Jan 312014
 
Bluebirds. But not on my shoulder.

Bluebirds! For some reason people around here always claim “there are no bluebirds here.” I wonder then, do they ever look outside? Do they ever go outside? Because hey! There are indeed eastern bluebirds watching you right now. Year round, in fact. Anyway, everyone loves bluebirds. Or at least, everyone should love bluebirds. How can […]

Jan 312014
 
One lizard, four species: the collared treerunner

Now, that’s a horse of a different color. Or, in this case, a lizard of another species – four species. Recent research suggests that the collared treerunner (Plica plica), previously thought of as one widespread species, is actually four distinct species inhabiting diverse geographical areas east of the Andes in northern South America. “The four […]

Jan 312014
 
Tackling the widespread slaughter of migrating birds in Southern Europe

Each year, millions of migrating songbirds are killed for food, for profit or just for the joy of shooting something, as they move from their winter grounds in Africa to their summer breeding territories in Europe. Across several countries in Southern Europe including France, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Malta, Albania, birds suffer from a wide range […]

Jan 302014
 
Dune Prowler

During our recent family safari to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, we came across two male cheetahs who were strolling down the dry Auob riverbed with full bellies (having made a kill earlier that morning). We drove next to them for probably 8km, and after they slaked their thirst at the Kamfersboom waterhole, they crossed over […]

Jan 302014
 
Results of the Best Photo of the Week Ended 25 Jan 2014

We are delighted to announce the RESULTS of our latest “Best Photo of the Week” Competition. First Prize is awarded to Michael Tweddle for his outstanding photo ‘Inca Tern’. Thomas Nierle wins Second Prize with ‘Winter – European pygmy owl’ and Third Prize goes to Lisa J. Waggoner for ‘Baby Love’ (see images below). Submit your Photo for the […]

Jan 302014
 
Bromeliads may actually protect fruit trees from pest damage

Imagine a plant. Now remove the soil, for it’s not essential. In fact, an estimated one-tenth of all plant species have liberated themselves from soil and evolved into epiphytes—plants that grow on other plants. Although growing on others can seem parasitic, botanists have traditionally acquitted epiphytes of stealing from their hosts—except for the parasitic mistletoe—regarding […]

Jan 302014
 
Nostalgic look back in time at Scotland’s first pioneering golden eagle photographer.

Between the years 1906 and 1910, pioneering Harry Macphearson laboured long and hard amongst the Scottish Grampian highlands to create the first photographic record of breeding Golden Eagles in Scotland. Now Terry Pickford recounts the exploits of this unsung Highland warrior from a past era. “In a wild deer-forest in the heart of the Grampian […]

Jan 302014
 
Key highland habitat for rare condor protected in Ecuador

Conservationists have acquired a 2,800-ha (7,000-acre) property that completes the acquisition of some 108,000 ha of key Andean Condor habitat in Ecuador. The lands will serve as a buffer zone for the Antisana Ecological Reserve, an area that protects 140,000 ha of high-altitude forests, canyons, and páramo grasslands around the 5,758 m (18,714-foot) Antisana Volcano. […]

Jan 292014
 
New frog species discovered on tallest mountain in Indochina

A team of Australian and Vietnamese researchers recently discovered a new species of frog in the high elevations of Vietnam’s Mount Fansipan, according to a new paper in Zootaxa. The amphibian was named Botsford’s leaf-litter frog (Leptolalax botsfordi) as a tribute to Christopher Botsford for his role in amphibian biodiversity research in Asia. “I had […]

Jan 292014
 
Hoatzin may have originated in Europe

A new species of prehistoric hoatzin from the late Eocene of France is the earliest fossil record of hoatzins and the first one from Europe, according to a team of scientists from the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. Hoatzins (Opisthocomus hoazin), also known as Hoactzins, Stinkbirds, or Canje Pheasants, are […]

Jan 282014
 
An American Bittern at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

I have seen quite a few American Bitterns (Botaurus lentiginosus) over the years but most I didn’t spot until they were startled into flight. That all changed last November when I spotted this bird out in the open at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The American Bittern is a solitary, secretive, cryptically colored heron that breeds […]

Jan 282014
 
Not seen in over 130 years, 'extinct' frog rediscovered in Sri Lanka

In 1876 – the same year that the first telephone call was made – the British scientist Albert Günther described a new species of frog from Sri Lanka, but the species, known as the webless shrub frog (Pseudophilautus hypomelas), was never seen again. Having disappeared into history, scientists considered the species extinct—that is until a […]