When Not To Visit The Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens

Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens

How weird do you think it is to witness a prehistoric-looking hornbill the size of a rooster try to pick a fight with a giant sassy-as-heck blue crane standing over a metre tall? Very weird. I’m not exaggerating about the sassy crane, either. That thing was strutting around its enclosure like its tail feathers were the best thing since sliced bread. Its companion watched in what I would call mild interest as it tried to kick and bite and unfurl its wings at the hornbill in the next cage over, despite the wonderful steel bars in the way. You’d be glad to know the hornbill decided to humour the angry crane and had a rolling good time pecking at it through the cage. Funny things, birds. Also, goddamn frightening. Continue reading “When Not To Visit The Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens”

Birdlife at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Lesser Whistling Duck

After a lovely talk with a good friend of mine this afternoon (one whom I hadn’t seen in a ridiculous three or so years), I have been inspired to pursue what I am most passionate about: photography. Honestly, so much goes on in Singapore. The Gold Coast cannot quite compare to this vibrant little island city. There have been plenty of opportunities for photography here; it is a country that just has so much to offer, from wildlife to fashion to food to culture… the list is endless. James and I recently gallivanted the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where we witnessed a caucasian family feeding the birds and turtles at one of the lakes. The ducks here are different from the ones we get in Australia. They are absolutely adorable.

Lesser Whistling Ducks and Pigeons Lesser Whistling Duck Lesser Whistling Duck Lesser Whistling Duck Lesser Whistling Ducks Black Swan Black Swan Black Swans Turtle Lesser Whistling Duck Lesser Whistling Ducks Lesser Whistling Ducks and Pigeons Lesser Whistling Duck Tree Sparrow

SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS
1 Cluny Road, Tanglin
Singapore 259569
Opening Hours: 5:00am – 12 midnight (daily)
http://www.sbg.org.sg/index.asp

Such Lovely Autumn Sweethearts

Black Swan

I’ve once mentioned the black swans here on this blog and how they were unusual visitors to the river out the back of my house. I never really saw them after that incident and it was a wonderful surprise to see them back again for the impending winter, no doubt looking for a bite to eat. This time, instead of six, there were only two; a loving couple who shared the habit of chasing ducks away when they got too close to me just because they wanted the bread crumbs all to themselves. They also enjoyed hissing at my dog when he tried to go near them (yes, they actually make distinct hissing noises when unhappy), and honking loudly at me to get my attention.

Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan Black Swan

Jewelled Birds Singing of Freedom

Male Australasian Figbird Male Australasian Figbird

Sipping on a cup of barley and black soybean tea and nibbling on some sticky-sweet apricot danish, my mind wanders to the hidden stash of notebooks and papers I keep tucked away in my bedroom.

Female Australasian Figbird Noisy Miner Noisy Miner

These are printed manuscripts and long passages and scribbled half-ideas from my teenage years, all packed into one large box; mostly forgotten, because I no longer find myself inspired to write. The box sits there, unopened months at a time.

Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren

Occasionally, I find time to look through my work, and I think to myself: “one day, I will finish this, and maybe have it published”. But then, I just place whatever it is back in the box, along with whatever wishful ideas I have for the future, and shut the lid tight.

Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren

All my teenage life, I’d been an avid writer. Now, I am 22. Perhaps I have stopped writing because the time I wrote best was also a time of confusion, heartbreak, loneliness and quiet contemplation.

Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren Female Superb Fairy-Wren

Looking back, my late teenage years were filled with tragedies and mistakes I couldn’t fix. Running to pen and paper was my form of release. I could hide away in a different world. My utmost creativity seemed to stem from my refusal to cope with reality.

Pelican in Flight

Today, I no longer need to find solace in writing because I have everything that makes me happy. And with this, it seems that my creativity has all but dried up. It’s a real shame, but perhaps this is a good thing. At least there’s still my camera to keep me occupied.

Excerpts from Japan: Nogeyama Zoological Gardens, Yokohama

Red Panda

On one of our final few days in Yokohama, we decided to visit the Nogeyama Zoological Gardens (野毛山動物園, Nogeyama Dōbutsuen), located about 3 kilometres away from where we were staying at the time. The walk took us the better part of an hour (we got fairly lost halfway through), but the journey was well worth the effort. The skies were blue and the sun was out; a nice change from the dark and damp weather we’d been having for most of our stay in Japan.

