Monday, September 26, 2016

Prague Zoo

We like to visit zoos wherever we go, and so we had planned to go to the Prague Zoo. But we were even more interested when we saw it had been named the 4th best zoo in the world in 2015. It didn't hurt that it was a beautiful day and the zoo wasn't too crowded. And there were lots of enclosures where you could photograph without bars or wire in the way.

We had to take a bus to get to the zoo, which is often more challenging than the metro (subway) but it went smoothly.

They had a bunch of young Komodo dragons that had been born at the zoo:

Komodo dragon

Of course, monkeys of various sorts:

monkey

These guys reminded me of our gophers (ground squirrels) at home:

ground squirrels

I really should keep track of the names of the animals I photograph. I'm not sure what these long nosed rodents were:

mouse

As always, the baby animals are a big attraction:

elephant & baby

We got a good look at the hyenas out and about:

hyena

There were lots of interesting birds in the zoo, and multiple walk through aviaries where you could see them up close.

bird

This bird was huge and quite funny looking:

bird

I'm not really happy to have lions and tigers in the zoo, but I still love to see them.

sleeping tiger

sleeping lion

This snake was amazingly well camouflaged:

well camouflaged snake

I'm not sure what this lizard was hanging onto!

lizard

I think this giant tortoise was just "yawning" but he looks quite fierce! (No problem outrunning him though.)

giant tortoise

I always enjoy the unofficial residents of the zoo, like this sparrow and butterfly:

sparrow

butterfly

It was funny to see these monkeys sharing an enclosure with mountain goats:

monkey & mountain goat

A different kind of pelican than we get in Saskatoon, although still quite recognizable:

pelican

One of the roles of zoos these days is conservation, as with these endangered Gharials:

Gharial

See all 38 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Prague in Photos

After flying in to Vienna we took the train to Prague. On Via Rail or Amtrak 90 km/hr feels like you're going to rock and rattle and roll to pieces, here 160 km/hr was smooth and steady. Europe is small to start with (compared to North America) and when you have fast trains, it's even smaller.

I quite liked Prague, or at least the pieces we saw in our few days of random sampling. There were so many amazing old buildings.

Old Town Square

Astronomical clock

I also enjoyed the statues and art scattered around the city, some of it old, and some new.

statue

sculpture

The river is a central part of the city.

Charles Bridge

view across the river

And I enjoyed all the swans and ducks on it

swans

swan

I like the stone sidewalks and cobblestones streets of old European cities.

stone sidewalks

cobblestones

The one "new" building we went to see, Dancing House, was somewhat spoiled by the recycling bins and the "Office for Rent" sign but still interesting, if somewhat of a contrast to the surrounding architecture.

Dancing House

It's always interesting to go to markets in different places. This Prague market on Saturdays by the river was a mix of actual produce, and tourist stuff. As you can see, it was busy!

market

fruit in the market

We stayed with Shelley's cousin who is there teaching English as a second language. (Thanks Sheri!) When we got off the metro at her stop I was surprised to be greeted by large glass buildings populated by IBM, Oracle, Dell, etc. Apparently Prague is the gateway to the East. The other surprise was that the small area of lawn outside the metro had quite a large population of rabbits. It seems like a strange place for them to live.

metro rabbit

We didn't see much other wildlife, but there were a few birds in the parks

bird

bird

See all 69 photos as a slideshow or overview

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunrise Over Europe

We left Canada as the sun set, and arrived over Europe as it came up again.

sunrise over Europe

As you sit comfortably in your seat, it's amazing to think you're hurtling along at almost 1000 km/hr, at 11,000 m, and it's -55c outside. (What's the wind chill at -55c with 1000 km/h wind?)

sunrise over Europe

window seat

We're in Europe to paraglide and hike and tour around. Made it to Vienna smoothly other than some jetlag. Tomorrow we take the train to Prague to visit a cousin of Shelley's.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fall Colors

The trees are starting to change color around the pond, and the days are getting shorter so the sun is lower in the sky when I get to work. All of which makes for photographic material.

fall colors reflected

fall colors reflected

water lilies with reflected fall colors

backlit grass

See all 8 photos as a slideshow or overview

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Photos of the Day

Walking across the railway bridge on the way to work, I noticed a large bird on a bare tree branch. At first I thought it might be a hawk since I've seen several around this area. But then the head looked white so I thought it might be a bald eagle. I pulled out my camera and took a few photos. I knew they wouldn't be great since I was too far away, but I figured I might be able to zoom in enough to identify it. It was still there when I got to the end of the bridge so I headed towards it to get a better view. Unfortunately, as soon as I got anywhere near it flew away.

Looking at the photos on the computer, I was surprised to see it was an osprey, and not only that, but it had caught a good sized fish. As expected it's not a great photo, but it served its purpose.

osprey with fish

Once I had my camera out I couldn't resist a few raindrop covered flowers.

rose

hibiscus

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Photo of the Day

The water lilies are still hanging on in the pond, although they are a little slower to open up in these shorter, cooler days.

unfolding

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Flowering Succulents

I barely had to step out the door to get these photos. The last couple of years we've bought collections of succulents from Solar Gardens at the Farmers Market. Despite not having much of a green thumb they seem to do quite well and I really enjoy the diversity of them. This year's collection has been living on the steps of the house where I see them whenever I go in and out. Although most flowers are ending, these ones are still flowering.

flowering succulents

flowering succulents

flowering succulents

I took last year's collection to work for the winter, but sadly it didn't do very well, despite being in a sunny spot. Only a few of the succulents survived, although those ones have been thriving.

See all 6 photos as a slideshow or overview