Friday, August 24, 2012

Bryce National Park

Here are a few wildlife photographs from Bryce National Park.  I could have watched these ravens for a long time.  Their antics and the scenery behind them were captivating.  I was a bit fearful one of the birds would peck my hand when I moved in for this close shot of its talons.  Thankfully, they were preoccupied.   At the time, I thought they were feeding each other.  According to this blurb about ravens on the park's website, they are "especially romantic during the breeding season."  After reading that, I now think I witnessed an "eskimo kiss."'  How cute.

The bottom photograph is a pronghorn that didn't stand still long enough for Walt to focus.  No wonder, it's the fastest land animal in North America!  During the summer they molt to a thinner coat. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wednesday, I boarded the Department of Environmental and Energy Protection's climate monitoring boat with other members of the CT Climate Change Education Group.  What a great day we had out at sea and I thank them for allowing us to view their important work monitoring the health of Long Island Sound.  I learned quite a bit and I'm contemplating how to spin a story out of it. 

This bird was so still drying its wings that initially I thought it was fake.  On the way back to the harbor we passed a capsized sailboat.    At low tide, there's a tombolo that connects the beach to Charles Island and that's probably what caused it to run aground.    

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bryce National Park - Queens Garden/Navajo Loop

Yesterday, I found another opportunity in my inbox.  You have absolutely no idea what a pleasant change of pace it is to have these things come to me.  I will dish on those when and if they come to fruition.

On 7/15/12, I posted about the not so definite link between extreme weather and climate change.  Since then, James Hansen has published a paper where he concludes that a couple of extreme heat waves (one in 2011) are linked to global warming.  I also thought recent news that at one time Antarctica was covered with palm trees, baobab and macadamia was fascinating.

The colors in Bryce National Park were stunning, terra cotta hoodoos and deep pines against a cerulean sky.  When the morning and evening light hit those formations, they glowed a brilliant orange.  We hiked the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop.  It was one of the best hikes I've ever done.  Midway through that hike we came to a section adorned with tiny cairns.  They were everywhere.  They were piled on the ground, on logs, on tree branches.  It was the cutest thing and surely something that rangers do to occupy little ones.  What an adorable idea!  Next time, I'll post about the wildlife I saw.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Arches National Park

This past week I listened to audio and video from a research trip.  The video that Walt took was an excellent record of the visit.  From the video I learned that camping the night before on site research wasn't such a good thing.  Did I brush my hair?   It cracked me up when Walt asked numerical type questions and zoomed in on some math angles on a notebook.  The whole time, I was constantly juggling a notebook, pen, DVR and camera.   

Overall, the video was the best record, but I think for a solo visit, putting my eye through a camcorder might get in the way of absorbing the material or it might appear that I'm not paying attention.  It would be nice to have a writer's toolbelt, similar to what construction workers wear.  I think I will hunt for a strap so the camera can dangle from my neck where it's easily accessible, but frees me from carrying it.      

I've been working hard, maybe too hard.  Two items are getting very close to mailbox ready.   

I've been to Arches twice in the summer and although it is quite beautiful, the scorching sun beats down and there aren't many trees for shade.  We spotted this gnarly tree on the path to Landscape Arch.  We also encountered a long-nosed leopard lizard with interesting coloring.   After a bit of research, I've come to the conclusion this is a female because of the bright orange spots that occur during breeding.  I'm still marveling that we were there at the right time to see the unusual spots.  See, summer isn't such a bad time for a visit after all!