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Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,14:26   

A while back Wesley suggested that a wildlife thread might be fun, or even useful. Since I am teaching a field ornithology class this semester (1 hour of credit for three hours of birdwatching per week), I thought I'd kick this off with our bird sighting checklist for today. The whole list is available from a link here; just go to the column for 2008 and click on the link for the checklist for week2. There are lots of checklists from previous spring semesters at that site as well.

We say 29 species in two hours this morning. Mid-winter is not a good time to see a lot of birds, but because this is a class to teach students about the birds, they probably don't want to see a lot of birds, and keep the IDs straight, right now. There will be lots more by May! They also don't want to spend a lot of time outside right now; the temperature was just about zero F (-18 C) when we started out this morning. That should be better by May as well.

The highlight was an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) perched in good light for several minutes; our typical accipiter sighting is a flyby at about Mach 0.5 or so...

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
argystokes



Posts: 766
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,14:44   

We had an interesting incident involving a what I think was a sharp-shinned hawk:


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"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,14:49   

Quote (argystokes @ Jan. 24 2008,14:44)
We had an interesting incident involving a what I think was a sharp-shinned hawk:

I think you had better tell us the rest of the story!

I have a picture of a red-tailed hawk sitting on my back yard fence, but why would I bother to post it when you have even potty-trained your hawk?

What's next, putting it in pre-school?  Teaching it to talk?
How's the driving lessons going?

Man.  Some people can really spoil it for the rest of us...

But sriously - come on spill your guts dude!

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Mister DNA



Posts: 466
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:00   

I don't have a back yard, but in the immediate area we've got a ton of sparrows, grackles and seagulls. We get a lot of hummingbirds during the Spring/Summer, too.

There's a couple of woodpeckers, too. I always feel bad for them because they're so outnumbered. I'll try to dig up so photos I took of one of them.

Late at night the possums come around and eat the food that people put out for the feral cats in the area. During the day, the squirrels come out and taunt the cats and the grackles. I need to get some video of the squirrels; they are hilarious.

It's not in my immediate backyard area, but every few years or so I make the trip to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge to see the whooping cranes.

It's so cool that the whooping crane numbers are growing. The first time I saw them was probably in 1973 and they were damn near extinction.

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CBEB's: The Church Burnin' Ebola Blog
Thank you, Dr. Dembski. You are without peer when it comes to The Argument Regarding Design. - vesf

    
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:11   

The best we're getting here are herons, pigeons and Apache's. But I've got my own personal wildlife:

(I so love my cat, and this is a really small one)

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:11   

recently at my house in the limestone country

Dark Eyed Junco
Acadian Fly Catchers (nesting in my back room as we speak).  is this the right time of year or have i missed an ID?
Cardinal
Downy woodpecker
blue jay
cedar waxwing
bluebird
a smaller buteo, probably sharp shinned but I didn't get a good luck
raccoon
possums
skunks
grey squirrels
screech owl
drunk guy next door

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:19   

I don't manage to get many wildlife pictures as it is rare that I ever take a camera out back with me, but my neighbor did take this picture a few of summers ago over the fence onto my property.  We had a flock of 17 turkeys that year.  This past summer we only ended up seeing 1 young turkey and even that was rare.



I've also seen a Great Blue Heron, a pretty good size black ratsnake, an occasional white-tail deer, and innumerable coyotes.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:21   

I have a very small yard in an urban, high density neighborhood.  We have been here 14 years, and I have been planting  regionally local native plants since we moved bought the house.  We have about 30 species of plants in the 30X20 ft yard, and 8 in a 30X5 ft front strip.  The trees are 2 species of willow for upper story and insect fodder.  Alan’s humming birds have nested (successful), as have crows (failed).  The hummers like two species, gooseberry, and California Fuchsia, both with red hanging flowers The Gooseberry blooms from about now until June, and the fuchsia in late summer to winter.  They also like the non-native bottle brush and rosemary next door.   The willows also support a wood-boring beetle, many lepidoptera most obvious being the Morning cloak, but also a lot of cool moths.  I have 2 species of buckwheat, and 2 evening primroses that also support a number of leps, the largest being a white lined sphinx moth.  The buckwheat and a few of the various asterace feed metal marks, and marine blues.  There are at least a dozen species of “lady beetles” that reproduce, and loads of other beetles (God loves beetles).  And I can’t ID the spiders much, but there are about 5 orb-weaver speceis, and an assortment of others.  I watched a wasp the other day provisioning her burrow with a violin spider.  The wasps are another interesting population- I have watched the little killers drag around caterpillars, spiders, and whatnot.  

The migrant English Sparrows devastate the Morning Cloak caterpillars, and when the survivors hit the ground to disperse, the wasps and spiders take over.  From about 50 chrysalii I kept an eye on, only 2 emerged.  The rest were all parasitized by wasps.  (I did get to watch some of the little wasps emerge, 50-60 per chrysalis).

All these critters attract vertebrates.  The bush tits, assorted warblers join the sparrows (including a few native species) eating insects off the trees, etc.  We also are visited by downy woodpeckers occasionally.  We also see orioles, tanagers, sparrow hawks, sharp shinned hawks, doves (eaten by the sharp shinned hawks).  We get raccoon, skunk and opossum that wander through.

Resident breeders include golden salamanders, western fence lizards and southern alligator lizards.  The alligator lizards eat the salamanders as well as crickets and so on. Two years ago the lizard numbers took a bump.  It turned out that the they had been found by a young king snake.  I have no idea where he came from, he was quite small unlikely to have been an escaped pet.  I noticed him one morning when he was trying to swallow an alligator lizard almost as large as he was.  I decided I preferred lizards, and so “Elvis the King” moved to a terrarium.  He is about 3 ft now, and lives up to his name (at least re: eating).

I have not watered, fertilized, or used any other crap for 10 years.  If everyone used native plants, we would not have nearly the environmental problems.  In spite of this, the City Lawn Nazis aka “code enforcement officers” were on my ass for years for growing “weeds.”  I shook them off when I received a “Registered Wildlife Habitat” sign from the National Wildlife Federation and posted it in the yard.

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:22   

Quote (argystokes @ Jan. 24 2008,14:44)
We had an interesting incident involving a what I think was a sharp-shinned hawk:

Yep, that's a sharpie all right. Lookit those scrawny legs!

I really do want to hear how it ended up in your bathroom...

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
argystokes



Posts: 766
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:27   

Quote
I think you had better tell us the rest of the story!


The picture is from almost exactly a year ago. I was hanging around the apartment and saw a hawk kinda hopping along the ground. I pointed it out to my wife and we both agreed that this was peculiar behavior for a hawk, so she went outside to see if it was all right. The fact that she was able to capture it with a towel confirmed that it wasn't. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday evening, and all the wildlife rescues were closed. We planned to take it up to the nearest rescue first thing in the morning. We wrapped it up and kept it in a box for the evening to keep it warm and from fluttering around and hurting itself. My wife couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures while it was out, though. Tragically, it didn't survive the night.

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"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:32   

Quote
doves (eaten by the sharp shinned hawks)

We ain't got hawks, someone else is eating our doves, *points at previous post* ;)

My cat would be a great LOLcat with that picture, won't it :p
Quote
Tragically, it didn't survive the night.

Such a shame :( Wildlife housings should alwayse be open.

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,15:52   

I've been meaning to take a day trip up to Point Reyes to see the elephant seals that are congregating on a beach up there, but the weather's been pretty brutal, and it seems like winter on Point Reyes even in the summer. Plus, I've been busy. But this weekend or next, I'm going to make the trip. If I spend all day, I should have a good shot at spotting some migrating gray whales to boot.

And then, on the inland side, there's just an amazing profusion of waterfowl in Tomales Bay and Bolinas Lagoon.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,16:00   

Assorted cardinals, blue jays, mockingbirds, hummingbirds (summer), occassional screech owl, geckos, lizards, children, etc.  Key to wildlife in the yard is keep the agent orange and other toxins away.

I live in the city but have a large lot (1/2 acre).  I grow a ton of stuff in my yard - various palm trees, agaves, yuccas, cannas, and more!

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,18:03   

Saw a big flock (50-60) of red winged blackbirds the other day, right on the front lawn.  Off the top of my head, from my yard I've seen blue jays, blue birds, robins, European starlings, mockingbirds, catbirds, wood thrushes (I'm a little iffy on that ID, so many birds look kind of similar but the call seemed to match), cardinals, Carolina chickadees, laughing gulls, mourning doves, rock pigeons, red headed woodpeckers, yellow shafted northern flickers, pileated woodpeckers, grackles, crows, turkey buzzards, and the odd ruby throated hummingbird.

I spent a lot of time two summers ago watching birds in the yard and keeping a list.  Alas, when my hard drive took the Big Dirt Nap, that file was one of the ones that was scrambled beyond all retrieval.

I'd been thinking about starting again, since the blackbirds passed by.

Stray cats, squirrels, etc.

Last summer I accidentally ran over a juvenile rat snake with the tractor mower, decapitating it.

We also have fire ants (and I think some other kind of nasty biting/stinging ant which leaves a big welt - one got me last year).

That's not a complete inventory, but what sticks out.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,18:13   

Everyone is making me wonder why on earth I am here - I went for a walk at the weekend and saw ravens, 2 grey jays, 4 black-capped chickadees and heard a boreal chickadee before my forehead started to ache and I went back inside. But it did look beautiful.

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,18:40   

I also sight at least two or three ospreys a day, but they are of the mechanical variety, living all next to Lejeune.

Richard, the biggest advantage I have for watching the critters is having a butt load of time on my hands.  It contributes significantly to my ADHD-like eclecticism, I think.

Or I might just be politely referred to as eccentric, who's to say?

When I was on my bird-watching binge (before the computer purged for me), I just spent a lot of time quietly in the kitchen looking out the windows with and without binoculars.  I can't sit or stand for very long periods, but sometimes I can alternate for good stretches, and being inside tended to disturb the wildlife less.

Of course, once the kids get out of school for the summer, that's pretty much the end of that.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4519
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,18:59   

Sharp-shinned hawks and kestrels have very high metabolism. They may eat about a quarter of their own weight in food per day. A sharp-shinned hawk or kestrel that has been injured such that it cannot feed itself will not last long.

Once, Diane and I were called to a county road maintenance facility, where they had found a juvenile kestrel in a pit, with a generous helping of tar and ants on it. They had already had it in their keeping a couple of days, and apparently it was given the occasional bit of meat from someone's sandwich. We thanked them for calling, picked up the bird, and left. We drove directly to a grocery store, and got the only packet of meat they had that could be given immediately in small pieces, as it turned out about a pound of ground veal. Now, you don't want to feed raptors processed meat as a steady diet, but our assessment of the kestrel was that it was likely already starved beyond recovery, and any delay on getting some nutrition in would make it that much more likely it would die. We fed it as much as it would take at a sitting right there in the car in the grocery store parking lot. Fortunately, it did live through that epsiode. Unfortunately, it seemed to have made some developmental problem, as it never grew a completely normal set of feathers thereafter.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,20:28   

i live on an island on the coast of georgia.  not a barrier island so no sandy beaches but plenty of marsh.
in the yard we have skinks, glass "snakes", black snakes, rat snakes, visiting racoons, possums and a colony of wood rats live nearby - which is probably what keeps the black snake hangin' around and keeps the hawks coming by.
in the marshes and hammocks are the occasional alligator, white tail deer, bald eagle, osprey, blue herons, great blue herons, tri-colored herons, snowy egrets, wood storks, ibis, the occasional spoonbill and the usual assortment of birds including painted buntings, redheaded wood peckers and pileated woodpeckers..
in the water there are redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, sharks of varying types and sizes, jellyfish, southern stargazers, mackeral in several varieties....
and then there are the insects....

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4519
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 24 2008,21:58   

Wildlife here... let me think back over the last year.

Canada goose, mallard ducks, turkeys, raccoons, lots and lots of deer, rabbits, cardinals, blue jays, crows, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, pond sliders, minnows, bream, bass. Fireflies. Wasps. Harvestmen and wolf spiders. Plenty of mosquitoes. Praying mantis. Ladybugs. Some other sort of beetle that shows up in the hundreds in the springtime. Garter snakes. Mice.

The Cooper's hawk in the vicinity has helped itself to probably a half-dozen pigeons from the loft. I saw a Google news alert today about a pigeon fancier back in California getting charged for his hawk-killing ways. Myself, I'm rooting for the Cooper's hawk. Diane would like to hang on to some pigeons for training the dog.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,00:36   

The only really exciting thing we get around here are red kites. There's actually quite a few near here (Aberystwyth) which is pretty cool. Other than that it's pretty much just your basic list. Although we do get dolphins (not sure which species) in the sea off south beach (about 30 seconds from my house) and I think there are red squirrels in the local woods (it wouldn't surprise me, since they're pretty much limited to Wales, but seem to live i a large number of places within the country).

Back home, there isn't that much special either, but fairly close to where I live there are breeding ospreys, which is pretty cool.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
bfish



Posts: 267
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,00:51   

Quote (carlsonjok @ Jan. 24 2008,13:19)
We had a flock of 17 turkeys that year.  This past summer we only ended up seeing 1 young turkey and even that was rare.


The place I work has a flock or two or three of wild turkeys. I'm still not sure if they are natives or not here in Northern California. A few weeks ago I counted 43 turkeys in one flock on a hillside. I don't know if you can tell from Carlsonjok's picture, but they are actually quite beautiful birds. Not in body shape, but in color. Their feathers are gorgeous, shimmering bronze in the sunlight. They have a wide range of vocalizations, too. It ain't just gobble gobble. A lot of trills and twitters. I've been meaning to try to make a recording. Better act quickly, though - the higher ups have announced that they're going to hire "turkey wranglers" to rid the hill of the wattled menace.

I'm lucky, in that I get to look out my lab window and see wildlife 20 or 30 feet away. Usually deer. Helps to relaxify you.

Edited to add: We also have a lot of red-tailed hawks. One day last summer I was riding my bike up the hill/mountain towards work. The hills were in the clouds, with the wind blowing in hard off the bay, and you could visualize the flow of the wind over the steep slope by watching the clouds approach the road and then rise above it. I spotted a hawk, only about ten feet above my head and another ten feet over the edge of the cliff. He looked like he was hovering in one spot, so much so that I stopped my bike to see if it was an optical illusion. No illusion. His position did not move, like he was stuck with a tack. Just a little turn of a feather now and again to keep him from drifting. It was amazing.

  
snoeman



Posts: 109
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,01:09   

Recently, in the core neighborhoods of Seattle, there has been an uptick in the population (or at least sightings) of coyotes.  There's a site dedicated to tracking them.  If you look at the larger map that links from the site, you can see the high concentrations of sightings east of I-5, north of I-90 and south of SR520.  That area (Madrona, Madison Valley, North Captiol Hill, Interlaken Park) is apparently a nice haven for coyotes, and it's barely 2-3 miles outside the downtown core.

