Nature

add news feed

tweet a story

The dynamic duo of arctic birding guides, Doug Gochfeld and Scott Schuette, discovered an ABA code 5 Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), on St. Paul Island, AK on the afternoon of October 8, the first time this species has been di...
The dynamic duo of arctic birding guides, Doug Gochfeld and Scott Schuette, discovered an ABA code 5 Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), on St. Paul Island, AK on the afternoon of October 8, the first time this species has been discovered in the ABA area. Common Redstart is a common woodland breeding species across most of Europe east to about Lake Baikal and extreme NW China, wintering in the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. The closest normal range for this species is about 2,500 miles east of St. Paul Island. The bird was first discovered by Schuette, and the initial identification was a redstart, either Common or Daurian Redstart. They were able to relocate the bird, obtaining the photos below and confirming the identification as Common Redstart. Photo by Doug Gochfeld. Photo by Doug Gochfeld. View Larger Map St. Paul has been host to a number of ABA area rarities discovered by Gochfeld and Scheutte in the past 3-4 weeks, including Fork-tailed Swift, Gray-streaked Flycatcher, Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch, Olive-backed Pipit, and the long-staying White-tailed Eagle. Scott Scheutte (left), and Doug Gochfeld on St. Paul Island.
about 3 hours ago
Pileated WoodpeckerThis morning Central Winds was a little slower than normal. There were three of us here this morning, and between the three of us, we had 9 warblers: Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Paru...
Pileated WoodpeckerThis morning Central Winds was a little slower than normal. There were three of us here this morning, and between the three of us, we had 9 warblers: Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Prairie Warbler. We also checked by the little pond and found several Indigo Buntings, a couple Painted Buntings and one Blue Grosbeak. A Limpkin and Pileated Woodpecker posed for photos, but other than that it was pretty slow.LimpkinBlue Grosbeak
about 3 hours ago
This spunky little finch is the smallest member of the North American genus Carduelis. I caught this male pictured above harassing a female Ruby-crowned Kinglet as she was bathing in the water feature. Unlike the more common American Gol...
This spunky little finch is the smallest member of the North American genus Carduelis. I caught this male pictured above harassing a female Ruby-crowned Kinglet as she was bathing in the water feature. Unlike the more common American Goldfinch, the Lesser Goldfinch’s (Spinus psaltria) plumage does not change color during breeding season. The male (seen below) has a black cap and, in Washington, Oregon, California, and Baja California, nearly all males have green backs. Eastward, frequency of individuals with black on auriculars, neck, and back increases; southward into Mexico, nearly all adult males have completely black upperparts1. Click on photos for full sized images. This is their range map courtesy of NatureServe Explorer The male also has bright yellow underparts. The female Lesser Goldfinch can sometimes be confused with the female American Goldfinch in breeding plumage. This is the female Lesser Goldfinch… and these are American Goldfinches in breeding plumage. The orange beak on the female American Goldfinch and its white undertail coverts distinguish it from the female Lesser Goldfinch below, which has yellow undertail coverts and a darker beak. Both of these species show gregarious flocking behavior except when nesting. I was lucky enough a few years ago to spot a Lesser Goldfinch building a nest in a nearby tree while checking my Bluebird boxes. It was great fun watching them raise their young that summer.  They always bring their youngsters to the feeders where, along with American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins, they not only make short order of sunflower and nyjer seed, they like to feed on sunflowers in the garden as well. You can hear the intricate call of the Lesser Goldfinch here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5_bV_46nkI References: 1Birds of North America Online
about 3 hours ago
A tiny owl was discovered sheltering on board the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious. The Eurasian scops owl was found cowering under the ship’s crane on the flight deck while the Portsmouth-based warship was off...
A tiny owl was discovered sheltering on board the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious. The Eurasian scops owl was found cowering under the ship’s crane on the flight deck while the Portsmouth-based warship was off the coast of Yemen during a training exercise. Leading Airman Mikaele Mua picked up the exhausted bird and passed [...]
about 4 hours ago
It's been a miserable day weather wise... wind and rain for most of the afternoon.Great TitThe usual birds have been on the feeders and I caught a glimpse of a Wren this morning which was the first of the year. Robin has been doing his b...
It's been a miserable day weather wise... wind and rain for most of the afternoon.Great TitThe usual birds have been on the feeders and I caught a glimpse of a Wren this morning which was the first of the year. Robin has been doing his best to keep me entertained... ...with a little jig . I have also had another little frog passing through... this one was tiny.Being so small it found it much easier to climb up the walls than Hoppy did last week.Mandy showing how small he is... Hoppy was full grown... over three inches long.The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow... fingers crossed.
about 4 hours ago
Julieta Leon The male White-throated sparrow has a surprisingly striped head, with lines of white and brown running from its beak to the back of its neck, tinged with yellow in the front. The bird gets its name from a small flash...
Julieta Leon The male White-throated sparrow has a surprisingly striped head, with lines of white and brown running from its beak to the back of its neck, tinged with yellow in the front. The bird gets its name from a small flash of white feathers just under its beak. This sparrow is best known as a winter arrival to New England, moving in loose flocks from underneath bird feeders to
