Thursday, August 28, 2014

Over Nuremberg

A view over the old city in Nuremberg from a tower of the castle.

Nürnberg Altstadt


Nürnberg Altstadt

Linked with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red leaves under the microscope

Plants with red leave have a high content of anthocyanins as color in the cell vacuoles. This is an example of a red leaf from a Eurasian smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) under the microscope. He has red color on the upper side of the leaves while the bottom side contains also green chlorophyll. This makes a unique texture of the red cells on the green background.

Eurasian smoketree (Cotinus coggygria)
Eurasian smoketree (Cotinus coggygria).

red leaf under the microscope
Overview under the microscope, the red mesh are the leaf veins.

Eurasian smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) red leaf under the microscope
And a closer view.

Eurasian smoketree (Cotinus coggygria)
Red vacuoles.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Simien Mountains National Park

A few photos of a one day tour in the Simien Mountains National Park. The national park is a unique place with the highest mountain in Ethiopia (Ras Dashen 4550 m) and home to some very rare species. One is the Walia Ibex (Capra walie), a high endangered species with less than 1000 animals. He has the main population inside the park. Another remarkable species is the Gelada Baboon (Theropithecus gelada) who appears in groups with up to 800 specimens. They are pure vegetarians eating mainly grass; often together with ibex herds. We had no luck with birding, by rainy and windy weather we saw only few species. 

Simien Mountains National Park mountains
Inside the park.

Simien Mountains National Park

Simien Mountains National Park high plains with lobelia
The alpine zone is characterized by grasland with lobelia trees.

Augur Buzzard in the Simien Mountains National Park
One of the few birds we saw; an Augur Buzzard.

Simien Mountains National Park alpine zone with ibex and geladas
A herd of ibex and a Gelada.

Simien Mountains National Park

Simien Mountains National Park Gelada with child
A male Gelada and a child.

Simien Mountains National Park Geladas

Simien Mountains National Park Walia Ibex
A male Walia Ibex.

Walia Ibex in the Simien Mountains National Park

Female Walia Ibex with lamb
A goat with a lamb.

Snow in Ethiopia
Snow in Africa, beside rain and wind, it was really cold.

Thick Billed Raven
Thick-billed Raven.

Simien Mountains National Park

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mason’s Marks

Mason’s marks are very common symbols on natural building stone of old buildings. The size is few centimeters up to 20 cm or more. They appear in two types, one type is layout or bench marks that were necessary to erect the building. Others are signature or trademarks as a personal sign of a mason. In southern Germany, they can be found on buildings of late gothic to early renaissance age (13th to 16th century), but they are also known from older and younger times and from ancient cultures, like the Old Egypt or the Roman Empire. They are irregular distributed on building walls, sometimes several different symbols can be found on a wall, other walls are free of them. 
The purpose of mason's marks is unclear, on theory say that the mason marks the last stone of the day work, to show the amount of his work for claiming money. Maybe they just some personal marks that show other masons who made the work. The theory that they should show the origin of the stone is not plausible, because there are different stones marked with the same symbol (in contrast to some ancient cultures, there is proved that the marks were used by quarry owners). Another theory, that says that they should indicate the position of the stone in the building, does also not work; often there are many different symbols on simple walls. The photos are samples from old churches in Nuremberg. 

Simple Mason's Mark
A simple Mason's Mark.

Mason's Mark
Amost an inscription.

Mason's Mark
Weathered letters.

Mason's Mark
A typical form of a mason's mark.

Mason's Mark

Mason's Mark

Mason's Mark

Mason's Mark

Mason's Mark

Mason's Mark
This could be a layout mark.

Mason's Mark

Mason's Mark
This is a layout mark.
Linked with Macro Monday.

Silent Sunday - fly agaric

fly agaric

Linked with Silent Sunday.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

White-faced whistling duck

A group of White-faced whistling ducks on a small lake near rice fields in Gambia. They are common birds and can be found in many wet environments. The white face is a good contrast to the dark plumage and make them easy to identify.

White-faced whistling ducks in Gambia

White-faced whistling ducks on a lake

Flock of White-faced whistling ducks

White-faced whistling ducks on a lake in Gambia

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