Tuesday, May 31, 2005

ENV: Tasmanian Devils in decline

If only the . . . well, never mind . . .

From The New York Times





In Tasmania, the Devil Now Faces Its Own Hell
By SANDRA BLAKESLEE, May 31, 2005


LAUNCESTON, Tasmania - Even by the brutish standards of Tasmanian devils, Rosie, Harry and Clyde have led a lamentable life.

A year ago, when the three were each the size of a sesame seed, they wriggled out of their mother's birth canal and undulated their way to her pouch. There, each locked onto a teat and grew like gangbusters.

But tragedy struck. Within months, their mother developed devil facial tumor disease - a mysterious malady that in the last three years has killed nearly half of all the world's devils, marsupials that are found only in Tasmania. Shortly after she died, the baby devils, grown to the size of tiny puppies, were found dangling from their mother's pouch, starving to death.

Rescued and reared by hand, Rosie, Harry and Clyde recently joined six similarly orphaned devils at the Launceston Lakes and Wildlife Park, all in strict quarantine. The fate of their exotic species - Sarcophilus harrisii - may lie in what happens to these rambunctious youngsters in the next 12 to 18 months.

"If they contract the disease, devils may be headed for extinction in the wild," said Nick Mooney, a wildlife biologist with Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment in Hobart. "If they're free of the disease, we may have reason for hope."

Right now, wildlife experts are struggling to comprehend the nature of the fast moving epidemic. Moving at a rate of 6 to 10 miles a year, it is 100 percent fatal. Only the west coast, isolated by mountain ranges inhospitable to devils, is disease free. Nearly half of the estimated 150,000 devils in Tasmania are now dead.

Devil facial tumor disease is grotesque; the mother of Rosie and her brothers died when grotesque tumors ballooned out of her face and neck, choking off her ability to eat. It is also an extraordinary puzzle. Scientists do not understand its cause, mode of transmission, time from infection until the tumors appear, or potential to infect others.

Their current best guess breaks all the rules of modern biology. Scientists suspect that the disease is caused by a cancer cell that itself moves from one animal to another when they bite one another.

Having declared an emergency, officials are trapping healthy devils for captive breeding in case the disease cannot be stopped. The real devil bears no resemblance to Taz, the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon character that roars and whirls like a dervish. A real devil is the size of a spaniel, with strong forelimbs, a huge head and a disappointing back end. Geoff King, who lures devils to his ranch in northwestern Tasmania for ecotourists to observe, said they lived solitary, nocturnal lives, coming together to devour carrion. Its bite is as strong as that of a dog four times its weight. "They are nature's cleanup crew," Mr. King said.

Females have lustrous black coats with a purple hue, white stripes on their rump or below the neck, exceptionally long luxurious whiskers and narrow pointy faces. When they get excited, their ears turn blood red. "They are beautiful," Mr. King said.

Males have similar markings along with big boxy heads and heavily scarred faces and rumps. A devil can eat a quarter of its body weight in one feeding. "They're as tough as bloody nails," Mr. King said.

Devils got their name from early European settlers who heard spine-chilling screams and thought that Satan was surely in the backyard. "Devils do make weird noises," Mr. King said.

"When they first arrive at a carcass," he said, "they make a recognition signal - whorf? Are you there? Then they start hissing from the stomach. Growls turn to whines and flow into screeches. They sound like a groaning witch."

Devil sex turns up the volume. In March and April, males engage in vicious, blood-soaked combat, said Dr. Menna Jones, a wildlife biologist who also works in the environment department. Females select "big butch dudes," Dr. Jones said, and allow themselves to be dragged by the scruff of the neck into a burrow. There they scream and fight for several days, mating many times for hours at a time. At the end of such bouts, the male thrusts his sperm into the female every two minutes.

Three weeks later, the female gives birth to about 20 or 30 embryos that wiggle through a string of mucus that leads to her pouch, which has only four teats, Dr. Jones said. The first to arrive lock on and survive. All others perish.


By August the pouch gets crowded. When she hunts, the mother leaves her roly-poly little devils in a den. The young are weaned at nine months, emerging from the den in the fall as goofy teenagers. Mom departs.

After six years of scavenging, screeching and seeking mates, devils abruptly die, Dr. Jones said. They are one of the few species in the world with so-called catastrophic mortality. How and why they die this way is not known, she said.

Tasmanians have always taken devils for granted, Mr. Mooney said. Few scientists ever bothered to study them. When the first animal with facial tumors was photographed, in 1996, he said, "people thought, eeew, that looks horrible, but it did not ring alarm bells."

After five more years scientists realized the disease was widespread, Mr. Mooney said. Later surveys show a devastating picture. Spread animal to animal, the disease is now endemic to two-thirds of the island, which is slightly smaller than West Virginia. The disease starts out as a raspberrylike lesion on the gums, palate or under the tongue, Dr. Jones said. Within months, tumors erupt around the mouth, neck and face. A few weeks later, they explode, weeping and oozing, pushing out teeth, eyes or noses, and sometimes invading the rest of the body. "It is a disgusting sight," Dr. Jones said. "Animals starve to death three to six months after the first signs of a tumor.

Here in Launceston, Dr. Stephen Pyecroft is spearheading the government's investigation into what is causing the disease. A virus seemed likely. But so far, Dr. Pyecroft said, every effort to identify a virus has come up empty-handed. A virus has not been ruled out, he added, but scientists are now entertaining other hypotheses.

Since Tasmania has widespread use of agricultural chemicals and pesticides, researchers are looking at 10 toxins to see if devil disease is associated with poisons that can cause tumors.

But the leading theory is that devil facial tumor disease is caused by a transmissible tumor cell, Dr. Pyecroft said. It goes like this: About a decade ago, a random mutation occurred in a single animal in a type of cell involved in hormonal regulation. This devil developed tumors on or near its face. When another devil bit into the tumor, it was infected with tumor cells. With time, tumor cells were passed around in the bloody fray of devil social life, spreading the disease.

In this hypothesis, tumor cells alone are the infectious agent. In nature, this is not supposed to happen, Dr. Pyecroft conceded. Healthy animals exposed to pathogens, including tumor cells, will normally mount an immune response to fight off the infection.

But genetically speaking, devils are virtual clones. With scant variation in their DNA - perhaps from a population bottleneck in the recent past - they may have nearly identical immune systems. Hence they cannot fight off the tumor cells.

Every tumor cell examined so far is the same in every animal, male and female, regardless of area of origin. The chromosomal rearrangements, presumably from the one random mutation, are identical.

Dr. Pyecroft said another disease offered support for the idea that tumor cells could be infectious. That disorder, canine transmissible venereal tumor disease, is passed among dogs during sex or when they lick and sniff infected tissue. The tumors are identical, suggesting that they are passed by contact.

The big difference is that the disease is not fatal in dogs. They mount an immune response and get over it.

Researchers are growing devil tumor cells in petri dishes to explore their basic biology. "We're knocking weird cells on their heads to figure this out," Dr. Pyecroft said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mooney's team is trapping devils islandwide to determine the extent of the epidemic. They are also in the process of trapping 25 young animals from apparently disease-free areas as an insurance policy. The juvenile devils are being placed in urban and offshore sites to keep them apart from older, wild devils. If after a year or so they show no signs of disease, they will be bred to ensure survival of their species.

Similarly, Rosie, Harry and Clyde are living with other orphans - Donny, Hansel, Gretel, Beatrice, Zilla and Scamp. "We usually don't see the disease until after the animals turn 2 years old," said Heather Hesterman, another biologist on the team. It is possible they might get the disease from their mother's milk or contact with her saliva, Ms. Hesterman said. On the other hand, they may have resistance to it.

Veterinarians will watch the orphans for the next year or so to see what happens.

"We have so many question marks, so little time," Ms. Hesterman said.

ENV: Wakeup calls

Wakeup Calls

Note: The 31st (this morning) is probably the last day i’ll be able to do this for a while. If the opportunity presents itself i will do more on this this summer, but will post it as a new series. Thanks to all who commented or made suggestions.

I generally work all night and i open the windows next to my desk when i can. And of course that means i hear everything as it wakes every morning and begins the ritual of declaring territory, sounding alarms, and calling for mates.

I don’t know why i didn’t think of this before, but a couple of weeks ago i started keeping track of the time each species started calling/singing on days when i wasn’t absorbed in something else. I was able to get in most of four full mornings of this before leaving for five days to the valley, and again this morning. Below is a compilation of these times just FYI. I intend to try this again but work may get in the way as it turns 24-7 for June and July. Anyway i found it interesting and thought others might too.

It took some time to figure out a reasonable way to list these – so here’s what i did – i listed them in the order of their earliest call time of the six dates. That is the first number you see (all times are a.m. CDT), followed by the species, followed by the times i first heard an individual call in order of the days i was listening (May 10, 11, 14, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31).

