The Norway spruce (Picea abies) is native from Scandinavia and the Alps, south to the Balkans and eastwards to somewhere in Russia. Its eastern limit is very difficult to define, as it hybridizes freely with the Siberian spruce (P. obovata), which is distributed from western Russia and eastern Finland eastwards across Siberia. Norway spruce is widely planted elsewhere for its wood. The specific name abies is the Latin generic name of firs. This name was given in allusion to the fact that Norway spruce, at some distance, often resembles the common fir (Abies alba).
Early in the morning, a Norway spruce (Picea abies) is seen as a silhouette against the mountain Sassolungo (3,181m), Dolomites, northern Italy. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In Chinese mythology, the dragon is a symbol of power, strength, and good luck, and most Daoist temples abound with images of these creatures. – Read more about dragons, and about Daoism in general, elsewhere on this website, see Religion: Daoism in Taiwan.
Men, performing a dragon dance outside a Daoist temple, dedicated to Wang-yeh, the god of diseases, Beimen, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Goblin Valley State Park is an area of Entrada Sandstone, situated on the Colorado Plateau, Utah, United States, eroded by rainfall and wind into the weirdest forms, called goblins. – More pictures of these formations, as well as other geological phenomena on the Colorado Plateau, are found elsewhere on this website, see Nature: Nature’s art.
This formation in Goblin Valley State Park might be called ‘Snoopy kissing E.T.’ (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Silhouetted against the evening light, this couple is walking hand-in-hand under a bridge, Jutland, Denmark. Ousted Church is seen in the background. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Abdim’s stork (Ciconia abdimii), also known as white-bellied stork, is distributed across the Sahel Zone of northern Africa, to Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia, and the south-western tip of the Arabian Peninsula, and in south-eastern Africa, from southern Tanzania to South Africa. The name of this small stork commemorates Bey el-Arnaut Abdim (1780–1827), Turkish governor of Wadi Halfa, Sudan.
Abdim’s storks (Ciconia abdimii), resting in a tree, Cameroun. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Four subspecies of the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) are widely distributed in Western North America, from sea level to subalpine montane forests. The nominate subspecies, contorta, is coastal, found on the Pacific Coast from southern Alaska south to north-western California. Another coastal subspecies is bolanderi, which is endemic to Mendocino County, north-western California. It is threatened by urban development. The tamarack pine, or Sierra lodgepole pine, ssp. murrayana, is widely distributed in mountains, from Washington south to northern Baja California, and thence eastwards to southern Nevada. Finally, ssp. latifolia is found in the Rocky Mountains, from Yukon and Saskatchewan south to Colorado.
The specific name contorta is from the Latin con (‘with’) and torqueo (‘twisted’), referring to the low, twisted trees, commonly found along the Pacific Coast. This is also reflected in one of the common names of this species, twisted pine.
Sunshine, illuminating foliage of a Sierra lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana), Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The place of origin of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) is unknown, and today it is found everywhere along tropical coasts, in some areas also inland. This species is utilized for countless purposes. Oil from the nuts, and also dried copra, is used in cooking and in lamps. Mats, weaved from the leaves, are used as walls and roofs in houses, and mats and rope are produced from the fibres in the husk. Charcoal is made from the shells, and the trunk is utilized as timber and firewood.
Sunrise behind coconut palms (Cocos nucifera), Goa, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
On several occasions, at various places around the world, I have photographed cormorants as silhouettes. These birds often have exposed roosting sites on rocks or in trees, thus being very photogenic against the light. Below, a number of pictures show various cormorant species.
During the 1800s, the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) was persecuted all over Europe, partly because it was competing with fishermen, partly because its guano was destroying the trees, in which it was breeding. This bird has an extremely wide, but rather patchy, distribution, found all over Europe and most of Asia, in Australia and New Zealand, and in north-eastern North America and Greenland. Formerly, the white-breasted cormorant of Africa was also included in this species, but today most authorities recognize African birds as a full species, P. lucidus.
The generic name Phalacrocorax is from the Greek phalakros (‘bald’) and korax (‘raven’), while the specific name carbo is Latin, meaning ‘coal’, thus ‘the coal-black, bald raven’, where bald refers to the white crown of P. carbo during the breeding season.
