March 22, 2015 – World Water Day

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a Netflix movie watched while today’s photos and videos uploaded. As usual, there was trash at various points in today’s walk. Some of it was picked up and “disposed of”. Hopefully none of it will end up in the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. Cold and wind at the reservation, but also sunny. Jasper was mildly frenetic in the Coyote Woods, meaning that coyotes were there recently. And he did his usual thing on his favorite stinky spot. No birds to speak of. The Sun eventually started to go down and caused temperatures to drop quickly, resulting, as usual, in ice forming in the small, shallow pools of water along the path. The explanation for these tilted photos is an Accidental Naturalist mystery. This might also be a new king of failure in a camera that is almot 1.5 years old, that is also failing from the cold’s effect on internal gears, causing it to turn off from “LENS ERROR”s.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: World Water Day, because water is important.

Book of the day: The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water “The water coming out of your kitchen tap is four billion years old and might well have been sipped by a Tyrannosaurus rex. Rather than only three states of water—liquid, ice, and vapor—there is a fourth, “molecular water,” fused into rock 400 miles deep in the Earth, and that’s where most of the planet’s water is found. Unlike most precious resources, water cannot be used up; it can always be made clean enough again to drink—indeed, water can be made so clean that it’s toxic. Water is the most vital substance in our lives but also more amazing and mysterious than we appreciate. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this surprising and mind-changing narrative, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, yet we take it completely for granted. But the era of easy water is over. ”

Song of the Day: Cool Water – The Sons Of The Pioneers, 1947 Water has been a thing for a long time. Listen to 11 hours of babbling brooks and flowing water.

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day: Jasper is at the bottom of the tree and the raccoon near the top, and both are across the path from Post0509.

Dog of the Day: Pele

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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March 21, 2015 – weather weary

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Yes, we here are weary of the weather. On the other hand, where you have four fingers and a thumb, there are videos of three Red-winged Blackbirds. Today’s Reservoir Dog is Valentino, a male Italian Spinone born November 30, 2004. At least two frozen fish are visible just below the surface of the ice at the Little Fresh Pond dog beach, near the pointed rock just off shore. Local naturalist describes seeing a raptor near Blacks Nook and being unable to identify the species.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: Alexander Skutch, a Costa Rican naturalist born in Baltimore, Maryland, was recommended as a writer of nature books today by a recent visitor to Costa Rica.

Book of the day: A Naturalist in Costa Rica: How Movement Shapes Identity “A Naturalist in Costa Rica picks up Alexander F. Skutch’s story in 1935, the year his memoir The Imperative Call ends. In it he recoreds his life, work, observations, and reflections during thirty-five years in the southeastern Pacific section of Costa Rica.”

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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2015 Birds of Fresh Pond Reservation Calendar

Click HERE to buy this calendar


March 20, 2015 – is today the first day of the last snowstorm

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: It started snowing not along after Jasper got to the reservation. Someone reported seeing two Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura). A mink was also reported seen near the original pump house. Finally, Jasper and Raksha got to play together for the first time in a long time.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: An astronomer explains the science behind what the spring equinox actually is

Book of the day: The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction “With their large brains, sturdy physique, sophisticated tools, and hunting skills, Neanderthals are the closest known relatives to humans. Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe—descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question, why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct?”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day:

Dog of the Day: Bella is a new Reservoir Dog, female, 3 years old, a Dalmatian+ something else and new to Fresh Pond.

Photo of the Day Contest

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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March 19, 2015 – back to the past

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Winter could make a comeback this weekend – with snow and other wintery stuff. BK, a photographer and birder from Vancouver, visiting for a software conference for a couple of days, reports seeing a Turkey Vulture near Glacken Field. He pointed out the Downy Woodpecker that became video of the day. Also a number of other birds that he could hear but which were inaudible to me. Older ears is the likely explanation. Two male Red-winged Blackbirds, near the north end of Little Fresh Pond, but on the golf course, at the edge of the cattail triangle, become the first photo and video record of that creature in the year 2015. The males seem to show up first and duke it out for the best nesting and feeding locations (see Book of the Day). We can only thank dog (there’s that dyslexia again…) that people aren’t like that.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles Feb 2015

Book of the day: Polygyny and Sexual Selection in Red-Winged Blackbirds “The purpose of this book is to explain why red-winged blackbirds are polygynous and to describe the effects of this mating system on other aspects of the biology of the species. Polygyny is a mating system in which individual males form long-term mating relationships with more than one female at a time. The authors show that females choose to mate polygynously because there is little cost to sharing male parental care in this species, and because females gain protection against nest predation by nesting near other females. Polygyny has the effect of intensifying sexual selection on males by increasing the variance in mating success among males. For females, polygyny means that they will often share a male’s territory with other females during the breeding season and will thus be forced to adapt to frequent female-female interactions.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day: dead fish at the Little Fresh Pond Dog Beach

Dog of the Day: Emma, a new Reservoir Dog visiting Fresh Pond Reservation for the first time ever.

