Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Belding's Yellowthroat. Guinea Fowl. Fake Owl? Poodle Moth. Osprey Bob. Blue Honey. Bladeless Wind Turbines. Spiro Agnew. Achille Lauro.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Belding's Yellowthroat

Belding's Yellowthroat by Pete Morris

“The Belding's Yellowthroat is a marsh-dwelling warbler with an olive-green back and bright yellow belly; the adult male also has a black mask and yellow forecrown. It is similar to the more northerly Common Yellowthroat in appearance, habits, and song.

This non-migratory, Mexican endemic builds a cup nest of dead cattails, usually attached low on the stem of a living cattail, where it lays its clutch of 2-4 eggs. Like other yellowthroats, it forages low in vegetation for insects and other small invertebrates.

The freshwater habitats occupied by the Belding’s Yellowthroat are under threat from human activities, including accidental and intentionally-set fires, reed-cutting for building materials, and drainage for agriculture and cattle ranching. Surveys have found it at more sites than previously thought, but its tiny range and small, fragmented population make it vulnerable to extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

Recommended conservation measures include increased habitat protection and creation of new marshland. Re-introductions have also been suggested, and ecotourism may be a means by which income can be generated for the protection of key areas of habitat.

The Belding's Yellowthroat is a flagship species for conservation efforts in Baja California, Mexico, which also includes many arid areas and coastal islands.”

Help ABC conserve this and other birds and their habitats!  Photo: Pete Morris


Male Guinea Fowl Sounds & Calls

“Listen to the male guinea fowl sounding their calls. This call is nothing like the female "buckwheat" call from the guinea hen. Male Guinea fowl sounds are very different from guinea fowl hen sounds.”

Female guineas calling

“These are female guinea fowl, and this is the sound they make. If you are not sure if you have male or female guineas, then pay attention to the sounds they make. If they make this sound, then they are female. :)”

”Visit the Guinea Fowl Blog:
Go to for more Guinea Fowl information including photos, diet, feeds, illnesses, health, care, training and the benefits of having Guinea Fowl.”


Cute Pet Owl Looks Totally Fake

“This unusual owl moves with such robotic precision that it looks like a toy.”



Unidentified poodle moth takes Internet by storm

The now famous poodle moth, species unknown. Photo by: Arthur Anker.

The now famous poodle moth, species unknown. Photo by: Arthur Anker.

“A white moth from Venezuela that bears a striking resemblance to a poodle has become an Internet sensation, after cryptozoologist Karl Shuker posted about the bizarre-looking species on his blog. Photographed in 2009 in Venezulea's Canaima National Park in the Gran Sabana region by zoologist Arthur Anker from Kyrgyzstan, the white, cuddly-looking moth with massive black eyes has yet to be identified and could be a species still unknown to science.”

More pictures and read more on his blog:


Winging It With Ospreys

Scientists are revealing secrets about the birds’ long-distance migrations as well as summer and winter behaviors.

“WHEN A BRISK WIND BEGAN whipping up whitecaps on Great Peconic Bay last autumn, North Fork Bob was ready to go. Bob is an adult male osprey that summers on this shallow estuary near the tip of New York’s Long Island. As the bird was about to take off on his annual migration to the Tropics, Rob Bierregaard, an osprey researcher and professor at the University of North Carolina–Charlotte, was preparing to track him for a second season.

The travels of North Fork Bob and other ospreys fitted with Bierregaard’s transmitters are not only unlocking the secrets of their migrations, they also are revealing information on their winter behavior. For one thing, Bierregaard has found that adults don’t stray very far once they arrive at their southern home. “Bob barely moved the entire winter, not more than a mile and a half,” Bierregaard says. “He’s been a total couch potato.”

Osprey feeding chickThe sophisticated transmitters, which Bierregaard and his colleagues have placed on 34 ospreys in Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and South Carolina, also allow researchers to study the foraging ecology of ospreys on their breeding grounds. Biologists can discover exactly where the birds fish and where the threats to ospreys—and their ecosystems—might lie. “They are a sentinel species,” Bierregaard says, “the canary in the coal mine, so to speak.” If anything goes amiss in the waters where these top predators dive for flounder, menhaden and other fish, it will show up in the adults, their eggs or their young.”   More at:|


French Bees Produce Blue Honey from M&M’s Waste

Image: French apiarist Andre Frieh holds a sample of honey besides a blue colored one at his home in Ribeauville

Vincent Kessler/Reuters

“French apiarist Andre Frieh holds a sample of normal honey (right) besides a blue colored one (left) at his home in Ribeauville near Colmar, Eastern France, October 5, 2012.

