Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nature Notes: Leaf Beetle

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Chrysomela populi is a species of leaf beetle who specialise in feeding on willows and sallows and can do quite a lot of damage to their host trees.
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The larvae have a defense mechanism that's very stiking. When you touch them, they push up their abdomen straight into the air and press out small drops of a liquid that smells like carbolic acid through their pores. If nothing happens, the drops are absorbed into the body again and the larva relaxes.

Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ABC Wednesday: K is for Köhlbrandbrücke

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The Köhlbrandbrücke bridges the Elbe, the southern arm of the Elbe to be exact which is called Köhlbrand, giving the bridge its name. Köhlbrand comes from the fact that charcoal was burned on the river island Gorieswerder (Köhl = Kohle = charcoal, Brand = fire).

It was built from 1970-1974 and it's 3618m long and 53 m high. You can cross it by car and once per year with a bicycle or inline skates, if you take part in certain races/marathons. Pedestrians have been allowed onto the bridge only twice, in 1974 and 2004.
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this is a model, on display at the Miniatur Wunderland

It's widely visible when you are driving towards Hamburg or when you are looking towards the port. There are rumors that it will have to be torn down since container ships are getting too big to pass beneath the bridge.
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This was taken during the Hamburg Cruise Days with the Köhlbrandbrücke illuminated

see what else K stands for with ABC Wednesday

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nature Notes: Botanical Garden

The weather was gorgeous and so we, along with half the population of Hamburg apparently, went for a walk in the Botanical Garden. There were already a ton of flowers, for example irises in many colours
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some leftovers from last autumn
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I don't know what this flower is called, but I love the delicate petals and the colour
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and so does this hoverfly (Dasysyrphus albostriatus, I think)
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the bees preferred the heather - the Botanical Garden has five or six beehives and there's heather planted all around them because it's a good bee pasture
bee feeding on heather

Nature Notes if nosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ABC Wednesday: J is for Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg and lived here for a while. Unfortunately, all the houses he lived in were destroyed during WWII. Wikipedia has a photo of the house he was born in, though

Johannes Brahms Platz
There's a Johannes Brahms Platz right in front of the Laeiszhalle, the main concert hall of Hamburg with two sculptures in his honour, a Brahms museum a short walk from there and opposite of the Laeiszhale is the Brahms Kontor. A Kontor is an office building and they are typical for Hamburg, built with red bricks.

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The Johannes Brahms Platz is about a ten minute walk from the Israelitische Töchterschule I showed you last week - Hamburg is a city that can be explored in foot very well and you'll find interesting things along the way. I certainly do, I came across a number of things I hadn't seen before while taking the photos for this meme.

See what else J stands for with ABCWednesday

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring, finally



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Spring is finally on the way with very warm weather this weekend.

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croci and an already busy bee

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a suspicious coot

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and an interested goose

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people were feeding the gulls and I got some action shots

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they are Black-Headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) called Laughing Gull, Lachmöwe in German and they are just changing into their summer plumage with the black head. Keehar in the beautiful novel Watership Down was a Black-Headed Gull.

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Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle over at Rambling Woods

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ABC Wednesday: I is for Israelitische Töchterschule

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The Israelitische Töchterschule was a school for Jewish girls, opened in 1884. It offered education at primary and secondary school level (equivalent to junior high school) and it was very modern, with its own specialist rooms for chemistry and physics, a kitchen and a gym.

In 1939, the school was closed, but education continued on a smaller scale at the Talmud-Thora Schule (with 600 students both girls and boys). When I studied to become a librarian, the library science branch of the university was housed in that building and I loved being there. It's a beautiful old building, with high ceilings and big windows that let in sun and air, here's a photo. It has been given back to the Jewish community a few years ago and is now a Jewish school again.

The school moved back again into the building of the Israelitische Töchterschule and continued until 1942, even though air raids were a constant threat and the deportations had already begun. At the time the school was closed, only 76 students were left and most of them and their teachers were murdered. The headmaster Dr Alberto Jonas died at Theresienstadt. The building is now named in his honour.
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It's only a short walk from the Heinrich-Hertz-Turm I showed you last week, by the way. It hid itself in the clouds today.

See what else I stands for with ABC Wednesday

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ABC Wednesday: Heinrich-Hertz-Turm

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The Heinrich-Hertz-Turm is a radio and telecommunication tower named for the the physicist Heinrich Hertz, who was born in Hamburg.
It's a very distinctive part of the skyline, with 279,2 m (916 ft) the highest building in Hamburg and can be seen from just about anywhere in the city, once you get up in a building with a view.
There used to be a restaurant in the second platform, the lower one used to be a revolving observation platform. Both are closed due to asbestos contaminations and problems with fire regulations. So far, the city has tried in vain to find someone who is willing to pay for the restoration. I have never been up there and I would love to, so I hope the will find someone.

Here is a great photo that shows just how big the tower is and the big version makes a lot of the details visible.

See what else H stands for with ABC Wednesday

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nature Notes: Shoebill

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A shoebill is an impressive bird, up to five feet tall and with a massive beak. They will prey on fish, small mammals and even baby crocodiles.They can even manage lungfish and those are up to 5 feet long themselves (although most are smaller, but at least 1 ft long). The hook at the front of the beak help the shoebill to hold on to its prey once it's caught.
Schuhschnabel Portrait
They nest in marshy areas, sometimes on heaps of plant material that are adrift on the water, but usually on land. To keep their eggs from overheating, both parents turn them around at regular intervals and bring water in their beaks to keep them cool.
Photos were taken at Frankfurt Zoo.

Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

ARGH! If you don't see the comment form, please check back later. It seems that Disqus, the comment system I switched to a while ago, it experiencing some downtime at the moment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ABC Wednesday: G is for Große Freiheit

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The Große Freiheit is probably the most famous street in Hamburg, together with the Reeperbahn. The name means Big Freedom and derives from the fact that craftsmen did not need to belong to a particular guild or religion in Altona (these days part of Hamburg, then a town of its own). Now the Große Freiheit is offers nightclubs and stripclubs to party in as well as music clubs like the Große Freiheit 64, where the Beatles played their first gigs. I made the photo just now, it I made in on a weekend, the street would be full of people, it's always packed with visitors from all over the world (and many from Hamburg as well).
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This is the Große Freiheit 36, one of the most famous music clubs in Hamburg. It's one of my favourite locations for concerts since it's comparatively small (I'd say for about 1000 people), with parquet flooring and a balcony.
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The St. Joseph's Church is directly opposite the Große Freiheit 36 and only a short walk from the nearest strip club. It was build in 1660, destroyed, rebuilt in 1718, again destroyed in 1944 and then rebuilt as you see it now. You can see some more pictures and how the inside looked before it was destroyed during WWII on Wikipedia

The Große Freiheit plays a part in my family history. My grandfather was a sailor during WWII and he was to board his ship in Hamburg. But he still has one last night and of course he goes to the Große Freiheit to have some fun. He opens the door to a pub and the first thing he sees is a huge beer glas flying towards him. It hits him in the head and he's knocked unconscious, getting hurt badly enough to miss the departure of his ship. The ship is torpedoed only a few days later and lost with all men on board.

See what else G stands for with ABC Wednesday