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Monday 30 January 2017

Wild Roosters

Red Junglefowl.

Location: Daintree, Australia
Address: Mount Alexandra Lookout
Date: May 2012
Website: www.npsr.qld.gov.au

  Jan 28, 2017 is the start of Chinese New Year.  This year is the year of the rooster.  On our travels we have seen many different types of chickens, but this blog is about feral chickens.  Feral chickens are chickens that have left domesticated life behind and taken to the wild.

Another curve on The Road To Hana.
 The Maui Coastline.

  In Hawaii, the road to Hana is a winding right of passage for many tourists.  The road has many twists and turns as you make your way along the beautiful Maui coastline.  We encountered some Red Junglefowl at one of the first parking lots we stopped (picture at top of post).  The  roosters had beautiful feather combinations of red, yellow, orange, green and white.

The mouth of the Daintree.
 No Farm in Sight.

  While in Australia we took a tour that brought us into the Daintree rainforest.  The Daintree is Australia's largest tropical rainforest.  At Mount Alexandra Lookout we encountered another group of feral chickens.  An Australorp is a special Australian chicken that is usually black with a red beak and a red comb.  The comb is the part on top of the rooster's head.  Again these chickens were just roaming the parking lot without a farm in sight.

Wild Australorp.

  Instead of calling these wild or feral chickens we think there should be a new classification called Parking Lot Roosters.  While in the Daintree we noticed a small little fruit stand at the corner of the parking lot.  It appeared to be operating on the honour system as no one was around.  We wondered if it was the result of entrepeneurial chickens or if they were secretly the security guards.  Happy New Year roosters!

Cock-A-Doodle Do you want a piece of fruit?

Map of Our World
Mount Alexandra Lookout , Hana Highway

Post # 159

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Royal Eagle Hotel

Royal Eagle Hotel.

Location: London, England
Address: 26-30 Craven Road
Date: Sept 2015
Website: www.royaleaglehotel.co.uk

   The original Trainspotting movie, about the lives of a group of heroin users, was released in February 1996.  A sequel is coming out in February 2017 which reunites the original cast 20 years later.  The movie itself is also set 20 years after the first so there was no need for a make-up team to age the actors.  Time had already done that for them.  When we were in London we visited the Royal Eagle Hotel which was the filming location for some of the final scenes from Trainspotting.

Conduit Mews.
 UpBrook Mews.

  A mews is a row of stables.  This would be where the horses were kept, so it makes sense that there would be one next to a hotel.  Craven Road has a lot of mews and a few of them are pictured above.  None of the mews above appear in the movie and these days they would be filled with people, not horses.

Crossing Craven Road.

  The reason we mention mews is because the scene in question opens with the group walking out of Smallbrook Mews, crossing Craven Road and heading into the Royal Eagle Hotel for a drug deal (above).   The group consists of Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle).  The first three are all heroin addicts and Begbie is just a violent, troubled man.

Let's Face It I Ripped Them Off.  My So Called Mates.

  The deal goes well and the group now has a large bag of cash.  While the others are sleeping Renton steals the bag and heads out into the street.  He heads down to Gloucester Mews.  You can see the curved opening to the mews just past the man with the suitcases.  The Royal Eagle Hotel has also cleaned up a lot since 1996, perhaps due to all the Trainspotting fans spending the night.

Entrance to Gloucester Mews.

  During this entire scene the soundtrack is playing Born Slippy by Underworld.  This is a great track on its own as it slowly builds up.  It works perfectly here.  Finally, Renton turns and enters Gloucester Mews.

In the doorway boy.

  The camera is on an angle as Renton walks towards it.  You can see the opening to Smallbrook Mews across the street. The camera turns with Renton and flips to look down into the mews.  A lot of the walls have been repainted, but the black trim in the bottom of the picture (left side of the mews) matches with what we see in the film.

And all in your inner space boy.

    Renton has gotten away with it.  Begbie goes ballistic.

Map of Our World
Royal Eagle Hotel

Post # 158

Friday 20 January 2017

Ptarmigans & Buntings

The Ptweet Ptweet of Ptarmigans on the Ptundra.

Location: Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Address: Churchill Wildlife Management Area
Date: Oct 2014
Website: www.everythingchurchill.com

  Most people come to Churchill, Manitoba to see the bears.  There are also lots of interesting birds out there on the tundra.  Two that we encountered were the willow ptarmigan and the snow bunting.  We would have loved to see a snowy owl, but there is always next time.  We suspect that the owls saw us even if we didn't see them. 

  Willow ptarmigans can usually be found walking along the ground out on the tundra.  They build their nests on the ground as well.  We spotted groups of them as we surveyed the terrain looking for polar bears.  The birds had already changed into their winter plumage which made them easier to spot against the brown, rocky tundra.  Normally the birds are also brown which helps camouflage them throughout the summer months.  Soon enough the snow will come and the birds will blend back into their surroundings once more.  Willow ptarmigans are members of the grouse family and we would put their size at somewhere between an overgrown pigeon and a small turkey.

  Another bird we spotted out on the tundra is the snow bunting.  Buntings are a small songbird and love the northern climate.  They can be found anywhere up in the arctic. We spotted a bunting on the rocks (below) sitting not far from where a polar bear was digging through seaweed.  This was the only one that sat still for any length of time.

The Hitter Squares Up.

Snow Bunting Rides The Rails.

  The photograph of the bunting on the train tracks was a lucky shot as the bird only remained still for a second.  It was taken behind the Churchill train station where there were a few snow buntings flying from rail to rail.  They all had their brownish winter plumage which both sexes have this time of year.  During mating season the males will turn all white with only some black remaining on their wings.

Buntings On The Tracks.

  We enjoyed the ptarmigans from the safety of our Tundra Buggy and the snow buntings from the relative safety of the train station platform.  As always while in Churchill you have to be on the lookout for bears.  We recommend that you bird watch with a buddy.  You never know who might be watching you.

Map of Our World
 Ptarmigans , Snow Buntings

Post # 157