At the Parc Zoologique in Frejus

Not far from Villa Ndio, passing over Lac St. Cassien followed by a short drive along the autoroute takes one to Frejus.  Near the autoroute exit lies the Parc Zoologique with a decent variety of wild beasties in the pens and cages.  We went there on a lark one day recently (July 2019), me with my cameras equipped with telephoto lens.  Below find some samples of what we saw there.  Click on any image to enlarge it and/or start a slideshow.

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Damselflies and Dragonflies Around Villa Ndio

What is the difference between a damselfly and a dragonfly? Inquiring minds want to know. I learned that dragons spread their wings out perpendicular to their bodies when they perch, and that damsels have wings that taper down to their bodies and are held upward when they perch. These photos were taken in the Villa Ndio garden and in neighboring communities.

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Bird Watching with Ed and Liz

While enjoying a wonderful visit with good friends Ed and Liz in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, I photographed visitors to a bird feeder erected by them behind their house. Here are some of the best shots.  Also included in the mix are photos of birds seen at the inn I stayed at, and at Longwood Gardens nearby.  Click on any image to enlarge  it and/or start a slide show. Continue reading “Bird Watching with Ed and Liz”

Birds of Villa Ndio

This blog post will be updated with each new sighting!  Beginning in late Spring 2019 we have put out feeders and suet balls to attract birds to the Villa Ndio garden.  The result was an immediate increase in bird activity, and as the birds developed confidence they began visiting these new food sources laden with birdseed purchased by the bagfull at the nearby grocery store. Continue reading “Birds of Villa Ndio”

Bumblebees of Villa Ndio

At least three distinct species of bumblebees buzz the red dead nettles that thrive throughout the Villa Ndio garden. The white-tailed bumblebee – Bombus lucorum — and the all-orange Bombus pascuorum are frequent visitors.  Among the white-tailed bumblebee we have seen both yellow banded and orange banded varieties.  And among the all-orange bumblebee, some have dark brown bands.  

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The Verrerie de Biot

Glass blowers stroll around their workshop in cool street clothing and sandals, with molten glass blobs on the ends of long hollow poles.  They use the poles to scoop up raw material through  a small door of a brightly glowing furnace that keeps it in a thick liquid form. Then at different stations around the workshop they twirl the poles down their length; blow into the poles to give the blobs shape; place the developing work into a smaller furnace where they continue to spin the poles and keep the material hot and pliable; and stand on small platforms to lower the work into shaping and cooling boxes with the help of their colleagues.  The process, with several pieces of glassware being created simultaneously, is not unlike a dance, with each dancer managing his own piece.  They all seem to have excellent peripheral vision, each knowing where the others are at all times with their extremely hot molten glass on the ends of their long poles.

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Remembering Sardinia and L’Ardia di San Costantino Festival

We knew it was a popular festival and that it was going to be crowded.  So we set out early from our guest house near Oristano for the 45 minute drive to Sedilo. Even so, it was already filling up when we got there.  We got as close as we could to drop off the members of our party less able to hike from remote parking.  But that hike for the rest of us was pleasant for the scenery and people watching. When we got to the Sanctuario di San Costantino the hillside sloping down from the imposing cross was well populated, as were the walls and other choice seating areas.  Our group congregated just inside the main gate where we saw a wide variety of local officials, Sardinian natives and more than a smattering of tourists.

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