It shouldn’t take folks long to realize that some of these are birds running loose or in my aviary in addition to the wild birds at my place. And also note that some things may be awakened by disturbances or predators and sound off at very different times, some may be awakened by the ones sounding alarms, and others may remain silent until that few-minute window when they start daily. Also note that my first hearing a certain species may depend on its making its territorial rounds and getting close enough for me to hear. Some start times seem to have been affected by the weather.

[Sunrises are Austin time (100 miles dues east); these have been changed to Kerrville times (8 mile southeast)]

10 May 2005 – sunrise 6:46 -- overcast, wet, threat of storms
11 May 2005 – sunrise 6:46 -- windy, wet, overcast
14 May 2005 – sunrise 6:44 -- windy, overcast, rain at 5:50 a.m. to 6:30
19 May 2005 – sunrise 6:42 -- clear, cool (left office at about 6:45)
27 May 2005 – sunrise 6:37 -- calm, overcast, wet, storms around midnight
28 May 2005 – sunrise 6:37 – calm, overcast, storm rumblings by 3:36, heavy rains at
4:41, heavy close bolts of lightning at 4:42, 4:43, continued rain to 6:41; birds
finally singing all at once around 6:16; rain again at 7:01 to 7:34 (total ca. 1.5”)
29 May 2005 – sunrise – 6:37 -- calm, overcast, wet after passages of large storm with
heavy winds and rain (ca. 1 “) to 1:44, threatening all morning
30 May 2005 – sunrise – 6:36 -- calm, overcast, occasionally clearing, humid, storms
threatening, dawned clear
31 May 2005 – sunrise – 6:36 – calm, clear, morning fog

X = not heard calling that day [] = feral, introduced, exotic, captive


4 sp. amphibians, 1 sp. mammal, 2 sp. feral mammals, 1 sp. captive mammal, 41 sp. wild birds, 9 sp. captive birds

12:38 White-tailed Deer X, X, X, X, 4:55, 4:24, X, X, 12:38
12:58 [Feral Cat X, X, X, X, X, X, 4:24, 12:58, X]
1:02 [Axis Deer X, X, X, X, X, 3:16, 3:59, 2:09, 1:02]
1:21 Cliff Chirping Frog X, X, X, 6:46, X, X, 6:01, 1:21, 1:40 [9:03 p.m.]
1:53 Blanchard’s Cricket Frog X, X, X, X, 2:46, X, X, 1:53, X
1:23 [Ringed Turtle-Dove X, 5:46, 5:04, 4:52, 3:20, 1:57, 2:55, 2:14 [10:43 p.m.], 1:23
[9:27 p.m.]
2:24 Chuck-Will’s-Widow 6:16, 6:08, 6:20, 6:18, 3:21, 2:24, 3:20, 5:49 [9:02 p.m. –
9:18 p.m.], 5:11
2:28 Great Horned Owl X, X, 4:58, 2:28, X, X, 2:55 (fledgling at 3:39), X [10:52 p.m.],
5:04
2:36 Gulf Coast Toad X, 3:36, X, X, X, X, X, 2:36, X
2:36 [Common Blue Peafowl 3:46, 6:02, 5:01, 5:04, X, 4:16, 5:19, 2:36, 5:37 [9:10
p.m.]]
2:44 [Golden Pheasant X, 6:19, 5:00, 5:01, 3:57, X, 5:16, 3:52, 2:44]
2:57 [Miniature Horse X, X, X, X, X, X, 2:57, 7:23, X]
4:03 [Domestic Chicken (Roosters) 4:03, 4:03, 5:04, 4:49, 5:26, 5:55, 5:18, 4:34, 5:27]
5:16 [Ring-necked Pheasant X, 5:16, X, X, X, X, X, 6:22, 6:12]
5:29 Purple Martin 6:38, 5:49, 5:29, 5:29, 5:46, 5:54, 6:17, 5:57, 5:49, 5:43
5:30 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 7:02, 6:43, 6:21, 6:29, 5:48, 6:16, 5:56, 5:30, 5:53
5:46 Brown-crested Flycatcher 6:56, 6:59, 6:20, 6:05, 5:46, 6:17, 5:56, 5:52, 5:52
5:48 Northern Mockingbird 7:09, 7:00, 7:10, 5:48, X, X, X, X, X
5:52 Eastern Wood-Pewee X, 6:16, X, X, X, X, 5:58, 5:52, 8:18
5:53 White-winged Dove 6:11, 6:11, 6:17, 6:27, 5:56, 5:55, 6:06, 5:53, 6:10
5:58 House Finch 6:51, 6:12, 6:17, 6:17, 6:03, 6:16, 6:06, 6:03, 5:58
6:02 Great Crested Flycatcher 6:12, 6:03, 6:12, 6:16, 6:02, 6:16, 6:27, 6:36, 6:29
6:03 Northern Cardinal 6:19, 6:11, 6:20, 6:17, 6:31, 6:19, 6:03, 6:12, 6:12
6:05 Summer Tanager X, X, X, X, 6:05, 6:17, 6:12, 6:09, 6:12
6:05 Yellow-throated Vireo X, 7:50, 6:36, X, 6:05, 6:17, 6:46, 6:33, 6:29
6:07 Inca Dove X, X, X, X, 6:07, X, X, X, X
6:08 Common Nighthawk X, 6:08, X, X, X, X, X, X, X
6:10 Carolina Wren 6:19, 6:18, 6:16, 6:22, 6:10, 6:32, 6:10, 6:13, 6:11
6:10 Orchard Oriole 7:41, 6:51, X, X, 6:10, 6:18, 6:15, 6:17, 6:24
6:12 Painted Bunting X, X, X, X, 6:12, X, X, X, X
6:14 Black-crested Titmouse 6:46, 6:30, 6:26, 6:26, 6:14, 6:38, 6:24, 7:01, 6:23
6:18 Canyon Wren 6:40, 6:18, X, X, X, 7:04, X, 6:33, X
6:19 Wild Turkey 6:19, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X
6:22 Carolina Chickadee 6:37, 6:39, 6:33, X, 6:36, 6:46, 6:22, 6:22, 6:24
6:23 Great-tailed Grackle 7:14, 6:46, 7:21, 6:44, 6:34, 6:41, 6:41, 6:23, 6:25
6:26 Blue Jay X, 6:42, 6:26, X, X, 7:10, 8:21, X, X
6:29 Red-eyed Vireo X, X, X, X, X, X, X, 6:55, 6:29
6:31 Ash-throated Flycatcher 7:10, 7:14, 7:12, 6:34, 6:59, 6:31, 7:04, 7:10, 8:17
6:31 Brown-headed Cowbird X, 7:50, X, X, X, X, X, X, 6:31
6:32 Barn Swallow X, 6:59, X, X, X, 6:32, X, 8:03, X
6:35 Golden-fronted Woodpecker X, X, X, X, X, X, X, 6:35, 7:01
6:42 Chimney Swift X, 6:42, X, X, X, X, X, X, 7:02
6:43 [House Sparrow X, X, X, 6:43, X, X, X, X, X]
6:46 [European Starling X, X, X, X, 7:07, X, X, 6:46, 6:59]
6:48 Red-shouldered Hawk X, X, 6:48, X, X, X, X, X, X
6:53 [White-crowned Parrot X, X, X, X, 8:15, 6:53, 8:03, 7:10, 8:04, X]
6:53 Black-chinned Hummingbird X, X, X, X, X, X, 7:23, 7:49, 6:53
6:54 Zone-tailed Hawk X, X, 6:54, X, X, X, X, X, X
6:55 [Paradise Whydah X, X, X, X, X, 6:55, X, X, X]
6:56 Western Scrub-Jay 7:40, 7:17, X, X, 6:56, X, X, X, X
6:57 Bronzed Cowbird X, 6:57, X, X, X, X, X, X, X
6:59 Eastern Phoebe 9:15, 6:59, X, X, 8:34, X, X, 7:18, X
6:59 Lesser Goldfinch 9:36, 6:59, X, X, X, X, X, X, X
7:00 Ladder-backed Woodpecker X, 7:56, X, X, X, X, X, 8:03, 7:00
7:05 Yellow-billed Cuckoo X, 7:05, X, X, X, X, X, X, X
7:09 Bewick’s Wren X, 7:49, X, X, 7:09, X, X, 7:10, X
7:43 Eastern Bluebird 7:43, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X
7:54 [Amboina King Parrot X, X, X, X, X, X, 7:54, X, X]
7:59 [Domestic Dog X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, 7:59]
8:16 [Button Quail X, X, X, X, X, X, 8:16, X, X]
8:32 Golden-cheeked Warbler X, X, 8:32, X, X, X, X, X, X
9:05 Indigo Bunting X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, 9:05
9:20 Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, X, 9:20

Species known to be at least occasionally on the grounds but not heard as of yet: 7 captive species, Green Heron, Great Blue Heron (present, but no vocalizing), Eastern Screech-Owl [past calling season], Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove (present but not heard vocalizing), Green Kingfisher (present, not in hearing range), Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker (present, out of hearing range), White-eyed Vireo (present, not in hearing range), Common Raven, Yellow-throated Warbler (present not in hearing range), Lark Sparrow (present, not in hearing range), Chipping Sparrow, Common Grackle

Thanks to Tracy Keltonic, Susan Schaezler, Susan Wheat, Mary Curry and Brush Freeman . . . for comments, suggestions and coming to the rescure with Sunrise times.

