamburg police department. The blue-silver colour scheme is fairly new, it was adopted in 2005. Before that, both uniform and cars were white-green like this one
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or pure green like this, a personnel carrier
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I like both the new cars and the new uniform much better!

In Hamburg, the patrol cars are also called Peterwagen. When the partol cars were equipped with radios, a name was needed for them and Peter was chosen (so an individual car would be called Peter with the ID number added). Peter was taken from the flag Blue Peter, since there are a number of pubs in Hamburg with that name, in St. Pauli in particular.

There's also the story that when partol cars were applied for with the British administration (Hamburg was part of the British sector), the British officer asked that the word patrol car be spelled (probably because he had problems understanding the Hamburg dialect) and atfer "P like Peter" he was satisfied and wrote down Peterwagen.

See the world with the MyWorld Tuesday meme

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Camera Critters: Mouse-like Hamster

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Mouse-like hamsters are neither true hamsters nor mice, but they are a family of their own with eight different species (or subspecies, depending on whom you ask).
They are extremely fast and agile, climbing and running all the time. In the wild, they live in Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan in the rocky desert, feeding on small seeds and plants.
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These two are still juvenile and will grow a bit more. Their fur is greasy because they haven't had a sand bath for the last day or so while travelling to their new owner.
They are Great Balkhan Mouse-like Hamster (Calomyscus mystax), the only species kept in captivity, they are only sold in europe as far as I know.
They will not get tame and need a huge cage, the size of a small closet, to live out their urge to climb and run.
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See more Camera Critters over at the Camera Critters meme

Monday, April 19, 2010

MyWorld Tuesday: Rathaus

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This is the Hamburg city hall. The old Rathaus was destroyed in the great fire of 1842 and it took 44 years to complete the new one. Since the ground is swampy, it's build on 4000 oak poles.

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It has 647 rooms and houses the Senate and the Parliament of Hamburg. Hamburg is a city state, one of three in Germany (Bremen and Berlin are the other two), that's why it has it's own government just like the other German federal states.

The statues on the facade represent German emperors and above them, the civic virtues Wisdom, Unity, Piety and Courage. This is a symbol for the independence of Hamburg from the emperors during the time of the Holy Roman Empire. It's status as a Freie und Hansestadt (Free and Hanseatic City) meant that no taxes were payed to the Emperor and that the Emperor did not rule the city directly, citizens xould for example not be drafted. To this day, citizens of Hamburg will not accept medals since by accepting medals and decorations granted by the state like the Federal Cross of Merit, since a medal is a (symbolic) pledge of allegiance by the person accepting it.

The statue on top of the right tower shows St. Michael conquering the devil, just like the statue over the entrance of the St. Michaelis church
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

MyWorld Tuesday: Churches

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I recently noticed just how many churches there are in Hamburg (apart from the five main churches you can see here ) and many are quite old and look very impressive. Above is the Christuskirche in Altona, a Baptist church built in 1915.

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The Christianskirche was built in 1738 and one of only a few baroque buildings in Hamburg. There was a church there since 1548, when Ottensen was just a village (it then became part of Altona and Altona became part of Hamburg). The church is also called Klopstockkirche because the poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was buried there in 1803 in a huge ceremony. His grave and those of his two wives are still there.
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The cemetery has been in use from 1537-1929 and there are many beautiful old gravestone, this one is from the 1860s:
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And a last church, the Kreuzkirche, built in 1898. Then, it stood on a meadow - these days, it stands on a traffic island in the middle of a busy street. This sounds worse than it really is, though, great care was taken to shelter the church from the traffic with trees and rhododendron.
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Travel around the world with ;yWorld Tuesday!

Camera Critters: Lueneburger Heide

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We used one of the first warm spring days to visit the Wildpark Lueneburger Heide, a zoo that keeps mostly animals native to Europe in very big enclosures. It's great to watch birds, too, because the zoo is more like a huge park/forest and there are a ton of wild animals around.

We were greeted by some peacocks, normal ones and some white ones - it's a colour breed and they are not albinos (they have a dark iris)
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Baudet de Poitou, also known as Poitou or Mammoth Donkey, the biggest of all donkey breeds

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red deer, some young bucks playfighting

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fallow deer, the white one is not an albino, just a colour breed
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Highland cattle

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a pygmy donkey foal

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Shetland pony

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Curly pig aka Mangalitsa piglet

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a girgentana goat

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a wonderfully shaggy alpaka - how does it see anything?

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a White Wagtail

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a raccoon - they were introduced to Europe in a small number and are now considered a native species
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he's just eating something, but doesn't he look fierce?

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a wild cat with kittens - she didn't seem worried about all the people going oooh and aaww over her babies

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a moose - one of my favourite animals with that huger nose and the fours legs that seem to go in eight different directions at once when it's running

two Snow Leopards, there are probably less than 7000 left in the wild
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here's the male
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he was marking his territory, the long tail allows them to balance and jump in the moutains while hunting for wild sheep and goat. Snow Leopards can jump 14 meters (46 ft)!
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Kodiak bears, the biggest of all the brown bear subspecies. They were very active, running around, chasing each other and begging food of the visitors (you're allowed to feed them with special food)
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the wild boars had a huge number of piglets - they are so adorable and I always wonder if they are soft. But I don't think the adult would allow me to find out.
a quick drink while mom is scratching herself
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and then resting, using your sibling as a pillow
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This is a Camera Critters post, the meme for all animals great and small

Monday, April 5, 2010

MyWorld Tuesday: Bergedorf

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We spend Easter at my SO's parents in Bergedorf. They have a Easter fire on Saturday every year, but I forgot to bring the camera. Next year, I promise.
The weather was typical for April: sunshine, rain, clouds, sunshine again. But it was warm and we took a walk on Easter Sunday and enjoyed the spring.
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Canada geese (Branta canadensis) - they have been introduced to Europe, but birds have also migrated here on their own
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A Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) and a lone Greylag Goose (Anser anser) who later wandered over to the Canada Geese. Maybe it didn't find a partner this year or was just lost.
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a Pusekätzchen, a catkin - the male bloom of the Great or Goat Willow (Salix caprea), the female flowers are greenish and less soft. The first tree to flower in spring and an important food source for bees, who were very active and bringing in lost of pollen. Click to see a bigger version, you can see the pollen baskets on their legs. Note also the dead bees lying in front of the hive: bees do a spring cleaning when it's warm enough and will drag out all the bees that died during the winter.
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a Large Earth Bumblebee queen (Bombus terrestris) was looking for a place to build her nest. Empty mouseholes are often used by them and you can attract them by building a nesting box and putting some used mouse bedding in it, which most pet shops will be glad to give you. A nesting box can be as simple as a flower pot buried upside-down with a curved shard over the hole in the bottom to keep the rain out. It's easy to make your garden or balcony more insec-friendly. You can buy insect nesting boxes, for example here, but they are also easy to make yourself.
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Last but not least: the second butterfly I saw this year. The first one was a Common Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), this one is a Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae). Look at the eyes, I love their pattern.

See the world with My World Tuesday