Friday, July 8, 2016

This week in birds - #214

A roundup of the week's news of birds and the environment:




Bath time! This Pied-billed Grebe seems to really be enjoying his.
*~*~*~*

The United States just experienced its hottest June on record, spurred on by a global CO2 spike. The period also saw a number of extreme weather events around the country.

*~*~*~*


Scientists have identified changes in the conveyor belt of ocean currents known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation as a generator of the last ice age. That period was not one long big chill, but temperatures abruptly rose and fell dozens of times over the epoch. When it got cold in the north, it grew warm in the south, and vice versa. But overall the period got much colder.


*~*~*~*

Japanese honeysuckle is an introduced species that really got going in North America in 1862, when it was being recommended for erosion control and to add beauty to the landscape. But over the last 150 years or so, it has become a pernicious, though sweet-smelling, pest throughout a large part of the country. 

*~*~*~*

The American Ornithologists' Union is out with its checklist supplement which incorporates several name changes for North American bird species.

*~*~*~*

DeSmogBlog has information about the problem of oil trains and their frequent derailments. Are they too heavy, too fast, too long? It seems likely. 

*~*~*~*

A huge colony of Chinstrap Penguins, currently trapped on a small sub-Antarctic island, are at risk from an erupting volcano

*~*~*~*

Lesser Flamingos thrive on the harsh, caustic, soda lakes of East Africa where other species cannot. Scientists seek to understand why that is the case.

*~*~*~*

As sea levels rise around coastal communities across the nation in response to climate change, the question for local government entities is how to respond. One solution effected by the Cape Cod National Seashore has been to demolish a parking lot and construct a new one 125 feet behind it, allowing for the shoreline in front of it to be restored.


*~*~*~*

A remarkable discovery has been made in a remote area of the Italian Alps: a new species of viper that has quite possibly been hiding in plain sight for many, many years. The new species looks remarkably similar to another more common viper species that exists in the area and it is likely that people confused the two species and assumed they were the same thing.

*~*~*~*

An attempt to produce the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper through a captive breeding program has suffered a setback when the two chicks that had been produced have died.

*~*~*~*

Good news for the environment: coal production is down in the West and many mines are closing, but there has not been a transition to new kinds of employment; consequently, jobs are disappearing and the economy is suffering.

*~*~*~*

The behavior of Steller's Jays is affected by the presence of campgrounds and the food they provide. Such campgrounds in the habitat of the endangered Marbled Murrelet encourage the presence of the jays, which is a problem for the murrelets since jays prey on their nests and eat the eggs.

*~*~*~*

The beautiful little butterfly, the Northern Oak Hairstreak, had been thought to be rare but it may be more common than previously thought, because it feeds on oak galls and other non-nectar sources high in the trees where it can easily go unnoticed.

 
*~*~*~*

About 50 million years ago, a previously unknown relative of the modern day Ostrich walked the earth in North America.

*~*~*~*

Coal ash, which contains harmful metals such as arsenic, chromium and lead, has been virtually unregulated because of gaps in EPA regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gotten involved in trying to clean up some of these areas but progress is slow and the hazards to public health continue. 



6 comments:

  1. Well done. Appreciate you sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, it sure was hot in my town in June.
    I read a series of really good novels about failing coal towns in Pennsylvania by Tawni O'Dell:
    Back Roads http://keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2007/12/back-roads.html
    Coal Run http://keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2008/08/coal-run.html
    Sister Mine http://keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2007/11/sister-mine.html
    I recommend them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the recommendation and the links.

      Delete
  3. Yes, it's been hotter than hot here as well. Most days in the mid 80s F felt like mid to late 90s F.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The next several weeks - through August - are just murder here. We just have to try to stay cool and survive them.

      Delete