Relaxed Poses for Sue’s Challenge.

This week, Sue’s Word a Week Challenge is Pose, and she’s posted some wonderful pics from her trip to Africa.

Here are a few favourite subjects that have unwittingly posed for my camera.

The Lion with its huge mane and majestic appearance, has to be the indisputable King of Beasts.

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The gorgeous Cheetah can run faster than any other land animal, and has the ability to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just three seconds. This one was just relaxing at the side of the road as we stopped to admire her.

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The exotic Toucan is famous for its brightly coloured bill. It always makes me smile to see nature’s proudest and most impressive schnoz which is about 30- 40% of its total body area. Aren’t you glad that your nose isn’t that huge? :)

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This beautiful Eagle Owl was a most inscrutable poser ever. Couldn’t get him to smile for the camera at all.

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The birds are flocking down to spend the winter in Florida. Here you see the Wood Stork posing with his good friend Snowy.

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The Great Egret is always stalking around in my back yard.

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I really think that animals and birds are such great subjects to photograph, because even if they don’t smile and haven’t done their hair and makeup, they always look perfect.

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To see more entries for Sue’s photo challenge, just click here.

 

 

 

 

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Connections

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week, is ‘Connections’. Here are a few pics which I think are suitable, showing the way we connect with one another over distances. Have you also noticed that many of your holiday photos have these strange lines across them, sometimes right across the middle of what you were trying to photograph?

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Some have more lines than others.

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Too many lines can definitely ruin a view.

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I suppose it’s really important for a police station to be connected at all times.

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The most humble of homes also need connections,

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and even in Paradise, one needs to stay connected.

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What would one do without a connection to the internet, even in the smallest room?

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Also on the subject of connections, here’s a message I had on Facebook from my granddaughter Tamsyn, thanking you for all your good wishes and lovely comments on the blog I did for her 18th birthday. I thought you’d like to know how much she appreciated your kind words. Isn’t it wonderful how we can all connect with one another right around the world?

“So . . I read your special birthday blog that you did for me It was absolutely wonderful just wanted to say thank you so much. Couldn’t believe how kind people are with their comments and birthday wishes – I felt very special. I loved the photos, I’ve never seen that photo of you and I with my little ballet outfit on but it’s very sweet. Thank you again to you and granddad for making my 18th birthday so special . . and thanks to your lovely bloggers. x”

To see more entries, just visit Ailsa’s blog.

Monday Bird Blues for Ed’s challenge

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge, is ‘Blue’. He asks us to find something other that blue sea and blue sky, so I decided that the Great Blue Heron, the ‘King of the Pond’, would be quite a fitting subject. He’s almost always there when I look out, and has a few different guises, depending on his mood.

He can look sleek and very regal.

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Sometimes he’s all fluffed up and looking very intense as he eyes his prey.

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“Oh dear, I  just lost a feather; must be the stressful life I lead.”

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Here, he seems to have somehow mislaid his long neck, and looks very grumpy about it.

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He can also look as pleased as punch when he’s just caught the ideal-sized piece of sushi.

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Which of his looks do you like the most?

To see more blue posts, or to participate in Ed’s challenge,  just click here.

Feathered Derrières for Sue’s Word A Week Challenge

This week, Sue has chosen the word “Behind” for her challenge, so I decided to give you a few behinds, discreetly covered by feathers. As always you can click on the pics to enlarge.

The Wood Stork has a short black tail poking out beneath his beautiful snow-white feathers.

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The gorgeous Spoonbill is modeling the very latest in rose pink ruffles.

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The Anhinga is just hanging out to dry.

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The Tricolored Heron is displaying his very best slate-blue feathered back view.

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Mr GBH really has quite a resplendent behind.

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Last but by no means least, is an audacious display of mooning by a very cheeky duck.  Bottoms up!

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To see more behind pics, just click here.

Something fishy going on

Earlier this week, our resident Great Blue Heron seemed be suffering from a case of  “Your eyes are bigger than your belly;” a favourite saying of my gran’s. I spotted him on the other side of the lake, as he pondered what to do with his prize. “Now how in the name of all that’s fishy, am I going to get this monster down my gullet?”

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I zoomed in to see exactly what his problem was, as he suddenly flew down to the water’s edge.

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He’d decided that maybe if he gave it a quick wash, it might shrink a little.

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But alas, the water just seemed  to make the fish swell up even more.

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This time he’d certainly bitten off more than he could chew.

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His catch was turning out to be a whale of a problem.

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In the end he carried it across to my side of the pond, and hidden by the bank, I couldn’t see what he did with his catch of the day. A bit later, I spotted him again, and I’m sure he was thinking “Ah well, you win some, you lose some.”

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The last time I saw him with a really big fish, an eagle swooped down and cheekily snaffled it, whilst he was debating with himself how to deal with his big dinner. :)

Happy 18th birthday, Tamsyn

Today is my oldest grandchild’s 18th birthday. I can’t believe how the years have flown by since I was presented with my first precious granddaughter. She was such a sweet little girl, and one of the cute things I remember about her is how she would sit on my carpet with a little plastic cup filled with popcorn, and eat it so daintily, one piece at a time. It seems that she’s since progressed from popcorn to Belgian waffles.

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She doesn’t have to worry about calories though, as her dance and gymnastics really keep her in trim.

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I wish I could do the same tricks that she can.

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Even when she goes on holiday, she can’t resist trying out her ballet moves in foreign lands, both in warm weather,

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and in cooler climes.

