Posts Tagged ‘Nature

25
Mar
12

21st of March: the start of the meteorological springtime

Meteorologists generally define four seasons in many climatic areas: spring, summer, autumn and winter. These are demarcated by the values of their average temperatures on a monthly basis, with each season lasting three months. The three warmest months are by definition summer, the three coldest months are winter, and the intervening gaps are spring and autumn. Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions. In terms of complete months, in most North Temperate Zone locations, spring months are March, April and May, although differences exist from country to country.

“The flowering of love is meditation.”

 

Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

The phenological definition of spring relates to indicators, the blossoming of a range of plant species, and the activities of animals, or the special smell of soil that has reached the temperature for micro flora to flourish. It therefore varies according to the climate and according to the specific weather of a particular year.

“Let a hundred flowers bloom.”

 

Ramakrishna

 
Extreme weather conditions characterize the spring season. This is due to the fact that during this season the warm winds coming from the lower regions are accompanied by the cold air which originates from the Polar Regions. During the spring season the weather can be severe. The seas and rivers are full because the snow begins to melt. Rainfall is also heavy often leading to serious flood situations. Floods are most common in the hilly areas. In addition to all this, tornado, hailstorms and heavy downpour are also common features during the spring season.

 

“A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.”

 

 

Dogen

Next time when you notice a newly budding leaf, be sure that spring has arrived.

 

 

“Earth laughs in flowers.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson 
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18
Apr
11

Annapurna trekking circuit in Nepal, mountain views on the way.

Nepal has some of the best trekkings in the world, to and around several of the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest. Many people visit the country just to trek and the tourism industry is well prepared to facilitate all manner of trekking styles and destinations. On the one hand you could spend a year planning an expedition to wild and lofty places; on the other you could land in Kathmandu with no plans and be on the trail to Everest Base Camp (EBC) in a matter of days.

“Teahouse trekking” along the main trails is the most common style, with decent lodges in every settlement (and between), it is possible to trek in comfort with minimal preparation, equipment and support. There is no need to camp and a selection of western style foods are readily available from a menu system. No special permits are required, just national park entry tickets. The main areas for these treks are Everest, Khumbu and Annapurna.

Facilities available in remote areas are less extensive than in the more popular areas. Off the main trails where there are no lodges and food from menus a Nepali guide becomes essential, and it may be advisable to visit such regions with organized groups, including guide, porters and full support. Mustang, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Dolpo and Humla are in remote areas. Many of them require also special permits.

There are lots of agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara who are always keen to broker the services of a guide and/or porter. During the main seasons the agencies run regular group treks, both teahouse and camping styles, and it generally possible to join a group doing a trek of your choice. Independent trekking is quite easy with straight forward preparations.

A trekking permit is required to trek in any part of Nepal. If you want to trek two areas, you will need two permits. Each permit requires details for the route and region. Police check points are set up in some areas so do not venture off the set route. Annapurna trail starts from the North of Pokhara, from lush middle hills into high mountains. A circuit leads up the Maryangdi river to Manang, over Thorung La (5400m) to the Hindu temples at Muktinath. Down the Kali Gandaki on the Jomsom trail enjoying Gurung and Thakali hospitality. Up through spring rhododendron blooms to Poon Hill for a dawn Himalayan vista. Trek up into the very heart of the Annapurna Sanctuary for an awesome 360′ high mountain skyline.

Altitude sickness is a significant risk when trekking on any trails above about 2500m. Be familiar with the symptoms and do not ignore them. If you keep to a conservative ascent schedule and drink plenty of fluids then most people can acclimatize. If you or anyone in your party begins to experience symptoms of AMS then do not ascent, and if they do not improve then descent to a lower altitude. This is the only option to consider.

12
Apr
11

Nature Trail Trekking in Nepal: Sunrise at Poon Hill

Poon Hill trekking is a colorful short foray into the Annapurna region. The trail winds through patchwork valleys, dense mossy forests and past icy waterfalls where you can stop to cool your face. Behind every corner is a tantalizing glimpse of the high mountains, whole horizons of which will be revealed to you as you reach the high points of your trek.

