Jerboas use their long tails to transfer energy to their legs, allowing them to hop many times their body length. It turns out the hair on the bottoms of their their feet also serves a number of purposes, including insulation, traction, and stealth on the sand.
Welcome to "the quietest square inch in the wilds of America, discovered by Gordon Hempton.
The quietest inch isn’t a sound vacuum. It represents a place with a minimum of human-made noise. The discipline of acoustic ecology, which is dedicated to understanding the natural sounds that come through loud and clear when we're not around, outlines an important distinction between sound and noise. The blip of water droplets from a forest canopy? Sound. The tinny din of Taylor Swift through smartphone speakers? Noise. For example, the inch, as it's often called, is exposed to flute-like bugling from Roosevelt elk, the Morse-code chirp of the American Dipper, and assertive hooting from the endangered Northern Spotted Owl. The steady rush of the Hoh River rounding the shoulder of Mount Olympus whooshes nearby, and summer snowmelt punctuates the setting with staccato droplets. In spite of the natural sound, dense forest engulfs the inch in a hush that is, at times, below 20 decibels—quieter than most recording studios.
The recording is presumably normalized to make it sound much louder. Don't think I could sleep through that boid.
The photo, taken by Hempton, is of a red pebble he left at the quietest spot. Read the rest
The Audubon Society received 9,000 entires for their annual photography contest and chose nine winners, including Mary Angela Luzader's Fine Art Honorable Mention for her shot of fighting Purple Gallinules, above.
She took her shot at Venetian Gardens, a public park in Leesburg, Florida:
Venetian Gardens is a wonderful place to photograph Purple Gallinules in a natural, parklike habitat. Someone called my attention to this pair chasing and fighting each other. I have never witnessed this behavior, and I was so excited I almost forgot to snap a few shots! When the fight was over, the victor got the girl, and the loser was chased away, with a few less feathers . . . and perhaps a headache!
The Top 100 is well worth the time if you admire birds and or beautiful photography.
• Announcing the 2015 Audubon Photography Awards (audubon.org)
Zeus is pissed. Read the rest