Monday, May 30, 2005

COM: Blog expertise from NYT

From The New York Times


Bless Me, Blog, for I've Sinned
By SARAH BOXER, May 31, 2005

Online confessors are like flashers. They exhibit themselves anonymously and publicly, with little consideration for you, the audience. Browse some of the confessionals on the Web: grouphug.us (a simple log), notproud.com (organized by deadly sin) or dailyconfession.com (where you can barely find the confessions for all the promotional stuff). You can see for yourself.

One online confessional, though, breaks the mold. At PostSecret, found at postsecret.blogspot.com, the confessions are consistently engaging, original and well told. How come? The Web site gives people simple instructions. Mail your secret anonymously on one side of a 4-by-6-inch postcard that you make yourself. That one constraint is a great sieve. It strains out lazy, impulsive confessors.

For PostSecret, you write, type or paste your secret on a postcard, and then, if you want, decorate the card with drawings or photographs. Next the stamp and then the mailbox. Yes, it's work to confess. And it should be, if only for the sake of the person who might be listening.

One message says: "I lied" under the word "oath." Another says, "I deleted the pope's funeral unwatched off my TiVO to make room for an episode of 'Survivor.' " The postcard picture - a split image, top half funeral, bottom half 'Survivor' - captures the moment of sin.

Some secrets cannot be separated from the cards they're on. One sad little postcard has a lineup of seven 3-cent stamps, each with a picture of a Conestoga wagon on it, plus one 2-cent stamp of a locomotive: "I found these stamps as a child, and I have been waiting all my life to have someone to send them to. I never did have someone."

The following typed message was pasted onto a card made out of a $50 parking ticket: "I got a parking citation and so did the car next to me. I replaced the ticket on the car next to me with mine. My ticket got paid. And the one I took? I mailed it to PostSecret." It isn't so much a confession as a live performance of sin.

PostSecret is simple to navigate. You scroll down to read one postcard after another. There's little else on the site. O.K., you will occasionally run into little self-congratulatory landmarks: announcements that PostSecret will be onstage in Melbourne, Australia, newspaper clippings from all over the world, scores of compliments from readers. But basically it's all secrets.

And the secrets are regularly refreshed. Each Sunday, Frank, the keeper of the secrets, posts a new batch straight from his mailbox in Germantown, Md., and removes some old ones from the site. One virtue of the resulting chronological lineup is that you can look for patterns emerging, certain kinds of confessions clumping together. And clump they do.

For instance, the most recent confessions tend to be the most graphically and ethically hip. They look like the work of Barbara Kruger, Damien Hirst or Sophie Calle. "I want to be anorexic," says one card with a photo of a skeletal woman, "but I can't stop eating."

And for some reason many of the secrets posted on May 8 follow a certain form, a confession followed by a coda with a dash more guilt: "I don't care about recycling. (But I pretend I do.)" "I had sex with strangers for money. And I liked it." "I hate loving families... Because I don't have one."

One odd thing about PostSecret is that there's a real disconnection between what the confessions are and what the readers think they are. One reader from Texas wrote, "Thank you so much for building a window into so many souls, even if it only shines light on the darkest part." A reader in Australia wrote: "Each is a silent prayer of hope, love, fear, joy, pain, sorrow, guilt, happiness, hatred, confidence, strength, weakness and a million other things that we all share as human beings... there is no fakeness here."

No fakeness? Oh, but there is. And it is the fakeness, the artifice and the performance that make this confessional worth peeking at. The secret sharers here aren't mindless flashers but practiced strippers. They don't want to get rid of their secrets. They love them. They arrange them. They tend them. They turn them into fetishes. And that's the secret of PostSecret. It isn't really a true confessional after all. It is a piece of collaborative art.

COM: Okay well i fudged

My switchover to daylight work hours has not yet worked though i am getting closer. It means a few more posts, and another day of wakeup calls. And that's about it.

ENV: New sightings of Snow Leopards


Snow Leopard, Uncia uncia
Photo by Som Ale
Snow leopards spotted on top of world
Rare, resilient big cat makes comeback near Mount Everest

By Marsha Walton, CNN

(CNN) -- For the first time in more than 40 years, scientists have spotted the elegant and endangered snow leopard on the southern slopes of Mount Everest.

Doctoral student Som Ale photographed the animal October 24, 2004. He has been studying the animals for many years, both as a biology student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and as an investigator for the research and conservation group Earthwatch Institute.

"Snow leopard sightings are very, very rare," said Ale, who grew up in Nepal.

There are only an estimated 4,500 to 7,000 of these big cats left in the wild. But that population is spread across 12 countries and nearly 775,000 square miles. This habitat includes some of the most remote regions of the world, from Afghanistan, across the Himalayas, to Lake Baikal in south central Russia.

Because the leopards are so elusive, Ale had been studying their likely prey in the Everest region, a wild goat called the Himalayan tahr. For the past several years, he said there had been increasing talk both among locals and tourists of snow leopard sightings, but nothing to document those spottings.

Ale suspected there might be a leopard near his camp when he heard a commotion from some of the goats.

"I heard the tahr whistling and making sounds that they were frightened," said Ale.

He said he was very excited when he spotted the leopards, but kept calm enough to focus his camera and get some photographs. Along with the two animals he saw, Ale saw the tracks of two more, the first confirmed sightings in the area since the early 1960s.

While word of Ale's observations made some local news in Nepal last autumn, he said he did not realize the significance of his photographs until he returned to the United States and talked with his former colleagues at Earthwatch Institute.

Working with evolutionary biologist Dr. Joel Brown, Ale had been studying the habits and the feeding behaviors of the tahr to gather clues about the snow leopards whereabouts and abundance. The 2004 field study was funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society, International Snow Leopard Trust, WWF-Nepal, Ev-K2-CNR (an international high altitude research project) and Provost's Award.

From 1999 to 2001, while working for Earthwatch Institute, Ale and others studied the behavior and habitat of blue sheep, or bharal, the snow leopard's prey in the Annapurna Conservation Area in Nepal.

Ale says in protecting the snow leopards, conservation groups must be conscious of the realities of the people living harsh lives in this remote part of the world. While it is a spiritual belief in much of the region that animals are to be respected; a serious conflict arises if a snow leopard attacks a local herd.

"People who live in this area depend on livestock, raising goats, sheep, cows, yaks and horses," said Ale.

"Snow leopards go for baby yaks, and they kill sheep and goats," said Ale. He said the loss of an animal killed by a snow leopard may cost a family a good portion of its annual income.

He said conservation groups have tried to come up with education programs to discourage local herders from killing snow leopards, by improving herding techniques and coming up with more effective ways of guarding their animals.

While the snow leopard's future is still seriously at risk, Ale says his sightings on Mount Everest are a testament to the animal's resilience, and give some hope for the future.

"It's good that snow leopards are dispersing and expanding their range on the top of the world, in contrast to other places where they are disappearing," said Ale.

COM: Incommunicado begins today

Well our summer staff begins arriving today, which also means i won't be having much if any personal time for the next two months. Just in case you get to wondering why i don't post very often for a while -- that's it. I'll be back in full swing sometime in August.

Also, still working on the week's list from the valley -- hope to get it finished soon, but it's turned into a much larger job than i anticipated.

ENV: Whole lotta killing going on . . .

At least four places are using permitting processes in attempts to ease bird-human conflicts. As might be expected these efforts are causing an uproar among certain environmental and/or animal rights groups . . .

Gulls in Virgina, from The New York Times

Advocates for Animals Oppose Virginia Plans to Shoot Gulls
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 29, 2005


NORFOLK, Va., May 28 (AP) - State transportation officials thought they were doing a good thing when they provided a nesting area along a major highway for several threatened species of birds.

But after five years, the nests have attracted more than just the threatened terns and black skimmers. Their predators, sea gulls, have come out in droves and are crashing into cars on a stretch of Interstate 64 that connects Hampton and Newport News to Norfolk and Virginia Beach via a bridge and tunnel.

Last summer, up to 60 gulls died on the highway every day.

