Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'd Rather B Birdin: Blue-Faced Honeyeater

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A Blue-Faced Honeyeater or Bananabird (Entomyzon cyanotis). It's native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. The bird gets its second name from the fact that it loves to feed on bananas, so much that the species is considered a pest at banana plantations. Apart from bananas, they also feed on other fruits, nectar and insects.

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They are quite noisy birds and like to forage in groups of up to thirty birds. A breeding pair may raise its chicks alone, but often immature birds from the last clutch will help them. This is called cooperative breeding - the immature birds may not spread their own genes, but at least those of close relatives and it raises the chances of the chicks considerably.

More birds at I'd Rather B Birdin. Photos taken at Wilhelma, Stuttgart.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Oiseaux Birds
San Diego Zoo
Internet Bird Collection

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nature Notes: Orange, Blue and Brown

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Some more photos from Bryce Canyon. This I think is a Pale Crescent (Phyciodes pallida barnesi)

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Greenish Blue (Plebejus saepiolus saepiolus)...maybe

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Enallagma spec. Bluet Damselfly...but no idea about the exact species

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a spider is as much as I know... It's a female and she is carrying her egg sac below her abdomen. I find her eyes quite adorable.


Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

Resources:
Wild Utah - a big collection of photos of Utah invertebrates
Butterflysite.com

ABC Wednesday: X is for...

X is for Xanthodont:
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Yellow-toothed. Yes, the teeth are supposed to be that colour. Many rodents have yellow teeth, Syrian hamsters for example. This is a Coypu and you can get an even closer look at the teeth here

X is also for Xiphosuran - an order of animals that contains for example horseshoe crabs:
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Horseshoe crabs are not crabs, not even crustaceans. They are more related to arachnids, but really they are doing their own thing and have been doing it for a very long time - for the last 450 million years.

See what else X stands for with ABC Wednesday

Photos were taken at Wildpark Schwarze Berge Hamburg, Hagenbecks Tierpark Hamburg and Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rather B Birdin: Red-Shouldered Macaw

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A red-shouldered macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis), the smallest macaw species, not much bigger than a cockatiel. There are two subspecies, Hahn's Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis nobilis) and the Noble Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis cumanensis). They can easily be told apart by their beak, Hahn's Macaw has a completely black beak while the Noble Macaw has a light-coloured upper beak.

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They live in South America, in Brazil, Peru, the Guyanas and Venezuela and their habitat is threatened by logging. They are also being hunted for the pet trade.

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Like all parrots, they are social birds and will fly and forage in groups, vocalising to stay in contact with each other. They feed on palm fruits, seeds and nuts. A pair will nest in tree holes or even move into a termite hill.

More birds at I'd Rather B birdin, photos were taken at Wilhelma, Stuttgart.

Sources:
Wikipedia
papageien.org
Parrots.org
Internet Bird Collection
Birdlife.org

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nature Notes: Flowers at Bryce Canyon

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At first glace, the campground at Bryce Canyon didn't look very colourful. But a closer look revealed a number of wildflowers spread around the meadows and below the shrubs. I found all of these just twenty steps or so from our RV. The one above is a Plantainleaf Buttercup (Ranunculus alismifolius)

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Markagunt Penstemon (Penstemon leiophyllus)

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Wyoming Paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia)

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Many-flowered Stoneseed (Lithospermum multiflorum)

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I'm not 100% sure - might be a Sudrops species (Calylophus spec.)

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Blue Flax (Linum lewisii)

Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

Sources:
Wildflowers of Utah - a colour-coded guide with thumbnails
Dave's Garden excellent for plant ID
Bryce Canyon NP website

ABC Wednesday: W is for Wallfish

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A wallfish is a snail - I hadn't heard that name before and I think it's adorable. This one is a white-lipped snail.

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And here is a Burgundy snail or Escargot. This is the species that is mostly used in cooking, although there are other edible snail species.
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It gives me a sceptical look, but I let it go after the fotoshoot unharmed.

See what else W stands for with ABC Wednesday

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'd Rather B Birdin: Grosbeak Starling

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The Grosbeak Starling (Scissirostrum dubium) live only on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where they can be found up in the trees of woodlands and wetlands. A single colony can hold more than fifty pairs of these noisy birds.

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They feed on a variety of foods from insects to fruit to seeds and will also take nectar from flowers at times.


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Their eggs are a light blue with red spots and there are usually four in a clutch. The starlings nest in tree cavities which they create themselves. Due to logging and mining, their habitat is threatened.

More birds at I'd Rather B Birdin'

Resources:
San Diego Zoo
Internet Bird Collection - lots of photos and videos
Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nature Notes: Zion Canyon

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A couple of Boxelder Bug nymphs (Boisea trivittata) - they are true bugs (Hempitera). Boxelder Bugs usually feed on maple seeds and will gather in great numbers around their host trees, basking in the sun. The nymphs may feed on the occasional insects as well, as these two are doing (I think it's another nymph).

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A Eastern fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus), note the blue patch in front of the hind leg.

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a Ground Suqirrel, but don't ask me which species.

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the north fork of the Virgin River

Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

Resources:
Eastern Fence Lizard
Guide to Squirrels in Utah
Boxelder Bugs

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I'd Rather B Birdin: More Campground Birds

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Not the best photo, but here's a Steller's Jay, Cyanocitta stelleri. Again, the photo was taken at the KOA campground in Flagstaff, AZ. The jays were still busy feeding their chicks, who could already fly, but were still begging for food at every opportunity. The whole flock was at least fifteen birds and very, very noisy.

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A Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), photographed at the KOA in Kingman, AZ.

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More birds at I'd Rather B Birdin'