Photo of the Day Contest

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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March 18, 2015 – March Madness

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Possible Bald Eagle, flying, sighting on the far side of the reservation from the Eastern Pine Woods. Possible new fire set under the Virginia Woolf bench. Winter returned with cold and wind that matched any of this year’s bad weather days–minus snow blowing in a way that would make it feel like sand on the skin, or in the eyes. Frozen water came back from where it was hiding. There were NO birds on the Weir Meadown open water–but the area is increasing in size daily. See this March 1-18, 2015, slideshow of the Weir Meadow open water area. Or take a look at this 10 Years at the Weir Meadow slideshow. March Madness, here at Fresh Pond Reservation and thereabouts, refers to Red-tailed Hawks and their mad dash to find a territory, mate, and nest. Regarding a reference to tornadoes yesterday, research in the 1970’s came to a tentative conclusion that traffic may be having an influence on tornadoes. New Scientist published information about this on February 13, 1975, page 396, ‘The genesis of a tornado‘.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: How the Goshawk flies through tangled woods/trees

Book of the day: H is for Hawk “When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she’d never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk’s fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White’s chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself “in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her” tested the limits of Macdonald’s humanity and changed her life.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day: self-portrait in the shadows

Dog of the Day: Juno

Photo of the Day Contest

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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March 17, 2015 – stormy weather

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: AB reports seeing a Bald Eagle over the golf course at 8am this morning. From sunshine to a dark and stormy day. Ice shards that never quite turned into hail or snow or rain. To the north there looked to be some tornado type clouds. Nearly everyone seemed to be underdressed for the short burst, the several squalls, of bad weather. In spite of the cold, wind, moisture in its various forms, Witch-hazel continues to brighten. Today’s bird sightings all took place at the Weir Meadow open water and included Canada Geese, two male Mallards, two Ring-necked Ducks, and miscellaneous Herring Gulls.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: The Biology of Pussy Willow You can find the first Pussy Willow of this year at the intersection of Blacks Nook and the golf course.

Book of the day: Our Bright World: Learn Colors With Changing Weather and Seasons [Kindle Edition]

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day: Path Puddle Reflection

Song of the day: Stormy Weather

Dog of the Day: Yogi

Photo of the Day Contest

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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March 16, 2015 – Matt Damon sent me an email

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Yes, Matt Damon really did send me an email. He also sent it to a large number of other people. He’s the co-founder, along with Gary White, of Water.org, an international organization that works to create safe water supplies for people around the globe. The email was to remind people that March 22, 2015, is World Water Day. In local news Boston has set a new snow record. In even more local news, Witch-hazel (these are from the golf clubhouse hill) turns a brighter yellow each day.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: The Risks of Cheap Water “This summer, California’s water authority declared that wasting water — hosing a sidewalk, for example — was a crime. Next door, in Nevada, Las Vegas has paid out $200 million over the last decade for homes and businesses to pull out their lawns. It will get worse. As climate change and population growth further stress the water supply from the drought-plagued West to the seemingly bottomless Great Lakes, states and municipalities are likely to impose increasingly draconian restrictions on water use.”

Book of the day: Water Purification For Survival – A Guide for Purification and Conservation of Water “Table of Contents Preface Introduction Chapter 1 – Collecting water Discerning Filtration and Purification Chapter 2 – Filteration Techniques Building a water filter Chapter 3 – Purification techniques Boiling Filtration or purification pumps Purification drops and tablets Make an evaporation trap in the ground. Turning urine and salt water into drinkable water. Solar still Chapter 4 – Choose Your Snow Wisely How to melt snow the right way Does the water from snow need to be purified? Chapter 5 – Different Approaches to Hydration Chapter 6 – Minimising Water Loss Conclusion Author Bio Publisher Introduction Nothing, I repeat nothing, is more important than water for humans to live on this planet (well excluding oxygen though that’s obvious). Your body is made up of around 60-80% water and you cannot hope to continue performing your daily chores with the same efficiency if you don’t find enough water.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day: Rainbow Around the Sun (Sun dogs)