Incidentally, fishermen at various localities in China have been using tamed cormorants of this species for fishing for thousands of years. A picture of this practice is found elsewhere on this website, see: Fishing.
This picture is from Nature Reserve Vorsø, Denmark, where the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) re-established itself as a breeding bird during the 1940s, after being eradicated from the island – and from almost the entire country – in the 1800s. Read more about this species, and about Nature Reserve Vorsø in general, elsewhere on this website, see: Vorsø on my mind. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Greater cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), gathered on their night roost on a rock in the Atlantic Ocean, Vendée, France. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Brandt’s cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) is a marine species, distributed along the entire North American Pacific Coast, from Alaska south to Baja California and the coast of Sinaloa, Mexico.
Coastal rocks with resting Brandt’s cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus), Golden Gate, San Francisco, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The small reed cormorant (Phalacrocorax africanus) breeds in most of sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.
Reed cormorants (Phalacrocorax africanus), gathered in a Casuarina tree on the shores of Lake Awassa, Ethiopia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), which is divided into five subspecies, is very common in most of North America, from the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea south to northern Mexico, and across the continent to eastern Canada, south to the Bahamas. The specific name auritus means ‘eared’ in Latin, which, like the common name double-crested, refers to its twin nuptial crests during the breeding season. – A close-up picture of this species is found on this website, see Animals: Predator and prey.
Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), resting on a rock in the St. Lawrence River, near Niagara Falls, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The little cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) is widely distributed, found from the Indian Subcontinent eastwards through Southeast Asia to Indonesia.
Little cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger), resting on a rock, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Morning fog gives way to sunshine in an oak forest near Ghare, Annapurna, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The flamboyant tree (Delonix regia), also called flame tree, is a huge tree of the pea family (Fabaceae), named for its gorgeous flowers. It is native to Madagascar, but is cultivated in almost all warmer countries.
This picture from Taiwan shows the huge pods of the flamboyant tree (Delonix regia), which can up to 60 centimetres long and 5 cm wide. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The huge organ-pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) is mainly found in northern Mexico, in the Sonora Desert and on Baja California, with a small population in the extreme southern United States, especially in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. In Spanish, this species is known as pitaya dulce, meaning ‘sweet pitaya’. The word pitaya refers to edible fruits of several Mexican cactus species.
Organ-pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) at sunset, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The most widespread swallow in the world is the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), six subspecies of which breed in most of Eurasia, from the British Isles east to Kamchatka and Japan, in North Africa, and in most of North America and Mexico. Four of the subspecies are migratory, spending the winter in the Southern Hemisphere, as far south as South Africa, northern Australia, and Argentina.
The barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) is a common breeding bird in Denmark. These birds are resting on a ventilation shaft on a farm building in Jutland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Poplars (Populus) stand out against the snow-clad Alborz (Elburz) Mountains, northern Iran. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In the past, all grey langurs on the Indian Subcontinent were regarded as belonging to a single species, Semnopithecus entellus, which was divided into six subspecies. However, recent morphological studies, combined with DNA-analyses, have revealed that the grey langurs should be regarded as seven full species: northern plains langur (S. entellus), southern plains langur (S. dussumieri), terai langur (S. hector), Nepal langur (S. schistaceus), Kashmir langur (S. ajax), black-footed langur (S. hypoleucos), and tufted langur (S. priam).
The generic name Semnopithecus is from the Greek, semnos (‘sacred’) and pithekos (‘monkey’), alluding to the fact that monkeys are sacred to Hindus. – Read more about langurs, as well as many other monkeys, elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Monkeys and apes.
The southern plains langur (Semnopithecus dussumieri) is widespread in north-western, central, and south-central India, from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh south to Telangana and northern Karnataka and Kerala, living in a variety of habitats, such as forests, scrubland, temple groves, gardens, and towns, up to an altitude of c. 1,700 m.
Morning sunshine creates contours around these southern plains langurs (Semnopithecus dussumieri), sitting in a tree in Ranthambhor National Park, Rajasthan, India. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
These women, who have been walking their dogs in a park in Copenhagen, Denmark, are now sitting on a bench, chatting. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Man, washing his child in the Rapti River, southern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In most of its distribution area, the grey, or Himalayan, treepie (Dendrocitta formosae) is a rather shy forest bird, mainly found in montane areas. In Taiwan, however, it lives almost down to sea level, often in cities, where it has become accustomed to people. – More photos of this bird are found elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Birds in Taiwan.