Recently there's been a coyote spotted in my neighborhood.  This one apparently likes the taste of Magnolia Domesticated House Cat.  Fortunately, the city asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to leave the little guy (gal?) alone.

  
dhogaza



Posts: 525
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,03:13   

Well, I'm spending part of winter in a suburb on the outskirts of Madrid, and have recently had the time to start exploring some of the empty country that's barely within walking distance (littered with construction cranes building new flats, unfortunately).

Nothing interesting for a european birder, but ... (eurasian) goldfinch, black redstart, stonechat, crested lark, grey partridge (one, and it's a bit out of place), robin, chiffchaff, spotless starling, white wagtail, (eurasian) kestrel, hen harrier, and for Wesley ...

a peregrine wearing jesses and bells.  The guy flying it spoke no english, and my spanish sucks, but he had another peregrine hooded in the back of his SUV, and gradually got me to understand that it was the mother of the bird-of-the-year he was training.  And that it was from the US.  And previously owned by some famous animal trainer I've never heard of.  And was in some famous movie whose title in spanish doesn't ring a bell.  He flies his peregrine at the airport, part of the scare-the-birds regime there.  The kid was beautiful, a very nice rich brown.

Apparently I can take a bus this weekend to a place where seeing griffon is quite likely, with spanish imperial eagle a possibility, too.

When here last summer I managed to see a bunch of other species, including a golden eagle in the picos de europa.

  
Nomad



Posts: 311
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,05:00   

While it's likely that we get SOME interesting birds out here, I couldn't recognize most of them to save my life.  But we did have an interesting incident involving a heron.  I live in the suburbs, and some neighbors (a house behind mine) have a small decorative pond.  One day I saw a heron walking through the pond, apparently eating.  It was then that I realized that they stocked it with fish.

Apparently the herons only ate the expensive fish.

There's a park near me that I think has or at least had beaver.. I thought I saw one in the river once, and in the winter I've seen slides in the snow leading into the water.  We definitely have raccoons, I say that because they keep trying to live in my attic.  I still hear them walking around on the roof at night trying to get in through the usual entry point, but it's been closed off with wire mesh.

My basement computer room is infested with lady bugs.  If I remember the explanation right, they're an introduced Asian species that can't handle cold winters so they infiltrate people's houses and apparently live in the basement waiting for it to warm up again.  They get into EVERYTHING.. every so often I open up my computer case and find a few ladybug corpses in there.  I found a few shell pieces on the heatsink for my CPU last time.  And I regularly have to sweep up all the ladybug corpses that end up on the floor.  I swear I've seen one flying, then fall out of the air and land on the floor dead.  It's like a ladybug graveyard down here.


I had a female Mallard make a nest in the mulch near the front walkway, but unfortunately the nest was raided and the eggs were eaten, I'm assuming by raccoons.  I was really disappointed, I REALLY wanted to see the baby ducks.  I was especially hopeful that I could catch the mother leading them to water.  I don't live too close to water, it would have been a reasonable trek to get to anything bigger than the pond in the neighbors yard, and they would have had to cross a busy road.

And regarding coyotes, apparently we have them too.  I'd heard stories about them, but didn't believe them.  A google search turned up video a local resident shot of a coyote in his backyard though, along with a story from a local paper about them.

  
Jim_Wynne



Posts: 1008
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,07:54   

I'm in an urban area in southeast Wisconsin, and we get the standard complement of birds--finches, cardinals, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, downy woodpeckers, crows, etc. This past summer, due to the large numbers of small birds (my neighbor has a lot of feeders), we also had regular visits from a hawk--either Sharp Shinned or Cooper's, I'm not sure which.  

We get plenty of mammals as well--skunks, opossums, raccoons, and this year a couple of Gray Foxes, one of which I was surprised to see sitting in my backyard one morning.

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Evolution is not about laws but about randomness on happanchance.--Robert Byers, at PT

  
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,18:37   

The reference to coyotes reminds me that over Christmas we visited a national park to the south of our house (Riding Mountain, Manitoba) and had excellent views of a moose standing in the road and a few minutes later of a wolf in snow by the side of the road. My son, who was a few minutes ahead of us, said five had crossed the road and this was the last one who stopped to watch the people watching him.

One of my more gratifying (in retrospect) wildlife experiences was when we stopped at a small town in South Africa just south of Springbok. I spent a long time studying the larks that were running around the short grass near the filling station, with my binoculars in one hand and the field guide in the other trying to figure out just what they were. I had no success, but a few months later a new field guide came out with them illustrated - they had not been noticed as a different species earlier.

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
argystokes



Posts: 766
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,19:39   

Quote (snoeman @ Jan. 24 2008,23:09)
Recently, in the core neighborhoods of Seattle, there has been an uptick in the population (or at least sightings) of coyotes.  There's a site dedicated to tracking them.  If you look at the larger map that links from the site, you can see the high concentrations of sightings east of I-5, north of I-90 and south of SR520.  That area (Madrona, Madison Valley, North Captiol Hill, Interlaken Park) is apparently a nice haven for coyotes, and it's barely 2-3 miles outside the downtown core.

Recently there's been a coyote spotted in my neighborhood.  This one apparently likes the taste of Magnolia Domesticated House Cat.  Fortunately, the city asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to leave the little guy (gal?) alone.

We used to hear coyotes when we lived by Magnuson Park, and of course there are coons all over the UW campus. And this one time I caught a cougar by the tail...



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"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 25 2008,20:48   

Quote (argystokes @ Jan. 25 2008,19:39)
Quote (snoeman @ Jan. 24 2008,23:09)
Recently, in the core neighborhoods of Seattle, there has been an uptick in the population (or at least sightings) of coyotes.  There's a site dedicated to tracking them.  If you look at the larger map that links from the site, you can see the high concentrations of sightings east of I-5, north of I-90 and south of SR520.  That area (Madrona, Madison Valley, North Captiol Hill, Interlaken Park) is apparently a nice haven for coyotes, and it's barely 2-3 miles outside the downtown core.

Recently there's been a coyote spotted in my neighborhood.  This one apparently likes the taste of Magnolia Domesticated House Cat.  Fortunately, the city asked the Fish & Wildlife Service to leave the little guy (gal?) alone.

We used to hear coyotes when we lived by Magnuson Park, and of course there are coons all over the UW campus. And this one time I caught a cougar by the tail...


Argy - You took this pic in Madison?  If not, where?

(Or is UW University of Washington where you come from...)

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 09 2008,17:05   

I just uploaded the checklist for last Thursday's Field Ornithology class. It had snowed (4-6") a couple of days before, so we made a lot of noise crunching along, and I can blame that for the relative scarcity of birds. That's probably OK with the class as well, since their bird ID skills are still at an early stage.

But the class got good looks at a couple of Bald Eagles, which elicited the usual ooohs and aaahs. We also found a lone White Pelican, which should be well south of here at this time of year. It probably can't fly, but it seemed healthy enough, and almost certainly has made it through the coldest part of the winter.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Peter Henderson



Posts: 298
Joined: Aug. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 10 2008,09:47   

Quote
Mid-winter is not a good time to see a lot of birds, but because this is a class to teach students about the birds, they probably don't want to see a lot of birds, and keep the IDs straight, right now. There will be lots more by May!


Plenty of birds in my back garden despite the winter, really just a continuation of the summer these days only a little colder (a mild winter yet again this year).

Nothing exotic though. The normal population at this time of year is mainly blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, robins, magpies, crows, and starlings (am I right in thinking that starlings aren't native to the UK but immigrants ?), chaffinches and the odd seagull or pigeon. I would imagine the swallows will be back in a couple of months nesting under the eaves/in the roofspace. We also see the occasional sparrow hawk from time to time.

  
fusilier



Posts: 216
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 11 2008,07:23   

Dr. GH:
Your hummies feed at the gooseberries?  We have gooseberries and I've never seen 'em feeding there.  Instead, they feed at our Nicotinea and morning glories.

This time of year (currently cold enough to freeze the family jewels off the appropriate metallic monkey) we don't have too much wild-life.

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fusilier
James 2:24

  
ppb



Posts: 325
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 11 2008,09:42   

We live in suburban Boston (Lexington) so our wildlife consists mainly of squirrels, chipmunks, various songbirds, and the occasional possum or raccoon.   One day though I looked out and saw this perched on top of our screened tent.



My first thought was "Oh cool!  We have a Great Blue Heron in our back yard."  Then I remembered our fish pond and thought "Oh sh*t!  We have a Great Blue Heron in our back yard."

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"[A scientific theory] describes Nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment. So I hope you can accept Nature as She is - absurd."
- Richard P. Feynman

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,13:20   

Finally got out to Point Reyes to see the elephant seals. So cool. Most of the action was over a few weeks ago. ("The action" being the fighting and dominance displays between the bull males for the prime spots and the biggest harem.) There were about 200 females on the beach, divided into (I think) three harems. The big-daddy alpha bull was 20 feet long if he was an inch. The docent at the viewing site (overlooking the beach) said they were estimating he was about 5000 pounds. There were some younger males hanging around, too (poor guys --most of them, after getting sand kicked in their faces, depart to other, nearby, beaches), and I actually saw a fight between two. Not sure why they were fighting, since the prizes were all spoken for. And it wasn't two alpha-males going at it, but still quite impressive. Two 15 to 17 foot long, 4000 lb. beasts makes for quite a bout. Very interesting creatures that you don't see every day. And a nice day on Point Reyes, which it almost never is.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,13:41   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Feb. 12 2008,13:20)
Finally got out to Point Reyes to see the elephant seals. So cool. Most of the action was over a few weeks ago. ("The action" being the fighting and dominance displays between the bull males for the prime spots and the biggest harem.) There were about 200 females on the beach, divided into (I think) three harems. The big-daddy alpha bull was 20 feet long if he was an inch. The docent at the viewing site (overlooking the beach) said they were estimating he was about 5000 pounds. There were some younger males hanging around, too (poor guys --most of them, after getting sand kicked in their faces, depart to other, nearby, beaches), and I actually saw a fight between two. Not sure why they were fighting, since the prizes were all spoken for. And it wasn't two alpha-males going at it, but still quite impressive. Two 15 to 17 foot long, 4000 lb. beasts makes for quite a bout. Very interesting creatures that you don't see every day. And a nice day on Point Reyes, which it almost never is.

Wow!  I didn't know that elephant seals had made it to Point Reyes; when I was in grad school they weren't any further north than Ano Nuevo. And that was in the days when you could walk on the mainland beach, strewn with bachelor males who got kicked off the island. Probably not the brightest thing I ever did... Here's a pic from those days, ca 1974-75.



Don'cha just love those cute eyebrows?

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,14:01   

Albatrossity:
They've been making a comeback. From the National Park Service website

Quote
After being absent for more than 150 years, elephant seals returned to the sandy beaches on the rocky Point Reyes Headlands in the early 1970s. In 1981, the first breeding pair was discovered near Chimney Rock. Since then, researchers have found that the colony is growing at a dramatic annual average rate of 16 percent. When severe storms occurred in 1992, 1994, and 1998, many pups were killed. During the El Niño winter of 1998, storms and high tides washed away approximately 85% of the 350 young pups before they had learned to swim. Nevertheless, the Point Reyes elephant seal population is between 1,500 and 2,000. Fanning out from their initial secluded spot, the seals have expanded to popular beaches, causing concern for both their safety and that of their human visitors.


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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4519
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,14:20   

I think somewhere around the beginning of the 20th century, the Northern Elephant Seal was assumed to be close to extinction. A report of eight seals galvanized the Smithsonian Institution into action. They sent a crack team... to kill the remaining seals so they could be added to the museum's collections while there were a few available.

Fortunately, that apparently was not the very last of the population. I know people who do studies on NESs, and the genetics of a very recent and drastic population bottleneck are an ever-present part of any population work done.

Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on Feb. 12 2008,14:20

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,18:53   

Close up



This guy was standing on my neighbor's roof. Shot from my back porch.




Full view.








Taking off close up:





Full view:



The summer before last, a female Perigrine landed on our fence not three feet outside the kitchen window. I ran to get the camera but when my wife saw our kitten hiding under the wheelbarrow not three feet from the perigrine I had to change course and chase her away. Too bad on that one.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,20:08   

Quote (BWE @ Feb. 12 2008,18:53)
The summer before last, a female Perigrine landed on our fence not three feet outside the kitchen window. I ran to get the camera but when my wife saw our kitten hiding under the wheelbarrow not three feet from the perigrine I had to change course and chase her away. Too bad on that one.

A peregrine is probably not much of a threat to your cat; they generally eat birds, and they generally have to knock them out of the sky. They rarely take prey from the ground; unless your cat develops wings, it's probably safe!

Of course, it can be tough to convince the cat about that...

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,20:35   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 12 2008,20:08)
Quote (BWE @ Feb. 12 2008,18:53)
The summer before last, a female Perigrine landed on our fence not three feet outside the kitchen window. I ran to get the camera but when my wife saw our kitten hiding under the wheelbarrow not three feet from the perigrine I had to change course and chase her away. Too bad on that one.

A peregrine is probably not much of a threat to your cat; they generally eat birds, and they generally have to knock them out of the sky. They rarely take prey from the ground; unless your cat develops wings, it's probably safe!

Of course, it can be tough to convince the cat about that...

I'm aware that they are suppose to eat birds, but I wasn't sure if the peregrine knew that. She landed on the fence in order to inspect the kitten (now a cat).

She was easily 3 times the size of the kitten.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
J. O'Donnell



Posts: 98
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2008,20:40   

A friend of my friend had a stream at the back of his house so I went looking for critters and found this:



More pictures here.

And yes, the little bastard does have my thumb.

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My blog: Animacules

   
nuytsia



Posts: 131
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,06:01   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Jan. 24 2008,16:36)
The only really exciting thing we get around here are red kites. There's actually quite a few near here (Aberystwyth) which is pretty cool. Other than that it's pretty much just your basic list.

Ian I saw my first ever chough in Aberystwyth (actually it was a small flock) and I was ever so excited.

In terms of my backyard - well I don't actually have one but out of the back window I do see blackbirds, house sparrow and starlings... but occasionally I get some native birds like New Holland Honeyeaters, Yellow Wattlebirds and the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have returned now that the neighbours almonds are starting to ripen. :-)

I was out rockpooling (US translation: looking at stuff in tidepools) over the weekend and had a brilliant time. I haven't done this in years and have never done this in Australia and it was so cool.
(Few clicky images below)

Saw my very first live keyhole limpet - not IDed as yet.

Weird shell to body ratio?

There were lots of these cool decorator crabs Naxia tumida


This little half crab was pretty cool. Lomis hirta

Apparently this is in it's own monotypic family.

Some pretty variable seastars. Patiriella calcar


Oh and a sea anemone that actually stalks it's prey. Phlyctenanthus tuberculosa


And loads of other bits and pieces including some of the largest starfish I think I've ever seen. Selected image from the day here.
This was so much fun, that I've ordered a load of Australian marine life books and hope to get back out there again ASAP.

This is the dawn of my second third childhood! :-)
Just need a decent net and bucket....

   
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,08:01   

Nuytsia, unless things have changed since I was there, you were lucky to see choughs in Aberystwyth. Although they were in the Cwm Rheidol area they seldom seemed to reach the town. I remember watching my first choughs on Bardsey Island. With their bright red beaks and the habit of making a loud, cheerful sounding caw while flicking their wings I could see where the expression 'I felt chuffed' came from.

