American Holly

American Holly
American Holly

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From Bagpipes to Bioluminence


My Walk from Rideau Hall to Rideau Center was partly along this route 

I had a long and very varied day here in Ottawa, Canada, last Tuesday.  My daughter lives very close to Rideau Hall,  the official residence and work place of the Governor General. This is also one of the National Historic Sites.

I started walking to Rideau Hall early in the morning, in hopes of enjoying the park-like area. Not long after I arrived, I heard the sound of bagpipes. I love them and started walking towards their sound to discover the reason for them and to get to enjoy them close up. Then, through the trees, I saw a group of redcoats.


 I found they were the changing of the guard. There is a guard post at the
 entrance to the property and also in front of the actual building.

The military group delivered two guards to the front gate and then walked back to the front of the hall to deliver two more there. The guard change happens every hour between 9:00 A. M. and closing. But only during the summer. The very next time I passed by here, on a tour bus, I found the sentry stations empty.  The guardsmen live in a college barracks and have to move out the third week of August.


I wandered the grounds and found that many of the trees had been ceremonially planted by heads of state. I also enjoyed the rose garden and pool, although most of the roses weren't blooming.
















I passed on taking the tour of the residence and started walking towards the center of Ottawa, along the Ottawa River, the first leg of my trip to my next destination, the Museum of Nature. One of the most interesting things I found was two sets of falls, separated by an island, where the Rideau River meets the Ottawa River.

The larger of two falls separating the Rideau River from the Ottawa River - the 2nd is in the smooth place behind the green, an island in the middle of the falls. 

The second set of Rideau falls - the island divides them 


War Memorial between the two falls

Giant rose hips and spiders, Virginia creeper, and other familiar flowers - who knew?

I walked down to the Rideau Center, where I caught a bus that would take me to the museum.  When I got there, I found two very interesting exhibits.  One was a look back at the passenger pigeon, which went extinct 100 years ago.  Scientists think they can resurrect the species.  However the pigeons have to live in large flocks to breed will eat everything at a site, before moving on.  And they were birds of mature forests. So we probably can't get enough individuals to get them to breed, and there is probably not enough habitat left in the world to support them.

Then I went into the enchanting bioluminescence exhibition. Different exhibits showed land and water organisms that have bioluminescence. I even found out all about glowworms.  The ways organisms use bioluminescence was also demonstrated.  They use it to communicate, to attract mates, to attract prey, to advertise they are toxic, and to hide against the sky from predators swimming underneath them. Some animals get their light from bacteria - one was called the flashlight fish.  Bacteria live in pockets near their eyes and provide light.  They can "blink" the light on an off, an hide it completely, which helps them escape from predators.

Bioluminescent Corrals

There were models of glowworms, lightening bugs, and movies, one showing a  swimming dolphin,  lit by diatoms, and another that told ways marine animals use bioluminescence, as well as lots of other exhibits, some of which were interactive. 


Bioluminescent Jellyfish

I enjoyed seeing the finalists and winners of the Canadian Wildlife of the year. The  visit to the bird exhibition was amazing and could have kept me entertained for several hours. It filled the whole wing of one floor.  The dioramas in the mammal wing were magnificent.

The view of the neighborhood from the 4th floor of the glassed-in stairwell was also awesome

Moose Diorama in the Mammal Wing
Caribou Diorama 









By late in the afternoon, my feet were giving out, so I started back to find the bus stop.  A shop selling gelato, sucked me into it and made me buy a scoop of hazelnut chocolate flavor, then allowed me the chance to sit and enjoy it.

This time, I caught the bus to the Rideau Center and then changed buses  for the leg back to Karen's neighborhood, and only walked the last three blocks to the house. It was a good day.

All the pictures I took in Ottawa that are worth printing are in Flicker with titles and captions. I'll add more at I get them.