Grey treepie (Dendrocitta formosae), sitting on an antenna in the city of Taichung, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Chortens are the Tibetan variety of Buddhist stupas, whose various parts symbolize the elements, the base representing soil, the dome water, the rings or squares above the dome fire, the half-moon air, and the uppermost point – sometimes a small sun – space. Read more about chortens, and about Buddhism in general, elsewhere on this website, see Religion: Buddhism.
Early in the morning, this chorten stands out against the barren hills surrounding Tso Kar, a saline lake in Ladakh, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The black vulture (Coragyps atratus) is a widespread and common scavenger, found from south-eastern United States, south to Chile and Uruguay. Although it mainly eats carrion and garbage, it is also able to kill smaller animals, notably newly hatched sea turtles, making their way towards the sea.
Black vulture (Coragyps atratus), sitting on a pole near the Pacific Ocean, Monterrico, Guatemala. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The silhouette of this rock in Gorge du Tarn, Cévennes, France, resembles a dancing couple. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The chestnut-headed bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) is widely distributed, from the Indian Subcontinent east to southern China, and thence south through Indochina and Malaysia to Indonesia. It is mainly found in highlands of moderate elevation, breeding in open woodland.
Chestnut-headed bee-eaters (Merops leschenaulti), gathered at their night roost, Chitwan National Park, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The common eider (Somateria mollissima) has an almost circumpolar distribution, found along Arctic coasts in Europe, eastern Siberia, and North America. It also breeds in some northern temperate areas.
Common eiders (Somateria mollissima), resting on coastal rocks on the islet of Christiansø, Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Dragonfly, silhouetted against reflections in the Rapti River, southern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Early in the morning, this woman in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India, is sweeping the street. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Boy, catching fish with a small net in an inundated rice field, Banawe, Luzon, Philippines. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Darters (Anhinga) – also called snakebirds due to their long, thin, flexible neck – are large water birds, comprising two or four species. The American darter (Anhinga anhinga), often called just anhinga, lives in the New World, whereas one or three species are found in the Old World. If the three are lumped, they are called A. melanogaster. Some authorities, however, recognize three full species: the Oriental darter (A. melanogaster), the African darter (A. rufa), and the Australasian darter (A. novaehollandiae).
These pictures from Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India, show Oriental darters (Anhinga melanogaster), drying their wings. In the lower picture, a water buffalo is walking past a darter and a little cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger). (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
People, climbing stairs on the Eiffel Tower, Paris. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
This boy has climbed to the top of a dead date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), Tamanrasset, Algeria. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Mountains and trees, silhouetted against a white cloud, Jhong River Valley, Mustang, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Formerly, the large-billed crow (Corvus macrorhynchos) was called jungle crow, including two other crows, which are today treated as separate species, the Indian jungle crow (C. culminatus) and the eastern jungle crow (C. levaillantii). Despite these splits, the large-billed crow still has a very wide distribution, found from Afghanistan in the west, across the Himalaya and Tibet to northern China, south-eastern Siberia, and Taiwan, south through Southeast Asia to Indonesia and the Philippines. In the Indian Subcontinent, it is generally found at higher elevations than the Indian jungle crow.
This large-billed crow (Corvus macrorhynchos), sitting in the top of a blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), Upper Marsyangdi Valley, Nepal, is silhouetted against the snow-covered face of Annapurna II (7,937 m). (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Fishermen, hauling huge nets ashore from the sea, is a very photogenic motive, which can (still) be encountered in various countries. Three examples are shown below. – More pictures of fishermen are found elsewhere on this website, see: Fishing.
Early in the morning, fishermen are hauling a huge net ashore, Bali, Indonesia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Fishermen, hauling a huge net ashore, Hambantota, Sri Lanka. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Fishermen, rinsing a huge net in the sea, Colva Beach, Goa, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The handsome spotted deer (Axis axis), in India known as chital, is rather common in most of the Indian Subcontinent, but is found nowhere else.