Dog of the Day: Phoebe

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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March 15, 2015 – guns and butterflies

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Rain. Rain and snow. Snow and rain. Snow. And windy. No birds sighted today. The dead raccoon, maybe 100 feet away from Post1192, is now exposed after being covered with snow for some weeks. Your dog may get a hankerin to wander over in that direction. These still curled up Common snowdrops, (Galanthus nivalis) were found just outside Fresh Pond Reservation.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: How Skyrocketing Gun Sales Are Helping To Conserve Butterflies “The Karner blue butterfly is a tiny thing, with colorful wings that extend just an inch across and a life that rarely wanders more than 600 feet from where it began. Its caterpillars can only eat wild lupines — a flower that’s become less abundant in the wild because of development and habitat fragmentation. As a result, the Karner was named an endangered species in 1992. But Karner blues are getting help from an unlikely source: gun sales.”

Book of the day: National Geographic Readers: Caterpillar to Butterfly “Butterflies are all around us. It’s hard to believe these majestic insects with impressive wingspans and beautifully colored and patterned wings were once creepy crawly caterpillars. How in the world does this transformation happen? This Level 1 Reader gives kids an up-close look at exactly how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. With bonus information including different types of butterflies and poisonous caterpillars, this reader is one of a kind.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day

Dog of the Day: Harvey

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

Video of the day:

Hermit Crab vacancy chain, as featured in the ‘Home’ episode of Life Story, BBC1

All my Fresh Pond Reservation videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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March 14, 2015 – Today is Pi Day

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Rain and some fog. A nice day only for those who like this kind of day, or those who like a day that keeps people who don’t like a day like this away. There was a too brief and all too infrequent encounter with the elusive Dr Who near Olga’s Bench. Let me not forget to mention rain, and some cold, and some still slippery snow and ice. My friend Ringo was out for a walk and, like Jasper, paid it no mind. Discussion with AH about disclosing the location of a bird that could be in some danger because of proximity to roads, sidewalks, houses, people, and dogs. Email message from JT also proposing not disclosing the location. Both are bird experts who have identified species and provided advice many times over the years.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: Pi Art

Book of the day: How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature “From the beloved host of PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train, an easy-to-use guide for parents, teachers, and others looking to foster a strong connection between children and nature, complete with engaging activities, troubleshooting advice, and much more.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day

Dog of the Day: Fozzy

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

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How Many Digits Of Pi You Have To Have Memorized To Be Special

The Area of a Circle and the Value of Pi

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March 13, 2015 – the owl and no pussycat

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Another visit to the owl’s nest across a street from the reservation, resulted in some better photos and video. Out Of Context: “If you’re a rich kid then you can get in an Ivy League school.” Overheard when three teenaged boys ran by the dog beach, two of them white, one black, undetermined who was speaking. Darwinian forces rear their ugly head even in the genteel town of Cambridge. Or in the Cambridge jungle we are all piles of meat to be eaten, sooner or later. First Garlic Mustard along the edge of the Eastern Pine Woods, but looking like a hard winter. Later, along the path, near Post0160, more green.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: Nearly 200,000 ‘new’ marine species turn out to be duplicates

Book of the day: Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day Those little round things are all baby Sycamore trees.

Dog of the Day: Princess Piper

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

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Video of the day:

All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

Contact Richard by email


March 12, 2015 – A Beautiful Male

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: From my own sightings, and those of frequent visitors, one notes a rise in the number of bird species. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has produced Fancy Males, “From peacocks to birds-of-paradise, many male birds have evolved extreme forms of fanciness. Here you’ll explore some of the most impressive displays on the planet and learn about the evolutionary processes that drive these cases of excess.” A cold, multiple snowstorm winter has made life hard for birds. Many of them have moved… across the street, and into backyards with bird feeders. It might look like chaos at your feeder, until you read a primer on feeder intrigue. Cold kills. Here are two birds, seen on the reservoir yesterday, that did not survive the winter. Current best guess as to species is Ring-neck Duck and Cormorant. Regarding the latter, note the white area near the feet of one of the Cormorants. Then review the dead possible Cormorant where you can see a small spot of white near the feet. Dog license renewal forms Cambridge Animal Commission arrived in today’s mail.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: A Sage-Grouse Lek in Wyoming “Meet the fanciest wild birds in North America. Male sage-grouse gather by the hundreds to strut their stuff on their high-stakes breeding grounds. Only an elite few have what it takes to impress the discerning female judges and become fathers. The rest will have to try again next year. Climb into a blind with biologist Marc Dantzker to get a first hand look at the drama that unfolds each year on a Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) lek.”