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,10:02   

Quote (nuytsia @ Feb. 13 2008,07:01)
[quote=IanBrown_101,Jan. 24 2008,16:36]
I was out rockpooling (US translation: looking at stuff in tidepools) over the weekend and had a brilliant time. I haven't done this in years and have never done this in Australia and it was so cool....
This is the dawn of my second third childhood! :-)
Just need a decent net and bucket....

That's also one of my favorite activities.
To add to the experience, several years ago I bought a 100' long seine to drag the beaches with.
You simply have no idea what lives right off the beach until you do something like that.

A side benefit of the seine is that you can also feed the family on a fairly regular basis.  :)

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,10:46   

Photos from Photobucket?   ???

They don't seem to link.

Size a problem?





Ah, that seems to do the trick.

That is the yard (plus dog).  The growing area is about 5X5 meters, and we have about 35 plant species.  You can see we are in an urban area.  (The occasional shootings are an urban bonus).

Here are some gooseberry that I trained up w/ flowers popular with humming birds.  I also vined some goosberry into the willows which discourages cats and other critters from raiding nests.



Edited by Dr.GH on Feb. 13 2008,08:57

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,12:36   

Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,13:58   

Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 13 2008,10:36)
Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?

According to the Jepson Manual, and Munz (they don't always agree- understatement!), Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry.  Recall I have woven them together.  In the wild they are climbers, or small shubs if browsed.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,17:15   

Quote (Dr.GH @ Feb. 13 2008,13:58)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 13 2008,10:36)
Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?

According to the Jepson Manual, and Munz (they don't always agree- understatement!), Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry.  Recall I have woven them together.  In the wild they are climbers, or small shubs if browsed.

That explains it. I do not know the species but it is in the same genus as the one I know, which is a small shrub with off-white, greenish flowers. The flowers did strike me as being like those of fuchsia. I had no idea that Ribes flowers could be so conspicuous.

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,19:18   

You guys!

When I look out the winder I keep it simple. You got your birds. You got your bugs. You got your cats, dogs, other four-leggity critters. You got your worms. You got your people. You got your bunnies. I thought that about covered it.

But the other day I was pissing out back when this thing jumped out of my chest. Anybody know the species?



--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,21:36   

The images from Aliens are basic wasp or beetle larva.

For example, these from my front yard;



--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
ck1



Posts: 65
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2008,21:59   

Suburban location near a stream and park.  We have squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, racoons, black snakes, box turtles, and a family of beavers.  

But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,14:23   

My field ornithology class this morning saw relatively few birds, but they did see some that are relatively uncommon here. These included Purple Finches (nice flock of about a dozen) and a Loggerhead Shrike. This latter species has become quite scarce in the northern part of its winter range in recent years; it has been almost a decade since we saw one on the Manhattan Christmas Bird Census, for example.

The complete checklist can be found here.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,18:21   

Quote (ck1 @ Feb. 13 2008,22:59)
But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.

are you from a part of the world that considers "road kill" to be manna from heaven?

i once got into a discussion about whether or not eating road kill was moral but how long could it lay on the road before it was not really edible.  :)

we decided if it was still twitchin', it was worth grillin'.

only in the south, eh?

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2008,22:27   

Quote (ck1 @ Feb. 13 2008,22:59)
But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.


road kill deer would be perfectly OK if you avoided the meat with massive bleeding.  (Oh, and if you like deer meat).  I'd rather bleed it out myself.

I had road kill mountain lion once- a bit like pork, but very dry.

Edited by Dr.GH on Feb. 14 2008,20:28

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,15:06   

The intrepid students in the KSU Field Ornithology class braved snow and sub-zero wind chill temperatures today, but were rewarded with some nice bird sightings. The highlight was a Barred Owl; the entire checklist is here.

We're all hoping for warmer weather and a lengthier checklist next week...



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
EoRaptor013



Posts: 45
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,16:03   

Quote (ck1 @ Feb. 13 2008,22:59)
Suburban location near a stream and park.  We have squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, racoons, black snakes, box turtles, and a family of beavers.  

But mainly deer.  Lots and lots.  They eat everything.    Except daffodils.  And create problems for drivers - we have hit two of them on the road.

Sounds like New Joisey. I was born and raised out West; moved to NJ back in '93 (in a covered wagon, up hill both ways, by crackey!) These mangy varmints they call deer out here are a real nuisance. Did, however, see an albino once. It was cool except for what it said about predator depletion and likely over-population too.

The one fantastic/disappointing experience I had was driving back West with my son a couple of years ago (he goes to school in Olympia, WA). We stopped in Yellowstone, in the middle of Elk rutting season. The bull elk were magnificent in appearance but I couldn't believe their rutting calls! Nothing that big and regal should have a call like a cranky 6 mo. old baby!

Saw the rest of the big five while we were there: bison (hard to miss - they're all over the place), prong horn, moose (in the Tetons), a single Griz.

  
EoRaptor013



Posts: 45
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 21 2008,16:20   

Gotta tell you a story. I swear on a stack of Origin of Species that this is true.

Sr in college -- '73 I guess it was -- my girlfriend in those days and I drove down to San Diego to a relatively new Lion Country sort of thingy (can't remember if it was an actual Lion Country or a clone). Back in them days, you drove through the park and there were plenty of warning signs about keeping windows closed, don't harass the citizens, etc. So, we drive along the road and come around the bend just in time for an indian elephant to step onto the road, then just stand there sweeping up bunches of grass from the road's shoulder. My girlfriend, never the patient type (think that's why she dumped me), sat for a couple of minutes drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Finally, she can't stand it any more, rolls forward a foot or two, and honks the horn! While I'm going "GAAAK!", packy looks over, hrm.. her(?) shoulder, twitches her ears a bit and then... I SWEAR... sat on the hood of the car!!! (would that have been the bonnet even though the boot was in front?) Well, maybe it was more like leaned one haunch on it for a second; doesn't matter, put a goodly sized crunch on the hood of her car.

The rest of the story has to do with a chain-reaction accident we just barely avoided on the freeway and a CHP officer who didn't believe the story, either.

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2008,08:29   

Earlier in this wildlife thread, I mentioned that I rarely carry my camera out back with me.  This morning was one such occasion I wish I did.  Oh, well. But what happened does raise an interesting animal behavior question that I thought someone here might be able to answer.

I have three large dogs, who accompany me out to the barn in the morning when I throw hay to the horses.  They usually explore the properties to the north or west of me while I go about my morning chores.  This morning was no exception. However, one of my dogs (who is scared of everything) came running back barking her fool head off, with her dorsal hair standing straight up.  That generally isn't a good sign.  So I ran in the direction she came from and, after crossing onto my neighbors property, found my other two dogs facing off with two coyotes.

Now this is where it gets strange.  Very quickly, the coyotes caught sight of me and ran off, with my dogs in pursuit.  But from what I saw of the "incident" and the subsequent chase, there was no signs of aggressiveness in either my dogs or the coyotes.  My Aussie was barking alot, but there was no growling or teeth being bared.  If I didn't know they were coyotes, I would have sworn it was two pairs of friendly, but unfamiliar dogs, checking each other out.  Is that even possible or am I over-analyzing what I saw?

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2008,12:33   

Quote (EoRaptor013 @ Feb. 21 2008,14:20)
Gotta tell you a story. I swear on a stack of Origin of Species that this is true.

Sr in college -- '73 I guess it was -- my girlfriend in those days and I drove down to San Diego to a relatively new Lion Country sort of thingy (can't remember if it was an actual Lion Country or a clone). Back in them days, you drove through the park and there were plenty of warning signs about keeping windows closed, don't harass the citizens, etc. So, we drive along the road and come around the bend just in time for an indian elephant to step onto the road, then just stand there sweeping up bunches of grass from the road's shoulder. My girlfriend, never the patient type (think that's why she dumped me), sat for a couple of minutes drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Finally, she can't stand it any more, rolls forward a foot or two, and honks the horn! While I'm going "GAAAK!", packy looks over, hrm.. her(?) shoulder, twitches her ears a bit and then... I SWEAR... sat on the hood of the car!!! (would that have been the bonnet even though the boot was in front?) Well, maybe it was more like leaned one haunch on it for a second; doesn't matter, put a goodly sized crunch on the hood of her car.

The rest of the story has to do with a chain-reaction accident we just barely avoided on the freeway and a CHP officer who didn't believe the story, either.

I recall reading this many years ago.  In 1973, I was a student at UC Irvine just a few miles from Lion Country Safari- Orange County not San Diego.  As I recall the story, it was a volkswagon that was sat on.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2008,13:10   

Okay, enough with the pitiful HOMO stories of your Rock Doves, House Sparrows, and Starlings. :angry:

Just got back from the eastern Sierras. There I saw a Townsend's Solitaire, a White-Headed Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadees, Black-Billed Magpies (the western limit of their range; 50 miles west over the mountains it's Yellow-bills), and Dark-Eyed Juncos (which I still think of as Oregon Juncos). Probably would have been more, but there's two feet of snow on the ground there. Got to hear coyotes yelping frenziedly around dusk, too.

For some reason the Feather River Canyon was full of a ginormous number of Shovelers. The Central Valley had the usual array of YB Magpies, Acorn Woodpeckers, White-Tailed Kites (my personal fave), Cooper's Hawks, Kestrels, and about eight dozen Red-Tail Hawks, which seem to be about as numerous as all the other Buteos put together for some reason.

Okay, back to your "I saw some sparrows in my back yard I think", ladies. :angry:

(Except for Albatrossity. I tip my bird nerd cap in his direction, now and always.)

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
improvius



Posts: 807
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2008,14:27   

We have a wide range of customers at our backyard feeders.  Currently we have:

Dark-eyed Juncos (slate form)
Black-capped Chickadees
Tufted Titmice
House Finches
Northern Cardinals
Red-bellied Woodpeckers
Downy Woodpeckers
Goldfinches
White-breasted Nuthatches
House Sparrows

At other (warmer) times we have had:

Bluejays
Indigo Buntings
Wild Turkeys
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
Red-breasted Nuthatches


Though they are dull little birds, I have a certain affinity for the juncos.  Maybe I just feel sorry for them because they don't seem to be built correctly for perching on feeders.  I'm hoping we get the buntings again this summer - I had no idea what the hell they were when we first saw them.

The coolest thing we've seen was definitely the turkeys.  We had a "rafter" of maybe a dozen of them walking/hopping around the yard. I wasn't expecting them to perch, and was frankly surprised to see several of them them hop up onto our chain link fence.  One of them saw us and took off into a tree.  A very TALL tree.  The bird made a nearly vertical ascent that seemed to take forever.  Most birds make flying look easy.  But to the turkey, getting up to that branch was clearly a herculean effort.  Anyway, I just hope they didn't all get shot by hunters.  I'd love to see them again.

Oh yeah, and of course we have tons of deer all over the place.

--------------
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

  
EoRaptor013



Posts: 45
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2008,18:09   

Quote (Dr.GH @ Feb. 22 2008,13:33)
   
Quote (EoRaptor013 @ Feb. 21 2008,14:20)
Gotta tell you a story. I swear on a stack of Origin of Species that this is true.

Sr in college -- '73 I guess it was -- my girlfriend in those days and I drove down to San Diego to a relatively new Lion Country sort of thingy (can't remember if it was an actual Lion Country or a clone). Back in them days, you drove through the park and there were plenty of warning signs about keeping windows closed, don't harass the citizens, etc. So, we drive along the road and come around the bend just in time for an indian elephant to step onto the road, then just stand there sweeping up bunches of grass from the road's shoulder. My girlfriend, never the patient type (think that's why she dumped me), sat for a couple of minutes drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. Finally, she can't stand it any more, rolls forward a foot or two, and honks the horn! While I'm going "GAAAK!", packy looks over, hrm.. her(?) shoulder, twitches her ears a bit and then... I SWEAR... sat on the hood of the car!!! (would that have been the bonnet even though the boot was in front?) Well, maybe it was more like leaned one haunch on it for a second; doesn't matter, put a goodly sized crunch on the hood of her car.

The rest of the story has to do with a chain-reaction accident we just barely avoided on the freeway and a CHP officer who didn't believe the story, either.

I recall reading this many years ago.  In 1973, I was a student at UC Irvine just a few miles from Lion Country Safari- Orange County not San Diego.  As I recall the story, it was a volkswagon that was sat on.

Yep. That was us. We were at USC. Orange County... well, to us it was most of the way to San Diego. ;-)

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 29 2008,09:01   

The KSU Field Ornithology class visited the Cecil Best Birding Trail (in Manhattan's Northeast Community Park) yesterday morning. We got good looks at Brown Creepers and White-Crowned Sparrows, and the Red-winged Blackbirds and Western Meadowlarks were singing lustily. The most impressive aspect of the morning, however, was the numerous skeins of geese (both Canada and Snow), all very high and all heading north.

Today's checklist (as well as previous checklists from this year and previous years) can be found here.

 
Quote
One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring. — Aldo Leopold.



(image by Mark Chappell, used with permission)

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2008,17:55   

It is egg layers in the open air;



Here is a battered Mourning Cloak female;



--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2008,14:03   

I was thinking about D'Tard's truck picture sporting a butterfly, and I thought to post a photo of wildlife growing on my truck.  I get the most kick out of the lichen:



--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Nomad



Posts: 311
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2008,23:37   

I traditionally have freaky nearly transparent white (ghostly white was how I always thought of them) spiders growing on my vehicles.  They seem to have stayed away from my latest car, I'm not really sure why.

I have no pictures, but you have to understand that I have a fairly strong fear of spiders bordering on phobia level.  They're small, fragile looking spiders.  The freaked me out not because they're big or dangerous but because they're spiders and because they had a tendency to appear without warning while I was trying to drive.  You think cell phones make for distracted drivers?  Try the time I had a spider rappelling down into my lap while I was driving.  I came close to pulling over to get rid of it.

I've gotten a little better since then, perhaps they've decided that they can't have as much fun torturing me anymore and have buggered off to find someone new to harass.

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2008,23:43   

Painters!!!!!

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
jeffox



Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 13 2008,23:55   

I saw my first barn swallows of the year today.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 14 2008,15:57   

Just this morning I watched a brilliant red cardinal right in the back yard.  He comes so frequently that the dogs let him stand right on the top of the dog house without a second glance.  I've even seen him pinch a bit of dog food from time to time.

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 14 2008,17:21   

had a bald eagle soaring over the house friday afternoon.  

setting sun highlighting the white head, white tail, brown wings.

and i hope to view a bunch of seagoing crustaceans this weekend as i've deployed the crabtraps in the estuary.

  
khan



Posts: 1486
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 14 2008,18:08   

A Cooper's Hawk grabbed a bird (finch?) out of midair about 6 feet from my front window (near the bird feeder).  There's also a Northern Harrier that favors doves.

