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Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

Courtyard Hotel Rosebank Johannesburg South Africa

 Location:
Joahnnesburg, South Africa
Address:  39 Tyrwhitt Avenue, Rosebank
Date:  October 2018
Website:  www.clhg.com

  We travelled to South Africa in hopes of seeing as many different animals as we possibly could.  The first place we visited when we arrived was the Rosebank section of Johannesburg. We stayed in a Courtyard Hotel across the street from a busy shopping centre.  Little did we know that behind the gates of our hotel we would be introduced to so much wildlife.

Spider On The Wall Courtyard Hotel Rosebank South Africa
 
    Upon arrival, we checked out our room and found we were not alone.  On our wall we spotted a spider.  We generally like spiders as we hope that they will eat other flying pests.  We took a photo for later identification.  The best we can determine is it is a type of wolf spider and harmless.  It kept to itself patrolling the walls.
 
Black Jumping Spider Johannesburg South Africa.
 
    Above the window we spotted another spider.  This one appeared to be a black jumping spider.  It didn't jump at us when we took a closeup picture.  Enjoy your stay little friend.
 
Courtyard Hotel Doorknob Dolls Johannesburg.

    Our favourite thing that we found on the walls during our stay in Rosebank was these three ladies.  They were dolls designed to fit over the doorknob and let hotel staff know if we needed anything or just wanted to be left alone. 

Leopard Tortoise Rosebank Johannesburg

  After settling into our room, we headed outside and walked towards the main entrance.  Coming along the pathway was a leopard tortoise.  He stopped and gave us a look and then lumbered along.  This tortoise was a permanent resident.  His shell was far too big to fit under any fences.  He seemed perfectly content, but if he wanted to escape his only chance would be to make a break for it when security opened the front gate for a guest.  Security opened the gate for us to leave.  We looked back as we crossed the street and headed to the mall.  We didn't see any tortoises following us.

Beautiful Jacaranda Trees In Johannesburg South Africa
 
    As we returned to our hotel we were able to get a good look at the jacaranda trees that line so many of Johannesburg's streets.  We were lucky to be visiting during September to November when the purple flowers bloom.

Looking Up At A Jacaranda Tree in Johannesburg.

    These beautiful trees are not native to Africa, but came from Brazil.  The first jacaranda were said to be brought here and planted in 1888.  There has since been a ban on planting more but every year the streets of Johannesburg still turn purple.

Cape White Eye Sits In A Jacaranda Tree.

  As we returned to our hotel we noticed a cape white eye sitting up in one of the jacarandas.  These small greenish-yellow birds have a bright white circle around their eyes.  We wished that we could see the jacaranda from the bird's vantage point high up in the branches.

Common Myna In Johannesburg South Africa

  Another bird we spotted up in the trees was this common myna.  It had chosen a less colourful tree to make its perch.  This bird is also known as the Indian myna and is now an invasive species found all over the world.

Cape Robin Chat Rosebank Johannesburg

  Sitting on the edge of a bench in our garden was a cape robin chat.
 
A Cape Sparrow In an Eavestrough.
 
     Up on an eavestrough was a cape sparrow.  South Africa has many bird species whose names start with cape. It was done to represent that they came from the old Cape of Good Hope and Cape Province that made up a large part of South Africa.
 
Tortoise Courtyard Hotel Rosebank South Africa

    The next morning we walked along the edge of the garden to see who was visiting today.  We spotted the tortoise just sitting still in the leafy garden.  His busy day had yet to begin.

Hadeda Ibis Rosebank South Africa.

    This morning there was also another visitor walking through the grass.  It was a hadeda ibis.  They are named for their loud call of "HA-DE-DA" which many South Africans use as their early morning wake up alarm.  We did hear them calling out at various times, but they never woke us up.

Hadeda Ibis On The Roof Of Rosebank Courtyard Hotel.

    This hadeda did give out a cry as it flew away.  We had returned to our room, but we rushed out and spotted the ibis now perched up on the rooftop.

Go-Away Bird Rosebank Johannesburg.

    We continued our walk along the edge of the garden.  We heard another unusual noise and looked into the trees.  There was a grey bird hidden in the branches making a sound that sounded like the last whirl of something that had been wound up.  "Whirrrrrrrrrr".  The bird sounded most displeased.  It is called a go-away bird and perhaps this is why.  We were happy to spot a cat lingering beneath the tree the bird was sitting in.  At least the bird's displeasure was not directed at us.

Karoo Thrush Courtyard Hotel Rosebank Johannesburg

    As we walked along the garden wall we saw some dirt falling from up above.  A small bird was busy kicking dirt out of the eavestrough.  We didn't take this personally as we were quietly walking along so the bird probably didn't know that we were there.  It did fly down to give us a closer look.  The picture (above) isn't the best, but this is a karoo thrush.
 
Snail In The Drain Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

     Near the pool area we spotted this rather large snail.  It was just hanging out in a drain.  Thankfully no wildlife was taking a swim in our pool.
 
Speckled Mousebird Johannesburg

    At the end of the garden we saw another grey bird and expected to get a good talking to.  It turns out that this was not a go-away bird but a speckled mousebird.  It is smaller than a go-away bird and has a different hairstyle and a darker face around its eye and beak.
 
The Garden Of The Courtyard Hotel Rosebank.

     The next day we were off to see some large animals such as lions, giraffes and elephants.  We also enjoyed our time visiting some of Africa's smaller wildlife within the walls of our hotel.

Map of Our World
Courtyard Hotel Rosebank

Post # 314

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Downsview Park

Downsview Park Buildings.


