August 16, 2009
Panda’s Thumb, a fave defender of evolution, is holding a photography competition. The five finalists (ahem, of which I am one…cough, cough) for the minerals category have now been posted and the poll is open. All can vote, but only once please.
Go to Panda’s Thumb now!
August 3, 2009
The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) is one of Canada’s most common large birds of prey. Different races can be found in Canada, darker in British Columbia and Labrador and lighter in the Northwest Territories and the northern Prairie provinces. They are known for the breadth of their diet which includes skunks and porcupines.
This bird, which is trained to the hand, was photographed at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
April 26, 2009
In what promises to be one of the most amazing invertebrate blogs ever, Dr David Walter has begun blogging at Macromite. From the introductory post:
“This blog will be devoted to mites and mite art. My original Mite Image Gallery was hosted by the University of Queensland until I left there in 2003. Since then it has been lying dormant on a variety of computers in a much colder land. Many of my images continue to be available on the web (e.g. in interactive keys) and, if you are fortunate enough to live in Australia, you may have seen some of them at the recent Ornamentamology exhibit created by the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group Queensland, but amazingly, there doesn’t seem to be a site devoted to appreciating the often bizarre beauty of the Acari. Now there is.”
See the post and the amazing image of Xanthodasythyreus toohey Walter & Gerson.
(Image use by permission of D.E.Walter)
April 26, 2009
My ten choices for the blogs which captured my attention in the last week:
(I didn’t say that)
Science in the Media: Put Up or Shut Up
The Ant Hunter
(A fossilized interaction)
April 13, 2009
We made another visit to Elk Island National Park on Saturday, passing through the industrial community of Fort Saskatchewan on the way. Our goal this time was the Lakeview Trail, on the east side of Lake Astotin. The trail was still mostly snow-covered, not quite slush but of a consistency that collapsed underfoot unpredictably, making trudging along the short trail seem much longer. The trail winds past beaver ponds, through aspen forest and shrubby shoreline. It was not the peaceful nature walk you may imagine – besides our stumbling up the path due to the snow, there were cawing crows, chattering squirrels and the honking of pairs Canada Geese as they came in to land on a still frozen Astotin Lake. Rush hour in Rome is more peaceful. The geese, seemingly still frustrated as they stand on the lake, honk their dissatisfaction as they wait for the thaw.
It was while watching these geese that my wife noticed the coyote crossing the lake. Was this the action packed moment that every photographer hopes for? Would the coyote stalk the frustrated geese and reek bloody havoc on the icy whiteness? No…he loped on, only occasionally glancing over his shoulder at the honkers. We too moved on.
As the trail returns, we enter a spruce grove. It is one of the reasons that I like this trail: it passes through a variety of habitats in its short distance. The mature spruce in this area are aging. One tree, shattered at the base, but not totally destroyed, leaned wearily against another. Quite a few of the old spruce have fallen here over the years and more light is entering this once shaded area. Eventually it will succumb to aspen forest as well, as the surrounding bog dries up.
We stopped at the last viewing platform for a hot drink and a snack. At this location we could see and hear Pileated Woodpeckers as they worked their way through the poplars. I could not get close enough for a good photograph, but this backlit image shows the characteristic markings of the largest living woodpecker in North America.
Back at the car park, we pack our gear and head for the west gate to leave the park. It is a nice drive that has some pullovers with views over the south side of Astotin Lake. These are good viewpoints to view the pelicans and swans that come into Elk Island — but it is too early for that now.
April 9, 2009
Alex Wild of Myrmecos has been contracted by Scienceblogs to be the inaugural host of a new site called Photo Synthesis.
The internet is home to a wealth of captivating science images, from the many microscopic components of a cell to the remote corners of the universe captured by Hubble. On Photo Synthesis, we aim to bring you the best of what’s out there. Every month we will feature the work of a different photoblogger, exposing worlds both small and large, familiar and exotic. We will let the power of the lens take us where we ourselves are not able to go.
Alex, primarily known (by me anyhow!) as a great myrmecologist and photomacrographer, introduces himself:
I became a photographer by accident. As an entomologist, several years ago I started posting photographs of my six-legged study subjects to my web site, naively unaware of the market for science photography. After a time I began hearing from textbook publishers and photo editors interested in licensing images.
It’s not that I had pretty pictures- after all, the world is already drowning in gorgeous photography- it’s that I had science pictures, pictures captioned with correct latin names and tagged with behavioral notes stemming from my training as a biologist. It is at this intersection of science and photography where I’ve found my happy niche.
I, and a host of other photographers will be eagerly looking forward to each post.