Recently, I showed you an image of an in-flight bee fly. Although it was hard to capture that tiny insect with the long focal-length lens, it was not that hard as capturing this image of an in-flight swallow. Despite, bee flies are very small, their flight is kind of predictable. They are not flight that quick and they are not changing the directions abruptly. They also stay on nearly the same level above the plants.
Barn swallows instead are flying very quickly because they are hunting flying insects and thus changing their flight direction and hight unpredictable. Compared to this, the bee fly simply ‘stands still’ in the air, although she was also constantly moving.
This image is from early April and I was very surprised to see a barn swallow so early. The air was still cold (below 10°C). As far as I know, that’s the minimum temperature for insects to be able to fly.
There were years when swallows came back from the south too early when the air was still cold. The air had temperatures too cold for insects to fly which resulted in hungry swallows. Hunting for flying insects was without results, because of the cold. So they were forced to walk around and pick plant lice from the bushes because they were too weak to fly from all the unsuccessful hunts. A friend of mine, a nature conservationist, reported that year swallows simply falling off the sky. They died of hunger while flying.
I was in that place before and met hundreds of swallows. But, it was June and warm. So I was surprised to see one (two on the next day).
It’s still coupling season for the grey seals. So, this big male tries to convince the smaller female below him to give him a try 🙂 Despite this looks like a fight, it wasn’t.
This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness organized by Leanne Cole for more than four years now. Look at here site on Wednesday (Australian time), to see many more monochrome images created by many other talented photographers from all over the world.
I’d also encourage you to participate. The conditions are published in each of her Monochrome Madness posts.
I’m pretty sure, I said it more than once: you can cycle for days without having to climb up a hill when cycling along the German north sea-coast. You can either cycle on top of the dike or on the paved roads reserved for cars of the maintenance workers. No air pollution and no traffic (expect a few pedestrians, other bikers or some sheep). It’s really easy and relaxing to cycle here.
These beach chairs are very typical for the German coasts. You can find them not only at the beaches of the North sea and the Baltic sea, but nowadays also at some lakes in the northern parts of Germany and even in private gardens of lovers of the Germany coasts.
I guess, it’s a universal idea: when having a sandy beach, kids start digging and building castles or towers, just like the kid in the image above. The parents probably have rent one of the beach chairs and observing their hard-working kid from their shady and wind safe comfortable place. Maybe they are reading or simply dozing and enjoying their vacation.
Sometimes, one of the big whale swims accidentally in a part of the ocean too shallow for them. I.e in winter 2015/2016 a few adolescent put whales came into German Bight. They need deep water for hunting giant squids. It’s assumed, these whales lost orientation and got lost in the wrong part of the atlantic ocean. It was impossible to direct them back to deep water, so the finally died of starving.
This wasn’t the first time, such a whale stranded at a German coast accidentally. In my image above you can see the skeleton of a pot whale that has died because of such an error in navigation a few years ago. Now, the prepared skeleton in hanging in a museum. Behind the skeleton they put up a mockup of a giant squid. You can see the huge eye of the giant squid easily above the skull. Both animals are of nearly the same size. The thin line around the skull of the whale symbolise the shape of the head. Imagine of the fight between a pot whale and a giant squid in about 1,000 m depth: a strong jaw agains 8 long arms and a sharp spout.
This is a very common food fish here in Germany. There are several recipes available for cooking this fish. It’s grouped with a few other species called “Plattfisch” (flat fish), because of the special anatomy.
These fish come out of their eggs with one eye on each side of the head. But, as they grow older, one eye starts moving to the other side of the head and the fish starts swimming with the side without an eye to the ground, while the side with both eyes is turned up. This way, the fish can hide easily in the sand and observe the water above him.
I took that image of the not completely full-grown plaice in an aquarium.
Looking to the seaside from the top of the dike. Interestingly, no beach and no water are in this place (and many others, too). Every now and then, the flood covers the area. Thus the soil is very salty and only very specialized plant can grow here. It’s not possible to use it for growing food or building houses.
