Friday, April 28, 2017

Backyard Birds




It has been a very active couple of days at the bird feeders.

All identifications by Margot.





This is a Baltimore Oriole.





This a Brown Thrasher.





These are Indigo Buntings. They are all males.





Downy Woodpecker





House Finch





Red-bellied Woodpecker





Indigo Bunting





Goldfinch





Blue Jay





Rose-breasted Grosbeek








Cardinal





Very colorful





Tufted Titmouse





White-breasted Nuthatch



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring in Arkansas



Well, the weather had been crappy all day - rainy and overcast.

But this evening the sun broke through and lit up the soft green colors of spring beautifully.

Click to enlarge.









I think this picture is actually nicer.

So last weekend we took a drive in the countryside. As we passed this barn I commented on the weather vane on the roof. Margot said she thought it was a bird.

Sure enough - it was a turkey vulture sunning himself. The temps were pleasant but a little cool. I imagine the rusted roof was nice and warm.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mediterranean Cruise - Day 5 - Rome


On the fifth day the ship docked near Rome. We took an early bus ride to the city.

This is a picture of the courtyard at the Vatican Museum.




Our first stop was a walk to the Trevi fountain. The fountain is under reconstruction so no pictures. It was filled with scaffolding instead of water.

This is a street sign near the fountain.




Later we headed to the center of ancient Rome. This is the Forum of Peace from the late imperial period. It was built by Emperor Vespasian between 71 and 75 AD to commemorate the Roman victory in Judea of 70 AD. Some of these ruins just came to light during  excavations in 2000.




The sort of block buildings are part of the Curia Julia built in 44 BC. It is the Senate House built by Julius Caesar. It survived more or less intact because it was incorporated into the basilica of Sant'Adriano al Foro in the 7th century.




This is, of course, the Colosseum. It was finished in 80 AD. The exterior is being cleaned. If you click on the picture you can see to difference in the before and after. There were a lot of people waiting to get in.




This is the Arch of Constantine built in about 315 A.D. to commemorate a victory. It had a similar function as the Arc de Triumphe in Paris. The emperor and his army would march through when returning from battle.





These modern day gladiators were posing for pictures.I assume they will put the cell phone away if you ask for them to pose.




Sue and Bob at the Colosseum.




Margot and me posing.

I don't remember the name of this area but the open area in front of the ruins was used for chariot races.




I took this picture from the bus as we crossed the Tiber river into Vatican City.





We didn't see any of the Swiss guards in their fancy dress. This guy was controlling access at Via Sant'Anna.




This is the Vatican Museum or I should say one tiny part of the museum. The amount ot statuary and other art was incredible. There were a lot of people there, too.

Many of the ceilings were beautifully painted.

Click to enlarge.





Lots of statuary. If you can read Latin please click on the picture and let me know what it says.




Another ceiling.




This is a tapestry from Brussels.

I assume it is Jesus leaving his tomb on the 3rd day.







The entire ceiling in this corridor was painted.

We had to rush through. You could spent days, weeks, months studying all the things there.






This is the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. They are terrible photos since I had to sneak them. Photography is strictly prohibited. Not sure why but probably to keep the visitors moving. It was very crowded. Or maybe somebody decided it detracts from the decorum or somehow desecrates the chapel. Anyway there are a lot better pictures online if you want a refresher in the iconography of Michangelo's work. He painted the ceiling from 1508 to 1512.



 More from the Sistine Chapel.





This small statue was a gift to one of the Popes.




I thought the stained glass was just stunning.




This is Piazza San Pietro or Saint Peter's Square.




 This is Saint Peter's Cathedral. That is the Sistine Chapel just to the right with the peaked roof.





I was a beautiful day.






This farm was along the road back to the ship. Those are colorful beehives I believe.