Since deep purple can be misinterpreted as blue by the camera lens I wonder … Is this bird purple in real life? I’d have to visit northern South America or Trinidad to verify his color. He doesn’t migrate.
Pittsburgh birders always hope that a trip to Lake Erie’s shore will uncover a rarity. Will there be something awesome at the end of that 2.5 hour drive?
This rare bird showed up at Conneaut, Ohio nine days ago. The August 15 rare bird alert reported an immature red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) on the sand spit. Birders flocked to see him so far from his species’ normal migration routes west of the Mississippi and offshore in the Atlantic.
Steve Gosser photographed him less than 24 hours later. Isn’t he gorgeous!
That was Saturday. I drove to Conneaut on Sunday and the bird was gone.
I should be more nimble if I want to see these One Day Wonders.
This morning NPR has news of a newly identified dinosaur that lived 66 to 72 million years ago.
Bones of “the chicken from Hell” were first discovered more than a decade ago by Tyler Lyson at the Hell Creek formation in the Dakotas. Specimens made their way into museum collections and intrigued Matt Lamanna at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History who suspected this was an oviraptorosaurian theropod dinosaur (bird ancestor!) similar to those found in Asia.
Now Lamanna and his team — Hans-Dieter Sues, Emma Schachner and Tyler Lyson — have figured out what animal made these bones and published their findings in PLOS One. It was Anzu wyliei, an enormous 500-pound feathered dinosaur with a bony crest on its head.
This illustration by the Carnegie’s Mark Klingler shows what it looked like. Wow!
This shell is so beautiful that it threatens the existence of the animal that wears it.
The candy cane snail (Liguus virgineus) is a land-based snail found on the island of Hispaniola, home of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Because of its beauty it has been over-collected for the shell trade, making it hard to find and endangering the snail.
This particular shell is in the collection of the photographer, H. Zell, whose photo is one of the finalists for Wikimedia Common’s 2013 Picture of the Year.
Voting ended yesterday but you can still view Picture Of The Year finalists here.
(photo by H. Zell, Creative Commons license at Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)
After two days of birding in northern Minnesota I’ve seen seven Life Birds. This species is one of them.
I’ve tried to find boreal chickadees in Maine in September and come up empty, perhaps because the weather was too pleasant. In Minnesota in the depths of winter they come to the peanut butter feeders at Sax Zim Bog. Life bird at last!
This is one bird you must visit at his home if you want to see him. Boreal chickadees (Poecile hudsonicus) never migrate so you won’t see one passing through in spring or fall. They live exclusively in the “spruce moose” forest where they survive the winter by stashing food at every opportunity.
It’s a harsh landscape in winter. As I have learned from personal experience, a typical birding day may yield only 10 species. The only boreal species I’m missing, and probably won’t see on this trip, is the great gray owl.
Sandy Komito, record holder of the North American Big Year since 1998(*), spoke at the Sax Zim Bog Festival on Friday night. What bird did he miss in northern Minnesota during his Big Year? Great gray owl. So I don’t feel so bad.
Yesterday at Sax Zim Bog was bright, both day and night. It began with a full moon at -13F and peaked at 10F with this bird.
My Life Bird northern hawk owl was perched on top of a tree near the road, easy to see. He eyed us with suspicion as we trundled off the bus and stood in the road, staring at him. Do his eyebrows give him that disapproving look?
When he wasn’t staring back at us he scanned the bog for prey. I’ve read that northern hawk owls have perfected the technique of hunting by sight and can identify prey as much as half a mile away.
It helps to be in full sun if you need to see a vole at 2,640 feet.
p.s. Jess Botzan was lucky to capture this one in flight. I have never yet seen one fly.