Early in the morning, these spotted deer (Axis axis), are silhouetted against a grassy plain in Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Sunshine, penetrating a star fruit (Averrhoa carambola), Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
For thousands of years, Arabs were trading along the East African coast, sailing in their typical dhows – an ancient Arabian type of sailboat. Africans have adopted the dhow, and today you still see them in large numbers along the East African coast. – Read more about dhows and other types of boats elsewhere on this website, see Culture: Boats.
Dhow, passing a fisherman, pulling his canoe, Somanga, Tanzania. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Two species of false cypresses, of the genus Chamaecyparis, are native to Taiwan, the Taiwan red cypress (C. formosensis) and the Taiwan yellow cypress (C. obtusa var. formosana), both growing in areas of high precipitation at medium elevations, between 1,300 and 2,600 metres altitude. – Read more about these magnificent trees elsewhere on this website, see Plants: Ancient and huge trees.
The ‘Fuci Trees’ are two Taiwan red cypresses (Chamaecyparis formosana) in Yushan National Park, which were killed by a forest fire in 1963. This picture shows one of these trees. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, is a suspension bridge, 2,737 metres (8,981 feet) long, spanning the Golden Gate, the strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. This bridge was opened in 1937, and, until 1964, it had the longest main span of any suspension bridge in the world, at 1,280 metres (4,200 feet). – More pictures of this bridge are found elsewhere on this website, see Culture: Bridges.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The Eurasian crane (Grus grus) breeds from Scandinavia and the Baltic States, eastwards across the entire Siberian taiga, with a patchy distribution in the rest of Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Tibet. – More pictures of cranes are found elsewhere on this website, see Gallery: Animals – Cranes.
Feeding Eurasian cranes (Grus grus), Hornborgasjön, Sweden. This lake is visited by up to 10,000 cranes in March-April, resting here on their way to their breeding grounds. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The black plumage of the male blackbird (Turdus merula) has given rise to its name. Until about the 17th century, other names of this thrush was ouzel or wosel, from Old English osle. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the weaver Nick Bottom sings:
The woosell cocke, so blacke of hew,
With orenge-tawny bill,
The throstle, with his note so true,
The wren and little quill.
Formerly, the blackbird was a shy forest bird, but in the last hundred years or so, it has spread to virtually all urban areas in Europe, today being one of the most common city birds. It is distributed across Europe and the Middle East, eastwards to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and it has also been introduced to Australia and New Zealand.
Blackbird (Turdus merula), sitting on a straw roof at dawn, Funen, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
For thousands of years, a huge marsh area in southern Iraq, between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, was the home of the Madan tribe, whose way of life was completely adapted to the wet habitat. They moved about in canoes, built their reed houses on islets, and made a living by hunting and fishing, growing rice, and raising water buffaloes.
The regime of Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (1979-2003) put an end to their way of life by draining the marshes, as a retaliation for the Madan siding with the Americans during the First Gulf War (1990-1991).
Read more about this interesting wetland elsewhere on this website, see Travel episodes: Iraq 1973: The hospitable mudir, and Dust storm and sheep’s head.
At dusk, this Madan is punting his canoe in the marshes of southern Iraq. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Trees, covered in ivy (Hedera helix), Kinnegad, Ireland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The blue pine (Pinus wallichiana) is distributed in montane areas from Afghanistan and the Himalaya eastwards to south-western China. The name of this pine stems from its needles, which have a bluish tinge. In Nepal, honey dew from aphids living on the needles is eaten as candy. – Read more about this species elsewhere on this website, see Traditional medicine: Pinus wallichiana.
Rocks and blue pines (Pinus wallichiana), silhouetted against the snow-clad peak of Annapurna II (7,937 m), Upper Marsyangdi Valley, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Dhobi-wallahs (washermen) at work on the dhobi ghats (‘washing stairs’), Ganges River, Varanasi, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Pruned poplars (Populus) in winter, Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Traditionally, in the village of Kichan, Rajasthan, north-western India, wintering demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides virgo), altogether 5,000-6,000, are fed every morning. At dawn, the cranes arrive at a certain yard in the village, where huge amounts of wheat and other cereals are strewn. This food is donated by rich businessmen, belonging to the Jain religion. – Read more about the Jains elsewhere on this website, see Religion: Jainism. More pictures of cranes may be seen in the gallery: Animals – Cranes.