Concerned about the potential for serious car accidents, the state Department of Transportation has called on wildlife officials to shoot some of the 5,000 gulls on the south island of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel on I-64. The highway carries more than 100,000 cars a day in peak summer months.

Animal rights advocates say that shooting the birds will not work and could make things worse.
John W. Grandy, the senior vice president for wildlife programs at the Humane Society of the United States, called the move "ecologically shortsighted."


"As long as the island provides habitat for terns and skimmers, it will provide habitat for gulls," Mr. Grandy wrote in a letter to Gov. Mark R. Warner, adding that it was likely more gulls would move onto the island next year.

That remains to be seen, said Martin Lowney, state director of Wildlife Services, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture. The gulls that remain after the agents finish up in the next week or two will stay for the summer, Mr. Lowney said.

"Next year they may not come back," he said.

Mr. Grandy suggests using nonlethal methods to get rid of the sea gulls, like dispersing them with dogs or recorded calls of gulls alerting others to danger.

Mr. Lowney said: "The dog was tried. The dog got worn out. Once the dog lay down, all the birds came back."

Recorded calls are not particularly effective on sea gulls, he added.

Agents will shoot at the 1,000 or so gulls nesting less than 100 feet from the interstate, Mr. Lowney said. A concrete wall will keep travelers safe during the shooting.

Common and gull-billed terns have been nesting on the eight-acre island since the 1970's, Mr. Lowney said. State transportation officials have an agreement with the College of William & Mary to help manage the nesting area for them and the black skimmers.

Environmental regulators list common terns and black skimmers as "birds of conservation concern," and Mr. Lowney said gull-billed terns were endangered.



Vultures in New Braunfels, from The San Antonio Express-News

New Braunfels buzzards targeted
Roger Croteau, Express-News Staff Writer


NEW BRAUNFELS — The city is done playing around with the flocks of vultures that roost in Landa Park.

Officials expect to start a program of trapping and killing the unwanted residents next week, according to Park Ranger Superintendent Roger Dolle.

The black vultures are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Act. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services has a permit granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill a certain number of buzzards every year, said Wildlife Services biologist Vivian Prothro.

"We are getting involved with vultures more and more as we speak," she said. "They tend to take up residence. When there are so many concentrated in one area, it can become a health and safety threat."

The vultures' droppings could cause a lung infection called histoplasmosis or other diseases and could easily be washed into the Comal River, which runs through the park and is used by thousands of swimmers and tubers every day during the summer.

Dolle said more and more of the black vultures have taken up residence in Landa Park. He estimated about 200 live there year-round, with more passing through during their annual migration.

"We have such an unlimited food source with all the trash and barbecues and picnics, it's a big buffet out there for those guys," he said.

Dolle said the parks office gets complaints that the buzzards are unsightly, but that is not the main reason they've got to go.

Their droppings and vomit cause an unsanitary condition near the Comal Springs. And the birds vandalize park equipment, pulling out the rubbery expansion joints around the park pools and tearing up foam-covered pool features, including the large turtles and squirting mushrooms in the kiddy pool.

Gary McEwen, district supervisor for Wildlife Services, said his office hopes to start the trapping next week and has offered to take the first 50 birds using its permit. Though the USDA is trapping the first 50 birds, the city will apply to the Fish and Wildlife Service for its own permit to trap more, he said.

He said relocating the buzzards is not a viable option, so the birds will be shot.

"We attempted relocating them a number of years ago," McEwen said. "We relocated 3,500 of them and found it's not a practical solution. Some found their way back, and the others created more problems where we took them."

Dolle said the trap, a large chicken coop-like structure baited with carrion, will be in a discreet location, away from park visitors.

He said park employees have tried scaring away the birds using lights, sirens, air horns and noise cannons, with no success.

Frequent park visitor Joe Clayburne said he's noticed the flocks of buzzards for years.

"There is an inordinate amount of them here, but I've never seen them be a problem. I imagine they make a mess wherever they roost," he said.


McEwen said he has gotten complaints from animal rights activists about vulture removal operations in the past.

"Anything you do in this world, anything, there's going to be somebody opposed to it," he said.

Cormorants in Ohio, from The Toledo Blade

Explosive growth of cormorants in lake is a problem
May 22, 2005

The explosive growth of populations of double-crested cormorants in western Lake Erie has become a winged black plague, to the point where state and federal wildlife managers are maneuvering to take action.

These large, black fish-eating waterbirds have all but destroyed all the vegetation of Middle Sister, East Sister, and Middle islands on the Ontario side of the western basin, and their booming population on West Sister Island in Ohio waters threatens the most important colonial wading bird colony on the Great Lakes.Experimental culling of up to 500 cormorants is under way this year with an eye toward an all-out control program later.

"It would be irresponsible for us as an agency not to react to the damage on those islands," said Mark Shieldcastle, head of the state's Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station in Ottawa County.

A survey on West Sister last year showed some 3,700 nesting pairs of cormorants, a quantum leap from an already overabundant 2,600 pairs in 2003. This year's census is not complete.

Compare that to just 185 pairs in 1991, when cormorants first reappeared after being gone for almost a century. Their populations all but disappeared from the Great Lakes because of chemical contaminant pollution, which interfered with their reproduction. On the 17-acre Green Island, a state wildlife area, 20 pairs a year ago has blossomed to 600 pairs this year. Turning Point Island at Sandusky Harbor has another several hundred pairs, and Mercer State Wildlife Area in Mercer County has 50 pair.

This spring and summer the Ohio Division of Wildlife, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, has begun a three-year study to cull 500 cormorants from West Sister under a USF&WS collecting permit for study the recovery rate of vegetation in cormorant-free plots.

Two years ago state wildlife agencies were given the authority by the federal government to control cormorant populations where evidence of damage could be scientifically established. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not yet completed an environmental assessment that would clear the way to issue a control or depredation order. Shieldcastle expects the assessment to be done by the fall.

"We really need that to issue a depredation order." The goal is to allow no more than 3,000 nesting pairs of cormorants at three colonies - West Sister and Turning Point on the lake, and at Mercer wildlife area. West Sister's cormorant colony alone already vastly outnumbers the projected statewide goal.

The plan is to take up to 10 percent of the birds from each colony, which would be allowed without additional review under a favorable USDA assessment, "and more if we can justify it."

West Sister is the nesting home to about 40 percent of the colonial wading birds in the Great Lakes, including rookeries for great blue herons, great egrets, black-crowned night herons, and snow egrets. All are threatened by the cormorant explosion.

"We will definitely be using that depredation permit next year," Shieldcastle said. The Ohio Division of Wildlife ultimately wants to keep tiny Green Island cormorant-free.

In addition, the western basin is threatened further by transient or migratory cormorants.

"Western Lake Erie is becoming a major staging area between August and October for some unidentified populations," Shieldcastle said, noting that the migrants may number anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 and may originate elsewhere around the Great Lakes and even from the Prairies.

Many of these transient birds sit on the edges of the islands. Their feces, or guano, is nitrogen rich and virtually burns up vegetation chemically and otherwise covers and chokes it.

Working with the USF&WS, the state wildlife division plans to initiate a hazing project at West Sister to discourage transient birds, after a study confirms suspicions.

Rocket-propelled nets initially would be used to capture a sample of transients, and they would be equipped with radio "backpacks" to establish where and how they move and how long they stay.

On the fishery side of the equation, federal biologist Mike Bur plans to cull 600 cormorants next year from three of the stressed islands - East Sister and Middle in Canadian waters, and West Sister in Ohio.

Complications arose in getting the project under way this season, but Bur said he plans on starting in 2006, taking 20 birds from each of the three colonies every two weeks then studying their stomach contents.

Bur is supervisor of the Lake Erie Biological Station of the U.S. Geological Service's Great Lakes Science Center.

He said that the expanded diet study is necessary "because the dynamic of this [lake's] fish community has changed because of the gobies. We know they eat gobies."

Gobies are an invasive pest fish from overseas that have exploded in the lake.

Roger Knight, Lake Erie programs coordinator for the wildlife division, said that cormorants "absolutely are an issue throughout the Great Lakes. They have far exceeded their historical densities."

"I am concerned about sport fish stocks, like smallmouth, because of the proximity to cormorant colonies. Smallmouth are not a migratory fish species." Knight's office had requested the recent diet analysis by Bur's crews.

Nonetheless, he is all for Bur's more intensive diet study in 2006, noting the need to "plan, monitor, track, and evaluate what you're going to do." Wildlife managers are mandated by law to demonstrate the science behind their management moves, and the threat to valuable fisheries in western Lake Erie has been much more difficult to scientifically demonstrate than terrestrial damage to the islands.

"We're not about eradicating [cormorants]," Knight said," "but about managing them at levels that are not detrimental to terrestrial and aquatic organisms and habitats."