This trek in the Annapurna foothills to the view point of Poon Hill, offers all the best of trekking in Nepal. Enjoy trekking in the spectacular mountain scenery through charming villages inhabited by the Gurungs and Magars, dense rhododendron (Nepalese national flower) forests full of birds and deep sub-tropical valleys, all set below the Annapurnas with the picturesque peak of Machhapuchhare (Fish Tail Peak) dominating the skyline.

You will pass many villages such as Nayathanti and Ghorapani before reaching Ghorapani Pass. Ghorepani Pass is the closest village to Poon Hill and it is recommended that you spend the night here in order to get an early start for the sunrise from Poon Hill. It is about 45 minutes to an hour to the top of Poon Hill (at 3210m ) from Ghorapani Pass.

The climax of this trek is for sure the climb to Poon Hill at dawn ,to enjoy one of the most spectacular mountain scapes on Earth. As the sun touches the snow-capped summits the Himalayan giants, Dhaulagiri (8.167m) and Annapurna (8.091m) along with a maze of other peaks, slowly begin to appear, like magic, before our eyes. A rewarding trek that can be enjoyed by every lover of nature and beautiful landscape.

07
Apr
11

Dubai desert, a place for adventurous people

The deserts in Dubai are the silent spectator of the transformation of this Gulf country. Located in the coast of the Arabian Gulf the deserts in Dubai are intrinsically linked with the history of Dubai. Dubai desert is perhaps one of the astonishing creations that can be found in this earth. It’s pretty hard to locate a desert that has developed to reach where Dubai is at the moment.

In the middle of that desert are the tallest and well-designed buildings that can be found in the Middle East. The Dubai desert has grown in leaps and bounds not only due to tourism but also as a result of business and good governance. The sparkling sand of the Dubai desert is one of the major attractions to those who visit there always. It’s a wonder since you will be able to walk on the finest sand possible. What can be said to describe the real beauty of the great mountains and plains present in this part of the world. One must literally marvel at the finesse of the Mother Nature in letting the dwellers to access these places very easily. They are a little different from what are available in other parts of the world because of the challenge that comes while trying to access them. You will appreciate facing a rare challenge such as your car getting stuck in loose soil that’s completely dry.

 Furthermore, while in Dubai, you can opt to take some lessons that would offer you a lifetime experience, which is a rare thing somewhere else. You can opt to learn a skill in desert driving hence making you able to go to the many different places alone. It’s a lip smacking place for all those daredevils out there. In addition to the natural sceneries that are found in Dubai and its environs, there are also many festivities that act as major tourist attractions. There are many things that happen such as sports and many other cultural festivals, which attract many people around the world. The warmth and friendliness extended by inmates here, and the friendly business environment would make you rejoice every minute of stay.

To be able to tour Dubai desert, it’s important that you plan well in advance. The heat is above what is available in other parts of the world. This may do some harm to your skin hence ensure that you take the necessary precautions. Carry enough water with you whenever you are touring anywhere in the desert since you will face the possibility of getting dehydrated. This should not scare you at all but should fuel your desire of wanting to tour that place a lot. Especially when you are visiting there during summer, you should get prepared to face scorching heat, unending dust and many more characteristics that typifies this side of the Gulf. Hence it’s important that you get prepared. Have all your preparations in place to avoid getting disappointed when you go there. You will definitely be one of those who will appreciate making repeat visits there.

02
Apr
11

Animal planet: the ring-tailed lemur

The Ring-tailed lemur, Lemur catta, is one of twenty-two species of lemurs. They share a common ancestry with Africa’s monkeys and apes, but were isolated from those species probably 50 million years ago when Madagascar separated from the African continent. All lemur species today are endangered due to the rapid destruction of their forest habitat for agricultural development, cattle grazing, and human settlement.

They have binocular forward vision, but must turn their heads to see ahead because their eyes have limited movement in the socket. This gives them a wide-eyed, staring aspect that sometimes startles viewers. The word Lemur comes from old Latin, and refers to ghosts or spirits. The staring eyes, haunting sounds, and nocturnal ways of the lemur inspired early observers to think of them as ghosts or forest spirits. The Ring-tailed lemur’s coat is black gray, the limbs and belly lighter, and the extremities white. There are rings about the eyes, the muzzle is black, the tail is banded black and white.  Lemurs are found only on the east African island of Madagascar. They live in the dry woodland districts with a seven to eight month dry season.

