Monthly Archives: April 2012

Word of the Week: Bight

Today’s word is:

bight

Pronounced: bite

Sciency Definition: A bend or curve in a shoreline, [or in a rope, as opposed to the ends of the rope]; also, a wide bay-type formation created by such a curve.

What’s it do?  A bights is shallower than a sound  and wider than a bay. Depending on location and local ecology, bights can be hotspots for upwellings of nutrient-rich waters. In these areas, food chains flourish. The Robson Bight of British Columbia is visited annually by orcas, and the marine mammals seem to rest and play more in the bight than when visiting other areas of the BC coast.

Example sentence: The Great Australian Bight is an example of a bight that does not harbor abundantly fertile waters due in part to a lack of runoff from the edge of the continent. Southern Right Whales and sharks are frequent visitors.

Southern California Bight.

[Video] Swimming Bald Eagle

Have you guys seen this yet? It’s pretty wild. I’m not really sure what exactly is bobbing in the water, to be honest, but my best guess is a dead or dying fish.

Huge pectoral muscles that allow for flight also support limited swimming ability for these awesome raptors. Their talons may lock when they grab prey, and if the prey is too heavy to lift after the talons have locked, the eagles risk being drug beneath the surface of the water. Young eagles have been known to drown after being a little too ambitious with their choice of sushi! I’m wondering if perhaps this is what’s happened here, but the eagle definitely looks like he chose to swim on the last turn. Watching him go over and over again is exhausting – imagine how much energy this bird is expending trying to go after one meal!

Word of the Week: Crepuscular

Today’s word is:

crepuscular

Pronounced: crep-PUH-skew-lur

Sciency Definition: Relating to twilight, or descriptive of activity occurring during twilight.

Or I could have said: Dawn and dusk.

What’s it do? Animals, insects, fish, and all other living things that are “crepuscular” are most active during the times between day and night, a time known as twilight. (Not to be confused with that vampire movie.) Temperatures during dusk tend to be milder in hot climates, and the dimmed light provides a certain measure of cover to animals that are usually preyed upon. On the other side of it, the lower light helps predators stay under cover as well! Examples of crepuscular animals are deer, fox, many species of snake, and plenty more. One of my all-time favorite crepuscular critters are lightning-bugs (also known as fireflies)!

Example sentence: I was quite nocturnal in my college years, but now I find that I prefer the crepuscular times of day.

Fireflies in the forest, by Quit007.

Summer approaches!

Thunderheads roll, boisterous flickers advertise, frogs drawl in the night, vultures loft, and the rain falls..

..summer approaches!

IT’S BETTER THAN RIBBONS

SQQUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Word of the Week: Passerine

Today’s word is:

passerine

PronouncedPASS-er-in

Sciency Definition: A member of the order Passeriformes, the largest group of the class Aves.

Or I could have saidPerching bird.

What’s it do?  Members of the order Passeriformes are the perching birds, which include more than half of the living species of birds. They each possess feet adapted for perching or clinging. “Song birds” are all passerines but not all passerines are song birds; song birds just have the best use of the muscles used for creating vocalizations (the syrinx). Some song birds, instead of singing, create an incredible range of sounds including clicks, croaks, and mimics of sounds they hear in their environments.

Example sentence: Despite being categorized as passerines, crows and ravens do not use their syrinx muscles to produce songs.

Baby scrub jays might be passerines, but they have a song only a mother could love!

To see a video of one of the greatest passerine mimics on the planet, click here to watch a video of the Australian Lyrebird in action.

Word of the Week: Caldera

Today’s word is:

caldera

Pronounced: cal-DARE-uh

Sciency Definition: The large crater formed when the center of a volcano collapses during an eruption.

Or I could have said: Giant hole in the middle of a volcano.

What’s it do?  Calderas can form incredible lakes, like the one found at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. Crater Lake was formed when the volcano known as Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed in upon itself. Over the nearly eight thousand years since the eruption, the crater has filled in with rain and snow water, creating one of deepest and clearest lakes in the world.

Example sentenceThe Old Man of the Lake has been bobbing in the waters of the Crater Lake caldera for more than a hundred years!

 

Aerial view of Crater Lake in the winter, by Zainubrazvi via Wiki. Wizard Island sits in the western section of the lake.


Naked Vegetarians

A dear friend of mine gifted me this wonderful sticker over the weekend. We have distinct differences of opinion when it comes to religion, but one thing that deeply connects us is our shared love of nature. Weeping at the majesty of a landscape or the simplicity of a bird’s nest is something we’re both guilty of. Click on the image for some other cool stickers – the site you’ll find is called Restoring Eden, a Christian organization dedicated “to make hearts bigger, hands dirtier, and voices stronger by rediscovering the biblical call to loveserve, and protect God’s creation.” Although I do not partake in Western religion, I’m so delighted when I discover groups like this that are bridging one of the deepest chasms between religious and non-religious folks.