These women from the village of Kichan, Rajasthan, north-western India, are watching demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides virgo), flying over. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The hamerkop (Scopus umbretta) is a small, heron-like bird, which, however, forms a separate family of its own, Scopidae. When the Boer people arrived in South Africa in the 18th century, they named this bird hamerkop (‘hammer-head’ in Dutch), due to its maul-shaped crest. Later, this name was adopted by the British.
This bird has a huge distribution, covering most of sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and the south-western tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Traditionally, this species is protected in many places, making it rather confident. This fact may be seen elsewhere on this website, see Culture: Boats.
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), Lake Baringo, Kenya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Homeless man, looking for food in a trash can, Kowloon, Hong Kong. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In the Kashmir Valley, northern India, lakes and canals form important waterways for transportation of goods. Early in the morning, this man is paddling his boat across Dal Lake. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Anglers, trying their luck, San Francisco, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica) differs from most other palms in that the trunk branches, with leaves at the end of each branch. It is distributed across the African Sahel zone, and in East Africa, from northern Tanzania north to Egypt, and also in Israel, Jordan, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Doum palms (Hyphaene thebaica), photographed late in the afternoon, Moradi, Niger. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Doum palms at dawn, Fuloha Oasis, Ethiopia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In Monument Valley, Arizona, United States, rainfall and wind have eroded rocks into bizarre forms. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Morning mist along a road, Bagan, Myanmar. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The bishop pine (Pinus muricata) is a coastal species with a very restricted distribution, found only on a few localities on the Californian coast, on some of the Channel Islands, and two places in Baja California, Mexico. The name bishop pine arose, when this tree was first identified near the Mission of San Luis Obispo, California.
Sunset behind an old bishop pine (Pinus muricata), Salt Point State Park, California. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
During the Hindu festival of Bada Dasain – also called Dassera or Durga Puja – gigantic swings are erected in many Nepalese villages, placed at the end of long ropes, hanging down from the top of four long bamboo poles, tied together above, or being tied to a large branch.
Girl on a gigantic swing, Pokhara, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In the 1800s, about 2,000 wooden windmills were found on the Swedish island of Öland, but during the 1900s, many of these went into decay and were torn down. Today, about 355 are preserved.
Sunset behind a wooden windmill, Albrunna, Öland. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Tree with doves, outlined against the setting sun, Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Angler, trying his luck on a beach near Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
At dawn, fishermen row their boat out through the surf, Puri, Odisha (Orissa), India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) breeds mainly in the Rift Valley Lakes of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, while three smaller breeding populations occur in West Africa, Namibia, and Gujarat, India. When not breeding, this species occurs in virtually every sub-Saharan country, across the Arabian Peninsula to India and Sri Lanka. The global population has been estimated at between 2.2 and 3.2 million. (Source: iucnredlist.org/details/22697369/0)
Lake Bogoria is an alkaline lake in northern Kenya, which, at times, is visited by up to a million lesser flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor). In this picture, the birds are silhouetted against mist from hot springs at the lake side. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Rays from the rising sun spread star-like into the sky behind a mountain, Lukla, Khumbu, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Dawn on the Ganges River, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Undoubtedly, the best known of all cactus species is the huge saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), which can grow to 12 metres tall. It has been used as a decorative background in countless western films, but is in fact of a rather limited distribution, growing only in the Sonoran Desert of Mexico and southern Arizona, and in a small area in adjacent California. – More pictures of this species, as well as many other cacti, are found elsewhere on this website, see Gallery: Plants – Cacti.
Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) and Full Moon, Saguaro West National Park, Arizona. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Heavily loaded porter, passing through smoke, seeping out from a house, in which morning cooking is taking place, Marsyangdi Valley, Annapurna, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The last sun rays of the day illuminate cattle, gathered in a dairy farm, southern Tanzania. – Read more about domestic cattle elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Animals as servants of Man. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Gotland sheep in evening light, Zealand, Denmark. – Read more about domestic sheep elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Animals as servants of Man. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Morning fog envelops the Durbar Square, Bhaktapur, Nepal. The population of this ancient city are mainly Newars, a people of mixed Mongolian and Indo-European descent. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Tombstones in the Veterans’ Graveyard, San Diego, California, are outlined against the morning sky. More pictures from this, and many other graveyards, are found elsewhere on this website, see Culture: Graves. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Early morning at Chennai Railway Station, Tamil Nadu, South India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The long-crested eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) is fairly common in open areas of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal eastwards to Ethiopia, and from here south to South Africa and Namibia.