Group of Pigeons Pigeons Overhead

The Nogeyama Zoological Gardens first opened its gates to visitors over 60 years ago. It is located on a hill in Nogeyama Park, Nishi-ku (西区). Covering a modest 9.6 hectares, it houses about a thousand animals of about 90 different species. That’s pretty decent for a little zoo tucked away in a rather secluded corner of Yokohama.

Crow Pigeon

I mentioned that we got lost on our journey to the zoo. Why? Because locating it was quite difficult. It is connected to a large public park that is, unfortunately, situated on fairly hilly grounds, so it may be a bit of a climb to get there. This is perhaps why we found the area to be so quiet and devoid of people.

Male Peacock Male Peacock Male Peacock Male Peacock

One of the things that wowed us was that we could just walk into the zoo without paying a cent. Yup, there was no entrance fee. Nogeyama Zoo is entirely free for you to enter and leave as you please! What was even better for us was that the zoo didn’t seem at all crowded. Apart from the animals, it was almost deserted. This gave us the perfect opportunity to wander the zoo in peace and take our sweet time viewing the animals without fighting for a spot in front of the enclosures.

Albino Peacock Albino Peacock Albino Peacock

One of the first enclosures we came to was filled with a number of different types water birds such as ducks and spoonbills. The Mandarin ducks were definitely my favourite. Such striking features and unusual colours!

Mandarin Duck Mandarin Duck Mandarin Duck Duck Black-faced Spoonbill Black-faced Spoonbill

Other animals that we came across include chimpanzees, baboons, raccoon dogs (tanuki), black-and-white colobuses, pheasants, peacocks, swans, reptiles, wallabies, vultures, ostriches, deer, zebra, flamingos, giraffes, camels, tigers, lions, and the ever-popular little red pandas.

Red Panda Red Panda Red Panda Red Panda Red Panda Pheasant Raccoon Dog Deer Wallabies Giraffe

We also came across a small petting zoo, where you can let your kids touch (and even groom) several kinds of small animals like mice, guinea pigs and baby chicks. Of course, the concept is adorable, but I feel that putting tiny creatures in a child’s grasp could potentially spell disaster. I don’t believe little three-year-olds would know how to properly handle a baby chick. They could very easily squeeze one to death!

White Mice White Mice Guinea Pig Guinea Pig

In a way, the zoo can be a little bit depressing. Some of the cages are much too small for the animals. One thing I would like to see in the future is the zoo acquiring more appropriate enclosures for the larger animals like the primates and big cats. It was upsetting to see two fully grown lions (one male, one female) living in a cage barely big enough for movement!

Chimpanzee Chimpanzee Black-and-white Colobus Black-and-white Colobus

Unfavourable living conditions and awkward location aside, I would say that the zoo is pretty decent for one so small, especially since it doesn’t cost anything to get in.

Ostrich Duck Flamingo

NOGEYAMA ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS
63-10 Oimatsu-cho, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi,
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan 220-0032
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 4:00pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
http://www2.nogeyama-zoo.org/english/

Other excerpts from Japan:
Rain Over Sawtooth Mountain || Golden Week in Yokohama
The Vivid Colours of Tokyo || Blue Skies Over Picturesque Ueno Park
Nakamise Street and Tokyo Tower || The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
Daidaiya @ Queen’s Square Yokohama [at!]

The Appeal of Black Swans

These guys drove my dog absolutely crazy when they came by my house for a quick bite. Black swans love the taste of bread crumbs, it seems. I took care not to give them too much. I was more interested in getting my camera to work under the lighting conditions of an early sunrise. I wonder where they came from. Black swans don’t generally stick around this area. It’s usually the ducks that come round for a snack or two.

The Calmest Moments in Nature

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

The Dog Walking Chronicles: A Late Afternoon Stroll

A couple of days ago, we took darling Fudge and my camera for a walk. The sun was about to set, so I figured we’d get some pretty shots in the dwindling light. We took Fudge to the nearby dog park where owners are allowed to let their pets run loose and socialise with other dogs. Along our journey, we managed see other little creatures including creepy spiders, beautiful butterflies and brave birds.