Jul 242014
Fertilizer: one of the three major drivers of biodiversity loss this century

The world’s grasslands are being destabilized by fertilization, according to a paper recently published in the journal Nature. In a study of 41 grassland communities on five continents, researchers found that the presence of fertilizer weakened grassland species diversity. The researchers surveyed grasslands in countries around the world, such as China, the U.S., Switzerland, Tanzania [...]

Jul 232014
Blanford’s Short-toed Lark – Azezza

A trip to a stony plateaux area of Azezza in the hope of seeing Blanford’s Short-toed Lark, formally Red-capped Lark, provided few birds but did turn up a flock of about 40 larks. They were incredibly flighty and very difficult to photograph and as a result I only ended up with a single photo of [...]

Jul 232014
Rare yellow-legged tortoiseshell butterfly spotted in UK

A butterfly last seen in the UK more than 60 years ago has been spotted in parts of East Anglia. The yellow-legged tortoiseshell, also known as the scarce tortoiseshell, was seen at RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk. Additional sightings have since been reported in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, said Butterfly Conservation. Experts believe the butterflies, usually found [...]

Jul 222014
Portrait of the Juvenile Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) nest on my property here in Northern California. They are conspicuous, gregarious and a joy to watch. Click on photos for full sized images. This woodpecker is a cooperative breeder and lives in family groups of up to a dozen or more individuals. This is an adult male sticking his head [...]

Jul 222014
Changyuraptor yangi: New Feathered Dinosaur Discovered in China

A team of paleontologists from China, the United States and South Africa has described a new species of a feathered dinosaur that lived in what is now northeastern China during the Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago. The new dinosaur, named Changyuraptor yangi, belongs to Microraptoria – a specific group of predatory four-winged raptorial [...]

Jul 212014
Two Kinds of Coots

I was in London last week for a conference. My hotel was near Kensington Gardens, one of London’s Royal Parks. I walked all over the gardens, saw the famous statue of Peter Pan, and sat by a pond watching the royal waterfowl. There were mute swans, tufted ducks, Egyptian geese, moorhens, great crested grebes, great [...]

Jul 202014
Chinchero enano, Lesser Woodcreeper, Xiphorhynchus fuscus

Esta fotografía que publico hoy del Chinchero chico es la primera que puedo obtener de esta especie acá en la Argentina, cuando lo presenté en el blog en el mes de Febrero del año pasado había publicado fotos que obtuve durante mis vacaciones en el Blaneario Camboriú en el Brasil. El día 07 de Junio [...]

Jul 202014
Whale rescue at Byron Bay complete success as humpback swims free

A dramatic rescue operation on the New South Wales north coast ended successfully on Tuesday night when a male juvenile humpback whale was cut free of nylon ropes, a buoy and fishing nets. The distressed 10-metre whale had been spotted at first light 100m off Main Beach at Byron Bay and hundreds of people soon [...]

Jul 192014
Pelagornis sandersi: Paleontologist Discovers Largest-Ever Flying Bird

Pelagornis sandersi – a newly discovered extinct species of bird that lived in what is now North America about 28 million years ago – is the largest flying bird ever found, says Dr Daniel Ksepka, a paleontologist with Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. “Pelagornis sandersi could have traveled for extreme distances while crossing ocean waters [...]

Jul 182014
Barn Swallows and Turtle Doves – Dhahran Hills

Things remain quiet on the camp at present but there has been an increase in the number of Barn Swallows from a single bird to 15. Most of the birds are juveniles but some adults were in the group and they were normally seen over the percolation pond. The pond also had a couple of [...]