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9 November 2013

Fishers are back in Virginia!

I got word yesterday that the fisher, a medium-sized mustelid (Like a marten, an animal that I’ve seen once up in the Adirondacks of New York), has begun re-colonizing wild parts of Virginia. This is pretty exciting news – a friend from high school shared the image below with me: That’s from a wildlife camera on my friend’s family’s land in northwestern Shenandoah County, in the Cedar Creek Valley. That’s …

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23 October 2013

The business end of the limb

Last week, we had two wildlife deaths at Fort Bentley. The first was a mole (cause of death unknown), and the second was a screech owl (hit by a car). Here’s the mole: A look aft, at the digging apparatus: What astonishing “paddles” it possesses! There forelimbs are easily five times the size of the hind limbs, and equipped with such extraordinary claws… Here’s an iPad (i.e. low quality) photo …

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30 May 2013

Springy stuff in my yard this morning

It’s been a busy week. Hardly any free time. Here are a few pictures from my yard, taken this morning. Please accept them in lieu of a real blog post: Eastern cottontail: Mountain laurel: The cicadas are trilling in a mad, constant, siren-like noise. It’s intense, and otherworldly. Talk to you later…

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7 January 2013

Hoerikwaggo Trail 1: the hike

Callan begins a week-long recounting of his five-day backpacking trip from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town, South Africa, along the Hoerikwaggo Trail. Today, we examine scenery and logistics of the trail.

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10 December 2012

Monday macrobug: Batfly!!

UPDATE: This isn’t really a bat fly. It’s a deer ked. Back in October, I was weed-whacking in the yard, cutting down some 1-meter-tall grass and then picking up bundles of the fallen grass to put on our compost pile. I was out in the yard doing this for about an hour, then I came inside to have dinner with Lily and Baxter. Halfway through dinner, I felt something crawling …

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5 July 2012

Floe Lake hike

Last summer, my wife and I spent some time in the Canadian Rockies. One of the things we did was to take a three-day backpacking trip to Floe Lake, in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia. We picked a rough couple of days for hiking – We got a lot of Canadian Rockies precipitation out there: we got rained on, hailed on, and snowed on during those three days. Here’s our …

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24 May 2012

Swimming with great white sharks

This is Dyer Island, off Gansbaai, southern South Africa, a little west of Cape Agulhas: Those are seals, a huge, crazy crowded colony of Cape fur seals. They are loud. They create a God-awful stink with all their fishy excrement. It was like being in a BBC nature program to see this firsthand. I could hear David Attenborough’s voice in my head, raspy and accented: “Dyer Island, South Africa. Home …

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12 January 2012

Rock hyrax

The charming rock hyrax, a cuddly-looking fellow whose nearest living relative is the elephant: This is in the coastal town of Hermanus, a lovely place for whale-watching, in season. We were there at the wrong season, but the hyrax provided a mammal sighting that made us happy. The little fellow seemed to really be enjoying the sun on his seaside perch… A while later, we met a second one coming …

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8 January 2012

Mammals I saw in South Africa

Elephant shrew Epauletted fruit bat Savannah baboon Vervet monkey Scrub hare Tree squirrel Woodland (?) dormouse Unidentified rat Cape porcupine (as roadkill only) Black-backed jackal Wild dog Banded mongoose Dwarf mongoose Small-spotted genet Spotted hyena African wild cat Lion Leopard African elephant Rock hyrax (dassie) Plains zebra Square-lipped (white) rhinoceros Common warthog Hippopotamus Giraffe African buffalo Greater kudu Bushbuck Waterbuck Blue wildebeest Bontebok Impala Springbok Kilpspringer Steenbok Common duiker Cape …

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10 July 2011

Cascade Canyon

Following up on Friday’s fold, I wanted to share a few other images from our hike last week in Cascade Canyon of Grand Teton National Park.  Lots of cool exposures of Archean basement rock there. Folds in gneissic banding: Big, angular mafic blocks in a felsic soup: Swarm of granite dikes on a mountainside: Asymmetric feldspathic porphyroclast in amphibolite, with apparent reaction rim: Boudinage and an isoclinal fold: Ptygmatic fold: …

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