And cormorants in Texas, from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Texas Finalizes Cormorant Control Permit

AUSTIN, Texas — Local areas in Texas besieged by the double-crested cormorant, a federally-protected bird more commonly referred to as the water turkey, can get depredation relief under a new Texas Parks and Wildlife Department control permit program.

The permit gained approval from the TPWD Commission at its Aug. 26 public meeting and will be available to individuals and local entities later this fall.

The department estimates there may be around 2,000 cormorant-control permits issued in Texas in the first year. Permits cost $12 and allow holders or their designated agents to kill cormorants on specific tracts of land. Permit holders will be required annually to report the number of cormorants killed.

The double-crested cormorant is a long-necked, long-lived waterbird that nests in colonies, meaning they tend to congregate in one area where present. Federal biologists estimate there are 2 million double-crested cormorants in the U.S., mostly breeding in Canada and the Great Lakes, making it the most abundant of six cormorant species in North America. Cormorant numbers have increased by about 7.5 percent per year since 1975. The birds eat mainly fish, up to one pound per day, usually smaller (less than 6-inch) bottom-dwelling school or "forage" fish.

The Texas cormorant control permit does not apply to several similar birds, including Gulf-coast natives such as the neotropic cormorant, the anhinga and other fish-eating birds such as kingfishers, cranes and herons.

Federal authorities say more study is needed to verify how cormorants affect fish populations, which fluctuate based on water quality, habitat and other factors. However, recent research at Oneida Lake in New York and eastern Lake Ontario suggests that cormorants can diminish the number of fish of catchable-size available to anglers.

ATH: Lacrosse National Championship

Lacrosse Is Crossing Into New Territory
By
PETE THAMEL, New York Times, May 30, 2005

PHILADELPHIA, May 29 - Shortly after Matt Cone began working at Microsoft in 1994, he looked into playing in a lacrosse league. Cone, who grew up in Massachusetts and played at Ithaca College, was dismayed to find there were only 30 teams in the state of Washington.

Today, there are more than 200 teams in Washington, including 86 high school club teams, a boom that is indicative of lacrosse's status as perhaps the fastest-growing team sport in America. The popularity of lacrosse - known as the fastest sport on two feet - has rapidly spread outside the traditional pockets of Long Island, upstate New York and the mid-Atlantic region.

California, Florida, Michigan and Minnesota have sanctioned high school lacrosse programs in recent years, and Washington is expected to join them soon.

"The game is the mix of the best attributes of all sports," Cone, the president of the Washington Lacrosse Foundation, said recently in a telephone interview. "It has grace, finesse, contact and is a lot of fun to play and watch. People become addicted to it."

When Johns Hopkins plays Duke in the final of the N.C.A.A. men's Division I tournament at Lincoln Financial Field here Monday, about 40,000 fans are expected to attend. The crowd will be the second largest to attend an N.C.A.A. championship game this year; 47,262 attended the men's Division I college basketball title game at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Lacrosse is considered North America's oldest sport. Its origin stretches back to the 15th century, when Native Americans played matches that lasted days on mile-long fields and involved hundreds of players. The teams used sticks that resembled a bishop's crosier, from which the name lacrosse derived.

Lacrosse is growing rapidly among men and women, but it is played differently for each. The men's game is more physical, as it allows checking and hitting, while the women's game is noncontact and predicated more on finesse and passing. According to the sport's governing body, US Lacrosse, 354,361 people played the game in 2004, compared to 253,931 in 2001.

Despite a rich history that includes the former Syracuse all-American and N.F.L. Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, lacrosse has only recently begun to spread outside its Northeast roots.

Many credit the sport's growth to the proliferation of East Coast transplants to places like Colorado, Texas and the San Francisco Bay Area. As Cone found in Seattle, adult leagues for transplanted players were started first. Those adults helped start leagues for their children, who went on to play in high school.

Since 1995, the number of varsity high school lacrosse programs increased to 2,332 from 808. With such swift growth, many areas struggled to find enough coaches and officials.

"The biggest obstacle to growth is the lack of coaches," Alexis Longinotti, the Northern California chapter president of US Lacrosse, wrote in an e-mail interview. "There have been several teams that wanted to start, but weren't able to find a coach, so they didn't happen."

Longinotti, a former player at Stanford who is from Pennsylvania, said that there were more than 10,000 players in Northern California, with the biggest increases at the youth and high school levels.

Corporations, which can fuel the sport with sponsorship money, have taken notice.

Jim Davis, the chief executive of New Balance, said a cultlike devotion to lacrosse among its fans transcended the numbers and made the sport a viable investment. New Balance purchased the lacrosse equipment company Warrior last year.


Davis played lacrosse for a year while at Middlebury College, then watched both of his children play. But only recently has he seen the lacrosse stick become a status symbol on beaches in Southern California, evidence that the game has spread out West.

"I think it has more legs than soccer - no pun intended," Davis said. "Soccer has a problem after high school keeping kids playing, as there's a big weeding-out period. Lacrosse kids will continue to play even after college."

New Balance is also a corporate partner of Major League Lacrosse, a six-team professional outdoor league that has teams in Boston, Rochester, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Uniondale, N.Y., and Clifton, N.J. It has corporate support from companies like Anheuser-Busch and Starbucks. Tommy Hilfiger designed the league's uniforms.

The fitness guru Jake Steinfeld, host of the "Body By Jake" infomercial, founded M.L.L. in 2001 and said in a telephone interview that the league would add four Western teams, including one in Los Angeles, for the 2006 season.

There is also a 10-team indoor league, the National Lacrosse League, with teams in cities from Anaheim to Toronto, and it plans to expand to Portland, Ore., and Edmonton, Alberta, in 2006.

Collegiate lacrosse, the sport's most visible outlet, provides further evidence of growth.


Programs like Vanderbilt and Oregon - not located in traditional lacrosse hotbeds - have added women's Division I varsity teams in recent years. Northwestern, a varsity program since only 2002, won the women's national championship last weekend, making it the first university outside the Eastern time zone to win the title.

The men's game is showing signs of increased parity, perhaps because there are more talented players throughout the country. Before this season, Princeton or Syracuse had won 11 of the past 13 national titles.

Princeton did not make the 16-team N.C.A.A. tournament this season, finishing with a 5-7 record. Syracuse lost to Massachusetts in the opening round of the tournament, ending a streak of 22 consecutive years of reaching the semifinals.

Despite the more balanced field, Division I men's lacrosse is one of the few places where the sport's growth has been inhibited. According to N.C.A.A. participation studies, there were 54 Division I teams in 2004, only three more than in 1994.

Some coaches and administrators say gender-equity initiatives of Title IX have handcuffed universities from adding men's lacrosse, especially at institutions where Division I football is played because football, with its 85 scholarship athletes, creates an imbalance.

"I don't think there is any other solution that is within our ability to influence," said Steve Stenersen, the executive director of US Lacrosse. "The issues that are limiting Division I men's lacrosse growth are far bigger than lacrosse and far bigger than any sport."

Some college coaches are concerned, saying the sport is hindered at its most prominent level and cannot expand.

"There's going to be a crisis of opportunity, and I have no idea what the answer is," Virginia Coach Dom Starsia said. "I really don't see a resolution of this issue."

Judith Sweet, the N.C.A.A.'s senior vice president for championships and education services, points to expansion numbers in all divisions of lacrosse, male and female, and predicts continued growth.

"The solution lies in evaluating how existing resources are used and/or generating new resources to best meet the interests of males and females on campus," Sweet said in an e-mail message. "Title IX should not be blamed for institutional sponsorship and financial decisions."

Sunday, May 29, 2005

COM: Graduation

I've thought it interesting for some time that we go through so many graduations in our young lives. Long ago i postulated some reasons why they are important in an ethological sense, but that has never satisfied my curiosity about why we seem to have so many. Kindergarten, Elementary, Fifth Grade, Sixth Grade, Junior High, High School, College.

Well, it's irrelevant actually. They happen. Most of them are just little piffle exercises. The one that perhaps should matter most -- college -- means little in the grand scheme.

So why this discourse? Because there is i believe one of these events which really does mean something powerful in the grand scheme of someone's life -- high school. Beyond the technical steps of receiving a diploma, and making another move to another level, high school graduation is truly a sendoff. It's the last time most kids are together with the peers they've been with for about 72% of their lives, it's the time when parents are turning them loose from their homes to go out into the real world (as opposed to dumping them into the drudgery of real life that happens post-college), and in some ways i think most importantly, it's the community sending their product off into the world.

Tonight i watched as some of the finest kids i've seen grow up walked the stage in Warrior Stadium and get ready to set off in their new lives. And for each of the ones i knew i could see pieces of this small town we live in indelibly etched into their selves. For a small podunk Texas place we can be mighty proud of how this group will represent us.