Mars Incorporated has proclaimed that “Chocolate is better in color” with its M&Ms. But French beekeepers may beg to differ on that.

Since August, beekeepers near the town of Ribeauville, in the northeastern region of Alsace, have been reporting their bees are producing blue and green honey, according to Reuters. And they’ve traced the cause back to a biogas plant that processes waste from an M&Ms factory.”    Read more:


Ontario’s Environmental watchdog Gord Miller lends support to wind turbine foes

“Ontario’s environmental watchdog may be helping opponents of wind power by criticizing the turbines’ effects on bird and bat populations.

of wind farms on birds.

Gord Miller, Ontario’s independent Environmental Commissioner, criticized the hasty approval of wind turbines without regard for bird sanctuaries and bat migration routes in a column in Monday’s Star and in his annual report, released Tuesday.  While he was careful to specify that he is not against renewable wind power generation, his criticism reinforces arguments made by citizens’ groups across the province that lobby against the turbines.

“The Ontario government should put additional areas of the province off-limits to wind power projects,” Miller wrote in a statement released with the report.   Miller says an independent body has identified several important bird areas and long-distance bat migratory routes where turbines should be banned.”          More at:


'Bladeless' Wind Turbine Spares Birds and Bats.

"Traditional three blade turbines knock the birds out of the sky because the birds can not see the massive, spinning, blades that turn between 80mph and 190mph, therefore hitting them and knocking them to the ground, killing them.”

“A World War II veteran built a prototype for a quiet, bladeless wind turbine shaped like a drum designed to protect birds and bats from getting killed in it. This patented technology is called the Catching Wind Power Compressed Air Enclosed Wind Turbine, or just "awesome" for short.

Raymond Green is an 89-year-old retired engineer and welder living in Jackson, Calif., who served in World War II. Green knew that traditional wind turbines have killed birds and bats (although a number of factors that include speed can play a factor). And he was aware of opposition to wind turbines because of the noise they make. Hoping to make a safer and more viable turbine, Green began prototyping.

Bird Safe Wind TurbineGreen’s CWP Compressed Air Enclosed Wind Turbine completely eliminates the three massive blades seen on most wind turbines. Rather than waiting for the wind to turn a blade, Green’s device features a patented Inner Compression Cone Technology, which he claims will squeeze and compress the incoming air in order to create more power at the turbine. His Catching Wind Power turbine resembles a large drum. Weighing 45 pounds, the $550 prototype mounts the 12-inch-diameter turbine behind a 31-inch windsock and inner compression cone, internalizing a ring of blades so that they're inaccessible to birds, according to Green's site. While technically there are blades, none of them are exposed. In addition, the lighter weight could lower transport and installation costs.

Bird safe wind turbine

“Our design does not have any external moving parts to hit the birds,” writes Green on his website. “Our unit is easy to see so the birds can avoid it, and all moving parts are internal. The blades are mounted behind the windsock and inner compression cone, therefore making them nonaccessible to birds. Also, our turbines make virtually no noise.”

Read more at:


On This Day:

Vice President Agnew resigns, Oct 10, 1973:

“Less than a year before Richard M. Nixon's resignation as president of the United States, Spiro Agnew becomes the first U.S. vice president to resign in disgrace. The same day, he pleaded no contest to a charge of federal income tax evasion in exchange for the dropping of charges of political corruption. He was subsequently fined $10,000, sentenced to three years probation, and disbarred by the Maryland court of appeals.

Agnew, a Republican, was elected chief executive of Baltimore County in 1961. In 1967, he became governor of Maryland, an office he held until his nomination as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1968. During Nixon's successful campaign, Agnew ran on a tough law-and-order platform, and as vice president he frequently attacked opponents of the Vietnam War and liberals as being disloyal and un-American. Reelected with Nixon in 1972, Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, after the U.S. Justice Department uncovered widespread evidence of his political corruption, including allegations that his practice of accepting bribes had continued into his tenure as U.S. vice president. He died at the age of 77 on September 17, 1996.

