Another day, another nice hike. Today, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. Noted for birds. Migratory birds stopping off at an oasis. Resident birds hanging out. Evidence of climate change in the Preserve, because birds that have never been seen here before, and that are generally residents of the Baja, are showing up now.
Wildflowers were good, lining the sides of the trails. Mostly Desert Globe Mallow (orange) and Brittlebush, or Encilia (yellow). Smells were incredible from the mesquite in bloom (sweet), Yerba Buena (minty, but I think it smells like Bazooka Bubblegum), and a few others. Attracting thousands of bees. So the sounds were nice…….buzzing bees, bird chatter, the creek flowing down canyon. 90 degrees, cooking up the desert smells nicely.
More photos once I sort through them and toss out the crap.
The amount of wind power has more than doubled since 2009.
Solar power generation lags wind power production by about a decade.
From the NY Times’ new site, The Upshot, a bunch of maps showing the borders of baseball team fandom, with close-ups of various dividing lines: the Munson-Nixon Line, The Molitor Line, The Reagan-Nixon Line, and the Morgan-Ripken Line.
The NYC and Bay Area maps are so sad…the Mets and A’s get no love. (via @atotalmonet)
Look at the huge range of the historic psychosis experienced by Cubs fans. Invest in psychiatric care facilities, and bars, in that territory.
artist using solar power & 3d-printers to repurpose the deserts.
The sun’s rays can be harnessed to power everything from homes to gadgets, but one graduate student is using the sun to create a super-printer capable of printing elaborate glassware. Markus Kayser took his graduate project all the way to the sands of the Sahara in Egypt to create his innovative idea dubbed the ‘Solar Sinter’. The incredible design uses a 3D digital printer and the sun’s rays to turn the sand into incredible glass bowls and sculptures that are out of this world.
Looks like a lifetime bond forming in that photo!
by Penny Kittel
Meet Ms. Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress!
Brian Skerry photographs the results of commercial bluefin tuna fishing in the mediterranean. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that each year, 4.4 million sharks and 90,000 turtles are unintentionally caught as bycatch from unregulated commercial tuna fisheries using long lines and drift nets. A shark caught in a net will suffocate to death. Shark numbers have declined by as much as 80 per cent worldwide, with a third of all species now threatened by extinction (pew charitable trusts)
I have been teaching myself to identify birds by sight and sound, so that I can become a well-rounded ecologist and naturalist, and also because my life is enriched by knowing and understanding the life all around me. There are several apps available for birders, but I would like to recommend two of the free ones.
The Peterson Backyard Birds Guide has beautiful illustrations and over 160 common North American birds. They offer another app that has around 810 birds. That one costs money, but it might be worth it if, for example, what you are really interested in are shorebirds. You can click on the birds to hear their calls and songs, and there is also information about the birds and a map of their geographic distribution. The weaknesses of this app are that some of the distribution maps seem outdated, and that you only hear one recording for each bird. Many birds have a broad range of calls and songs, so it’s nice to hear a lot of them to get a sense of the bird’s voice.
Peterson’s weaknesses are Merlin’s strengths, and vice versa. Released by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Merlin offers many more recordings and more accurate maps. It can also help you identify a bird by answering a series of questions about its size, colors, and when and where you saw it. Merlin uses photographs instead of illustrations, however, which are sometimes not as useful for identification. I recommend getting both apps since they are both free and excellent.
If you do not have a device on which you can use these apps, everyone has access to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website, allaboutbirds.org .