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
Henry J



Posts: 4112
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 14 2008,22:58   

Can deer eat cactus without hurting themselves on the spines? There's a patch of some kind of cactus near the parking lot where I live, and something has taken bites out of some of its flat oval shaped sections. The shape of the missing pieces suggests something with a fairly large mouth, maybe deer sized.

Henry

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 14 2008,23:19   

Quote (rhmc @ April 14 2008,15:21)
had a bald eagle soaring over the house friday afternoon.  

setting sun highlighting the white head, white tail, brown wings.

and i hope to view a bunch of seagoing crustaceans this weekend as i've deployed the crabtraps in the estuary.

Baldies are really fun to watch grab fish.  Santa Catalina Island has 4(?) mated pairs.  Last years chicks are quite large and have already learned to hit on the sport fishing boats. We spilf a mackeral so that it stays on the surface and get a good view of the eagles taking the fish.  Last year we got to see an eagle nail a seagull which is the obverse of most of their interactions.  A half dozen or so gulls, or some of the island ravens will often harass an eagle until they are forced to perch.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 14 2008,23:26   

Quote (Henry J @ April 14 2008,20:58)
Can deer eat cactus without hurting themselves on the spines? There's a patch of some kind of cactus near the parking lot where I live, and something has taken bites out of some of its flat oval shaped sections. The shape of the missing pieces suggests something with a fairly large mouth, maybe deer sized.

Henry

Yeah, I have seen them do it.  Cattle too, even with needles all over their faces.  I saw a photo of a steer with pads stuck to his face.

Coyotes are passionate for prickely pear fruit.  They get terribly spiked up, and even get diarrhea from the amount of fruit they eat- scat that are merely purple stained mucus and opuntia seeds.  

We have junkies, so I see there is no need to feel superior.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 15 2008,08:11   

Couger in Chicago - Of course, the Police Department shot it.  

Link goes to the story and has some sad looking pictures.

http://www.wbbm780.com/Cougar-Shot-In-Roscoe-Village/2001618

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 15 2008,08:30   

I ain't no junkie so git yer paws off my superiority pal.  I have never even heard of a steer, with catcus pads in his lips or not, that could fiddle the Wildwood Flower.  now i can't swat flies with my tail but I don't want to anyhow.  on a related diminished triad...

1:Do cows prefer to experience their Opuntia eating full flavor, glochids and all, or is it just any way you can get it?

b3:Why do the dogs never learn the skunk stinks?

b5:Why does Paul Nelson still show up around here?

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 15 2008,10:06   

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD, Posted on April 15 2008,08:30 )
b3:Why do the dogs never learn the skunk stinks?

Do dogs care if they stink or not ;)
Anyway, you guys sure have some fascinating wildlife around there. It's just boring crap here in Holland, the little and plain birds (blackbirds, pigeons, several species of tits and unfortunatly not the interesting types of tits) we have here are mostly chased away by my 2 cats (who still occasionally catch one, picture on 1st page). The best I can spot here, are grey herons who occasionally fly over. They like my neighborhood (densly build quarter build like 12 years ago) because lots of people have small ponds in there backyards, thus fish. Also the nightly sky isn't that woopy, because I live 200 meters from a freeway. And still the area where I live would be labeled as "country-side".
Yay for Holland...

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 15 2008,11:39   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ April 15 2008,06:30)
b3:Why do the dogs never learn the skunk stinks?

I once had a dog that liked skunk spray.  Even when the skunk missed him, he would go for a good roll in it.  Otherwise he was normal.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
EyeNoU



Posts: 115
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 15 2008,19:52   

In South Texas, ranchers will burn the spines off prickly pear pads so the cattle can feed on it, especially in times of drought.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,14:15   

The KSU Field Ornithology class dodged the thunderstorms this morning and found some good birds. Shorebirds are coming through this part of the world right now, and we found American Avocet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, and Spotted Sandpiper. We also found a few sparrows, a few ducks, and some terns and gulls.

The final species list was 48 species. Hopefully we will get better weather next week, but we did pretty well for a rainy and blustery day. (note - the American Avocet image at the linked checklist was NOT shot today)

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10318
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,14:18   

I was never a big biology fan at school, but one of the best lessons was definitely collecting a fixed amount of leaf litter and counting and classifying the species...

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,14:42   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 17 2008,14:15)
The KSU Field Ornithology class dodged the thunderstorms this morning and found some good birds. Shorebirds are coming through this part of the world right now, and we found American Avocet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, and Spotted Sandpiper. We also found a few sparrows, a few ducks, and some terns and gulls.

The final species list was 48 species. Hopefully we will get better weather next week, but we did pretty well for a rainy and blustery day. (note - the American Avocet image at the linked checklist was NOT shot today)

Hey - I just got a PM from FTK!  

She and her kids would like to know just exactly where those birds are located, and where the biggest concentration of prey , easy targets, birds might be located.*




* Just kidding, in case FTK gets outraged.  They don't need to know where the birds are located, they'll just call in an air-strike and do some saturation bombing.**

**Really, she didn't PM me.  But it sounds believable, right?

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,15:39   

Quote (J-Dog @ April 17 2008,14:42)
Hey - I just got a PM from FTK!  

She and her kids would like to know just exactly where those birds are located, and where the biggest concentration of prey , easy targets, birds might be located.*




* Just kidding, in case FTK gets outraged.  They don't need to know where the birds are located, they'll just call in an air-strike and do some saturation bombing.**

**Really, she didn't PM me.  But it sounds believable, right?

Bad J-Dog! Bad!

FtK's appreciation of the avifauna of Kansas has advanced  significantly in recent weeks.

On a lighter note, here's a story about an Avocet rescue, using a bird dog, from carlsonjok's area (well, not exactly, but it was within 100 miles or so).

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,15:52   

If those are Canadian Geese that FTK's kids are harassing, they could be in BIG Trouble - they are a Federally protected species.  I'm thinking they could even be Expelled...

Rich might be interested in some of FTK's upcoming Prison Blog's, if there is a live feed.  I understand that this type of "docu-drama" has a niche market.  And by niche market I mean Adult Films - and I bet a single malt bottle of scotch that if FTK winds up in a Women's Prison Movie, it will gross more than Expelled.  

If it's "tastefully" done of course.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
dnmlthr



Posts: 565
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,18:08   

Guess the type of area that I live in...

We have:
- Rats of all shapes and sizes, with some really big ones every now and then
- Rabbits AKA rats with big ears
- Pigeons AKA rats with wings
- Too few dogs and definitely too few cats

--------------
Guess what? I don't give a flying f*ck how "science works" - Ftk

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,18:12   

yeah J-D the niche market for people who like "nasty people who are willfully hooked on stupid and have disgusting bodies (butter faces) and lame personalities anyway having uninspired protected sex like inuits doing it only no invoking the deity" I'm sure pays well.  millionaires and stuff.

-rolls eyes, queefs-

-throws up in beard just a little bit at thought of the sad scene-

-changes channel-

for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  I have been watching that asparagus for 8-9 months waiting for today.  I have found 60+ morels in two days.  there just aint no ramps around here.  i blame it on the sevier family, and with good reason.

Also, wild phlox, wild geraniums, some bloodroot (still), some spring beauties (still), yesterday a host of bellwort (theyre nice), trillium luteum everywhere that is worth being, solomons seal up and big, so is zig zag, trout lilies done already, some asters i don't know that were in deep forest, still lots of violets in the woods, may apples blooming (there stand my wan soldiers), hexastylis and little brown jugs are both blooming, turkey mustard blooming, several others i didn't know.  not much wildlife.  saw a couple nice bass finning around in a hole under the river bank this morning.  my eyes are to the ground.

dnmlthr  what kind of place is that?  we have too many cats.  it is debatable though because there is too much privet.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,18:22   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ April 17 2008,18:12)
for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  

Okay, I am calling shenanigans.  It is way too early in the year for pokeweed.  I don't think you are that far from me and poke doesn't come up here until late summer.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,19:55   

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 17 2008,18:22)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 17 2008,18:12)
for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  

Okay, I am calling shenanigans.  It is way too early in the year for pokeweed.  I don't think you are that far from me and poke doesn't come up here until late summer.

what are you, an inuit?

poke has been up for a couple of weeks here in the valley.  some of it is damn near too big to eat.  that is if you care what they say about it.

i knew an old indian that ate the berries like a bear.  said it didn't hurt the bears, wouldn't hurt him.  he was pretty old.  might be true.  white people tell me it is pizen.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2008,20:05   

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 17 2008,19:55)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 17 2008,18:22)
 
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 17 2008,18:12)
for wildlife I am preparing fresh morels (yellows greys and blacks) poke sallet and wild asparagus I clipped on the side of the road.  

Okay, I am calling shenanigans.  It is way too early in the year for pokeweed.  I don't think you are that far from me and poke doesn't come up here until late summer.

what are you, an inuit?

Okie.
Quote

poke has been up for a couple of weeks here in the valley.  some of it is damn near too big to eat.

The only thing that has really taken off so far is the rye and henbit.  I don't really start seeing any poke until July or later.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2008,19:08   

It was a stunning spring morning here on the edge of the Great Plains, so I hauled the camera and the binoculars out to a local birding spot. I got some pictures of a few migrants and a few residents, which can be seen here.

Enjoy!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
nuytsia



Posts: 131
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2008,20:54   

Those are some really nice shots of great birds Albie.
I particularly like the 2nd yellow rumped warbler shot.

I found this on my living room window earlier this week.

I love moths but they're such b4st4rds to identify.
This might be Syneora mundifera but IANAL* so it could be something totally bloody different. :-(

I picked up this a few days later at a friends house.

No idea what it is but  I assume it's another Geometridae.


* I am not a lepidopterist - in a perfect world this phrase would be used more often. :angry:

   
k.e..



Posts: 3057
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,04:57   

I don't have a photo and it wasn't in the backyard, that only has boring Australian parrots anyway...this was in my kitchen.

A mouse ran around the counter top and thought the toaster would be a good place to hide.......

--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"Abbie Smith (ERV) who's got to be the most obnoxious arrogant snot I've ever seen except for when I look in a mirror" DAVE TARD
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus

  
Duvenoy



Posts: 6
Joined: Mar. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,09:09   

I live in a rural area and my winter bird feeders usually have:
goldfinch
titmouse
redpolls
eastern nuthatch
eastern chickadee
junkos (who the hell names these things, anyway?)
hairy woodpecker
golden fronted woodpecker
mourning dove
boat tailed grackle
carolina sparrow
cardinals
bluejays
grey squirrels, one of which was a rehab and is still pretty tame.
a couple of optomistic but seldom lucky cats, mine and a neighbor's.
and some other stuff that slips my mind at the moment.

My feeders are made from small, galvenized garbage cans and hold someting like 15# of black oil seed each.

Beyond the feeders, I'm not all that intense a bird watcher. This time of year, I'm usually herping, and later on it'll be bug watching. Having finally gotten a decent camera, I hope to finally get some photos worth keeping.

I have a house (of sorts) 'possum that visits through the cat flap and hustles handouts. He's also a damned good mouser.

doov

--------------
It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
-- Giordano Bruno

  
Quidam



Posts: 229
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,10:15   


Photographed: Pine Marten, Deer, Black bear, dinosaurs.

Sighted but not photographed: Elk, moose, cougar, skunk, various raptors, woodpeckers, etc.

And an infinite supply of squirrels

--------------
The organized fossils ... and their localities also, may be understood by all, even the most illiterate. William Smith, Strata. 1816

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,12:03   

Part of the crop gathered this morning.



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
dnmlthr



Posts: 565
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,13:13   

Erasmus: Let's just say that by swedish standards it's an urban area. However, I came back from a week in New York a week ago, so it has a certain rural charm about it that I didn't notice two weeks ago.

--------------
Guess what? I don't give a flying f*ck how "science works" - Ftk

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,15:20   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 20 2008,12:03)
Part of the crop gathered this morning.


NICE

I am up to 114 morels this year.  I got fresh wild asparagus and poke sallet again thursday and we had pasta.  Friday we took about 30 giant yeller ones like you got there and Sweet Thing made a chip dip with sauteed mushrooms and i don't know what all, fake crab meat, artichoke hearts, who knows. yum.

my neighbor just walked across the street and said do you know what this thing is?  it was a giant yellow.  he didn't know what it was.  i'm going to see if there are any more.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,16:51   

These were from a project I worked on back in 1989.

Mommy Kitty (angry)



Boy Kitty (stoned)




We tagged these about 10 miles from the house.  Boy Kitty got his first radio collar and a tatt.  Mommy Kitty got a new battery for her collar.  They both got shots.  We used dirty stinky bandanas to cover their eyes so they would associate people stink with sore butts and headaches.  The anal probes were just rectal thermometers (we had to keep them cooled below 104 F, preferably <102 F).

Edited by Dr.GH on April 20 2008,14:55

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,18:21   

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 20 2008,15:20)
I am up to 114 morels this year.  I got fresh wild asparagus and poke sallet again thursday and we had pasta.  Friday we took about 30 giant yeller ones like you got there and Sweet Thing made a chip dip with sauteed mushrooms and i don't know what all, fake crab meat, artichoke hearts, who knows. yum.

my neighbor just walked across the street and said do you know what this thing is?  it was a giant yellow.  he didn't know what it was.  i'm going to see if there are any more.

But this can't be true. FtK says that you have no morals :D

We probably harvested 70-80 morels this morning; it is just the first day here, as far as I can tell (previous trips to the same spots yielded zilch). So I am looking forward to lots more, if I can get away from work over the next few days.

We also found lots of the false morels (Gyromitra sp.), like this one



We're not going to eat those...

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,18:38   

So, evidently you are operating under a morel code!











Sorry. I'll get my coat.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Henry J



Posts: 4112
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,19:00   

Quote
So, evidently you are operating under a morel code!


Well, at least he's a fun gi.

:p

Henry

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 20 2008,21:51   

albie that is great.  how long does your season last?  the gyromitras were up in the first of the month in my neighbors yard.  he found a giant yellow one there in the same place yesterday.

Sweet Thang, Littlun and I found 32 more this evening.  Most were weird shaped yellows that I am fairly sure have just emerged.  a few yellows but no bigguns.  we only looked for an hour or so, this is a patch i've already got 50 out of or so last week.  it rained yesterday so i will be looking here again.  

I swear I'm going to get some pictures up.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 21 2008,07:12   

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 20 2008,21:51)
albie that is great.  how long does your season last?  the gyromitras were up in the first of the month in my neighbors yard.  he found a giant yellow one there in the same place yesterday.

Our morel seasons here are incredibly variable, since the weather in the spring can be incredibly variable here. Two years ago it was so dry in the winter and spring that there were no morels, or at least we found none, and I heard no positive reports from anyone else. Last year we got the first batch, then a ridiculous cold snap hit (temps in the teens for three days in a row), and there were no more after that. In 2004 (the best year I remember) the season lasted a couple of weeks; we had a good combination of rains and warm nights. We gathered and dried enough mushrooms that we only finished off the last of that batch in mid 2007.

I'm hopeful that this will be more like 2004!

Maybe FtK is partially right. I have a morel code, but it changes from year to year...

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
jeffox



Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 22 2008,22:31   

I saw my first chipping sparrow of the year today!  Still no fungi yet, though.