Under the process decreed by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, President Nixon was instructed to the fill vacant office of vice president by nominating a candidate who then had to be approved by both houses of Congress. Nixon's appointment of Representative Gerald Ford of Michigan was approved by Congress and, on December 6, Ford was sworn in. He became the 38th president of the United States on August 9, 1974, after the escalating Watergate affair caused Nixon to resign.”


Achille Lauro hijacking ends, Oct 10, 1985:

“The hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro reaches a dramatic climax when U.S. Navy F-14 fighters intercept an Egyptian airliner attempting to fly the Palestinian hijackers to freedom and force the jet to land at a NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily. American and Italian troops surrounded the plane, and the terrorists were taken into Italian custody.

On October 7, four heavily armed Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. Some 320 crewmembers and 80 passengers, were taken hostage. Hundreds of other passengers had disembarked the cruise ship earlier that day to visit Cairo and tour the Egyptian pyramids. Identifying themselves as members of the Palestine Liberation Front--a Palestinian splinter group--the gunmen demanded the release of 50 Palestinian militants imprisoned in Israel. If their demands were not met, they threatened to blow up the ship and kill the 11 Americans on board. The next morning, they also threatened to kill the British passengers.

The Achille Lauro traveled to the Syrian port of Tartus, where the terrorists demanded negotiations on October 8. Syria refused to permit the ship to anchor in its waters, which prompted more threats from the hijackers. That afternoon, they shot and killed Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish-American who was confined to a wheelchair as the result of a stroke. His body was then pushed overboard in the wheelchair.

Yasir Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned the hijacking, and PLO officials joined with Egyptian authorities in attempting to resolve the crisis. On the recommendation of the negotiators, the cruise ship traveled to Port Said. On October 9, the hijackers surrendered to Egyptian authorities and freed the hostages in exchange for a pledge of safe passage to an undisclosed destination.

The next day--October 10--the four hijackers boarded an EgyptAir Boeing 737 airliner, along with Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Palestine Liberation Front who had participated in the negotiations; a PLO official; and several Egyptians. The 737 took off from Cairo at 4:15 p.m. EST and headed for Tunisia. President Ronald Reagan gave his final order approving the plan to intercept the aircraft, and at 5:30 p.m. EST, F-14 Tomcat fighters located the airliner 80 miles south of Crete. Without announcing themselves, the F-14s trailed the airliner as it sought and was denied permission to land at Tunis. After a request to land at the Athens airport was likewise refused, the F-14s turned on their lights and flew wing-to-wing with the airliner. The aircraft was ordered to land at a NATO air base in Sicily, and the pilot complied, touching down at 6:45 p.m. The hijackers were arrested soon after. Abbas and the other Palestinian were released, prompting criticism from the United States, which wanted to investigate their possible involvement in the hijacking.

On July 10, 1986, an Italian court later convicted three of the terrorists and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 15 to 30 years. Three others, including Mohammed Abbas, were convicted in absentia for masterminding the hijacking and sentenced to life in prison. They received harsher penalties because, unlike the hijackers, who the court found were acting for "patriotic motives," Abbas and the others conceived the hijacking as a "selfish political act" designed "to weaken the leadership of Yasir Arafat." The fourth hijacker was a minor who was tried and convicted separately.”



Jay called said that he wanted to work, and as I had some things that Ray can’t do right now, because of his back, Misty and I went to get him.  He asked me to bring some 1¼” screws, drill bits, wood glue and a screw gun.  When we got there, he doesn’t fix whatever it is while I am walking Misty, so we had to wait on him.  Then he asks me to measure for cutting the lumber for his top cabinets to the dimensions of the doors that he had already bought.  He was going to make the top cabinets too deep, so that the doors would get in the way when they were open, until I showed him how that would work.  Then he loads his lumber in my Puddle Jumper to bring here, and proceeds to rip it on my table saw. So he didn’t do anything that needs to be done here.  That’s OK, I was on his clock today, so he owes me!

This little kitten is the most difficult that I have had to raise.  She is very contrary, she acts like she is hungry and then won’t hardly eat.  I don’t think she likes this milk that I bought, so I might have to drive to Conroe to get the brand that I know all kittens like.  But she has gained a little weight, so I guess I got something down her yesterday.

No comments: