Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hello from Down Under!

Hi everyone! We're on our honeymoon down in Sydney. The wedding on Friday was great despite a little rain. I'll post some pics when I get back. We've done some leisurely birding while visiting some sites with the best being at the Royal Botanical Gardens adjacent to the Opera House. We encountered several groups of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos including two very tame individuals. We've also seen a few Kookaburras, Rainbow Lorikeets, tons of Australian White Ibises, too many Noisy Miners, and a buttload of Silver Gulls. Today we're visiting the zoo and tomorrow we're heading to the Blue Mountains where we'll see lots more birds.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crackers - not the kind for cheese

If you're a butterfly enthusiast like I am, you have probably heard of the butterflies known as "crackers" in the genus Hamadryas. These interesting leps produce a cracking sound via swollen veins in the forewings which strike one another if the male forces the wing upstroke to maximum amplitude. The females lack this sound-producing mechanism. A gentleman living in the Rio Grande Valley posted a really neat video of a Guatemalan Cracker in his yard making this cracking noise. I have never seen it in person, but it's quite a sight to see on the video. I've been told that the video features a particularly agitated individual. The cracks are usually not as frequent as seen in the video. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Beth and I were running some errands today. While we were getting into the car, Beth said, "Look at this!" Assuming it was a dent from some not-so-careful driver, I rushed over. Fortunately, it was nothing like that at all. Instead, it was this REALLY cool weevil. I've narrowed it down to the genus Curculio - the nut and acorn weevils. I snapped a few pics. Only one came out clear, but you can see the antennae fastened to the rostrum ("beak") of the weevil which, to me, gives these guys an "other-worldly" appearance.

Here's one more (blurry) pic:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm still alive... and some news

Hey all, I've been a bit lax in posts. Our wedding is two weeks away so we're in major wedding planning mode. The honeymoon details are still being worked out. I became an uncle this week of two beautiful little twin girls! Three of my friends also had babies in the last 10 days. Craziness! So stay tuned for more nature-related posts when things tone down a bit.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


I've succumbed to the pull of Facebook a bit. If you're on, look me up! I've found a few bloggers on there already. It's interesting that Facebook seems to be appealing to a much wider audience than MySpace does, which is a good thing. I like the fact that the Facebook profiles are a bit more standardized. I was a but frustrated with the templates that people used on MySpace that I thought reverted the web back to 1996.

Great Egret Pics

Wow, it's doing some serious raining here today! I'm dealing with a little leak in my basement too. Ugh! As you can see, I didn't do any storm birding. A few weeks ago, Beth and I did do some birding on my birthday to the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. The flies were biting pretty viciously so I spent most of my time in the car. The car acted as a nice blind to get some cool pics of this beautiful Great Egret. On my beginner walks, Great Egrets are always guaranteed crowd-pleasers.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Pronunciation of Biological Latin

I found this site describing the proper pronunciation of biological latin. Having no real formal biology training, I have clearly been mispronouncing some terms. One that I, and many others I speak to, are mispronouncing according to the site are family names like Sulidae. I always pronounce the "ae" as a long A (SOO-lid-ay), but according to the site it should be a long E (SOO-lid-ee).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Storms and Jaegers

With Hurricane Hanna making its way up the coast, I'm hoping to sneak away from wedding planning for a few hours of storm birding this weekend. It's something I've never done, but have always wanted to do. In an effort to prepare, I'm brushing up on my jaegers and terns. The Louisiana Ornithological Society has a nice article on the ABC's of Jaeger ID that's good info for anyone interested in learning the nuances of this tough group of birds.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Broad-billed Hummer in Massachusetts

I just saw that one of my favorite US hummingbirds, a Broad-billed Hummingbird, has been in Massachusetts in a backyard for over a week now. Pretty cool! Send one to NJ!


Video too