Book of the day: Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow “Designed to encourage kids’ natural love of science from an early age, this book promotes scientific observation, exploration, and analysis in a way that little kids can get excited about–through do-it-yourself experiments! Each chapter introduces a different branch of science, including biology, chemistry, and physics through kid-friendly experiments–all of which are linked to science curriculum requirements for grades K through 3.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day

Dog of the Day

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

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All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

Video of the day:

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March 11, 2015 – you are here

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Sweet Pea, AKA ‘Bear’, a female, ‘Schnauzerish’, born on September 19, 2009, dog, visited Fresh Pond Reservation for the first time today. Several people reported seeing the new gray Eastern Screech Owl by Post0500, including at 8am, 8:30am, and noon, plus other unspecified times. AB reports two swans, a Red-winged Blackbird, and the Eastern Screech Owl at Olga’s bench on an early morning walk. AH reports a large, black, dead bird on the ice about 50 yards from the original red brick pump house. Photos and video available. Two Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) tree seeds, native to China, have been contributed to this blog’s photo archive. The witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) near Post1026 (which is not that far From Concord Avenue and the local Dunkin Donuts) has gained a smidgen of yellow since yesterday. Two more days like today (58 degrees) and it could be in full bloom.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: Marching One By One “During his three controversial terms as mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg launched all-out public-health crusades against some of his constituents’ favorite vices, including cigarettes, trans fats, and sodas. Perhaps he should have declared war on loneliness, instead. Scientists have repeatedly found that people who lack—or believe that they lack—close social connections have significantly higher mortality rates than those who find themselves surrounded by friends. One 2010 meta-analysis suggested that social isolation may be more dangerous than obesity and just as deadly as smoking. Loneliness and isolation appear to alter hormone levels, immune responses, and gene expression, and to increase the risk for a variety of ailments, including heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s.”

Book of the day: Fresh Pond: The History of a Cambridge Landscape “Fresh Pond Reservation, at the northwest edge of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been described as a “landscape loved to death.” Certainly it is a landscape that has been changed by its various uses over the years and one to which Cantabridgeans and Bostonians have felt an intense attachment. Henry James returned to it in his sixties, looking for “some echo of the dreams of youth,” feeling keenly “the pleasure of memory”; a Harvard student of the 1850s fondly remembered skating parties and the chance of “flirtation with some fair-ankled beauty of breezy Boston”; modern residents argue fiercely over dogs being allowed to run free at the reservation and whether soccer or nature is a more valuable experience for Cambridge schoolchildren. In Fresh Pond, Jill Sinclair tells the story of the pond and its surrounding land through photographs, drawings, maps, plans, and an engaging narrative of the pond’s geological, historical, and political ecology. Fresh Pond has been a Native American hunting and fishing ground; the site of an eighteenth-century hotel offering bowling, food and wine, and impromptu performances by Harvard men; a summer retreat for wealthy Bostonians; a training ground for trench warfare; a location for picnics and festivals for workers and sporting activities for all. The parkland features an Olmsted design, albeit an imperfectly realized one. The pond itself–a natural lake carved out by the retreating Ice Age about 15,000 years ago–was a center of the nineteenth-century ice industry (disparaged by Thoreau, writing about another pond), and still supplies the city of Cambridge with fresh drinking water. Sinclair’s celebration of a local landscape also alerts us to broader issues–shifts in public attitudes toward nature (is it brutal wilderness or in need of protection?) and water (precious commodity or limitless flow?)–that resonate as we remake our relationship to the landscape.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

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All videos, in chronological order, are on YouTube: http://youtube.com/ritchie

Video of the day:

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March 10, 2015 – a blast from the ancient past

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: There’s a gray, avocado-green eyed Eastern Screen Owl in the nest by Olga’s Bench/Post0500/switchbacks. The first since November 28, 2014. Video below. A bird watcher reports hearing a Red-wing Blackbird on the golf course side of Little Fresh Pond on Saturday, March 7, 2015. A male Cardinal was sighted on the same day. A bird fan reports seeing a Great Horned Owl on a tree across from the reservation. It did not stay for this owl journalist. The ice in Arctic Cambridge is finally breaking up. Reservoir Dogs for today: Nellie, Trust, Keiko, Francis, and Buggs. There’s the first hint of yellow on the witchhazel at the base of the golf course clubhouse hill.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE SOLENODON “SOLENODONS LOOK LIKE large, plump shrews with elongated snouts and multicolored fur. They grow to about a foot long, and their naked, scaly tails can add another 10 inches. Solenodons are some of the most unique and rare mammals in the world. Solenodon-like animals lived all over North America 30 million years ago, but today they are only found on the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola.”