Long-crested eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis), perched on a dead tree, Lake Manyara National Park, northern Tanzania. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) was first tamed in the Indus Valley about 5,500 years ago. – Read more about elephants elsewhere on this website, see Animals: Rise and fall of the mighty elephants.
Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) on a beach near Negombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Fisherman, throwing his net into the Rapti River, southern Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In his book Jungle Lore, published in 1953, British hunter, writer, and conservationist Jim Corbett (1875-1955) relates the following about the remarkable greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus): “(…) the racket-tailed drongo is a never-ending source of pleasure and interest for, in addition to being the most courageous bird in our jungles, he can imitate to perfection the calls of most birds and of one animal, the cheetal [spotted deer, Axis axis], and he has a great sense of humour. Attaching himself to a flock of ground-feeding birds – junglefowl, babblers, or thrushes – he takes up a commanding position on a dead branch and, while regaling the jungle with his own songs and the songs of other birds, keeps a sharp look-out for enemies in the way of hawks, cats, snakes, and small boys armed with catapults, [the author’s reference to himself] and his warning of the approach of danger is never disregarded. His services are not disinterested, for in return for protection, he expects the flock he is guarding to provide him with food. His sharp eyes miss nothing, and the moment he sees that one of the birds industriously scratching up or turning over the dead leaves below him has unearthed a fat centipede or a juicy scorpion he darts at it screaming like a hawk, or screaming as a bird of the species he is trying to dispossess does when caught by a hawk. Nine times out of ten he succeeds in wresting the prize from the finder, and returning to his perch kills and eats the titbit at his leisure, and having done so continues his interrupted song.”
Greater racket-tailed drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), Periyar National Park, Kerala, South India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Erosion from sea and wind has shaped the soft Daliao Sandstone rocks in Yeliou Geopark, northern Taiwan, creating fantastic formations. – More pictures of these formations are found elsewhere on this website, see Nature: Nature’s art.
This formation in Yeliou Geopark, northern Taiwan, has been eroded into resembling Nefertiti, queen of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled Ancient Egypt from 1353 to 1335 B.C. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
In former days, the pretty painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala) had a wide distribution in Asia, found in the Indus Valley in Pakistan, in India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and southern China. Today, however, it is only common locally in India and Sri Lanka, elsewhere it is either very rare, or has disappeared entirely.
Painted storks (Mycteria leucocephala) at sunset, Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India. It is a common breeding bird in this sanctuary. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
People and sheep, on their way home, stand out against the bleak desert mountains around the city of Shigatse, Tibet. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Sunshine, illuminating old man’s beard lichens (Usnea), Olympic National Park, Washington, United States. – Read a fascinating account on these lichens elsewhere on this website, see Plants: Mountain plants – Plants of the Himalaya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
House and spiny-leaved oaks (Quercus semecarpifolia) at dawn, Ghorepani, Annapurna, Nepal. The stunted appearance of the trees is caused by people, lopping their foliage for fodder. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Black rain cloud, passing over the island of Vorsø, Horsens Fjord, Denmark. – Read more about Nature Reserve Vorsø elsewhere on this website, see: Vorsø on my mind. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Sunshine on poplars (Populus), standing out against a dark rock, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
Early morning in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. This picture shows two different types of renovation: garbage collectors, passing by zebu oxen, eating garbage. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
On Lake Tana, Ethiopia, reed boats, made from papyrus stems (Cyperus papyrus), have been made since the 9th Century B.C., or earlier. – Read more about reed boats and other types of boats elsewhere on this website, see Culture: Boats.
Girl, punting a primitive boat, made from a few papyrus stems (Cyperus papyrus), tied together, Lake Tana, Ethiopia. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)
(Uploaded October 2017)