In addition to the drama of a huge storm lighting up the horizon, we were treated to an incredibly eloquent essay by Salutatorian Jonah Priour (on his way to Rice U.), followed by a self-composed song he did with fellow Honor Grad Lauren Brown, followed by the grandest thanking of those who helped along the way by Valedictorian Josh Essel, to the hilarious keynote by Larry McCarty.

So thanks for who you are and great luck in the real world to Ingram Tom Moore Grads Jonah Priour, Lauren Brown, Lauren Hensley, Mikaela Lewis, Kevin Chipman, Chris Ford, Gary Givens, Brett Griffin, Kyle Grona, Aaron Hutto, Breanna Nidever, Samantha Poorman, Chris Wilson, Shane Conley, John Ferguson, Anthony Goodman, Brian Hensley, Wes Isenhower, Will Jones, Ryan King and Amanda Wortham.

And, unfortunately my time with Tivy High School has been limited the last few years and i don't know as many kids as i once knew there, but the ones i know are outstanding. So best of everything to Graham Douglass (Valedictorian and headed for Syracuse), Sonny Eckhart, Travis Peters, and Danny Flink (and there may be more, i'm trying to track down a list of graduates).

Friday, May 27, 2005

OBT: Eddie Albert

For a man that i respected for standing up for what is right, and because i have sort of a family connection.

From CNN

'Green Acres' star Eddie Albert dies

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Eddie Albert, the actor best known as the constantly befuddled city slicker-turned-farmer in television's "Green Acres," has died. He was 99.

Albert died of pneumonia Thursday at his home in the Pacific Palisades area, in the presence of caregivers including his son Edward, who was holding his hand at the time.

"He died so beautifully and so gracefully that literally this morning I don't feel grief, I don't feel loss," Edward Albert told The Associated Press.

Albert achieved his greatest fame on "Green Acres" as Oliver Douglas, a New York lawyer who settles in a rural town with his glamorous wife, played by Eva Gabor, and finds himself perplexed by the antics of a host of eccentrics, including a pig named Arnold Ziffel.

He was nominated for Academy Awards as supporting actor in "Roman Holiday" (1953) and "The Heartbreak Kid" (1972).

The actor moved smoothly from the Broadway stage to movies to television. Besides the 1965-1971 run in "Green Acres," he costarred on TV with Robert Wagner in "Switch" from 1975 to 1978 and was a semi-regular on "Falcon Crest" in 1988.

He was a tireless conservationist, crusading for endangered species, healthful food, cleanup of Santa Monica Bay pollution and other causes.

Albert's mother was not married when he was born, in 1906. After marrying, she changed his birth certificate to read 1908, the younger Albert said.

Rarely the star of films, Albert often portrayed the wisecracking sidekick, fast-talking salesman or sympathetic father. His stardom came in television, especially with "Green Acres," in which, ironically, he played straight man. The show joined "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Petticoat Junction" and other high-rated CBS comedies of the 1960s and '70s.

"Some people think that because of the bucolic background 'Green Acres' is corny," Albert told an interviewer in 1970. "But we get away with some of the most incredible lines on television."

His break in show business came during the '30s in the Broadway hit "Brother Rat," a comedy about life at Virginia Military Institute. Warner Bros. signed him to a contract and cast him in the 1938 film.

According to Hollywood gossip, he was caught in a dalliance with the wife of Jack L. Warner and the studio boss removed him from a film and allowed him to languish under contract.

The actor left Hollywood and appeared as a clown and trapeze artist in a one-ring Mexican circus. He escaped his studio contract by joining the Navy in World War II and served in combat in the South Pacific. He received a Bronze Star for his heroic rescue of wounded Marines at Tarawa, his son said.

Albert managed to rehabilitate his film career after the war, beginning with "Smash-up" with Susan Hayward in 1947.

Among his other films: "Carrie," "Oklahoma!" "The Teahouse of the August Moon," "The Sun Also Rises," "The Roots of Heaven," "The Longest Day," "Miracle of the White Stallions," "The Longest Yard" and "Escape to Witch Mountain."

Edward Albert Heimberger was born in Rock Island, Illinois, grew up in Minneapolis and worked his way through two years at the University of Minnesota.

Amateur theater led to singing engagements in nightclubs and on radio. During that time he dropped his last name "because most people mispronounced it as 'Hamburger."'

Moving to New York, Albert acted on radio and appeared in summer stock before he broke into Broadway and the movies.

"Green Acres" made Albert a rich man and allowed him to pursue his causes. He traveled the world for UNICEF. He continued acting into his 80s, often appearing in television movies.
"Acting was a tenth of his life. The majority of his life was committed to helping other people," said his son, also an actor. "This guy was, from the absolute depth of his soul, one of the true heroes of our world."

Edward Albert, 54, who became a prominent actor in "Butterflies Are Free," "40 Carats" and other films, said he put his career on hold for the past eight years to aid his father, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

On Friday, he remembered a moment several years ago in which the two sat in a garden together.

"I said to him 'You're my hero.' I saw him struggling to put together the words, and he looked at me and said: 'You're your hero's hero.' I'll take that to my ... grave."

Albert was married to the dancer-actress Margo for 40 years until her death in 1985. In addition to his son, Albert is survived by a daughter, Maria Albert Zucht, and two granddaughters.

ENV: Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday

Well, it's that time again. Last week i was out of town and so did not get a pic posted in time, but added it later. Last week's is HERE, of a Filigree Skimmer, Pseudoleon superbus.

This week the special critterette is a bird that i've admired for decades. I once saw a pair as a kid in Houston but never thought i'd see the day i might have some in the aviary. But last week while gathering critters for this summer's program i stumbled across four pair of these phenomenal birds and got every one of them. They are a parasitic bird from east Africa, and are now introduced and wild in several Caribbean island countries. They are being trapped there now and imported -- two birds, one stone, i guess. The objective is to rid those islands of the birds, which are impacting native species, and to provide them to aviculturists.

I have no other species to serve as hosts, so though they'll go through display rituals they will not replicate on my watch. Still they are fantastic little birds to watch.

And be sure to check out The Friday Ark at The Modulator


Paradise Whydah, Vidua paradisaea


Thursday, May 26, 2005

OBT: Shel Silverstein

A very nice recollection from CNN


Remembering Shel Silverstein
Celebrating author's wonderful books -- including new one
By Claudia La Rocco, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- There was Lazy Jane and Hector the Collector, Dirty Dan and Benjamin Bunnn. The Yipiyuk, The Flying Festoon and the Glurpy Slurpy Skakagrall.

And then there was Reginald Clark, an unassuming child with a pleasant face and a fear of the dark. All he wanted was his teddy bear, some stories and hugs, and -- this one is critical -- that we not close the book on him.

Poor Reginald. Of course, that's exactly what my father did over and over and over again, a devilish look on his face as the halves of the tattered book crept closer and closer to each other, snapping shut to delighted shrieks from me and my older brother, Benjamin.

"Do it AGAIN!" we'd demand, nestled next to him on our old red sofa in our house on Star Route in Gouldsboro, Maine. And he would.

My mom says I was about 4 and Ben 5 when our parents began reading Shel Silverstein to us, after my dad discovered "A Light in the Attic" during his "endless, constant browse through the world of kids' books, inspired by Ben's birth."

For the most part, reading together was one of our "dad" things, along with swimming in nearby Jones' Pond, treks into the woods to find each year's Christmas tree and, much to my father's eternal dismay, miniature golfing. His quest to fish beautiful and intelligent books from the treacly soup of the children's sections in bookstores continues to this day, as he searches for gifts and adds to his own collection.

But my favorites were long ago secured: E.B. White's "The Trumpet of the Swan," Molly Bang's "Wiley and the Hairy Man," E.L. Konigsburg's "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler."

And, of course, "A Light in the Attic," along with "Where the Sidewalk Ends," "The Giving Tree" and the rest of Silverstein's strange and wonderful books.

Now, there's a new one, "Runny Babbit," posthumously published in March -- Silverstein died in 1999 of a massive heart attack at age 68. All in all, I can proudly say my family accounts for at least seven of the 25 million Silverstein books sold thus far.

His spare, black and white drawings are messy, often perverse. The inked lines seem carelessly tossed onto the page, belying HarperCollins' executive editor Antonia Markiet's memory of Silverstein as an "untiring perfectionist."

"Every word mattered, every line in a drawing mattered, no matter how small," Markiet explained in an interview she insisted be conducted by way of e-mail.

"Children in particular are very aware of when they are being condescended to. Shel never did that. He did not try to guess what a kid might like because he knew what HE liked and he trusted that connection," Markiet said in her e-mail. "He didn't think anything was beyond his audience, or too hard for them, or too complex for them."