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2008,07:21   

I'm up to 160 for the year, the last four a buddy gave me.  last friday one of my patches was invaded by the homeless and there are Scott blossoms in my fishin hole.  some old drunks, said he was a 'plumber, by trade'.  I knew something was wrong when I walked in and saw a cat sitting in the woods looking at me.  Then another.  wtf.  then a truck parked in the bushes.  then two old drunks.  then some more cats.  then a bunch of shit strowed around the woods.  then a mushroom.

there were a few there.  they didn't know what they were and i told them there was a poisonous lookalike that would kill you and the person next to you.  jeff where are you that the funguseses ain't amongusus ye?

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2008,07:50   

Birdie porn:

Couple of Mockingbirds doing the mid-air mambo just outside my bedroom window.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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k.e..



Posts: 3057
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2008,07:56   

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,15:50)
Birdie porn:

Couple of Mockingbirds* doing the mid-air mambo just outside my bedroom window.

They had feathers right?

*Bird is English slang for female

--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"Abbie Smith (ERV) who's got to be the most obnoxious arrogant snot I've ever seen except for when I look in a mirror" DAVE TARD
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2008,08:08   

Quote (k.e.. @ April 23 2008,08:56)
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,15:50)
Birdie porn:

Couple of Mockingbirds* doing the mid-air mambo just outside my bedroom window.

They had feathers right?

*Bird is English slang for female

When we were kids, bird was our word for penis.

But yeah, they were the feathered kind of Mockingbird.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
jeffox



Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2008,20:57   

Erasmus, FCD did ask:

Quote

jeff where are you that the funguseses ain't amongusus ye?


And, to answer, I currently live in Oak Lair, (not it's real name :)) Wisconsin.  I was born & raised & lived most of my life in Minnesota, however.  

Just to let you all know, there is still snow on the ground in a few isolated spots in town here.  

I'm currently attending UWEC as a nontraditional student (I'm 46) studying for a geology major.  (I hear it pays well :)).

Fun thread, spring is short here; and I find it an especially fun time to birdwatch - I'll keep you all posted on the stuff I see.

Thanks for asking!

  
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 23 2008,21:48   

Today a colleague was going to treat us to (Canada) goose for lunch but as just a few have arrived so far he was only able to get one which we divided amongst us. The flavour was good but from the part-leg I had I think it must have walked here.

At the weekend I saw the first rusty blackbird, a grey heron (we are at about the northern limit of their range) and a flock of about 20 sandhill cranes. The ravens seem to be paired up and are doing aerobatics. A colleague saw two bald eagles feeding on road kill the previous weekend but so far I've not seen any.

The lakes are still mainly ice-covered but most of the snow has gone. In a melting snow-bank at the edge of town I saw what looked distinctly like wolf droppings (large, more hair than anything else).  The pussy willow is out, the trees are changing colour as the buds expand and there are a few tiny green shoots showing here and there.

--------------
All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2008,18:49   

Quote (Richard Simons @ April 23 2008,21:48)
Today a colleague was going to treat us to (Canada) goose for lunch but as just a few have arrived so far he was only able to get one which we divided amongst us. The flavour was good but from the part-leg I had I think it must have walked here.

At the weekend I saw the first rusty blackbird, a grey heron (we are at about the northern limit of their range) and a flock of about 20 sandhill cranes. The ravens seem to be paired up and are doing aerobatics. A colleague saw two bald eagles feeding on road kill the previous weekend but so far I've not seen any.

The lakes are still mainly ice-covered but most of the snow has gone. In a melting snow-bank at the edge of town I saw what looked distinctly like wolf droppings (large, more hair than anything else).  The pussy willow is out, the trees are changing colour as the buds expand and there are a few tiny green shoots showing here and there.

Please visit Chicago, where there are @ 1,000,000 Canadian Geese that you can eat.  All they do here is eat and shit, usually all over my kid's sports fields.

Maybe FTK and her kids can stop by and help.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
hereoisreal



Posts: 745
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 24 2008,20:26   



ALBINO PEACOCK
 A friend sent me this picture of the
rare bird.  Kinda looks like a snow flake.
As I was scanning this, I heard one calling near my home.

Zero

--------------
360  miracles and more at:
http://www.hereoisreal.com/....eal.com

Great news. God’s wife is pregnant! (Rev. 12:5)

It's not over till the fat lady sings! (Isa. 54:1 & Zec 9:9)

   
nuytsia



Posts: 131
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,16:26   

Not quite in my backyard but I thought I'd share...

I saw my very first velvet worm last week

This is the Tasmanian Giant Velvet Worm (Tasmanipatus barretti), a monster of almost 75mm!!!111
This is a rather rare species only occuring in an area of 600 square km up in the north east of Tasmania. Luckily for me I was out with a friend who knew exactly the kind of habitat to look in.

Here's a shot that gives a better sense of scale

After reading about these and seeing them on TV documentaries it was very cool to see one for real. :-)

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,17:07   

Quote (nuytsia @ April 28 2008,16:26)
Not quite in my backyard but I thought I'd share...

I saw my very first velvet worm last week

---snip----

After reading about these and seeing them on TV documentaries it was very cool to see one for real. :-)

That is wicked cool! On my sole trip to the Southern Hemisphere I looked for these guys, but didn't find any. Congrats!

My best wildlife sighting of the weekend was three species of Zonotrichia sparrows, White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris' Sparrow, all feeding on the ground beneath my feeders, within a few inches of each other. I ran for the camera but they had dispersed before I could get it deployed.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,20:47   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 28 2008,17:07)
Quote (nuytsia @ April 28 2008,16:26)
Not quite in my backyard but I thought I'd share...

I saw my very first velvet worm last week

---snip----

After reading about these and seeing them on TV documentaries it was very cool to see one for real. :-)

That is wicked cool! On my sole trip to the Southern Hemisphere I looked for these guys, but didn't find any. Congrats!

My best wildlife sighting of the weekend was three species of Zonotrichia sparrows, White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris' Sparrow, all feeding on the ground beneath my feeders, within a few inches of each other. I ran for the camera but they had dispersed before I could get it deployed.

You need the New LePage Brand Bird Feeder.  They'll never fly away before you get your camera again.


--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,21:03   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 28 2008,17:07)
My best wildlife sighting of the weekend was three species of Zonotrichia sparrows, White-throated, White-crowned, and Harris' Sparrow, all feeding on the ground beneath my feeders, within a few inches of each other. I ran for the camera but they had dispersed before I could get it deployed.

While out filling in collapsed gopher tunnels in my pasture, one of my dogs flushed a wild turkey. The poor thing was having a hard time getting altitude and did a faceplant into a wire mesh fence. Dog almost caught it before it took off again, this time parallel to the fence, and hightailed it into a juniper tree.  I looked where it came from and found it a nest with 13 eggs in it.  I'm not sure how long they have been there, so I'll need to keep an eye out to see when they hatch.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,21:08   

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 28 2008,21:03)
While out filling in collapsed gopher tunnels in my pasture, one of my dogs flushed a wild turkey.

That's a pretty impressive dog.  How did you train it to fill in gopher tunnels?  :p

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,22:17   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 28 2008,21:08)
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 28 2008,21:03)
While out filling in collapsed gopher tunnels in my pasture, one of my dogs flushed a wild turkey.

That's a pretty impressive dog.  How did you train it to fill in gopher tunnels?  :p

Simple.  I told them that I wasn't going to feed them for free.  If they wanted to eat, they needed to work.  They were so intent on survival that they evolved opposable thumbs. Praise Darwin!

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Henry J



Posts: 4112
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,22:40   

All these critters being described here make the local rabbits and deer seem boring... Cute, yes, but maybe nothing to write home about (so to speak).

Henry

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2008,23:14   

Well, I have had some other sphinx moths today, mostly white lined.  The most cool visitor was a downey woodpecker.  If you are in an area where they are common, they might not be a big deal.  Here they are rare so I get a kick out of seeing them.

The english sparrows have wiped-out the mourning cloak caterpillars.  We had several painted lady butterflies this morning.  I watched a 12 spot lady beetle emerge.  Sorry I forgot pictures (I tried on the woodpecker, but they were cummy).

I went fishing at Santa Catalina Island today (about 10 species of fish cuaght) and saw quite a number of gulls, terns, cormerants, shearwaters, pelicans etc...  Also a bald eagle. Sea Lions were all over the place as usual. Just outside Dana Point harbor we saw a blue whale.

Edited by Dr.GH on April 28 2008,21:20

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2008,14:19   

Got a call that there was a bee swarm near one of our buildings this afternoon, so I went to see it. It was pretty cool, and a decent size swarm, as you can see.



We contacted the extension entomologist to see if anyone wanted to collect it (it is worth about $80-100 to a beekeeper). That question was answered in the affirmative, and so we helped collect them. That is a very high-tech process, involving a cardboard box and a couple of people shaking the branch to dislodge the bees, allowing the swarm (hopefully containing the queen) to drop into the box.



A chemistry prof (not shown) who is an amateur beekeeper was the lucky recipient. As the old English rhyme goes:

   A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
   A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
   A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly.

We also found the parent hive from which this swarm originated; it is in a hollow branch of an oak tree about 30-40 feet from where this swarm was found. Maybe we'll get to find another one next spring!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2008,12:25   

Question: how the hell do you keep those bees in the box, and isn't such a hive way to heavy for a cardboard box like that?
Anyway, 2 days ago I saw a pretty nice bird, wich I've never seen here before. I didn't take a picture, because I was just on my way back from school, but I think it was this one:

The Eurasian Nuthatch, mainly because it was spurting down up and down the trunk of a tree so smoothly. But I could be wrong ofcourse, I'm far from a connaiseur ;-)

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2008,13:24   

Quote (Assassinator @ April 30 2008,12:25)
Question: how the hell do you keep those bees in the box, and isn't such a hive way to heavy for a cardboard box like that?

The bees stay in the box as long as the queen is there. It was really interesting; the bee guys knew that they had captured the queen because immediately some of the worker bees positioned themselves around the vent at the top of the box, and started fanning their wings rapidly, to keep the temperature in the box comfy enough for a queen.



And it is not a permanent home, but merely a transport device to get them to a regular wooden new hive/home. I'd imagine that the whole swarm weighed under a kilogram, so the box could easily hold them.

Nice bird, BTW.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Nomad



Posts: 311
Joined: July 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2008,00:59   

Well look who I caught in the act:


This cute little guy (or girl, I have no idea on the gender) has been living in the attic above my bedroom for years.  The truth is the roof needs to be repaired, there's a gap on the side with plenty of room for inquisitive wildlife to enter.  All attempts to keep him from climbing up to the roof have failed, it appears he's shimmying up the drainpipes.  The drainpipes now have a spiked collar around them, but somehow he climbs up in spite of them.

At least he's been penned in, most of the attic is blocked off by a wire mesh fence.  So instead of a luxury suite he's limited to a sort of studio apartment.

It was fascinating to catch him up there (that's the lower level of the roof just above the front door).  Once he saw me he seemed to be about to climb back up that drainpipe, but then he thought better of it and curled up in the corner, it's like he decided to out wait me.  It was evening and he was headed out, but clearly wasn't interested in hopping down with me out there.  He stayed put long enough for me to bring my camera and tripod (it was getting dark fast, the exposure on this shot was 3.2 seconds) and take as many pictures as I wanted.

Eventually I went inside and watched from a front door window as he climbed down via a tree, demonstrating fairly impressive dexterity.  I tended to think raccoons were a bit less limber than that, they seem too heavy to gently lower themselves down onto the end of a branch while supporting their weight on their front legs (on the end of the branch, not a very large surface).

I'm hoping that this encounter will deter him, but I kind of doubt it.  I'm sure he knows he's living above humans, finally seeing one can't be that scary.

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2008,09:26   

That is a cute little bugger - and he looks a lot more intelligent than those pictures of Nein Stein in shorts...

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2008,11:56   

It's been hectic here as we near the end of the semester, but I finally got around to posting the checklist of birds seen by the KSU Field Ornithology class yesterday. Here is the list (49 species), along with an interesting story about our encounter with a black rat snake.

Enjoy!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2008,21:26   

was southeast of savannah today for a "derby" party.
wandering the grounds we saw a 4' black snake (probably a racer but didn't see the white chin), brown pelicans and a flight of wood storks.
some bottle nose dolphins cruised up the creek.
beautiful day.  mostly cloudy, 15kt winds, around 80f.

  
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2008,00:28   

Assassinator:
The European nuthatch is fairly common, especially around old deciduous, rough-barked trees like oak. They are the only bird that habitually goes head-first down tree trunks and under large branches. Usually you hear them first - their call has been described as like fairy trumpets. And yes, they are attractive, especially as they can be more stongly-coloured than the one in the photo.

--------------
All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
jeffox



Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2008,01:24   

I got out of town today on a geology field trip.  I saw numerous vultures at the landfill we visited, one marsh hawk later, and one common merganser.  Oh, and a good ol' sloughpumper (great blue heron).  

The day started out very cool and drizzly but the sun came out by mid-afternoon for a nice day.  Still too cool here for most fungi.

I hope e1 had as nice a day as I did.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 04 2008,17:01   

It was cold last night, with a north wind, which should keep some of the northbound migrants grounded for an evening. So I ventured out this morning to see what I could see, bird-wise. There were lots of migrants, but some of the best views I had were of some of our regular summer breeding birds. These included this male Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)



and this female Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 05 2008,06:42   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ April 29 2008,15:19)
Got a call that there was a bee swarm near one of our buildings this afternoon, so I went to see it. It was pretty cool, and a decent size swarm, as you can see.



We contacted the extension entomologist to see if anyone wanted to collect it (it is worth about $80-100 to a beekeeper). That question was answered in the affirmative, and so we helped collect them. That is a very high-tech process, involving a cardboard box and a couple of people shaking the branch to dislodge the bees, allowing the swarm (hopefully containing the queen) to drop into the box.



A chemistry prof (not shown) who is an amateur beekeeper was the lucky recipient. As the old English rhyme goes:

   A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
   A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
   A swarm of bees in July isn't worth a fly.

We also found the parent hive from which this swarm originated; it is in a hollow branch of an oak tree about 30-40 feet from where this swarm was found. Maybe we'll get to find another one next spring!

I had a very similar experience 15 years ago. I returned from work one cool spring evening to find a large swarm nestled under one of the eves of my house. We called an exterminator, but they suggested bee keepers. An elderly couple arrived with a box and a broom. They climbed out a window onto the porch roof below the eve, dislodged the swarm with the broom and it dropped into the box.

Plop.

I was amazed.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
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(Permalink) Posted: May 08 2008,15:42   

On our last field trip for the semester, the KSU Field Ornithology class found 68 species on a calm, bright, and pleasant morning. The highlights included good looks at American Redstarts, Northern Parulas, Orchard Orioles, and a Green Heron. The entire checklist can be seen here.

This is a fun class to teach, but unfortunately only 3 of the 7 enrolled students managed to get out of bed in time to come to class today, and it was the nicest day of the semester, both in terms of the birds seen and in terms of the weather...