 Location: North York, Ontario, Canada
Address: 70 Canuck Ave.
Date: Feb 2022
Website: en.downsviewpark.ca

   Downsview Park has always been involved in aviation.  There is still an active airport on the grounds.  In 1929 de Havilland of Canada manufactured planes that were used in World War II.  After that the Royal Canadian Air Force used the grounds.  The area has been used for large events such as Pope John Paul II visiting in the 80s or The Rolling Stones coming to Toronto after SARS.  The latest chapter has the area being used for mostly sports and recreation, but you are constantly reminded of the park's history.  Let's take a look at some of the things that Downsview has to offer.

Fighter Jet At Denison Armoury.

   As you curve around the Downsview grounds on Sheppard Avenue West you will pass Denison Armoury where some former Canadian Armed Forces equipment is on display such as the fighter jet above.

Downsview Hangar.

      The old airplane hangars have now been repurposed as a sports recreation facility.

Hoop Game Downsview. 
 
Within the giant hangar spaces you can now take part in volleyball, soccer, basketball and more.
 
True North Climbing At Downsview Park.

    There is even a rock climbing facility of which we were briefly members.  Remember to double check all your gear and put your trust in your partner before you start to climb.

The Bombardier Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at Downsview Campus.

     Centennial College has a campus on site in the former de Havilland of Canada building.  Here students can learn to be aviation technicians or aerospace engineers.

Centennial College Dwonsview Campus Plane.

     Next to the college campus was a yard with some planes which we assume were for the students to practice their skills on.

Downsview Park Merchants Market & Farmer's Market.

    As you head further west on Carl Hall Road you will come to a long building which houses a merchant and farmer's market.  A great spot to pick up some fruits and vegetables, buy and sell some old household items and more.

Downsview Mural In Front Of Film Studio.

    The side of the building with the merchant's market also now has a large mural painted on it.  Behind that wall is a film studio.

Ulysses Crazy Legs Curtis Mural Downsview

  Back along Carl Hall Road is a mural dedicated to Ulysses "Crazy Legs" Curtis.  Ulysses was the first full time black player on the Toronto Argonauts football team.  After his retirement he was a teacher  and worked closely with the youth of the Downsview area.

Downsview Park

    The next part of the park is our favourite.  It is the urban park portion which many wild creatures call home.

Wind Socks Downsview Park

     Some wind socks show you which way the winds are blowing today.  This area gets some strong winds as much of it is open and flat.  All the better to land a plane.

Airport Themed Playground.

  A plane had landed nearby in the children's playground.  The playground was airport themed so children get a chance to play pilot or air traffic controller.

North Plaza Downsview Park.

    The North Plaza is the start of the Sesquicentennial Trail.  It depicts the story of the Mississaugas and early settlers.  It was unveiled as part of Canada's celebration of 150 years since confederation.

Popsicle Bird House Downsview Park.

    In the wooded areas there are several bird houses set up.  Downsview is home to many small types of birds.

Dark-Eyed Junco Downsview Park

    There are often dark-eyed juncos which are a type of sparrow.

White-Throated Sparrow Downsview Park.

    There are also many other types of sparrow such as this white-throated sparrow above.

Cardinal Downsview Park

  Bright red cardinals stand out against the snow.  

Canada Flag Downsview Park.

As do Canada Flags.

Downsview Muskoka Chairs.

 And big wooden muskoka chairs.

Tall Grass Meadowlark Downsview Park.

  Some signage lets you know to return in the summer when you might see other birds such as meadowlarks, bobolinks and more.

Baby Squirrel Downsview Park.

     Not to be outdone, there are many small mammals also in the park.  As with most of Toronto there are many squirrels.  This little squirrel above was part of a squirrel nursery that had taken over a tree.

DHC-2 Beaver Plane Downsview Park.

  You should be able to spot a beaver while in the park.  Real beavers are found within Toronto and therefore not an impossibility, but still very unlikely in this park.  This beaver is a DHC-2 Beaver which is an early bush plane developed at Downsview in 1947.

Rabbit Hiding At Downsview Park.

  If you look carefully you may spot a real rabbit hiding in the bushes.  As darkness falls, these rabbits need to watch out for coyotes in the park.

Raccoon Downsview Park.

  Raccoons can be found in the park and they don't bother to hide from anything.  They are content to sleep the day away wrapped around a tree.

Red Tailed Hawk Downsview Park.

  Where there are small birds and creatures there will also be larger birds of prey.  Red-tailed hawks can be found in the park year round.

Long-Eared Owl Downsview Park.Short-Eared Owl Downsview Park.

    Owls are sometimes seen in the park.  The pictures above are of a long-eared owl and a short-eared owl.  We are hoping you can figure out which is which, or should we say who is who?

Toronto Wildlife Centre Downsview Park.

  All of the animals in the park and around the city are glad to know that the Toronto Wildlife Centre is located on the Downsview grounds.  The centre helps injured animals get back out into the wild where they belong.

The Mound Downsview Park.

  One feature of Downsview are the giants mounds which you can climb.  This mound is comprised of all the dirt taken out when a man-made lake was created in the park.

Wind Rose Art Project Downsview Park.

  At the top of one of the mounds was an art project called Wind Rose.  It is a series of flags and is named after a tool used to show wind speed and direction in a particular area.

CN Tower From The Mound At Downsview.

  The top of the mound is a good spot to look past the Bombardier buildings and see the familiar Toronto skyline.  As always the CN Tower stands tall above everything else.

Planes of Downsview Park.

    Downsview Park is a great place to explore our connection to the skies from the safety of the ground.  Whether it is from the top of The Mound or above the rim at Hoop Dome.  We can dream of flying, like the many planes that were made here or like the birds that call the park home.



Post # 308