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She’s a free spirit, who’s always on the go,

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and has a wicked sense of humour too. She has so many friends, and is such fun to be with.

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She can strike a cool pose at the drop of a hat,

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and isn’t afraid to try the latest look.

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I wish that I could be there for her Vegas-themed party this coming weekend. I wonder if her costume will be something like this?

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So here’s to you, my now not so little twinkle-toes.

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Love you to the moon and back. Have an awesome birthday, and an even more amazing party on Saturday. Let the fun begin!

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Delicate Treasures for Ailsa’s theme

For this week’s photo challenge, Ailsa has asked us to share a photo of something delicate. Whenever I see a butterfly, I marvel at its delicate and beautiful wings. When it emerges from its pupa, a butterfly’s delicate wings are wet and crumpled, and it has to wait for them to dry before it is able to fly. Although the wings are really delicate, they have be strong enough to support its weight during flight. If these fragile wings should become torn, they never repair themselves.

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Many butterflies are very brightly coloured, and I read that in nature, bright colours sometimes act as a warning to predators that the owner is either dangerous, or is going to be a very nasty tasting morsel.

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Some butterflies have large ‘eye spots’ on their wings, to deceive would be predators into thinking they are much bigger than they really are.

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Darker coloured wings can provide good camouflage.

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One of the most beautiful butterflies I’ve seen, is this male ‘ Cairns Birdwing’ which is one of the largest  butterfly species in Australia.

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The female is not quite so spectacular, but still really lovely.

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“Our loved ones, whether by blood, marriage, or by choice, are delicate treasures. If we hold them too close, they break as a butterfly would. By honouring and enjoying the freedom of our loved ones, we gain our own freedom. Have the courage to trust that the beautiful butterflies in your life will return – or-not – as life intends.” ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

WPC: Eerie places I’ve shivered in.

For this week’s challenge Cheri Lucas shared a photo taken by Merilee Mitchell entitled “Ghost Child.”  She said that “a photo doesn’t have to be blatantly macabre to be eerie. But it can have a mysterious, otherworldly vibe — the viewer wonders what lurks in the shadows. Something eerie has a story to tell — one you aren’t quite sure you want to know.”

Cheri asks that our pics be in B&W, so here are a few places I’ve visited on my travels, which have literally given me the shivers. If you click on the pics, you’ll get the full ‘eerie’ effect.  8O

In downtown Lima, Peru, below the ‘Convento de San Francisco’, along some secret passageways, are catacombs containing an Ossuary in which it is estimated lie the bones of 70,000 people. They are lined up along narrow hallways, and one area contains several large and deep holes, filled with bones and skulls arranged above each other in circular patterns. This 17th century Baroque church, originally had a normal graveyard for its members, but when space became a problem, the skulls and bones were removed from the graves and thrown into a deep pit, which over time, became the last resting place for most of Lima’s dead. When the place was discovered and opened up for archeological excavation in 1943, they found the bones just heaped up in there, and decided that the catacombs would have more ‘appeal’ if they were arranged artistically, so they placed the skulls together in a centre pile, with same length arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms; a rather eerie sight indeed.

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In the Italian Medieval town of Monterosso in the Cinque Terre, is the Romanesque style church of Saint John the Baptist, built of black and white Italian marble. Right next door is the Oratory of the Dead (also black and white), which was built by a brotherhood of good works. Their good work consisted of arranging funerals, taking care of widows, orphans, and the shipwrecked, and their symbols were a skull and crossbones, an hourglass, and the happy inscription “Death awaits us all.” There is a skull and crossbones above the door, and skeletons decorate the cornices.

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On 24th August 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city of Pompeii under twenty-seven feet of volcanic ash. The ruins were discovered in 1748, and in 1865, excavations began. At the time of its destruction, Pompeii had a population of some 20,000 people.  It was a really eerie feeling to be walking along the original roads, and to be able to see ruts made by the chariot wheels all those years ago, before this community was blanketed in a thick layer of hot ash.

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The Colosseum in Rome has a very bloody history indeed. In this arena, the Emperor entertained the public with free games, which started off with a few circus acts, but usually ended with fights to the death between wild animals and gladiators. To mark the inauguration of the building in AD 80, some 9,000 wild animals were destroyed. Today it stands as a monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty, where for centuries, literally thousands of people whom they saw as criminals, Christian martyrs, professional fighters and wild animals, were cold-bloodedly killed, just for sport. Standing there imagining the cheers of the 50,000 strong crowd, and the horrible gory spectacles, really gave me the shudders.

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In the Black Hills of north-eastern Wyoming is the 386 metre high monolith called ‘Devil’s Tower’. This National Monument has been the source of many legends, and the story from the Cheyenne tells us that there was once a band of Cheyenne travelling to worship the Great Spirit at Devils Tower. One of the warrior’s wives was charmed by an enormous bear without a mate, so the warriors set out to find and kill it. They were chased by the bear, and climbed into a tree. The Great Spirit gave the men the strength to kill the bear, but the woman had also turned into a bear and made the great rock her home. Because of this, it came to be known as ‘Bear’s Tipi’. We were the only people around when we came upon this eerie sight looming in the mist. It really did look like the stuff of legends.

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Well I think that’s enough doom and gloom for one weekend. I usually say “I hope you enjoyed my pics for the challenge,’ but if you didn’t, I’ll totally understand. :D

Have a great weekend.

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