Silverstein's writing, though not without morals and messages, is just as surprising as his drawings. A creative writing professor of mine used to talk about "strangering" a poem -- making the ordinary strange through unexpected detail and use of language. Silverstein was a strangering master. His books are singular creations among the hyper-colored, cloying gunk usually passed off on kids.

In "My Beard," a small, bald man with prominent nose and bushy brow scuttles along a road rendered in one uneven black line. His eye (he is in profile) is big and round, almost worried. We see just a hint of his bum, his little feet and hunched shoulders -- the rest is all beard: "I never wears no clothes,/I wraps my hair/Around my bare,/And down the road I goes."

If the beard were shorter and the eye more commanding, it would be an exact self-portrait, matching the sultry black and white photograph of Silverstein, feet bare and guitar in hand, on the back of "Where the Sidewalk Ends."


Read the rest here . . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

ENV: Why we lie

This one is right up my meme . . . from Scientific American Mind, with thanks to Clicked


Natural-Born Liars
Why do we lie, and why are we so good at it? Because it works
By David Livingstone Smith, June 2005 Issue


Deception runs like a red thread throughout all of human history. It sustains literature, from Homer's wily Odysseus to the biggest pop novels of today. Go to a movie, and odds are that the plot will revolve around deceit in some shape or form. Perhaps we find such stories so enthralling because lying pervades human life. Lying is a skill that wells up from deep within us, and we use it with abandon. As the great American observer Mark Twain wrote more than a century ago: "Everybody lies ... every day, every hour, awake, asleep, in his dreams, in his joy, in his mourning. If he keeps his tongue still his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude will convey deception." Deceit is fundamental to the human condition.

Research supports Twain's conviction. One good example was a study conducted in 2002 by psychologist Robert S. Feldman of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Feldman secretly videotaped students who were asked to talk with a stranger. He later had the students analyze their tapes and tally the number of lies they had told. A whopping 60 percent admitted to lying at least once during 10 minutes of conversation, and the group averaged 2.9 untruths in that time period. The transgressions ranged from intentional exaggeration to flat-out fibs.

Interestingly, men and women lied with equal frequency; however, Feldman found that women were more likely to lie to make the stranger feel good, whereas men lied most often to make themselves look better.

In another study a decade earlier by David Knox and Caroline Schacht, both now at East Carolina University, 92 percent of college students confessed that they had lied to a current or previous sexual partner, which left the husband-and-wife research team wondering whether the remaining 8 percent were lying. And whereas it has long been known that men are prone to lie about the number of their sexual conquests, recent research shows that women tend to underrepresent their degree of sexual experience. When asked to fill out questionnaires on personal sexual behavior and attitudes, women wired to a dummy polygraph machine reported having had twice as many lovers as those who were not, showing that the women who were not wired were less honest. It's all too ironic that the investigators had to deceive subjects to get them to tell the truth about their lies.

These references are just a few of the many examples of lying that pepper the scientific record.

And yet research on deception is almost always focused on lying in the narrowest sense-literally saying things that aren't true. But our fetish extends far beyond verbal falsification. We lie by omission and through the subtleties of spin. We engage in myriad forms of nonverbal deception, too: we use makeup, hairpieces, cosmetic surgery, clothing and other forms of adornment to disguise our true appearance, and we apply artificial fragrances to misrepresent our body odors.

We cry crocodile tears, fake orgasms and flash phony "have a nice day" smiles. Out-and-out verbal lies are just a small part of the vast tapestry of human deceit.

The obvious question raised by all of this accounting is: Why do we lie so readily? The answer: because it works. The Homo sapiens who are best able to lie have an edge over their counterparts in a relentless struggle for the reproductive success that drives the engine of evolution. As humans, we must fit into a close-knit social system to succeed, yet our primary aim is still to look out for ourselves above all others. Lying helps. And lying to ourselves--a talent built into our brains--helps us accept our fraudulent behavior.

Read the rest here . . .

ENV: Mount Diablo Buckwheat

Mount Diablo Buckwheat, Eriogonum truncatum
Photo by Scott J. Hein

‘Extinct’ wildflower found in California
Scientists spot it for the first time in 69 years
The Associated Press, Updated: 9:14 p.m. ET May 25, 2005


SAN FRANCISCO - A flower long thought to be extinct was rediscovered in a California state park — more than six decades after it was last seen, scientists said Wednesday.

The pink wildflower Eriogonom truncatum, known as the Mount Diablo buckwheat, was found in a remote section of a Contra Costa County park about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of San Francisco. The plant resembles baby's breath used in floral arrangements.

The last reported sighting of the flower was in 1936, according to the University of California at Berkeley.

"We've been calling the Mount Diablo buckwheat the holy grail for botanists (in the region)," said Barbara Ertter, curator of western North American flora at Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.

The find drew comparisons to the recent discovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas.

Sometimes called the "Lord God" bird because of the exclamation many people are said to utter upon seeing it, the large woodpecker was thought to have been extinct for decades before a kayaker found one in February 2004.

"These stories resonate with people because they show we can set back the clock and do it right," said Seth Adams, director of land programs for Save Mount Diablo.

The wildflower was discovered by a Berkeley graduate student pursuing a doctorate in integrative biology. "Once I realized that it was the Mount Diablo buckwheat I was in shock, so I pretended it wasn't there and continued with my other work," said Michael Park, 35.

The location is being kept secret, but the dozen-plus plants were found on a property preserved by the conservation group Save Mount Diablo.

ENV: Bat dispersals by radar

Unfortunately i was into watching the loop of these emergences and failed to save a version that showed the crescents well. Nevertheless at least ten caves (plus the Town Lake Bridge in Austin) disgorged hundreds of thousands of bats (millions and millions and millions . . .) into the sky tonight. The red arrows on the graphic below point to individual fading radar crescents of these groups.

REV: Eifman Ballet

A Review from The New York Times



Photos by Hiroyuki Ito


A Triangle of Sex, Love and Anguish
By JOHN ROCKWELL, May 26, 2005

Boris Eifman is an acquired taste, at least for non-Russian audiences, and it seems fair to say that a lot of New York dance connoisseurs have not yet acquired it. They express their disdain by boycotting performances of the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg or by complaining about them if they do attend.

As a frequent lover of things Russian and of performances (those of the conductor Valery Gergiev come to mind) that strike more sober-minded sorts as sensationalist, I bring no bias to Mr. Eifman's work. Yes, an Eifman Ballet show I saw a couple of years ago seemed maudlin, and his "Musagète" for the New York City Ballet, a supposed homage to Balanchine (who was Russian in his training and upbringing), looked downright crude.

Still, I went on Tuesday night to see Mr. Eifman's latest work, "Anna Karenina," which plays with alternating casts at City Center for the rest of the week, with an open mind. Although Tolstoy's massive novel, with its plots and subplots and finely shaded characters, might seem a stretch for a two-hour ballet with intermission - other Russians, including Maya Plisetskaya and Aleksei Ratmansky, have taken a crack at it, too - its central grand passions are not unsuited to Mr. Eifman's insistently impassioned sensibility.

For him, above all, there is no Levin, with his tortured introspection about the meaning of life. No Oblonsky. Kitty (here, Kiti) is reduced to a supernumerary to fill out a quartet in the opening ball scene. It's all about the triangle of Anna, her tortured husband, Karenin, and her sexy lover, Vronsky.

That's it, except for several stiff, effortful ball scenes, one a Venetian number right out of "The Phantom of the Opera" but without the curving staircase. Anna's little son is seen playing with a locomotive at the outset and hurling himself into her arms when she's feeling guilty. The locomotive returns at the end of the first act, with falling snow, and again at the very end, with the entire corps playing out a Constructivist ballet version of a steam engine, all clanking and hissing and machinelike movement. Anna throws herself into the melee, not quite between the wheels of a train car as in the novel, but close enough.

Otherwise, though, it's all grand passion, all the time. Anna and Vronsky are instantly smitten and have several steamy sex duets. There are a lot of tricky lifts with extreme extensions. Anna and Karenin are anguished. She has some sort of hellish drug trip (not really the sort of thing one would expect from Tolstoy's Anna's soporific of choice, opium, but never mind).

Read the rest here . . .

OBT: Ismail Merchant, classy filmmaker

From The New York Times

Ismail Merchant, Producer of Sumptuous and Literate Films, Dies at 68
By WARREN HOGE, May 26, 2005

Ismail Merchant, whose filmmaking collaboration with James Ivory created a genre of films with visually sumptuous settings that told literate tales of individuals trying to adapt to shifting societal values, died yesterday in a London hospital. He was 68.

Mr. Merchant's New York office said that the cause was undetermined, but that he had had surgery for abdominal ulcers on Tuesday.

