Archive for May, 2010

It’s an island fox.

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Check it out!

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I have not read The Snow Leopard, but I do have an ancient copy of Wildlife in America sitting just across the room from me.

I read it with great interest when it arrived as a Christmas present a few years ago.

It’s quite a gem.

And he’s not a bad storyteller either, as you’ll see in this clip.

Never trust a writer who is pretentious. Pretense is a cover for lack of talent.

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Hold BP Accountable

Sign this petition make oil companies pay for their spills.

Petitions appear to be useless, but I’ve signed many, many in the past.

They are part of the political process. Remember, a constitutional republic can only exist so long as its people remain active.

“It’s a Republic, if we can keep it.”

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I’m sure you’ve noticed that this blog has gone a bit downhill in the last week.

I have several reasons, one of which is I’ve been playing with my camera.

Another is the weather is so nice that it’s just better to be outside than mess around on the laptop.

Tomorrow, I will be out most of the day, but I will be back to respond to e-mails.

I’m sorry if I’m no longer responding to all your e-mails promptly. I’m now getting 25-40 substantive e-mails about the blog every day.

And now, unfortunately, unless you’re one of my VIP’s, you may not get answered.

I’m really sorry.

How do you get to be a VIP?


I don’t want to set up a system, but if you’ve heard from me within a reasonable time from an e-mail, you are one.

I’m sorry I have to do this, but I’m not going to be able to blog and keep up with the VIP e-mails if I do.

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A reader has sent me these prints, which do look quite a bit like thylacine tracks.

All photos by Ray Harvey.  Copyright by Ray Harvey.

Now, I am not an expert on Australian wildlife tracks. Mr. Harvey has not told me where these tracks were found.

I don’t know what these are, but they do look like thylacine tracks.

I’d like to know your opinion, but please be respectful in the comments section.

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The Vogelkop Bowerbird


This bird is a bowerbird. This means the males attract females not with songs or brilliant plumage. Instead, they build elaborate bowers that are used to display objects that attract mates. They collect all sorts of things. One of the birds in the clip actually collects deer droppings, but they vary in what they choose to bring in the females. If a female likes the objects the male is displaying in his bower, she accepts him as her mate.

This particular species is native to the Vogelkop Peninsula. Its name sort of annoyed me, because I know that Vogel means bird in German and Kopf means head. I don’t know Dutch, but I assumed that this peninsula was named by the Dutch when they colonized Indonesia. It is on the Island of New Guinea, but it’s in the West Papua Province part of the island, which is part of Indonesia.

It turns out that the place is indeed called “Bird’s Head” in Dutch.

So it is literally the “Bird’s Head Bowerbird.”

This particular species is known for building among the most elaborate bowers.

There are many species of bowerbird, all them native to New Guinea and Northern Australia. Not all of them build such amazing bowers, and some– including the Vogelkop– are also excellent mimics.

When bowerbird bowers were first discovered by Europeans, it was believed that they were human artifacts. It was only when they observed them that they realized that the birds were actually put together.

So humans aren’t the only ones into conspicuous consumption.

Remember what happens with youtube videos that can’t be embedded?  Just follow the link that appears in video when you click play.

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