Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Old Bird

New fossils of a 10ft tall, carnivourous prehistoric bird was found in Argentina. Hugo Hervitz probably already knew about it.

NY Times - Fossil Found of a Big Bird That Kermit Wouldn't Like

As yet unnamed bird:

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hungry pelicans.

I can always count on Josh Stein for something. What that something is, I'll never quite know. Today he sent me an email with nothing but a link to this story about a pelican in a London park that ate a pigeon.

I'm glad that if nothing else, Josh and I will always share a love of pelican news.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Condor dreams

I can't stop thinking about those possible California condors. I really, really want to believe that I saw one. There was one point when we were driving around the winding cliffside roads, and we came around a turn and almost ran into a group of birders looking through binouclars at a large bird which was hovering only about 50 feet above the road. Whether the group was looking at the bird just because it was low-flying, or because they knew it was a condor for sure, I wish I knew. I think that bird was the best candiate for possible condor I saw.

There was also a point where we saw 3 birds all at once, and one landed on a rooftop on the cliff. I was watching this bird on the roof lumber around, and after a minute, it hopped down onto a lower perch. It was hard to guess the scale and so I couldn't really say how big the bird was, but the way it jumped made me think it was a very large creature.

I just want to be able to brag that I really saw one.

Last night I dreamt that I had uncovered fossil evidence of a condor ancestor that was identical to fossils found more easterly. I then planned on finiding a condor fossil in the Eastern U.S. that would prove my theory that condors have lived in the east in the past. But somehow, someone else took the credit for my fossil findings. I think this part of the dream was directly related to watching the Whoopi Goldberg movie "The Associate" where she invents a male business partner to attract clients, and then they give all the credit to the ficticious partner. If only I could have dreams of "Made in America".

Thursday, October 19, 2006


So I'm telling my mother on the phone last night about how I wasn't sure if what I saw in Big Sur was a condor or just a turkey vulture, and she says, "Well, isn't a condor just WAY bigger? You couldn't tell?"

Totally put in my place by mom! SNAP!!!

This from a woman who recently told me she saw a large bird in a tree, and wasn't sure if it was a turkey vulture or a turkey.

I just got my skillz DISSED!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Things are always cuter when they're smaller

Extinct dwarf water buffalo has been discovered. Closely related to water buffalos in Indonesia, but tinier, therefore the cuteness is exponentially compounded.

It lived between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago, meaning it was still alive when humans crossed the land bridge to North American 12,000 years ago. It was the perfect size for homo florensesis (if they even existed) to buck around on around in a pre-human rodeo.

Dwarf buffalo

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Birding in Big Sur

I was in Big Sur this weekend for a wedding (congratulations Sara and Sean). I drove up and down the coast from LA. I have to admit I saw many many birds that I couldn't positively i.d.

Here's a list of the ones I did:

- Steller's Jay (these were everywhere in Big Sur. They're scavengers looking for people food)
- Western Gull
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Black throated hummingbird (my first hummingbird!)
- Golden Eagle
- Turkey vulture (saw more of these than probably ever in my life combined)
- Brown Pelican
- Spotted towhee
- Common grackle
- American Kestrel

The big question was if I saw a California condor or not. Some of the birds I assumed to be Turkey vultures were far enough away that perhaps they were actually condors. Condors are known to live in Big Sur, and there is even a nesting pair according to this article. I like to think that perhaps we saw some, but some of the large, black, soaring birds we saw were too far to be sure.

Steller's Jay in an outdoor restaurant. This guy was particularly haggard and bold.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Scariest YouTube video blog ever.

This guy has 4 videos up on youtube, all "Bird of Prey" Parts 1-4. All have the same video clip of a vulture and his creepy singing. God, I need a webcam so I can truly express my feelings.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New Green Day Song Material

My new band is probably going to write a lot of songs about how life in the suburbs sucks. But my bleak lyrics won't be anything compared to the real scourge of the burbs - roving baboon "gangs" in suburban Johannesburg, South Africa. Baboons are breaking into people's houses, raiding their fridges and pooping all over.

I'm no wuss, but if I saw a baboon in my kitchen, I would probably take a pause from dying my hair and cutting myself, and wet my pants. Baboons are huge and scary. I think probably 4 baboons could kill me. I could probably hold off one or two if I had a knife.

Menacing Baboons:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Weekend Plans

With the recent announcement about ivory-billed woodpeckers in Florida, I can hardly contain my excitement for this weekend's excursion to Maine for a cryptozoology adventure. Bates Colllege's art museum has been hosting an exhibit called Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale, with various artifacts and artwork. It's the closing reception, so hopefully it'll be a real party. There's supposed to be some speakers, and hopefully wine and cheese. Amy Hunt and Eric Emm are on board for the trip.

I'm especially excited to see Alexis Rockman's paintings. He's featured prominently in Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger which is written by a journalist couple who bring along their friend Rockman on a trip to search for Thylacines. They describe Alexis as a real stoner and charismatic guy. Who isn't, though?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Down at the bridge

I went down the Grand St bridge to check out if the black-crowned night herons were there. The last time I went, I didn't see them, so I wondered if they were heading away for the fall.

I saw three juvenile black crowned night-herons, but no mom or dad. There had been at least 2 adults I had seen this summer. I had only ever seen one juvenile at a time this summer, so I wondered if the young ones had been in the nest all summer and are just now going out on their own.

Also, something which I hadn't seen before was several gulls sitting out on the dock alongside the herons. There were 2 laughing gulls and 2 herring gulls just chilling out with them. On the other side of the bridge, there was a lone hering gull, which seemed to spook away one of the juvenile herons when he attempted to land on the brigde.

It was so nice to see my little friends again. I hope to see the adults again, or I might start to worry...