about 4 hours ago
In the natural world, the end game of any individual animal is to reproduce and pass its genes on to the next generation. This genetic passing-on is what makes "survival of the fittest" work and is what fuels evolution.  Animals th...
In the natural world, the end game of any individual animal is to reproduce and pass its genes on to the next generation. This genetic passing-on is what makes "survival of the fittest" work and is what fuels evolution.  Animals that are able to survive long enough to successfully mate and pass on their genes ensure that the species, and those genes, persist into the future.  Those that can't reproduce fall by the evolutionary wayside. The pressure to reproduce is intense, so it's no surprise that some species have evolved some pretty drastic ways of ensuring reproductive success. Take the tiny mammals known as "marsupial mice" (even though they are not rodents or related to mice), seen below.  There are ten species, all native to Australia. These tiny carnivorous creatures have evolved an annual frenzied mating behavior that leaves the females bitten and bruised and every single male dead from sex-induced exhaustion. Photo by Michael Sale via Flickr Creative Commons. Rachel Sullivan of ABC science explains: "Males live for exactly eleven-and-a-half months, dying from stress-induced immune system breakdown about two weeks after mating. Females, especially from larger species, may live longer, with around 30 to 50 per cent raising two litters, while only ten per cent of females from smaller species live long enough to breed again.... ...All females come into oestrus at the time, triggering a mating frenzy among males. Copulation is a violent affair with males biting the backs of the females' necks during their brief encounter before each moves on to other partners. A fortnight later, every male is dead, overwhelmed by the stress-related corticosteroids produced during the frenzy of mating." Read the rest of the story of these fascinating, sex-crazed animals here. Get Involved! Protect wildlife with David and the National Wildlife Federation.  
about 5 hours ago
Hello, friends. I’m enjoying the fine autumn weather we’ve been experiencing lately in Maryland. Last week was rather warm and this weekend found me turning on the AC again. Just too hot. Since I start back to work next week, I’ve been t...
Hello, friends. I’m enjoying the fine autumn weather we’ve been experiencing lately in Maryland. Last week was rather warm and this weekend found me turning on the AC again. Just too hot. Since I start back to work next week, I’ve been trying to tie up a few loose ends beforehand and rewarded myself by spending yesterday visiting my niece in Baltimore for lunch at her house. She and her husband have an adorable baby girl who is now 6 1/2 months old. Seeing babies is always heartwarming, isn’t it? Well, except when they’re screaming. Which this one was definitely not. How cute is that little face? Kim and I took a walk to a nearby park and stopped along the way to look at this interesting and colorful row of homes. We each fooled with our camera settings to get things right. I love all the brick, too. And the marble steps. At the top of Federal Hill. View of the harbor from the hill. Baby loves loves loves the swing. I swear, I took 30 or more photos and couldn’t get things right. Either she wasn’t laughing, or she was laughing and just out of focus. I swear my camera has a setting that locks onto the face while they are moving. I need to discover this setting. My niece, like her mother (my husband’s sister, Helen) is a wonderful cook. For lunch, she served homemade roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese. Ok, this was no ordinary grilled cheese sandwich and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. She took two slices of rustic bread, sliced on the thin side. She then shmeared each side with homemade pesto, then added slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. On the outside of each piece, she brushed on herbed butter she had made using a collection of different varieties from her patio garden. Then she grilled them to perfection. Oh. My. God. Soooo good. Sometimes I feel guilty when I feel so happy. I’m sure this is perfectly normal right now. So I’m not going to sweat it, you know? But I miss him. Yesterday evening, while I was inside working on these photos, the entire room took on a sort of crazy glow. I looked out the windows and realized that the sky was so different-looking with the sunset. It was glowing. My son and his friend were outside setting up things for a campfire party. I went outside to snap these while they were gathering kindling and setting up the camp chairs and thought to myself that it was a perfect evening for a campfire. Good for them! I remembered that my husband used to often find me working on my pictures or reading a book or something and he would come in and tell me to come outside. That he wanted to show me something. Here is one such time: Vignette #1 My husband would often bring me feathers. He would find them during his walks and I would often come home to a feather at my place at the table. When my son asked me to come out to the campfire last night and meet his friends, I walked out the front door and found a beautiful big feather. And I smiled. Hope your week is full of smiles. Until next time, my friends ~
about 5 hours ago
Now that summer has come to an abrupt end, and I'm yet another year older, it suddenly dawned on me that with age, the fine line that separates being considered unconventional and being perceived as eccentric, is becoming finer...
Now that summer has come to an abrupt end, and I'm yet another year older, it suddenly dawned on me that with age, the fine line that separates being considered unconventional and being perceived as eccentric, is becoming finer and finer.   That said, my dear friend and mentor, The Ranger, has three, relatively new, female ranger colleagues.   I thought they needed something
about 6 hours ago
A few more on our lake.
A few more on our lake.
about 6 hours ago