E. Kowalski's blog

Comments on mathematics, mostly.

Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

The Spring menagerie


I think readers can legitimately complain that not only have I not added a new post for a long time, but more schockingly, my last animal-related one goes back more than one year. So, to celebrate the recent belated aperçus of spring in Zürich and around, here are some pictures:

The first two are cheating, since they come from the Masoala Hall — but the first one illustrates the beautiful views from the very new canopy walk:

while the second is a rarely-seen lizard

Next comes a well-camouflaged bird, this one from a park in Graz

and another one from the aforementioned canopy

after which come a frog,

a snail,

and more frogs:

Hopefully more animal pictures will come before a year passes!

Written by Kowalski

May 6th, 2013 at 9:24 pm

The rights of frogs of toads


How more considerate of our amphibian cousins can you get?

(Translation: “Amphibian migration / Obere Geerenstrasse / From the beginning of Mars to the end of Mars / 18:00 afternoon to 06:30 morning / Inaccessible”)

For an additional Swiss note, the next panel, which unfortunately I couldn’t photograph in the same frame, was a reminder that their is a votation this Sunday.

Written by Kowalski

March 11th, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Animals,Switzerland


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I presume that a number of readers are getting tired of my stories of growth and expansion, especially when it seems I can’t keep a value straight for two days in a row. There will be at least one more post about this, but for a relaxing change, here are some recent animal pictures…

First, a raptor looking at me straight in the eyes,

and then a shingleback lizard from the Zürich Zoo being handed his lunch on chopsticks:

he (or she) was very lazy about actually starting eating his (or her) cricket, which makes you wonder how things would go in the wild…

And finally a leaf-fish, still from the Zürich Zoo, which is a species I had never seen before:

Written by Kowalski

January 3rd, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Animals

Birds of the Léman


My last post about birds concerned the great crested grebe (which appears in a most hilarious way in Scoop — “Lord Copper,” he was saying, “no man shall call me a liar unchastised. The great crested grebe does hibernate.”)

Although a more recent week-end excursion on the Léman was richer in raptors, it was also a pleasure to watch the noble heron (Héron cendré, I guess) guarding the piers:

However, the thrilling part was to watch raptors fishing; to be precise, I think most of them were the same species

which — interpreting my bird-book — is quite likely to be the Milan noir (Milvus migrans) (it might be the Milan royal, but that seems much more unlikely). Of course, most of my attempts to photograph the fishing of the milans resulted in blurry pictures of the surface of the lake; however, some succeeded, like this one

or that one

Written by Kowalski

June 12th, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Lago Maggiore

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Mathematicians coming to Verbania, on the Lago Maggiore, for tourism may be interested either in Riemann’s grave, in borromean rings or in getting some rest. Charmingly, these can all be combined at will. I haven’t yet visited the first, but visiting the Borromean islands

A Borromean island

naturally leads to

One ring


Two rings

with the

Three rings

second. As for resting, I had an amusing elementary inequality in mind (almost) wherever I went, and that was actually rather nice…

Another highlight was the opportunity to witness the mating display of the Great Crested Grebe (or grèbe huppé, or Podiceps cristatus)


something which — according to my bird book — is not so common. I even took a short movie, but in true Murphy’s Law fashion (probably to compensate for its failure when photographing geckos making hand signals) I just missed the few seconds when the birds actually stood on the lake (as in this picture, though the ones I saw did not hold a fish at that time).

A restaurant recommendation in Verbania-Intra is the Trattoria Concordia; bear in mind that local red wines are, typically, slightly fizzy; it can make for a real vacation feel…

Written by Kowalski

April 30th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Animals,Travel