Local Heart, Global Soul

March 29, 2018

Lost Forever…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the top station of Christchurch gondola, there are many informational displays.

This one is all about the many unique species of New Zealand birds who became extinct after mankind entered their environment.

I’ve posted the text, plus photographs as best I could because there was a lot of sunlight and reflection, making these shots particularly tricky.

“Over 80 million years ago, many extraordinary birds existed in New Zealand’s lush rainforests.

They were completely isolated from the outside world. The lack of predators enabled the birds to develop various levels of flightlessness, ground feeding and nesting.

The first Maori settlers arrived 700 years ago and together with introduced predators the impact on bird life was devastating.

Within a few hundred years, 40% of New Zealand’s terrestrial birds were destroyed. A total of 58 different species of birds were lost forever…”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“The Moa was the tallest bird ever to live on our planet with the top of it’s back measuring 6 feet above the ground. The ten species of Moa were diverse with a wide range of habitats and sizes. The Little Bush Moa was the size of a turkey, however the Giant Moa measured up to 3 metres. The Moa was hunted to extinction by the first human inhabitants exterminating the Moa during the 13th and 14th century, a period of only one hundred years.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Haast’s Eagle. This was the world’s largest eagle, with a wingspan of up to 3 metres. It had huge claws measuring over 6 centimetres, with the horny claw extending another 3 centimetres. The species was unique in it’s ability to take prey 10 or even 20 times it’s own body mass. They were specialised bird eaters capable of attacking the largest herbivores in the environment – the Moa. The Haast’s Eagle died out with the extinction of the Moa.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Laughing Owl. This bird was given it’s name because it sounded like someone laughing. The Laughing Owl was twice the size as the remaining owl – the Morepork. The owl had a strong talons and feet, enabling it to kill tuatara, kiwi, ducks and even baby seals. This nocturnal bird of prey was found throughout New Zealand until it went into decline in the mid 1800’s. It was declared extinct in 1914, with the last specimen found in Canterbury.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“The Huia. The act of “putting a feather in a hat” led to the demise of this wonderful bird. The Huia had a beautiful bright orange wattle at the end of it’s ivory beak and a white band of tail feathers. This bird was unique in that the female had a distinguishing long curved beak. This all changed when the Prince of York returned from New Zealand with a Huia feather in his hat and created a fashion sensation in Europe. Consequently, the bird was hunted to extinction in 1907.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 22, 2014

An Exhibition That Includes An Impressive Fly Past…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve walked up the hill to the castle on the hill in the centre of La Roche-en-Ardenne in Belgium.

It’s the summer of 2012 and I’m lucky to be visiting whilst there is a medieval festival going on: and as part of the festival there is a falconry demonstration which I have just made it onside in time to watch.

The falconer has funny stories, engages with the public and clearly loves working with the owls, falcons, and even some vultures.

Vultures are cleaner birds than we imagined and all of the birds show intelligence and amazing skill in the air as they duck, dive and return to the falconer.

The birds are beautiful, and everyone enjoys the show. There is plenty of laughter and fun and the show almost ended too soon.

The day is sunny and beautiful and it’s wonderful to sit and take photographs of these beautiful creatures  and to watch the show.  It certainly makes all the time and effort  it took me to get up here well worth while. It’s also a good rest as I sit for a while…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 26, 2013

The Magic Of A Most Bewitching Bird…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post we are at the 2012 Medieval Festival in Vianden Castle in north eastern Luxembourg.

We’ve been watching a wonderful display with medieval costumed dancers, and now I find my lens drawn to some owls and falcons in a display one level below the dancer’s gallery.

There was no bird show going on at that moment so the birds were resting. Some of them preferred the shade of their little tents, the others looked content in the sun.

Originally I was going to include a photo of one of each bird, but one of the owls fascinated me and I was amazed at how un-birdlike it was, how effortlessly it turned it’s head in all directions, how every little movement was noticed by it’s sharp eyes, how beautiful the arrangement of the feathers was, the different directions the feathers went in: yet all in harmony.It’s a stubby looking bird that likes like it could never be aerodynamic and yet it manages everything with a grace that has you mesmerised at it’s beauty. At one point it’s eyes half closed and I thought it was about to sleep but the minute it caught a random movement it was all action and the intense stare was back, focused and concentrated. This photo series attempts to capture the magic of this amazing  and most bewitching bird.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 29, 2011

You know You’ve “Arrived” when One Owl beats Four Lions…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I think that this doorway probably is one most photographed doors in The Hague, and for good reason.

It’s located on the building that stands on the corner of  Kneuterdijk and Hoge Nieuwstraat, directly across the street  from the building in this post:  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/new-458/.

This door was made when you could  “make an entrance”  into a building in grand style,  it said something about the building, not just the address you were going to but that when you got here that you had indeed,  “arrived”.

And what an arrival… this grand doorway is recessed a little back from the pavement, but surely it’s beauty arrests any passing eye that processes  a love of detail, texture, architecture and ornament.  If it doesn’t, then I venture to declare that the world is blind indeed to the skill and craftsmanship that produced wonders in stone-masonry.

Every time I see this door and stop to look yet again,  my first dilemma is not knowing where to look first.  Your eye is drawn up, down, left and right as one detail after another grabs your attention.

The door itself is quite beautiful in it’s own right with decoration galore  from carved wood, wrought iron and decorative panels  to scroll-work and brass plates…. … but there is still so much to see…

The two sets of fierce lions placed on the outside columns usually get my first detailed attention, the lower set are in gray and the upper set are in white.

Then you notice the wrought iron and surrounding decorative bits both in the door and around it,  but invariably your eyes are drawn to the little owl that stands upon two bound volumes, peering down with his knowing eyes from his vantage point in the semi circular cartouche  at the top of the door.

There’s a Latin inscription set around him, but alas I am no scholar of Classical languages, so whilst this little bird sits on his books of knowledge, I can only enjoy in blissful ignorance.

I drink in this door, the photos do not do it justice. One day when I’m mobile I will be back and I am sure I will find new detail to photograph next time too…

Not bad for a humble door fame eh…?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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