Book of the day: Eastern Screech Owl: Life History, Ecology, and Behavior in the Suburbs and Countryside (W. L. Moody Jr. Natural History Series) “The eastern screech owl, widespread over the eastern half of North America and noticeably tolerant of human activity, is one of America’s most familiar birds. Residing naturally in wooded environs with tree cavities, this owl lives well in suburbia and can be found nesting in mailboxes, porch columns, and purple martin houses.”

Fresh Pond Reservation Photo of the Day

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

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Video of the day:

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March 9, 2015 – big bird bulletin

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: There’s a story in the March 6, 2015, New York Times about coyotes in the city parks. On Sunday the bird board indicated another Bald Eagle sighting at the reservation. Daylight Savings Time started yesterday at Fresh Pond Reservation. The original intent was to save electricity. A Bald Eagle sighting was reported on the bird board. First coyote tracks inside the reservoir fence noticed today. First flying insect (technically not inside the reservation border, but headed in that direction) sighted. Three new Reservoir Dogs today: Bruce, Sunny, and Elliot.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: A flock of genomes “Characterization of genomic biodiversity through comprehensive species sampling has the potential to change our understanding of evolution. To study evolution across a major vertebrate class, dissect the genomics of complex traits, and resolve a centuries-old debate on the avian species tree, we formed a consortium focused on the sequencing and analyses of at least one genome per avian order. The resulting data set of 48 consistently annotated bird genomes spans 32 of the 35 recently proposed avian orders,* including all 30 neognath orders, and thus represents a wide range of avian evolutionary diversity. Our consortium’s analyses have resulted in eight papers published today in Science, as well as 20 papers in other journals.”

Book of the day: The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds of the World: The ultimate reference source and identifier for 1600 birds, profiling habitat, plumage, nesting and food “This comprehensive illustrated encyclopaedia of birds of the world presents a fantastic visual guide to many of the major avian species and families, from America’s tiniest insect-catchers to the giant, flightless species still living on the African plains. A 420-page directory covering America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Polar continents features full illustrated entries for hundreds of birds, as well as detailing many other related species.”

Song of the day: Surfin Bird – Bird Is The Word by The Trashmen – Bird Dance Beat 1964 (Full Album)

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

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Video of the day:

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March 8, 2015 – El Nino is back and there’s gonna be trouble

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Temperatures were up slightly again today, producing at lot of puddles around the path. A single Herring Gull was sitting on the edge of the Weir Meadow open water area. Still no sounds, for almost a week, from the Great Horned Owls. There were two new Reservoir Dogs photographed today. The first was Georgie, 6 year old female who looks to be a bit Australian Shepherd plus something else. The other was Harvey, a black male Cockapoo born August 21, 2014. A search for daffodils near the lattice-backed bench turned up a spot covered by almost a foot of snow. These daffodils are from February 18, 2012, probably the warmest year ever recorded at Fresh Pond Reservation.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: NOAA: Elusive El Nino arrives “The long-anticipated El Niño has finally arrived, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. In their updated monthly outlook released today (March 5, 2015), forecasters issued an El Niño Advisory to declare the arrival of the ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean near the equator.”

Book of the day: Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations “In 1999, few people had thought to examine the effects of climate on civilization. Now, due in part to the groundbreaking work of archaeologist Brian Fagan, climate change is a central issue. Revised and updated ten years after its first publication, Floods, Famines and Emperors remains the definitive account of how the world’s best-known climate event had an indelible impact on history.”

Song of the day: My Boyfriend’s Back

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day Contest

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Video of the day:


March 7, 2015 – move your thermometers temperature forward tonight

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Tuxedo, the first of three new dogs met today, is male, likely black Lab + Great Dane, and was born on April 7, 2011. He can be seen playing on Little Fresh Pond with Jasper and several other dogs. Ria is a 12 year old female Basenji+, AKA mutt. The four white paws and white on the tip of the tale say Basenji in the background, somewhere. Romeo, an old friend, will be 10 years old on Monday. Sky, a female Australian Shepherd, born on November 26, 2011, is today’s third new dog. Jasper reports the sad news that his friend Cody, a 14 year old Golden Retriever, left Fresh Pond Reservation forever on February 5, 2015. His caretaker was noted to still have tears today. It was mostly a people and dogs day. Temperatures were above freezing until the Sun went down. There were skiers and people sitting under trees on the golf course. That was peculiar. One more thing: later this evening, before retiring for the night, don’t forget to move your thermometers ahead 10 degrees.

