The spider that looks like a plant

nature

Why Evolution Is True

by Matthew Cobb

This fantastic picture popped into my Tw*tter feed. It was taken by Kurt, a nature/macro photographer based in Kuala Lumpur. It is reproduced with permission and can be found on the spider page of his great website – that page also includes ant-mimic spiders mating (a terrible tangle of legs)!

What exactly it’s mimicking isn’t clear —it looks like a bit of honeysuckle flower to me. I initially assumed this was an ambush predator, but other photos by Kurt show that it spins a web (you can see the web underneath it), although it’s not clear whether that’s part of the deception or is used directly to trap prey. Here’s another image:

[JAC: I suspect that its mimicry is that it looks like a bit of flower or vegetation caught in a web, and the mimicry could also act when it was “between webs.”]

Orion2

Kurt says: “I…

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Malta migratory bird massacre, filmed by Chris Packham

nature

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called Illegal finch trapping, spring 2014, Malta.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wildlife presenter Chris Packham to film the indiscriminate shooting of migrating birds on Malta

April 2014: Heading a self-funded camera crew, wildlife presenter Chris Packham will be filing nightly reports on YouTube of the events in Malta, as thousands of illegal hunters kill all manner of migrating birds as they pass over the island on their way from Africa to their European breeding grounds. These films, which Packham says on his website (www.chrispackham.co.uk) will not make comfortable viewing, will be shown from Easter Monday until Saturday, 26 April.

The annual spring slaughter on Malta, which last year involved at least 24 protected species, accounts for the deaths of honey buzzards, golden orioles, ospreys, cuckoos, night herons and black storks, among many others, and jeopardises future populations of these birds…

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A cool veterinary hospital

nature

Why Evolution Is True

From the WNC Radio Facebook page, a series of signs from a veterinary hospital:

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I’ve verified that these signs are real, so someone there clearly has a sense of humor. These people are the Southwest Airlines of vets, and it’s refreshing.

You can see the website of the hospital, which is in Melbourne, Florida, here.

h/t: Hempenstein

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Ross-shire Massacre: local farmers ‘have nothing to hide’

nature

Raptor Persecution UK

A farmer whose properties have been raided by police as part of the investigation into the Ross-shire Massacre has given an exclusive interview to the BBC (see here).

Ewan Macdonald, on whose land several of the poisoned birds were found, is claiming that he and the local farming community have nothing to hide. The report states that the police have not found anything to link Mr Macdonald to the crimes.

RK5

Mr Macdonald runs his farms in partnership with his brother, Shaun. In 2007, Shaun Macdonald was runner-up in the NFU Scotland Farming & Conservation Award, for ‘superb conservation efforts’, sponsored by the RSPB (see here).

Mr Macdonald is calling for an action group comprising landowners, police and RSPB, ‘to investigate the killings’. He suggests that there could be an innocent explanation for the deaths, such as a virus, or somebody feeding meat to the birds of prey which…

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‘Hundreds of thousands of birds killed by BP oil’

nature

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from the USA is called Gulf Oil Spill Birds – Don’t Let Kids Watch.

From The Lens in New Orleans, USA:

Scientists fear BP blowout killed far more birds than officially reported

By Bob Marshall, Staff writer

April 15, 2014 2:43pm

Almost from the start, wildlife advocates described the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as a war on the Gulf ecosystem. Few quibbled with that analogy as a record 210 million gallons spewed into the Gulf just 50 miles from one of the world’s most productive coastal estuaries.

Yet four years later, wildlife workers, especially those concerned about birds, are skeptical of one metric commonly used to assess wars of any kind: the official body count.

For example, the official count of brown pelicans killed by BP’s oil stands at 577, which doesn’t seem like a big hit on a population estimated in the neighborhood of 85,000…

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Friday Fotos: Fire in the Sky

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Arizona Highways

Our theme this week was “fire in the sky.” Thank you to everyone who shared their photos on our Facebook page. We hope you enjoy this week’s Friday Fotos, and, as always, we hope you’ll share this stunning gallery with your favorite peeps — you know the drill: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and the social media list goes on.

Enjoy!

 

By submitting photographs to Arizona Highways via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or other social networking sites, the photographer grants Arizona Highways electronic rights. No financial consideration will be paid to anyone for publication on the Arizona Highways blog or Website.

By publishing a photographer’s work to its blog, Arizona Highways does not endorse the photographer’s private business or claim responsibility for any business relationships entered into between the photographer and our readers.

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Past Meets Present: Shan Shui Environmental Art

nature

Fabulous.

Ekostories

Literally translated as “mountain water”, Shan Shui is a specific style of Chinese landscape art that rose to prominence in the 5th century during the Liu Song Dynasty (wikipedia). In the depiction of pristine rivers, ethereal mists, and hallowed mountains, the artist’s ultimate goal is to capture the ch’i, or vital breath, of the world around them. This ch’i must be caught even at the expense of realism, for if the artist misses it, they have lost the very essence of the landscape. In this way, Shan Shui paintings are only expressions of art, but also provide insight into how the artist, influenced by culture and society, views the natural world.

I recently came across the work of a modern artist who sought to introduce modern human presence and impact into Shan Shui paintings. Commissioned by the China Environmental Protection Foundation, Yong Liang Yang utilizes…

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Where there’s smokes there are raptors

nature

Natural Newstead

It’s autumn and it’s smoky. At this time of year the smell of burning stubble pervades our local landscape, although perhaps less so than in years gone by. A gradual shift to low or no-till farming systems has seen a decline in this practice in recent times.

Birds of prey are often attracted to fire – in northern Australia large flocks of raptors, often numbering in the hundreds, will gather to feed on animals disturbed during burns. We don’t get anywhere near these numbers in southern Australia, but it is not unusual to see congregating raptors around stubble burns during autumn. Such was the case a few days back on the Moolort Plains, with a loose flock that included Brown Falcons, Whistling Kites and a young Wedge-tailed Eagle in attendance at a small stubble fire.

A useful background article on stubble burning can be accessed here.

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