Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Birds

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I have two photos here which separately shows an early bird early in the morning.

Both photos have seascapes; both show the bird at a very small scale.11150462_1075699095780563_512454140535922887_n

You will need to have sharp eyes to see them.

The first photo was taken locally by my classmate YM Chan in the golden hour before sunrise.CIMG3671

The second photo was taken by me at a river estuary near Luk Keng when the sun has just risen and the egret was looking for its breakfast.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird(s and Kapok)

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Sometimes, one post lead to another.

My yesterday post showed a bird among the cherry blossoms.

This one shows two lovely birds with Kapok in Hong Kong as background.001 (3)

It was early Spring and the buds of Kapok have not even bloomed.

Picture the credit of my calligraphy classmate Mr. Chung Kwok Fan.

I am not too sure I like the composition of the original picture and have therefore cropped it so that it shows less of the Kapok.001 (4)

I fully understand even the original picture is very difficult to be taken, as this requires a lot of skill and patience.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity (Birds)

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A place is usually serene if it is frequented by flocks of birds.

We were travelling on a boat in Lake Barrine, not too far from Cairns in Australia.CIMG0538

The sky was blue and the lake azul, as we moved along we found a flock of birds resting together.

We were careful not to disturb the serenity.Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

We found some ducks too in a lake not far from Cappodocia.

The water fowls were swimming happily together while the sun was setting.

Again another serene scene!

A Day Out at Kadoorie Farm

Where can one find “hanging bell” flowers locally on the hillside?  On a cold wintry day, we headed out to Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden (KFBG) along the Lam Kam Route, trying our luck to locate the flowers.

The “hanging bells”are flowers  some of us buy for the Chinese New Year.  However, this could be quite a rare species locally; they are not in my little book with 3,000 types of local flowers. At KFBG, we have the luck of seeing so many of these flowers (above), at a close distance, in a natural environment. So, instinctively I took some photos, including some close up shots of these beautiful flowers.

As children, we have been to KFBG but have never been back ever since. This trip was like going back in time.  We started out with the lower section of the farm where they have birds, reptiles, lizards and monkeys. These drew big crowds of chattering school children; can’t keep thinking several decades ago I was just like one of them.

KFBG also kept a lot of other domesticated animals like pigs, chickens and donkeys (for transportation up and down the hills). This big pig just filled up the whole picture.

At this time of the year, wherever you go, there were just lots of flowers blooming.

We ventured to the upper section of KFBG; stopping first at the orchid gardens.

There were so many types of orchids and quite a few were photogenic too.

We wandered along the winding and hilly paths, viewing more flowers and trees. Finally, we hiked up to the peak which is 1,812 ft (552m) above sea level.

This is the Kwun Yum Peak where the statue of the Kwun Yum goddess stands. We strolled happily around the peak, seeing more flowers. The air was fresh and the view of the valley below was calm and serene.

The downhill trip was just as interesting. When dusk arrived, we reluctantly left this world of flowers.

So, this was another day in the ordinary life of a retiree.

Lake Barrine, Australia

Didn’t know much about Lake Barrine when we headed out from Carnes, Australia. Thought it was a mini version of the super volcanic Lake Toba in Indonesia.

When we arrived, we realized it was a very picturesque crater lake of 1 km diameter, average 65m deep with no streams or springs feeding into it. The contained rain water is calm, crystal clear with lots of fauna surrounded by rain forest on the landside. The setting was quiet and tranquil.

We were entranced by the view  as we sat out in the verandah of a pre-war  built tea house overlooking  the water and surrounding rainforest. . . . . life could not be more blissful than enjoying the view and at the same time sampling the delicious freshly baked scones and legendary Devonshire tea offered by the tea house.

We boarded a boat and began the tour around the lake. There were birds sitting out on dead tree trunks fallen over to the lake, pythons basking in the sun,  ducks swimming happily, not forgetting to mention the variety of different types of trees and plants surrounding the lake. The lake exhibited a hue of vivid deep blue and it was just perfect – heavenly!

Nearby was the rain forest with tall trees ( red cedar trees, flowering umbrella trees and curtain or cathedral fig trees in the photo). Very typical of rain forest, but nevertheless eye-opening.

We then travelled on to the Paronella Park which was a dream park built by the Spaniard José Paronella in the 1930s; this was also the place where some of the Japanese animation were based. A Spanish castle and fountain were built by José near to the Mena Creek Falls. It was not difficult to imagine how gorgeous they were when the park was opened to the public in 1935. In the park, we also visited a cave with hundreds of bats hanging from the cave soffit. . . .what a sight!
It turned out that the whole trip offered a lot more than expected. . . . . another memorable trip with images infiltrated deep into our brains!