 

Most lemur are arboreal. But the Ring-tailed is different in that it frequently uses the ground for travel, more than any of the other lemurs. It is diurnal and gregarious, living in groups of 5-30. Females are generally dominant to males. Its long, bushy, black-and-white banded tail is used by the species as a visual signal. In aggressive encounters, the Ring-tail will wave its scent-covered tail in the direction of a rival. Loud calls alert other members of the social group to danger and help to maintain comfortable spacing between groups. Ring-tailed lemurs purr and mew like house cats. It loves to sunbathe with legs and arms spread wide. Living in an arid habitat, it quenches its thirst with juicy fruits. Sitting on its haunches holding fruit in its hands, a lemur delicately bites off pieces with its back teeth so the juice runs into its mouth and not on its fur. They communicate with short grunting sounds as a contact call within the troop, sometimes followed with a quick bark.  

Lemurs are generally herbivorous. Their diets consisting mainly of leaves, fruits, and berries — although they occasionally take bird eggs, small mammals, and insects. After a gestation period of about 135 days, a single offspring is born. Occasionally they may have twins or even triplets. The young are grayish with a thin coat of hair. The entire group helps care for and play with the young. Young lemurs first begin to climb at about three weeks, and are usually independent by six months. They are sexually mature and fully grown at 11/2 years. In captivity lemurs have lived for 20-27 years.

29
Mar
11

Red Deer, king of the Austrian alps

October in Austria sees the start of the rutting season for red deer.  The rut is a period when the biggest and strongest male (stag) rounds up a group of females (hinds) for mating. 

Of course every other male deer wants to do the same, but there’s only so many females to go around. In order to maintain control over a group of females the stag must constantly drive away rivals.  The stag announces his superiority over other males by constantly bellowing out an echoing roar, which sounds something like a cross between a chainsaw and a burp.

Sometimes shouting is not enough, and when contenders approach the females they need to be chased off.  Occasionally fights between males can break out, and this can lead to some serious clashing of those magnificent antlers. Red deer are the largest native land mammals in Austria.  They can weigh up to 190kg. 

If you go to watch the rutting deer make sure you keep at a safe distance.  You definitely don’t want to get between the stag and his females.  Getting charged by an angry stag can be bad for your health.  Those antlers are sharp!

21
Mar
11

21st of March: the beginning of the spring season – the bluebell carpet in the Hallerbos.

Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and “springtime” refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of “spring” varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. At the spring equinox, days are close to 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses. Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions.

In terms of complete months, in most North Temperate Zone locations, spring months are March, April and May (Summer is June, July, August; autumn is September, October, November; winter is December, January, February). The vast majority of South Temperate Zone locations will have opposing seasons with spring in September, October and November. Some cultures, such as those that devised the Celtic and East Asian calendars, call the spring equinox “mid-spring”, but others regard it as the “first day of spring”. For most temperate regions, signs of spring appear long before the middle of March, but the folklore of 21 March being the “first day of spring” persists, and 21 June as the “first day of summer” is common in the USA and in Europe.

Not so far from the location where I’m living, spring brings every year from the middle of April till the beginning of May a bluebell carpet in a forest named ‘Hallerbos’. The ‘Hallerbos’ has a surface of 552 ha, of which 511 ha are lain on the territory of Halle. It is of the most important bunches in Flemish-Brabant and is a remainder of the giant coal forest.

In spring a walk in the Hallerbos is an unique experience. During that period, many photographers come to Halle to shoot this amazing blue landscape.

The Common Bluebell is a spring-flowering bulbous perennial plant. The Common Bluebell flowers in April and May. The stems are 10-30 cm long and bend over at the top. The lavender-blue flowers are pendulous, bell-shaped and slightly fragrant. The anthers are yellowish-white. In spring, many European woods are covered by dense carpets of this flower, these are commonly referred to as bluebell woods.