The weather was very mixed in December 2019. It had rained a lot and there were also some frosty nights, rather rare in our area. This was the opportunity for some nice photo motives in the garden and in our immediate surroundings.
In November the winner of the photo competition "Blende 2019" of the Pforzheimer Zeitung have been announced. The photo of Roland has been announced #1 in the category "inverted world" and will now participate in the nationwide competition. (see also News)
In October we have been on a round trip in Tanzania for 12 days. Highlights were the game drives in the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Tarangire National Park. In the latter this photo was taken on the last day, a travel report will be published in the next days.
Last month we spent a few days in the Bavarian Forest, hiking through the national park and visiting bears and wolves in the animal enclosure in Neuschönau. In the evening we let the chef spoil us at the Hotel Reinerhof in St. Englmar. We also let ourselves be shown the art of glass, first in the Transparent Barn in Viechtach and later in one of the many shopping malls in Bodenmais.
2019 for us is the year of the mantis religiosa. Already at the end of July we had seen 2 young animals in our garden and also last month we found different coloured specimens in our surroundings, once even in our hallway. Mantises religiosa belong to the mantises and are counted among the winners of climate change. The insects feel particularly at home in sunny grasslands and bush landscapes with loose vegetation, most of which are south facing.
Also this summer we spent another week in the Red Sea on a liveaboard, this time on the new, wonderful ship OMNEIA spirit. And the route was called: Wrecks North - Ras Mohammed and Strait of Tiran. We practiced ourselves in half and half shots and dived also some wrecks, here we could under Instructions by Tobias Friedrich http://www.below-surface.com apply creative lighting techniques. Many thanks to Tobias and the Crew of the Spirit for a successful week!
We participated in a photo workshop with Sven Herdt and Christopher Ruisz at Lake Neusiedl
at the beginning of June 2019 and were enthusiastic about the biodiversity of the fauna, especially the animals tied to
the water and the reed belt. We could observe this tree frog on a beautiful morning near Illmitz, it climbed up the reed
and looked for a sunny place.
A more detailed report about the birdlife of the Neusiedler See National Park can be found on this homepage under "Birdwatch".
In May many wild animals and birds are born, to our great joy we found in the Kelterner forest a fox's den with at least 2 young animals, which sunbathed themselves on a clearing.
April was very dry, partly with unusually high temperatures. Everywhere you can see flowers, even the first wild orchids are already there, here the purple orchid Orchis purpurea in the nature reserve Essigberg. One can find the first insects and Orange Tip, Small Heath and Peacock flatter from flower to flower. Great tits and blue tits breed again in the nesting boxes in our garden, 9 young great tits will probably fly out in the 2nd week of May, the others need another week longer. After a long time we saw a May bug (cockchafer) again, this one had got lost in our garden and fell promptly into a watering can, but could still be rescued in time.
Our kestrels started to defend their territory early this year. For some weeks they meet daily in the Kirchhof and spend mostly the morning sitting on the trees opposite the niche. It should probably not take much longer until the first egg is laid. One can follow the brood-event over our Livecam on our homepage.
Looking back and looking forward to the next month: We will be on the MSY AMIRA again and dive the areas in Lembeh Strait, Bangka, Sangihe and the Togian Islands.
The lunar eclipse on 21 January 2019 attracted many early risers in the morning. Also with us the blood moon was to be seen with cloudless sky between 6.30 and 8 o'clock.