The Indian-born Mr. Merchant's carnival-barker personality contrasted dramatically with the artist's reserve of the Oregon-reared Mr. Ivory, but as producer and director respectively they achieved a personal and professional partnership that endured 44 years and produced award-winning films including "A Room With a View," "Howards End" and "The Remains of the Day."

Impulsive, scheming and devoted to the deal in pushing his influence behind the scenes, Mr. Merchant was so unfailingly ingratiating up front that the actor Simon Callow once said the phrase "to curry favor" was invented for Mr. Merchant.

At his death, he and Mr. Ivory were in London shooting "The White Countess," from a script by Kazuo Ishiguro, starring Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, and Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave.

Among the other notable films he produced were "Shakespeare Wallah," "The Europeans," "Quartet," "Heat and Dust," "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge," "Jefferson in Paris" and "The Golden Bowl."

A Merchant-Ivory film set was always something of a family affair, with Mr. Merchant a more frequent visitor than producers generally are and the same crew members returning for service over decades. Once on the scene, Mr. Merchant was just as likely to be fetching tea for a company member or making one of his celebrated curries for the cast as pitching a fit about cost overruns or schedule snafus. Mr. Merchant traveled frequently between Europe and an apartment on the East Side of Manhattan, but he and Mr. Ivory centered their life in a 14-room manor house in Claverack, N.Y., built in 1805 and filled with enough elegant furniture, prints and paintings to be a setting for a Merchant-Ivory film.

Born in 1936 in what was then Bombay, Mr. Merchant moved to New York in 1958 and earned a master's in business administration at New York University.

His first film was a theatrical short, "The Creation of Woman," which was a United States entry in the 1961 Cannes International Film Festival. En route to the festival, Mr. Merchant met Mr. Ivory, and they formed a partnership to make English-language features in India for the international market. Mr. Ivory survives him, as do four sisters: Saherbanu Kabadia and Ruksana Khan, both of Mumbai; Sahida Retiwala of Bergenfield, N.J.; and Rashida Bootwala of Pune, India.

The first Merchant-Ivory project was "The Householder," based on a book by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, an author who grew up in Britain and married an Indian. She then became the team's writing collaborator in an agreement signed on a napkin in a Manhattan restaurant in 1963.

"When we first began, Ruth told us she had never written a screenplay," Mr. Merchant told The Associated Press. "That was not a problem, since I had never produced a feature film and Jim had never directed one."


The rest is here . . .

COM: Comeuppance

From The New York Times


Amnesty slams U.S. on human rights

LONDON, May 25 (Reuters) -- Four years after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, human rights are in retreat worldwide and the United States bears most responsibility, rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the picture is bleak. Governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, it said.

"The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behavior worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.

"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said.

London-based Amnesty cited the pictures last year of abuse of detainees at Iraq's U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison, which it said were never adequately investigated, and the detention without trial of "enemy combatants" at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

"The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law," Khan said.

She also noted Washington's attempts to circumvent its own ban on the use of torture.

"The U.S. government has gone to great lengths to restrict the application of the Geneva Convention and to 're-define' torture," she said, citing the secret detention of suspects and the practice of handing some over to countries where torture was not outlawed.

U.S. President George W. Bush often said his country was founded on and dedicated to the cause of human dignity -- but there was a gulf between rhetoric and reality, Amnesty found.

"During his first term in office, the USA proved to be far from the global human rights champion it proclaimed itself to be," the report said, citing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

Read the rest here . . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

ENV: Kerr County, 24 May 2005

24 May 2005
TX: Kerr County, Rio Vista Crossing, South Fork Marsh, Lynxhaven Crossing, Schumacher Crossing, 1st Smith Crossing

Failed quest to find Orange-striped Threadtail late in the afternoon. Did find 10 sp of Argia though.

Rio Vista Crossing (with Chris Anderson, UCLA)
50 American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
10 Smoky Rubyspot, Hetaerina titia
10 Comanche Dancer, Argia barretti
10 Powdered Dancer, Argia moesta
100 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
60 Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula
2 Blue-fronted Dancer, Argia apicalis
20 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
10 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
2 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax
1 Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis

1 Pipevine Swallowtail
1 Orange Sulhpur
1 Red Admiral


Schumacher Crossing
2 American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana
4 Springwater Dancer, Argia plana [new location]
20 Powdered Dancer, Argia moesta
60 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
20 Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula
8 Blue-fronted Dancer, Argia apicalis
30 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
50 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
1 Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax


South Fork Marsh
1 Leonora’s Dancer, Argia leonorae
10 Blue-ringed Dancer , Argia sedula
1 Stream Bluet, Enallagma exsulans
60 Desert Firetail, Telebasis salva
1 Prince Baskettail, Epitheca princeps
1 Widow Skimmer, Libellula luctuosa
1 Comanche Skimmer, Libellula comanche
1 Roseate Skimmer, Orthemis ferruginea
1 Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis


Lynxhaven
12 Aztec Dancer, Argia nahuana
30 Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula
100 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
20 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
3 Violet Dancer, Argia fumipennis violacea
8 Arroyo Bluet, Enallagma praevarum
10 Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens
1 Sulphur-tipped Clubtail, Gomphus militaris
1 Banded Pennant, Celithemis fasciata
4 Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis
1 Swift Setwing, Dythemis velox

1 Large Orange Sulphur
1 Texan Crescent
1 Red Admiral
1 False Duskywing
1 Horace’s Duskywing


1st Smith Crossing
3 Aztec Dancer, Argia nahuana [new location]
20 Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula
30 Dusky Dancer, Argia translata
10 Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda
1 Arroyo Bluet, Enallagma praevarum [new location]
2 Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis
1 Eastern Amberwing, Perithemis tenera [new location]

COM: Still working on weekend lists etc.

Most folks know i've been out of town for a several days, speaking at a conference, and doing some fieldwork. I'm still working on several posts related to my field time and i'll get them up in the next 24 hours -- just taking a lot of time to assimilate all the information . . .

tg

MSC: As unlikely a story as it gets

Okay, i don't know if this is a hoax or not, but it's gruesomely entertaining reading . . .

From BBC News via Clicked

REV: Some new movie lists

Check out Time's nominees for the best 100 movies ever

And FilmCritic.com's idea of the best 100 movie voices ever

Thanks to Clicked for the links

ENV: 20 Counties, 17-23 May 2005

This post is a work in progress . . .

This report covers 7 days of fieldwork aimed mostly at gathering information on Odonate distribution, but also including the again-fantastic Dragonfly Days put on my Martin Hagne, Theresa Rains and Nora Bollman and the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, Texas. It includes days afield with Greg Lasley, Sid Dunkle and Martin Reid. I have changed my usual reporting format for this report because of the large amount of material to report. It is done by species, and totals are arranged and coded by counties. Folks interested in specific locations for specific species can contact me for details. Locations include: Hornsby Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant in Austin, Paul Davis Ranch in Bandera County, various west Kerr County locations, Utopia City Park, Fort Clark Springs in Brackettville, Hebbronnville Wasterwater Treatment Plant, Delta Lake Park in Hidalgo County, Arroyo Colorado in Cameron County, Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, Golden Raintree Nursery in Weslaco, Town Resaca in Brownsville, Sabal Palm Grove, San Ygnacio Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary, Frio River in McMullen County, and various roadside crossings and sloughs in various counties. Counties (and codes) include: Travis (Tr), Kerr (Kr), Bandera (Bn), Real (Rl), Uvalde (Uv), Kinney (Ki), Webb (Wb), Dimmit (Dm), Duval (Dv), Jim Hogg (JH), Starr (St), Hidalgo (Hi), Willacy (Wl), Cameron (Ca), Zapata (Za), McMullen (Mc), Medina (Me), Frio (Fr), Atascosa (At), Maverick (Ma); Tamaulipas, Mexico across from San Ygnacio (Tp)

17 May 2005 – Greg Lasley and Sid Dunkle at Hornsby Bend (Travis County)
18 May 2005 – Greg Lasley and Sid Dunkle at Davis Ranch, Utopia City Park and west Kerr (Kerr, Bandera, Uvalde Counties)
19 May 2005 – Greg Lasley, Sid Dunkle, Martin Reid, and Tony Gallucci at Fort Clark Springs to Eagle Pass (Kerr, Real, Uvalde, Kinney, Dimmit, Maverick Counties
20 May 2005 – Greg Lasley, Sid Dunkle and Tony Gallucci at Hebbronnville WWT Plant, and roadside stops, to Weslaco for Dragonfly Days 2005 (Maverick, Webb, Duval, Jim Hogg, Starr, Hidalgo Counties)
21 May 2005 – Greg Lasley and Tony Gallucci, Dragonfly Days at Valley Nature Center, Golden Raintree Gardens, Delta Lake, Arroyo Colorado (Hidalgo, Willacy, Cameron Counties)
22 May 2005 – