La Jolla revisited

When: May 2023 Weather: Cool 17C

Nikon P950

Checking out of our hotels early, we drove our hire car northbound out of San Diego and stopped off at La Jolla Village for breakfast and a walk along La Jolla Cove. Breakfast at recommended The Cottage restaurant was ordinary…. but La Jolla Cove was pretty as always and great value for an hour…

La Jolla Cove with a nice walk and the sea lions and seals on the promontory
Almost the first thing you notice are these large flocks of Brown pelicans flying all around…such a delight…
Occasionally a single pelican will zip by
The sea lions and seals were relaxed in the morning sun…
frolicking in the water

and just floating in the sea

Western gull amongst the flowers
immature ring billed gull
and I had to include this picture of the western gulls on the beach with the shadow of an overhead bird amongst them….cool
and finally a few distant cormorants preening

La Jolla Cove is a great place to stop for an hour on the drive back to LAX…recommended.

An uncommon visitor to my Singapore garden

When: October 2022 Temperature: 30C Nikon P950

A number of common birds are often seen in the Linear Park area near my home in Singapore…

red wattled lapwing
blue throated bee eater
white throated kingfisher

Some days we just hang around our garden where olive backed, crimson and brown throated sunbirds are frequent visitors….on this particular afternoon, my wife called me to the window to look at something in the garden….

a greyish, yellow and olive bird was skulking amongst the leaves…I thought just a common olive backed sunbird…
he then showed himself a little more…..a long decurved beak and partial white eye ring…not typical of the smaller sunbird

he then hopped over to our bird bath which had been sorely underused since we set it up…
He posed willingly….
the long decurved beak, incomplete eye ring, whitish throat with yellow body confirmed this was the Little Spiderhunter….
The smallest but commonest of the three spiderhunters we see in Singapore, it is not that commonly seen
He checked out the bird bath
and hopped in for a bath on this hot day
He liked my misting system for the plants and perched for a while preening himself
Such a delight to have this uncommon spiderhunter visit us in our garden!

As I’ve noted in previous blog posts, we sometimes don’t need to venture far to birdwatch….our own backyard sometimes suffices!

my small garden

Lake Maggiore, Milan and a few birds

When: September 2022 Weather: Hot 25-30C

Leica Q, Leica M11/35mm summilux, Nikon P950

A short 4 day visit to Milan started when we landed at Malpensa and picked up a car to take a drive to the nearby Lake Maggiore, less than an hour away. The sun was shining as we descended the hilly road into Stresa and the lake was stunning in it blue green colour. The Borromean Islands were easily seen from the shore and we decided to spend a few hours exploring Stresa rather than being stuck on a boat cruising between the islands…

The railway station in Stresa where we parked in a free white parking lot…..there’s plenty of parking here and it’s an easy walk into town…

The streets of Stresa were lined with interesting little shops

the view from Stresa across Lake Maggiore towards Pallanza

the pier where all the boat operators dock
and not far from the shore, our view of the Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean Islands where there is a botanic garden….

Enjoying the view towards Isola Bella

Near the jetty a cormorant posed
From the cormorants we saw in Bangalore a few weeks ago to the Cormorants here in Italy….such an adaptable bird

Coot on the water

A rather smart sea gull on the pier
After a few hours in Stresa, we headed back to Milan to our hotel, the Melia Milano…..

I was concerned about whether I could park the hire car easily in Milan but as it turns out, there were plenty of nearby blue paid parking lots at 2 euro an hour and we just used the metro whilst in Milano.

of course no visit to MIlan is complete without visiting the church where…
the Last Supper mural by Leonardo da Vinci is….

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Just a short trip to Milan which is always interesting and the visit to Lake Maggiore was the icing on the cake.

Singapore Rail Corridor Birding

When: July 2022 730am Weather: Hot 25-30C

Nikon P950

Being a public holiday we did a little birding ramble along the Old Holland Road Linear Park and linked up to the rail corridor before heading north in the direction of the old Bukit Timah Railway station which was recently refurbished and conserved. The crowds were out and there was a mini traffic jam of people and bikes on the trail…not exactly condusive to birding! But the rail corridor was a place I had always wanted to bird at…

The Rail Corridor is where the old railway line between Malaysia and Singapore ran and when the station was moved away from Keppel Station, the railway track and sleepers were largely removed and a trail made for walkers and bikers.

We were greeted by a loud group of long tailed parakeets

We accessed the rail corridor along the linear park walkway just after the canal….

This is the back of the old Bukit Timah Railway Station, newly restored…the best birding was along this stretch …

The greenery behind the station on the right here was where we birded…

a sunbird flitted about in the bushes….likely a juvenile crimson can just make out tinges of red on the breast

Pacific Swallow

incessant melodious singing led us to several straw headed bulbuls…always a treat to see

a brilliant flash of yellow …..the common iora
pink necked pigeon
zebra dove posing

And as we returned to Old Holland Road via the linear park, a pair of magnificent pied oriental hornbills flew over us to cap a very nice bird ramble indeed….recommended