But, It’s an area absolutely necessary for some birds. So, many of these areas are preserved at certain times of the year.
In German, these area is called Salzwise (salt meadow or salt marsh).
You know, sushi as a kind of Japanese food. It’s (usually raw) fish, rolled in rice and a leaf of alga or kelp.
Germans also have their kind of sushi: Fischbrötchen 🙂
It’s a roll with some kind of fish or with a fish rissole. You can have it with fried fish, smoked fish or raw fish. Different kinds of fish are used for the different dishes.
On the right you can see a Matjes in the roll. Matjes is a young, raw herring. You can also have sour pickled herring (Bismarck-Hering). For smoked fish you can usually have salmon, mackerel, trout or eel. When in the right season you can also have you roll with cooked crabs.
The sign above the entrance of this shop in the oldtown of Greetsiel says “Bauernladen”. Literally translated, this would be something like framers shop and proposes fresh product from a farm.
The sign beside the door says “Fischbrötchen”. That’s fish in a roll. Either herring (Matjes or sour pickled), kipper (i.e. mackerel, eel, sprats or more seldom along the coast trout) or even crabs.
In the back you can see some products for tourists to buy as souvenirs.
In the states of northern Germany, we have a tradition to build houses with the roof made of water reed. (btw. this plant is called Reed, Schilf or Rohr in German)
Once, each house has had such a roof. Than, only the houses of poor people. Nowadays, the situation has changed: only the rich ones can afford such a roof. It lasts approximately 30 years and is a natural air-condition. It keeps the cold outside during winter and the heat outside during summer.
The houses in the image above, are vacation homes and quite new. But, there are still many privat houses around with this kind of roof, too.
Greetsiel has a long tradition of shipping. For centuries people along the costs made their living with fishing, whale catching and long-distance trading. Not only sailors came from these towns, also officers and captains. And these captains usually brought back lots of money (when they came back – lots of men and ships got lost to the sea in those times). So, in each town with a harbour you can find very gorgeous houses, once built by a captain.
Very often, such houses are near to the harbour. Often with a good view to the sea. These houses were to document the wealth of the owner (= builder)
Here we are! The harbour of Greetsiel. This is a very typical image for Greetsiel and for the Germany North Sea coast as well. Although only few of these shrimper fisher boats are left, they are still a symbol for the coast. Here in Greetsiel is the majority of the remaining boats at home. (I told you about it in a past post).
In Greetsiel, you can find the twin mills. Both, are only a tourist attractions nowadays. You can find a café in one of the mills and a gift shop in the other one. It’s easy to find them, because there are huge parking grounds nearby.
A few years ago, one of the mills was swept from its base by a serious storm. Fortunately the mill was reconstructed. Donations were collected and use for the reconstruction by the preservation association.
The mills are located only about 2 or 3 minutes by foot from the picturesque old town of Greetsiel. I’m showing you some impressions from Greetsiel in one of my next posts.
Today, I have another brick building for you: a pharmacy (Apotheke in German with the stylized letter “A” combined with the Aesculapian staff as a common logo for all pharmacies). As I mentioned in my post last week, people have had to build their houses from burnt bricks formed by using foam or clay and hay. An other options was wood or they have had to fetch stones over big distances. But because of the heavy winds here at the flat country at the coast, wood wasn’t a good solution to last long. Northern Germany is very flat. For more than 100 or 200 km from the coast, you won’t find any remarkable hills or mountains. So, farmers have built large and solid trees around there farms to keep out the storms. Next week, I’m showing you an example of these farms.
Nowadays, you can find these red brick houses nearly all over northern Germany, it’s considered as typical for this huge part of Germany. The houses of different regions differ in shape, but the material is usually the same.
Here we have a building made from bricks. That’s very typical for that region, because they have not much stone for building houses.
On the right side you can see the words “Oll School”. That’s “old school” in Low German. When aligning German – Low German – English you can see many words as tight relatives (In some cases, Dutch builds another bridge between Low German and English): i.e.
– Schule – School – school
– Tag – dag – day
– Alt – oll – old
and many more.