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Dead coral found near BP Gulf disaster…

More disturbing discoveries developing in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Surveys of the sea floor near the BP oil well in Mexico has turned up dead and dying coral reefs.

Callogorgia gracilis, with brittle star Asteroschema
Callogorgia gracilis, with brittle star Asteroschema

The coral sites lie seven miles southwest of the well, at a depth of about 4,500 feet, in an area where large plumes of dispersed oil were discovered drifting through the deep ocean last spring in the early weeks after the spill.

Coral sites in shallow waters farther from the oil spill epicenter have not suffered as severely but I’m sure we’ll be discovering long-term after effects of the spill in years to come.

More info can be found from this NY times article.

 

Posted by on November 5, 2010 in Photography Adventures

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Purple Gallinule

So after spending 10 days in Florida and Everglades I did not see one Purple Gallinule. Who would have known I come to Ohio three weeks later and have one almost walk over my feet! I even recorded it all with my iPhone. Hooray for iPhone 3GS video.

  • Video Clip #1
  • Video Clip #2

    Purple Gallinule Sign
    Purple Gallinule Sign

    Purple Gallinule
    Purple Gallinule

    Habitat
    Habitat

     
  • Posted by on May 14, 2010 in Photography Adventures

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    Texas: Curlew Sandpiper

    The Curlew Sandpiper is a small shorebird that nests on the tundra of Arctic Siberia. It is strongly migratory, wintering mainly in Africa, but also in south and southeast Asia and in Australasia. Every now and again one will get blown off course and end up somewhere in North America – usually on the Atlantic seaboard. And even less frequently, one will turn up along the Texas coast.

    Fortunately the timing of one being in Corpus Christi coincided perfectly with my trip to Texas. I was primarily concentrating on Houston and the Upper Texas Coast (UTC) but Corpus was just a mere 4 hour drive south. I decided to team up with Bill and Bryan Tarbox and Ellen Baker of Houston and make the chase together.

    Upon our arrival to Oso Bay, where it was being seen regularly for the past 10 days, we were astonished to see thousands of shorebirds grouped up together…essentially trying to find a needle in a haystack!

    Oso Bay
    Oso Bay

    On top of all this it was 97F and high humidity. We spent an hour in a half looking for the bird with no luck. My friends needed to get back up to Houston before sunset so they wished me luck and bid farewell. I spent another 30 or 40 minutes before I decided to move to another spot to try and get some photos of Wilson’s Plover. Not having much luck with that either I went back to the original spot.

    As I approached the group of birds I noticed a slightly larger bird chasing all the Western Sandpipers around. I looked through my camera to get a better look and ‘lo and behold it was the Curlew SP! I took a bunch of photos and noticed a few moments later my friends had texted me asking if I had any luck. I replied, “YES! Got the Curlew Sandpiper!” They responded, “Be right there!” Apparently, they found a pizza place on the way back to the car and were eating lunch…letting me do all the hard work!

    The CUSP stuck around for my friends and we all got great looks and photos of the bird. It was quite fascinating to watch how aggressive and territorial it was with the smaller Western Sandpipers. It didn’t seem to mind the Dowitchers or Stilt Sandpipers, however.

    Curlew Sandpiper
    Curlew Sandpiper

    Curlew Sandpiper
    Curlew Sandpiper

    Curlew Sandpiper
    Curlew Sandpiper (Western SP on left)

     

    Posted by on September 3, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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    Cornell Birds of N.A.

    Cornell University recently approached me to use one of my White-tailed Hawk photos for their species info page on their Birds of North America website. Pretty cool as it’s probably one of the biggest publication credits I’ve received to date.

    Click here to view the article on the Cornell Birds of North America website.

    Some of the other shots of the White-tailed Hawk they did not use:

    White-tailed Hawk
    White-tailed Hawk

    White-tailed Hawk
    White-tailed Hawk

    White-tailed Hawk
    White-tailed Hawk

     

    Posted by on April 21, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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    Whooping Cranes and more…

    I just returned from a weekend of photographing along the Upper Texas coast with friends from Houston. Saturday morning we chartered a boat to take us out to a chain of islands where wintering Whooping Cranes could be found. We were very fortunate to find at least 8 Whooping Cranes including one juvenile bird. There are fewer than 250 pairs of Whooping Cranes left in the wild due to habitat loss but rehabilitation efforts are having great success and numbers are quickly rebounding. Most of the Whooping Crane population winters along the Texas coast while a smaller population also winters in Florida.

    Spent the rest of the weekend trying to work on other Texas specialties, such as Nine-banded Armadillo, White-tailed Hawk, Mottled Duck, Tropical Parula, Neotropic Cormorant and others. Lots of photos follow:

    Whooping Crane
    Whooping Crane

    Whooping Crane
    Whooping Crane (juv.)

    Whooping Crane
    Whooping Crane

    Whooping Crane
    Whooping Crane

    White-tailed Hawk
    White-tailed Hawk

    White-tailed Hawk
    White-tailed Hawk

    White-tailed Hawk
    White-tailed Hawk

    Nine-banded Armadillo
    Nine-banded Armadillo

    Tropical Parula
    Tropical Parula

    Eastern Phoebe
    Eastern Phoebe

    Roseate Spoonbill
    Roseate Spoonbill

    Tricolored Heron
    Tricolored Heron

    White Ibis
    White Ibis

    Rusty Blackbird
    Rusty Blackbird

    Mottled Duck
    Mottled Duck

    Forster's Tern
    Forster’s Tern

    American White Pelican
    American White Pelican

    American Oystercatcher
    American Oystercatcher

    Neotropic Cormorant
    Neotropic Cormorant

    Turkey Vulture
    Turkey Vulture

    Crested Caracara
    Crested Caracara

     

    Posted by on February 2, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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