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,14:28   

I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a Catbird alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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carlsonjok



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,15:14   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,14:28)
I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a Catbird alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.

I just spent an hour and a half rescuing a baby barn swallow out of my barn loft.  The swallows like to build nests in the rafters of the lower level of my barn. I normally tear them down immediately, but they managed to put a nest in a new location and by the time I discovered it, there were already chicks in it. Those chicks are now learning to fly and one managed to find its way into the loft. I opened the loft doors and gave the little fella some time, but he never managed to fly out.  So I grabbed a towel and captured the little fella and took him down to ground level where his sibling was hopping around.  They have both now disappeared, so I assume my rescue was successful.

I have dubbed the episode "another chapter in the book why animal lovers shouldn't live in the country."

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,15:34   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,12:28)
I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a Catbird alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.

While we sadly don't have Catbirds out in the West Coast, I've always thought Mockingbirds were even better for that. When I was a kid there was a nesting pair in my back yard for several years. The male used to attack cats during the nesting season, and he had a song that he basically sang all day for 6 months of the year. In peak summer you'd hear it all night, even at 2-3am. The song took about 3-4 minutes to 'recite' in full and was so consistent that after a few years I actually knew what notes were coming up next.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,15:53   

Just moved back to Carrboro. Nice little garden out back. Mint, basil, rosemary, tomatoes, etc. Only wildlife to report around here are lots of deer.

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,16:04   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 10 2008,16:34)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,12:28)
I just spent about a half-hour tossing the ball with Shakespeare in the back yard.

While I was standing by the back tree line, a Catbird alighted on a branch about ten or twelve feet from me and decided it was safe to serenade us.  Shakespeare just took a seat beside me and watched him rather calmly.

It seemed like he pulled out every piece of sheet music he had.  Catbirds always fascinate me in that such a wide repertoire is contained all in one animal.

While we sadly don't have Catbirds out in the West Coast, I've always thought Mockingbirds were even better for that. When I was a kid there was a nesting pair in my back yard for several years. The male used to attack cats during the nesting season, and he had a song that he basically sang all day for 6 months of the year. In peak summer you'd hear it all night, even at 2-3am. The song took about 3-4 minutes to 'recite' in full and was so consistent that after a few years I actually knew what notes were coming up next.

I get regular visits from mockingbirds as well, though for whatever reason it seems like the catbirds, the robins, and the red-bellied woodpeckers are the most frequent "serenaders" in my yard.  (I don't guess that's the best word for the woodpecker's call, but whatever.)

I have a line of azaleas about 30' long and 5' tall across the back fence, and there's always some very pretty music emanating from the depths of that, but even with 10X50 binoculars from the window, it's usually not possible to see exactly who's making it.  Sometimes I can recognize the songs, sometimes I can figure it out from the Cornell site, but a lot of times I can't, so I just sit and listen.

There's a Catbird (the same one as earlier maybe? - the song is definitely different but similar) out there letting it rip now, in fact, accompanied by a Cardinal and someone else who just seems to be "peep"ing (that might be another Cardinal, but I can't locate the exact source).  There's a Blue Jay in the background, further away somewhere, and some other bird I haven't heard before just joined them.

The latest guest sounds like a Cardinal's peep 8 or 9 times in a row in quick succession, like a machine gun.  Almost a trill, but not quite.  'bout the same pitch as a Cardinal, too, but I've never heard a Cardinal do that before.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Albatrossity2



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,16:29   

My bird adventure of the day was an excursion to try to photograph a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), aka the "Golden Swamp-warbler"). These are rare and local around here, but there are at least a couple of pairs at a local campground, so I headed out before the thunderstorms hit this afternoon. I got lucky.



In keeping with the FtK theme that science=religion, I should also note that the name of this bird derives from its bright yellow color, which is the same yellow as the color of the robes of papal officials known as "prothonotaries apostolic". These high ranking monsignors were (and still are) keepers of the papal documents.

In keeping with the FtK and Wee Willy Wallace theme that science=atheism, I should also note that the Prothonotary Warbler figured prominently in the HUAC investigation of Alger Hiss, an accused communist whose prosecution initiated the rise of the political career of Richard Milhous Nixon.

But sometimes a bird is just a bird.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,16:48   

That is an amazing shot.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,16:58   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,17:48)
That is an amazing shot.

It's less amazing if it's a telephoto lens, but the blurry leaves in the background suggest it might not be such a thing. Impressive.

(also, lovely plumage ;-) )

   
khan



Posts: 1486
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,19:17   

I live in a small house on a small lot (~50' x 100').  Electric wires run across the back of the property.

Observed: a cardinal on a wire singing; another cardinal on a wire ~50 or so feet along, singing;  first cardinal walks sideways on the wire and resumes singing; second cardinal responds; first cardinal walks sideways a bit more and resumes singing...

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"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
jeffox



Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,22:26   

Finally got some fungi up here in WI.  Coprinus Micaceous (sp.) in copious amounts on and around an ash tree stump near my apartment.

Keep in mind, we've only had one day all year in the 70-80 F range, so far.  Today was mid-60s F.

  
nuytsia



Posts: 131
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 10 2008,23:34   

Quote (stevestory @ May 10 2008,08:58)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,17:48)
That is an amazing shot.

It's less amazing if it's a telephoto lens, but the blurry leaves in the background suggest it might not be such a thing. Impressive.

(also, lovely plumage ;-) )

Well speaking as someone who has a telephoto lens (not a swanky one, mind) I'd be bloody chuffed with that shot. :p

That's a great shot and a gorgeous bird.

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2008,07:10   

Quote (nuytsia @ May 10 2008,23:34)
 
Quote (stevestory @ May 10 2008,08:58)
     
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 10 2008,17:48)
That is an amazing shot.

It's less amazing if it's a telephoto lens, but the blurry leaves in the background suggest it might not be such a thing. Impressive.

(also, lovely plumage ;-) )

Well speaking as someone who has a telephoto lens (not a swanky one, mind) I'd be bloody chuffed with that shot. :p

That's a great shot and a gorgeous bird.

Thanks.

The lens is a 100-400 mm telephoto zoom (Canon). To most folks, that upper end (400 mm, or about 8X in telescope terminology) seems plenty powerful enough for shots of small birds. But it's not; warbler-size birds have to get really close (4-5 m) before you can get a decent shot. And they don't get that close very often... People who do small bird photography for a living often use a 500 mm lens and a 1.4 tele-extender to get an effective focal length of 700 mm. The rest of us just have to wait for the odd bird to pop up close enough.

So yeah, I was bloody chuffed when I got home and saw those pics on my computer screen. Thank goodness for (nearly) instant gratification!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2008,11:08   

Indeed, the fact that's also a rather scarce (and gorgeous) species of bird makes it even better. Even the big mosquito in his mouth is a delightful touch.

Do you take requests? How about a Bachman's Warbler next?  :p

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
khan



Posts: 1486
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 11 2008,12:03   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 11 2008,12:08)
Indeed, the fact that's also a rather scarce (and gorgeous) species of bird makes it even better. Even the big mosquito in his mouth is a delightful touch.

Do you take requests? How about a Bachman's Warbler next?  :p

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki....nesbury

Quote
Dick Davenport - Lacey's longtime friend later married. An avid bird watcher of endangered bird species. Died in a controversial 1986 strip asking God to take a picture of a bachman's warbler.


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"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
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(Permalink) Posted: May 15 2008,16:30   



Today's shot of a Mourning Cloak laying eggs

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2008,06:56   

The woodpeckers are not shy this morning.  In the last hour or so, I've heard through my window the calls of a Red Bellied, a Northern Flicker, and a Pileated.

I listened to the Plileated pecking for a while, matched the sound on the Cornell Ornithology site, then got out the 10X50s and crept to the window for a look.  I located the general area way up on a pine tree along the back tree line, but he was behind a bough and all I could get was little pieces of him.  Then a little flash of movement caught my eye just to the left, so I moved the field of view a little to see what it was.

There on the trunk of an adjacent tree was a perfect shadow of him in the morning sun, and I watched him pecking around for a little while, in shadow.  I really wish I had a nice long-lens SLR.  The shot would have been beautiful.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Zachriel



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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2008,09:49   

From Ben Bova's Jovian Travelogue,

Quote
Huge balloonlike creatures called Clarke's Medusas drift in the hurricane-like winds surging across the planet. Birds that have never seen land, living out their entire lives aloft. Gossamer spider-kites that trap microscopic spores. Particles of long-chain carbon molecules that form in the clouds and sift downward, toward the global ocean below.




(Sometimes, if you're patient, Earthling spaceships can be seen flying by!)



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Not joey

   
Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2008,16:12   

Quote (Lou FCD @ May 18 2008,04:56)
The woodpeckers are not shy this morning.  In the last hour or so, I've heard through my window the calls of a Red Bellied, a Northern Flicker, and a Pileated.

I listened to the Plileated pecking for a while, matched the sound on the Cornell Ornithology site, then got out the 10X50s and crept to the window for a look.  I located the general area way up on a pine tree along the back tree line, but he was behind a bough and all I could get was little pieces of him.  Then a little flash of movement caught my eye just to the left, so I moved the field of view a little to see what it was.

There on the trunk of an adjacent tree was a perfect shadow of him in the morning sun, and I watched him pecking around for a little while, in shadow.  I really wish I had a nice long-lens SLR.  The shot would have been beautiful.

That's an amazing coincidence, since I saw my first Pileated woodpecker this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday.

Staying in cabins in the Santa Cruz mountains, I was sort of half-dozing at about 7am when I heard a loud "BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK" that sounded really close by. I sleepily got up to see what kind of bird it was, not expecting much, when I looked thru the front window of the cabin, and the big guy was no more than 10 feet in front of me. He was alternating between running up and down an oak tree and picking for food inside a fire pit in the campsite. All in all he gave me a nice, 6 minute long look at him.

Then this morning he reappeared at the same time and did exactly the same thing, for about 3 minutes. Also I kept hearing his hammering all morning. Now I know what they sound like.

I know this isn't a big deal for folks in the Eastern US, but Pileateds are *not* common in California. After 25+ years of birding in Calif., it's the first one I've seen. I had no idea they had them in Santa Cruz County -- it appears to be on the extreme southern tip of their West Coast range.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 18 2008,17:16   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 18 2008,17:12)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 18 2008,04:56)
The woodpeckers are not shy this morning.  In the last hour or so, I've heard through my window the calls of a Red Bellied, a Northern Flicker, and a Pileated.

I listened to the Plileated pecking for a while, matched the sound on the Cornell Ornithology site, then got out the 10X50s and crept to the window for a look.  I located the general area way up on a pine tree along the back tree line, but he was behind a bough and all I could get was little pieces of him.  Then a little flash of movement caught my eye just to the left, so I moved the field of view a little to see what it was.

There on the trunk of an adjacent tree was a perfect shadow of him in the morning sun, and I watched him pecking around for a little while, in shadow.  I really wish I had a nice long-lens SLR.  The shot would have been beautiful.

That's an amazing coincidence, since I saw my first Pileated woodpecker this weekend -- Saturday and Sunday.

Staying in cabins in the Santa Cruz mountains, I was sort of half-dozing at about 7am when I heard a loud "BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK BAK" that sounded really close by. I sleepily got up to see what kind of bird it was, not expecting much, when I looked thru the front window of the cabin, and the big guy was no more than 10 feet in front of me. He was alternating between running up and down an oak tree and picking for food inside a fire pit in the campsite. All in all he gave me a nice, 6 minute long look at him.

Then this morning he reappeared at the same time and did exactly the same thing, for about 3 minutes. Also I kept hearing his hammering all morning. Now I know what they sound like.

I know this isn't a big deal for folks in the Eastern US, but Pileateds are *not* common in California. After 25+ years of birding in Calif., it's the first one I've seen. I had no idea they had them in Santa Cruz County -- it appears to be on the extreme southern tip of their West Coast range.

Funny, 'cause I'd never seen one until I moved here.  Of course, I never really paid a great deal of attention before that, I don't think.

If I happened to notice a blue jay, it was worth noting to someone later in the day.

"Hey, I saw a blue jay earlier."
"Doesn't take much to impress you, does it?"
"But he was right there in the yard!"
"You're an idiot."
"I saw a Cardinal, too."
"I'm gonna go watch paint dry."
"Hey they're pretty rare!"
"No, Cardinals are pretty common."
"This one had lasers for eyes."

Edited by Lou FCD on May 18 2008,18:44

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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ashwken



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(Permalink) Posted: May 20 2008,13:35   

Tales from North Georgia

Some years ago my mother had a hanging basket of fuchia on the porch in front of a picture window. Even though there we many of us sitting on the porch one afternoon a determined hummingbird was not threatened by our presence.

Unfortunately, as the hummingbird worked its way around the hanging basket it got tangled up in a spider web that was present in a portion of the picture window. The spider web "glued" some of the wing feathers together and effectively grounded it.

The task fell to me to rescue the little fella and we tried a wet wash cloth on the webbing to no avail - and I was real concerned about aplying too much pressure to its wings, the thing seemed so fragile in the palm of my hand.

Abandoning the wet wash cloth I just started removing the webbing with my fingers. At some point the hummingbird felt that it had had enough of this nonsense and tried flying off, but there was still enough webbing to prevent it from flying and it just fluttered to the floor.

Eventually I was able to remove enough webbing so that it was able to take flight.

On another occassion, we have a row of dogwoods along the back property line and I had laid out some bird seed on the ground between a couple of them. After awhile some of the larger ground feeding birds found the seed and as I was watching a beautiful male cardinal, there was a flash of brown and white feathers as a hawk swooped in and carried that cardinal off into the woods for lunch.

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 20 2008,17:23   

Quote
The task fell to me to rescue the little fella and we tried a wet wash cloth on the webbing to no avail - and I was real concerned about aplying too much pressure to its wings, the thing seemed so fragile in the palm of my hand.

Then I can say again, poor spider, deprived from his food ;)

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2008,00:14   

Check out this amazing video taken off the coast of Japan of a flying fish that remains aloft for 45(!) seconds.

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And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2008,06:23   

I'm gonna be off the grid for about 10 days, camping and hiking and photographing in the lovely states of Arizona and New Mexico. Hopefully I'll have some wildlife shots to share when I return; I only wish that this was my backyard!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2008,06:39   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 25 2008,07:23)
I'm gonna be off the grid for about 10 days, camping and hiking and photographing in the lovely states of Arizona and New Mexico. Hopefully I'll have some wildlife shots to share when I return; I only wish that this was my backyard!

I'll be looking forward to those, Alby.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Assassinator



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(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2008,16:41   

Can't wait as well. Ya know, you guys sure revived my love for the outdoors ;)
Anyway, maybe a funny little "wildlife" story to tell as well. Yesterday, at work, we had ourselfs a bird in the supermarket's storage. For some odd reason, all my co-workers were scared shitless from the little fella. I just found it a pretty nice experience to watch a bird up close, and his singing sounded even better! And because I was the only guy around (all my co-workers are girls, except for the boss who wasn't around) I was the one who could scare it away, and thus I got crap all over me (thanks girls!).
I think it was one of these:

A female blackbird, a kinda dull and normal bird but the song it sang was still really nice, but I'm definatly not sure (1 of the reasons I would like a camara on my cellphone).
All in all another fun day at work, at least my newest co-workers who just had her first day has one to remember.

