I left NC this morning to head to Alaska. As I left, I took a peek at the 4 baby birds who hatched the day before my departure. I also grabbed a few of the lilies of the valley (my favorite flowers) that bloomed before I left. Two special treats to send me off and help me remember how special home is. On to Alaska!
I won’t be around to document the growth and fledging of these birds. But you can see some photos I took of a previous year’s nestlings (click here for the archive – scroll through for the full set of posts–they are in reverse order)! This nest has been used for the last 4 years to successfully raise 3-4 birds each year.
Last year I took my GoPro to Tutka Bay and got some underwater video of an octopus that had a den in the intertidal zone. I also used the GoPro for a timelapse of one of the tide changes. This year, I’ll be borrowing an OpenROV (remotely operated vehicle) with a camera to explore more of the underwater flora, fauna, and geology of the Tutka Bay Lodge area.
I can’t wait to see what we’ll find with the OpenROV!
We all love a good science fiction creature. Well, here’s one that really exists! The amazing bathynomus is an isopod that begs for stories to be written about it! I saw this specimen with Chris Mah at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Learn more at Chris’s amazing blog: The Echinoblog. You can also read about this creature from Kevin Zelnio’s article, which is like “Bathynomus 101” – a great way to learn about these interesting deep sea creatures!
I took these photos on May 19, 2010, after a few days of very heavy rain. I was stunned by the intricate design and beauty. The spectacular mass of glistening, glutinous tendrils contrasted sharply in color with the cedar green on that damp morning. But I had no idea what I was looking at. So, I just tried to get some good shots to identify later.
Greg Dodge, the ranger at the NC Museum of Life and Science answered my email query quite quickly (wow, that’s pretty good alliteration for the letter q). He recognized my photo instantly as a Cedar-Apple Rust gall–a fungal disease. He confirmed my hunch that the recent deluge had coaxed the spectacular tendrils out of the gall that had been quietly developing in the branches of the cedar tree for the past year. Cornell University’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic has the best description of the life cycle of Cedar-Apple Rust, but I think I captured some fantastic photos of the telial horns.
A few days later I went back and looked for the Cedar-Apple Rust galls again. By now, the orange telial horns had mostly disappeared (dropping to the ground), and the gall which had been developing during the previous year in anticipation of its final spectacular spring show was clearly visible.
When you are out riding a bicycle, running, or walking, make sure you don’t go so fast that you miss the special moments that you can find along the way. These two turtles were seen on the American Tobacco Trail (Durham, NC) while I was out riding. I saw them out of the corner of my eye and stopped to explore.
This little Mud Turtle hatchling was about the size of a quarter.