Herdsman Birdsman 2

As well as yesterday’s Black Swan cygnets, you may also spot a few Nankeen Night Herons at Herdsman Lake – even in the daytime. These herons have a distinctive appearance, but their immature offspring (below) look quite different. You could easily think they were an entirely different species.

There are usually some Yellow-billed Spoonbills wading around in the shallows too.


Swanning Around

The big attraction at Herdsman Lake in Perth at present are the Black Swan cygnets. They are too cute to be true, whether they are tagging along with their parents, or out for a swim. It’s hard to think of them as being ugly ducklings.

Sun Spotting

As well as Griffith Observatory, which was featured in the previous three blog entries, we also saw this observatory in the San Bernardino Mountains. It’s the Big Bear Solar Observatory, operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Despite its rather modest appearance, this observatory houses the most powerful solar telescope in the world.

Over the Moon

Here are two more exhibits at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles that caught our attention. The moon rock above is next to a globe of the moon. And the object below looks like some sort of spacecraft, but is actually an old projector from the planetarium at the observatory.

The nearest Metro subway station is Vermont/Sunset, and the interior decor echoes the space theme of the observatory.

Music of the Spheres

Here are some of the things inside the Griffith Observatory that caught our attention – all of them spherical. The huge object above is a Foucault Pendulum, a simple device which demonstrates the rotation of the Earth.

We also liked the large models of the planets (above) and this large rotating model of the Earth, which showed California (below). A short time later it had turned around so we could see Western Australia, where we live.

Equinox Line

Today is the spring equinox, or the autumn/fall equinox if you are in the northern hemisphere. Actually the equinox occurs at 20:02 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) on 22 September, which is 04:02 on 23 September here in Perth.

We saw this equinox line at Griffith Observatory (below) during our visit to Los Angeles last month. It points directly at the setting sun at the equinox.