  
Richard Simons



Posts: 425
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 25 2008,20:54   

Quote
A female blackbird, a kinda dull and normal bird but the song it sang was still really nice, but I'm definatly not sure

The male blackbird (which is the one that does the singing) is jet black with a bright yellow beak. The starling is chunkier with a dull beak but if you see it reasonably well you can see it is spotted, not uniform black and I would not describe its song as sweet. If it was brown, likely contenders are the thrushes but they are light underneath with obvious dark spots. They, like the blackbird, have clear, fluty songs.

The blackbird is the one that is most likely to be comfortable enough around people to enter a building (at least, in the UK). I remember one that used to come into a lunch room and pick up crumbs from under the tables while people were sitting there. When the janitor saw it he rushed at it, shouting and waving his arms. The bird would quickly fill its beak with everything within reach and casually fly out inches in front of him.

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All sweeping statements are wrong.

  
EyeNoU



Posts: 115
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2008,06:56   



Can anyone identify this fellow? Several of them joined us every morning for breakfast while in Costa Rica.

  
fusilier



Posts: 216
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2008,08:24   

Right now we've got cardinals, robins, grackles, and pigeons all over the place.  Lots of wrens and goldfinches at the feeder.  Don't know what's happened to the Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks that we used to see all the time - maybe that we had to eliminate the pond.*

We're also pretty over-run with carpenter bees - the big solitary ladies are damned territorial.



*Lousy quality-control on pumps.

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fusilier
James 2:24

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2008,09:51   

Quote (Richard Simons @ May 25 2008,20:54)
Quote
A female blackbird, a kinda dull and normal bird but the song it sang was still really nice, but I'm definatly not sure

The male blackbird (which is the one that does the singing) is jet black with a bright yellow beak. The starling is chunkier with a dull beak but if you see it reasonably well you can see it is spotted, not uniform black and I would not describe its song as sweet. If it was brown, likely contenders are the thrushes but they are light underneath with obvious dark spots. They, like the blackbird, have clear, fluty songs.

The blackbird is the one that is most likely to be comfortable enough around people to enter a building (at least, in the UK). I remember one that used to come into a lunch room and pick up crumbs from under the tables while people were sitting there. When the janitor saw it he rushed at it, shouting and waving his arms. The bird would quickly fill its beak with everything within reach and casually fly out inches in front of him.

Hmm yes then it was definatly not a female blackbird. I can only recall it was a slim bird who was totally brown, with a fluty song. It could be a European Starling, but I can't recall it being that spotted. The beak was also different, it had a darker color.

  
midwifetoad



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(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2008,17:14   

Your bird looks a bit like a Magpie Jay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-throated_Magpie-jay

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”let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

Pat Robertson

  
EyeNoU



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Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: May 26 2008,19:46   

Thanks, Midwife. I believe you are correct. Saw them every morning at breakfast, and they didn't appear to be too afraid of humans.

  
k.e..



Posts: 3057
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 28 2008,09:19   

Is it a bird or a moth?


From my recent rip to PNG











--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"Abbie Smith (ERV) who's got to be the most obnoxious arrogant snot I've ever seen except for when I look in a mirror" DAVE TARD
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2008,21:12   

Nice Magpie Jay!  There is an interesting story about JJ Audubon and that species that will have to wait until later. We are temporarily back on the grid, in a hotel in Albuquerque NM, cleaned up from 5 days of sand and heat. Tomorrow we head to Chaco Canyon for a couple of days, then back home.

I'll post more pics later, but I really thought you all needed to see this one. Two nectar-feeding bats hitting the hummingbird feeder after sunset in Cave Creek Canyon, AZ. It appears that that one on the right is very pregnant...



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 30 2008,21:42   

That right there's pretty damned nifty.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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Albatrossity2



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(Permalink) Posted: May 31 2008,09:01   

A bit of googling revealed that the bats we observed were probably Mexican Long-tongued Bats (Choeronycteris mexicana), and furthermore revealed that their tongues can be up to one-third of their body length. More information on the Portal AZ population of these critters can be found here.

Here's another image, of a Blue-throated Hummingbird, also from Cave Creek Canyon AZ.



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Bob O'H



Posts: 1994
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 03 2008,13:42   

I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.

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It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10318
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 03 2008,14:01   

Quote (Bob O'H @ June 03 2008,13:42)
I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.

I had two birds on a balcony once, Bob. Magic, magic times.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 03 2008,14:16   

Quote (Richardthughes @ June 03 2008,14:01)
Quote (Bob O'H @ June 03 2008,13:42)
I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.

I had two birds on a balcony once, Bob. Magic, magic times.

I always figured you were a furry.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 03 2008,22:16   

what the heck is this thing?




weird looking critter.  and the file is too big too.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
k.e..



Posts: 3057
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 04 2008,09:33   

Quote (Richardthughes @ June 03 2008,22:01)
Quote (Bob O'H @ June 03 2008,13:42)
I don't have anything as exciting as Albatrossity, but I have discussed the latest goings on on my balcony.  Little feather bastards taking the piss out of the cat.

I had two birds on a balcony once, Bob. Magic, magic times.

YEAH WELL, I KNOW GUY WHO KNEW A GUY WHO HAD SEVEN. dT

--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"Abbie Smith (ERV) who's got to be the most obnoxious arrogant snot I've ever seen except for when I look in a mirror" DAVE TARD
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus

  
Moorit



Posts: 21
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 06 2008,10:57   

Erasmus, where was the plant located?  And if you say, "On the ground" or "Up to its sepals in leaf mold", I'll smack ya.  I like plants and I'd like to take a shot at identifying it.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 06 2008,17:04   

To "honor" FtK's release from the BW birdcage of stench and moaning, I'll post the next image in the series of shots I collected in the American Southwest in the last couple of weeks.

Yellow-eyed Junco (Junco phaeonotus) - a local specialty species, sought by birders in the Chiricahua Mountains of SE Arizona. Carrying food to the nest, for the kids.



No piranhas in that part of the galaxy, alas.

I'll try to post one image a day for the next few weeks.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 06 2008,17:18   

You're such a tease.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: June 07 2008,09:54   

I snaped this yesterday just before some crows made him fly off with his prize.



--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 07 2008,09:59   

Quote (Moorit @ June 06 2008,10:57)
Erasmus, where was the plant located?  And if you say, "On the ground" or "Up to its sepals in leaf mold", I'll smack ya.  I like plants and I'd like to take a shot at identifying it.

Er, it was on the ground up to its sepals in leaf mold.  But all of that was in Jackson County, AL in the Walls of Jericho.  Cumberland Plateau.  There were several, this one was about 50 feet from a small spring head but I saw a few more on an old log skid trail.  Lots of red clay dirt high in silica.  Kalmia, Rhododendron, oak-hickory usual suspects.

hope that helps!

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 07 2008,13:52   

Today's image is another bird, the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), perched on an Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana). This is a really cool bird, with a complicated social system (hoards acorns in communal locations, juvenile birds from previous broods help raise the nestlings, etc.)



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 08 2008,18:12   

Today's installment - a young mule-eared deer (Odocoileus hemionus), browsing near Sunny Flat, Cave Creek Canyon, AZ



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2008,13:39   

Here's another bat pic, showing the leafy flap at the end of the nose of these critters. More information (along with a nice portrait) on this species can be found here.

Of some interest to some folks on this list is the fact that this is one of the major pollinators for agave plants, the source of tequila. So the next time you enjoy a margarita, thank a bat!



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 11 2008,16:44   

The image for today will be the last one from the Chiricahua section of the trip; I'll screen through the images from Chaco Canyon and the Gila River to see if some of those need to be posted tomorrow or thereafter.

This one is a lovely female Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). A common hummer in the southwest US, this was the most common hummer at our feeder in Cave Creek Canyon as well.



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 12 2008,14:08   

No wildlife today, but here are some pictures of the damage from the tornado that hit the KSU campus last evening. This is a shockwave file, so it may some time to load. When it loads, just click on the image to view the next slide.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 13 2008,18:38   

we've had a different looking feathered visitor in our garden.  took a few weeks to get close enough to intentify it but today we pegged it as a great crested flycatcher.  a first for us here on de island, mon.

berry cool.

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 16 2008,18:57   

had an upclose look at a bottlenose dolphin on sunday.
he/she came up right at the stern of the boat and between the starboard gunnel and the outboard.
it would surface (inhale/exhale rapidly) and then drop down to about a 2 foot depth and remain practically motionless, letting the boat's pressure wave drag it along.
the fact that there was a stainless propeller spinning at 1200rmp 18 inches from it's head didn't seem to phase it a bit.  
it was close enought that you could have leaned over the transom and stuck a finger in it's blowhole if you'd been so foolishly inclined.
it hung with us for about a mile and then scooted off....

i've seen a lot of dolphin but never one that close to the boat.

we also managed a close encounter with 5 spotted sea trout and 4 redfish earlier in the day.
the redfish are only moments away from meeting a skillet.  blackened redfish.  :)

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5379
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 16 2008,19:42   

Quote (rhmc @ June 16 2008,19:57)
had an upclose look at a bottlenose dolphin on sunday.
he/she came up right at the stern of the boat and between the starboard gunnel and the outboard.
it would surface (inhale/exhale rapidly) and then drop down to about a 2 foot depth and remain practically motionless, letting the boat's pressure wave drag it along.
the fact that there was a stainless propeller spinning at 1200rmp 18 inches from it's head didn't seem to phase it a bit.  
it was close enought that you could have leaned over the transom and stuck a finger in it's blowhole if you'd been so foolishly inclined.
it hung with us for about a mile and then scooted off....

i've seen a lot of dolphin but never one that close to the boat.

we also managed a close encounter with 5 spotted sea trout and 4 redfish earlier in the day.
the redfish are only moments away from meeting a skillet.  blackened redfish.  :)

Pisces yummicus?

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
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rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 17 2008,19:14   

Quote (Lou FCD @ June 16 2008,20:42)
Pisces yummicus?

i dunno, i've never tried dolphin.  :)

  
k.e..



Posts: 3057
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 18 2008,07:32   

I have .......the variety with two legs!

They have endless enery, are total pleasure seekers, don't know the meaning of let's rest, can drink you under a table, eat everything in sight, speak many foreign languages, eat a lot of fish,  are more comfortable in water, exquisite athletes, hold their breath for a long time, firm all over, incredibly playful, not in the least bit shy or afraid of danger and a diabolical sense of humor.

My kind of mammal!

--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"Abbie Smith (ERV) who's got to be the most obnoxious arrogant snot I've ever seen except for when I look in a mirror" DAVE TARD
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 18 2008,07:45   

and when you get near their blow hole they start saying "ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh" and nailing you with their tail.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
k.e..



Posts: 3057
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 18 2008,07:55   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ June 18 2008,15:45)
and when you get near their blow hole they start saying "ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh ehnhuh" and nailing you with their tail.

I knew you wouldn't surface too far away.

I'm off for a nailing.

--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"Abbie Smith (ERV) who's got to be the most obnoxious arrogant snot I've ever seen except for when I look in a mirror" DAVE TARD
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus

  
k.e..



Posts: 3057
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 18 2008,09:24   

Sorry 'ras I was remarking on a Solomon Sea Dolphin and the Indian Ocean Porpoise my Solomoan Sea Dolphin is probably doing this right now.

The faithful mammal

--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"Abbie Smith (ERV) who's got to be the most obnoxious arrogant snot I've ever seen except for when I look in a mirror" DAVE TARD
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: June 20 2008,20:04   

for anyone in the neigborhood:

beach seining, south end of tybee island (eastern terminus of highway u.s. 80), saturday morn, 6/21.
dawn - or shortly thereafter.

you'll see stuff you never knew lived that close to land.

hopefully, lots of it will be edible.  :)

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 02 2008,17:45   

I'm a bit late in reporting on this, but last Sunday I ran the Olsburg BBS (Breeding Bird Survey) route, (38-318 in the BBS database), and ended up with 69 species. This is a bit lower than in recent years; I found 77 species in 2003 and again last year.

I wanted to run it the weekend before, but the Black Vermilion River was out of its banks and a chunk of the road, about 200 ft across, was under water. So I had to wait until it dried out.

There were a couple of highlights. I added one species when I found a singing male Scarlet Tanager on Shannon Creek Road. Despite the lateness of the season, the Shannon Creek Bald Eagles were still there, thankfully. I also saw (and heard) a Song Sparrow. That was the second time I have found that species on the route; I found two Song Sparrows in 2006 in the same general area of that route. I also saw a hen Greater Prairie-chicken and 8 young-uns crossing the road at one stop. And before you ask, no, I don't have any idea why the chickens crossed the road... I had a record number of Dickcissels (111, previous high was 91 in 2006), and a record number of Cliff Swallows (131, previous high was 96, also in 2006). A lovely male Dickcissel is pictured below.

Misses included Loggerhead Shrike (not seen on this route since 2002), Red-headed Woodpecker, Black-billed Cuckoo, and Bell's Vireo.

The most interesting aspect of this year's count was a bird I hoped to see. On my scouting run up there on Saturday, I found a road-killed male Bobolink, near the Black Vermilion Marsh. It was very flat, and embedded with gravel, so I didn't bother to bring it back to KSU for the collection, but it was definitely a Bobolink. Unfortunately I found no Bobolinks there, or along the rest of the route, on Sunday...

I think that these wet years along the Blue River allow some more northerly birds like Bobolinks and Song Sparrows to trickle down here from Nebraska.



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 02 2008,17:52   

great photos. Tell us the camera and lens details.  

I have had a Nuttels woodpecker visiting for 2 days now which is very fun.  They are rare here, and then mostly winter migrants. Climate change?

The sharpshinned hawk is still around too.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 02 2008,20:55   

Quote (Dr.GH @ July 02 2008,17:52)
great photos. Tell us the camera and lens details.  

I have had a Nuttels woodpecker visiting for 2 days now which is very fun.  They are rare here, and then mostly winter migrants. Climate change?

The sharpshinned hawk is still around too.

Thanks. That dickcissel in the picture was a bird we just banded, and my daughter was holding him. You can't see her hands, but that allowed me to use a very sharp lens (Canon 100 mm macro) on a Canon EOS 30D body.

I'd love to get a good pic of a Nuttall's Woodpecker. When I lived in California I didn't have the equipment to do that, and now that I do, I find that those birds don't make it to the Great Plains very often...

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 18 2008,14:32   

I need some help from the resident birders here. Last night, my wife and I were standing on our front yard observing a hawk perched ontop of one of our blackjack trees.  He was mostly brownish in color, but had a white head.  I've looked around some and couldn't identify what it was?  Any pointers to a better site where I can look?

What was really fascinating is that we have about three pairs of barn swallows nesting in our barn and the little suckers actually ganged up on that hawk and chased it off.  They are nasty little buggers.