Today’s Weather. See this month’s weather OR last month’s Weather Calendar

Link of the day: What happens when water turns to ice Still more about the properties of water and ice and their temperature dependent relationship.

Book of the day: Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public “This book uncovers the biggest scientific fraud of our age. It tells the fascinating and frequently astounding story of how the massive enterprise to restructure the genetic core of the world’s food supply came into being, how it advanced by consistently violating the protocols of science, and how for more than three decades, hundreds of eminent biologists and esteemed institutions have systematically contorted the truth in order to conceal the unique risks of its products–and get them onto our dinner plates.”

Photo of the day:

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Video of the day: rare squid mating


March 6, 2015 – a bright sunshiny day

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Song of the day: I Can See Clearly Now

Notes for today: And the snow is still here. But, as the Sun sets, in the shadows that start to fall across the path, new born spears of ice, can be seen stabbing into tiny, shallow pools of water. Spotted a Northern Mockingbird and several song sparrows in the bushes near the Kingsley Park fountain. Homer, a black Pug, born November 12, 2014, was the first dog to greet Jasper today, at the corner of Huron Avenue and Fresh Pond Parkway.

Today’s Weather. See last month’s Weather Calendar OR this month’s.

Link of the day: Praying Mantises are Expert Acrobats in Mid-Air Praying Mantis babies are sleeping all around the pond, protected by the gift of antifreeze from their parents. Here’s a photo of some baby praying mantis, standing, upside down, on the bottom of an egg casing made by their mother the previous Fall. The three you see could be preparing to eat each other, or waiting for their less mature siblings to hatch. Might some people say that fresh baby praying mantis tastes like chicken? There were very few praying mantis last year, perhaps because of a winter 2+ degrees colder than normal.

Book of the day: Praying Mantis: Fun Facts, Pictures, & Trivia Free for Amazon Prime Kindle readers.

Nature picture of the day

Twitter tweets: fprtwit OR Creme De La Internet

Video of the day:


March 5, 2015 – the woodpecker and the weasel

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: This blog author has finally decided to succumb to the latest viral web phenomenon, the woodpecker and the weasel, with the hope of, like everyone else, getting more hits. So this least weasel (Mustela nivalis) jumps on the back of a European green woodpecker (Picus viridis) for a free ride, supposedly. Time will tell if it works. On the weather news front, we may be getting more snow, or not. There are two new Reservoir Dogs today: Bailes, a German Shepherd, AND Roland, a Boston Terrier.

Today’s Weather. See last month’s Weather Calendar OR this month’s.

Link of the day:

Book of the day:

Twitter tweets: fprtwit OR Creme De La Internet

Video of the day:

Photo of the day (click image for larger version):


Stabilicers
are my preferred shoe attachment for making it safer to walk on ice and snow during this time of year at Fresh Pond Reservation. They are light, flexible and easy to put on and take off. You should know that buying this product from Amazon will result in me being paid a small commission. This item won’t cost you any more when you buy via this link. You will, however, be supporting my Fresh Pond Reservation project. This will help buy new cameras, pay for internet services, and kibbles for Jasper. You can also support this project by buying a Birds of Fresh Pond Reservation Calendar.


March 4, 2015 – march means more mild weather and mud

Today’s PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Notes for today: Friends, who are temporarily visiting Seattle, have sent me a photo of a rhododendron in full bloom, via Facebook. Meanwhile, to the south, in California, there’s a mega drought. Here in Massachusetts, 15 horses have been rescued after snow collapsed a barn roof in Norwell. My warnings about Phoebe and the Great Horned Owl have continued. The latter were silent today in the Eastern Pine Woods, although AB heard them a bit earlier at the golf clubhouse hill. Spring 2015 is almost here.

Today’s Weather. See last month’s Weather Calendar OR this month’s.

Link of the day:

Book of the day: Droughts (21st Century Skills Library: Real World Math) “What happens to the environment when a drought occurs? What are some of the causes of droughts? What can people do about the problems caused by droughts? How can you use your math skills to learn more about droughts? Read this book to find the answers to these questions and learn more about droughts.”

Nature Picture of the Day

Twitter tweets: fprtwit OR Creme De La Internet

Video of the day:

A recent science discovery…


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