--------------
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 18 2008,14:40   

Just got back from several days on an island in the Puget sound. We got abnormally beautiful, sunny weather that gave us a totally misguided notion of what the area is really like. Then on the last day, the other shoe dropped and it was totally overcast and gray.

Anyway, only two new birds -- several Bald Eagles, and a bajillion Northwestern Crows. I also saw a Pigeon Guillemot while out boating, but I've seen them before.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 18 2008,15:02   

Quote (carlsonjok @ July 18 2008,14:32)
I need some help from the resident birders here. Last night, my wife and I were standing on our front yard observing a hawk perched ontop of one of our blackjack trees.  He was mostly brownish in color, but had a white head.  I've looked around some and couldn't identify what it was?  Any pointers to a better site where I can look?

What was really fascinating is that we have about three pairs of barn swallows nesting in our barn and the little suckers actually ganged up on that hawk and chased it off.  They are nasty little buggers.

What size was it? If it was a regular buteo sized bird, it was likely a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). If you look in a standard bird book you will find a picture of a standard red-tailed hawk; the only problem with that is that you probably will never see one that looks exactly like the one in the book. They are among the most variably-plumaged birds on the planet. From here  
Quote
Due to its extreme variability though, the Red-tailed Hawk can be very difficult to identify.

Here's one with a white head.



--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
jeffox



Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,00:42   

I walked over to a city park in town here, yesterday.  I saw a pair of downy woodpeckers and one hairy.  I also saw a guy at the dock catch 3 nice smallmouth bass while I was there.  Nice outing, but I had to come in because it started raining.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1373
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,05:03   



Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,06:52   

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,05:03)


Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.

Looks more like a dobson fly, alder fly, or caddis fly. Which makes sense since these insects have aquatic larvae, and might be found under a pool cover.

Here's an image of a dobson fly larva



You might see what kinds of Neuroptera are found in your vicinity and then you should be able to get closer to a specific ID.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
fusilier



Posts: 216
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,10:09   

We're getting some new, small, birds at the feeder and sunflowers.

I'm pretty sure that one variety is a scarlet tanager - and we've never seen them before, in Indianapolis.  Then there are some new chickadee/finch-sized birds - is there a black-capped chickadee found in the midwest?

Tons of gold-finches and assorted small warblers.

The cats are fascinated.

--------------
fusilier
James 2:24

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,10:38   

Quote (fusilier @ July 19 2008,10:09)
We're getting some new, small, birds at the feeder and sunflowers.

I'm pretty sure that one variety is a scarlet tanager - and we've never seen them before, in Indianapolis.  Then there are some new chickadee/finch-sized birds - is there a black-capped chickadee found in the midwest?

Tons of gold-finches and assorted small warblers.

The cats are fascinated.

Maybe, except that Scarlet Tanagers don't eat seeds. If you had one at a seed feeder, it would be highly unusual. How large is it? A bit bigger than the Goldfinches?

How about House Finch?



I think Carolina Chickadees are more likely in Indy, according to this range map. But the dividing line between Black-capped and Carolina Chickadees is fairly fluid, and that is a relatively old map. The other pages at that USGS website linked above will help you distinguish between the two species; it is a bit tricky but it is possible if you get good looks.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:01   

Hey, Alby, I just spotted your work here!

Those are hard to find -- my sister's been in southern AZ for 8 years and still hasn't managed to see one.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1373
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:12   



Thanks for your suggestions, Dave. It does look very similar to the image above, described as Larva of Chrysoperla carnea or perhaps C. mediterranea feeding on an aphid. But there does seem to be a difference in scale as the thing I saw was about 70 - 80mm long, while the C. mediterranea in the Wiki photo must be smaller unless it is eating a giant aphid.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:15   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 19 2008,11:01)
Hey, Alby, I just spotted your work here!

Those are hard to find -- my sister's been in southern AZ for 8 years and still hasn't managed to see one.

Yeah, I've got a bunch of pictures scattered across that USGS website. I wish that they would update it; in many cases I have better images now for some of those species! But, as is typical in this administration, education and outreach re wildlife has little support, budgetary or otherwise.

Trogons are not hard to see if you are in the right place. We were camping at Sunny Flat in the Cave Creek area this May, and there was a pair of trogons that visited our campground. Here's the male



and the female



Tell your sister that she just needs to camp out at Sunny Flat for a day or two!

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:18   

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,11:12)
But there does seem to be a difference in scale as the thing I saw was about 70 - 80mm long, while the C. mediterranea in the Wiki photo must be smaller unless it is eating a giant aphid.

I don't know about your Mediterranean species, but I have seen adult dobson flies here that were easily 3 inches long. So I wouldn't worry about the size of the thing; they can get pretty big!

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:24   

I'll pass that on!

Southern Arizona is really interesting for birding. My sister took me to the ONE park in the state where you're guaranteed to see Gray Hawks and I saw one flying about 20 feet over my head within 2 minutes of getting out of the car. There's only a dozen or so breeding pairs in the state, I'm told, and that's where they are. But I also saw some other birds far more easily than she found them. Stopping in Tumacacari for soft drinks, I instantly saw a Zone-Tailed Hawk. My sister was very irked since she said it took her a year of birding and deliberate searching to see one. But on the other hand I was out there for 5 days with NO Roadrunners, even tho they're not rare. My sister was baffled -- usually they're all over. It was starting to look like I'd have to leave without seeing one, til finally one ran in front of me in the parking lot of the Sonora Desert Museum, of all places. (Nice place, BTW -- if only for the fact that it's the only way you're ever gonna see Thick-Billed Parrots in Arizona.)

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:36   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 19 2008,11:24)
I'll pass that on!

Southern Arizona is really interesting for birding. My sister took me to the ONE park in the state where you're guaranteed to see Gray Hawks and I saw one flying about 20 feet over my head within 2 minutes of getting out of the car. There's only a dozen or so breeding pairs in the state, I'm told, and that's where they are. But I also saw some other birds far more easily than she found them. Stopping in Tumacacari for soft drinks, I instantly saw a Zone-Tailed Hawk. My sister was very irked since she said it took her a year of birding and deliberate searching to see one. But on the other hand I was out there for 5 days with NO Roadrunners, even tho they're not rare. My sister was baffled -- usually they're all over. It was starting to look like I'd have to leave without seeing one, til finally one ran in front of me in the parking lot of the Sonora Desert Museum, of all places. (Nice place, BTW -- if only for the fact that it's the only way you're ever gonna see Thick-Billed Parrots in Arizona.)

Zone-tailed Hawks are a nemesis bird for lots of birders, so you are lucky. In my experience NM is better than AZ for seeing that one.

I have a similar story about birding luck in AZ. My youngest daughter was not quite 4 the first time we took her camping there. We were with a large group birding along the San Pedro BLM land near Sierra Vista (great place if you haven't been there). We saw lots of birds, including my lifer Botteri's Sparrow. But the target species was the Green Kingfisher, and we hadn't seen one as we were heading back to the parking lot. Naturally, since I was shepherding a four-year old and her 6 year old brother, I was bringing up the rear with the kids.

As we headed down the path toward the parking lot, Ellen stopped and said "I think that's the kingfisher". Sure enough, it was a gorgeous Green Kingfisher, sitting in full sunlight over the river about 30 yards away. We called the group back so that everyone could see it!

She hasn't quit birding since then; she's a lot better ear birder than I am, for sure!

This will be my last message for a while. I'm headed to Scotland in a few hours, hopefully to meet up with Louis sometime in August and plot the next conquests of the evil Darwinist Empire. Or maybe we'll just have a beer and haggis...

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 1969
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:39   

Yesterday’s fishing disadventure turned into a $250 marine mammal cruise. The conditions were perfect with the only problem a full moon. But the marine layer was very thick, and when I went on deck at 11PM, and 3AM, it was very dark. We set out lines at ~ 4:30 and the next 6 hours saw nothing but lots of water. We started fishing about 65 miles SSW of San Diego in an area that was holding fish. There were about 10 purse seiners in the area, two of them had deployed their nets. We worked a temperature break between the outer NW swell ~66F, and the south dominated inner water ~70F. The marine layer stayed solid all day. Clean water, 10 to 15 knot NW winds, plenty of flying fish. Everything was perfect- except no tuna. About 12 Noon, a tiny albacore committed suicide on a trolling feather. We let the youngest kid on-board reel it in. This was the sixth time I have not caught tuna on a targeted trip. (Sea Horse, Cherokee Geisha, Sea Horse, Admiral, Doctors Orders, and now the Pacific Star) Two trips went into gales with high seas, one I had been sick and stayed in my bunk. The trip on the Cherokee Geisha was the weirdest- people who couldn’t tie on their own hooks caught tuna but I couldn’t even get a bite.

But, we did see several pods of Dall’s porpoise who put on some great aerial displays as well as some their larger cousins, the common porpoise. The first whales we saw were two finback calves and an adult (?) mother. The adult was ~70 feet long, the light colored calves ~20-30. About 20 miles south of San Diego, just north of the Coronado Islands, we started seeing blue whales. In all we saw 7, one solo, a pair, and a quartet.

Edited by Dr.GH on July 19 2008,09:42

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,11:53   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 19 2008,09:36)
This will be my last message for a while. I'm headed to Scotland in a few hours, hopefully to meet up with Louis sometime in August and plot the next conquests of the evil Darwinist Empire. Or maybe we'll just have a beer and haggis...

Be sure and report back on that. I think we're all curious to know if Louis is as physically repulsive as he's rumo(u)red to be.  ;)

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 19 2008,12:24   

Quote (Alan Fox @ July 19 2008,05:03)


Found a couple of months ago (dead or dormant) under the edge of a pool cover. The larger one was about 80mm or 3" long. Could they be some kind of moth larva?

The friend who found them just reminded me I said I had an idea where I could get some info. on a science site bursting with eminent academics.

i don't think they are aquatic, and they are definitely not megaloptera (dobsonflies or their ilk).

i'd say probably a beetle larvae but my inordinate fondness for beetles does not cover the terrestrial forms.  the size tends to rule out Neuroptera.  there are some structural differences between the first pic and the lacewing larvae, or whatever it was that was a few posts below.

are their fleshy prolegs along the abdomen?  what does the posterior end of the abdomen look like?  hooks?

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
fusilier



Posts: 216
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2008,11:49   

Thanks for the ID's!

Definitely a house finch or three.  The pale red color extends over most of the animal, just like the photo.

Also, probably a Carolina chickadee.  The black head and black throat separated by the white band is also clear.

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fusilier
James 2:24

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2008,14:58   

This Just IN!

I had never heard of this, but noticed a Dragonfly Swarm last night out front of our house.

A little google indicates that dragonfly swarms ( @50)are not unknown, but not all that common either.

The Designer Must Work In Mysterious Ways.

I have a movie, .mov file extension, but my pc ineptitude does not allow me to link or post to it.  The pics I took are too small to be useful.

If you have hints on How To Do It, and of course, if you are interested in it, let me know.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2008,17:19   

A little wildlife from around my property.  I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.



This photo of a coyote pup isn't real good resolution as I took the photo from about 80-100 yards away and had to zoom in and resize some.



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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 20 2008,19:13   

Quote (carlsonjok @ July 20 2008,17:19)
A little wildlife from around my property.  I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.



This photo of a coyote pup isn't real good resolution as I took the photo from about 80-100 yards away and had to zoom in and resize some.


I think your coyote saw your first photo and said "Mmmmm! Breakfast!"

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2008,03:18   

Wildlife report from near Tyndrum, Scotland. (in no particular order)

Red deer
some kind of lemming or vole
Chaffinch
Wren (known as the Winter Wren in the US)
Magpie
Pied Wagtail
House Martin
Barn Swallow
European Robin
Rook
Herring Gull
Osprey!
Linnet
Coal Tit

and probably a few more that I can't recall right now (jet lag). I got some pics of the Chaffinch and the Wren (including young un's), but will wait til I get back to edit those. Today we head to the Isle of Lewis, so I should get some seabirds for the list.

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
fusilier



Posts: 216
Joined: Feb. 2003

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2008,07:42   

Quote (J-Dog @ July 20 2008,15:58)
This Just IN!

I had never heard of this, but noticed a Dragonfly Swarm last night out front of our house.

A little google indicates that dragonfly swarms ( @50)are not unknown, but not all that common either.
{snip}

yeah, ain't they amazing?

We had one in front of our house, maybe ten years ago.  We sit at the corner of three streets - in an ordinary subdivision - and they were just soaring up and diving down for over two hours.  It started late afternoon and just went on and on and on til dusk.  Just about twilight, a flock of swifts arrived and the display was over in minutes.

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fusilier
James 2:24

  
khan



Posts: 1486
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 21 2008,18:16   

Once, 20 or more years ago, the Monarch butterfly migration came through my street (SW Ohio).  Thousands of them settling into the trees for the night.

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"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2779
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2008,09:41   

Latest wildlife report from the Outer Hebrides (again in no particular order)

Greylag goose
Grey Heron
Merlin
Eurasian Curlew
European Oystercatcher
Northern Lapwing
Common Buzzard
Corn Bunting
Twite
Meadow Pipit
Corncrake!!! (walked across the road in front of us)
Greater Skua
Whooper Swan (pair with 6 cygnets)
Grey Seal
Carrion Crow
Snipe

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4369
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2008,11:15   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 22 2008,09:41)
Latest wildlife report from the Outer Hebrides (again in no particular order)

Greylag goose
Grey Heron
Merlin
Eurasian Curlew
European Oystercatcher
Northern Lapwing
Common Buzzard
Corn Bunting
Twite
Meadow Pipit
Corncrake!!! (walked across the road in front of us)
Greater Skua
Whooper Swan (pair with 6 cygnets)
Grey Seal
Carrion Crow
Snipe

Don't forget to tell us about the weather, and the food!

(Unless you just listed the menu at the Scottish Arms Hotel?)

Just kidding! :)

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4519
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2008,11:42   

Quote

I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.


Rusty and I could fix that if you wanted.



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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2008,11:53   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ July 22 2008,11:42)
 
Quote

I have two of these that live in the brush around my house and graze in my front yard every morning.


Rusty and I could fix that if you wanted.

LOL.  You'd have to work your way through about a half-dozen nasty little barn swallows that didn't appear too afraid of a hawk that landed on one of my blackjacks last week.

Actually, I haven't seen the rabbits in a number of days.  Their "disappearance" seems to coincide with both Mike Gene's bowing out over at TT and the appearance of a coyote in my backyard recently.  So, they may have been eaten, or perhaps they have been called to MG's secret lair to prepare for the inevitable war on the monolithic Darwinian priesthood.



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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
dvunkannon



Posts: 1377
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: July 22 2008,14:03   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 22 2008,10:41)
Latest wildlife report from the Outer Hebrides (again in no particular order)

snip
Carrion Crow

I saw a hooded crow on Castle Hill in Budapest about two weeks ago. Given that King Matthias was the Raven King, I thought it highly appropriate. Bird was too smart for me to catch a picture of, almost made me drop my camera as I tried to follow it.

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I’m referring to evolution, not changes in allele frequencies. - Cornelius Hunter
I’m not an evolutionist, I’m a change in allele frequentist! - Nakashima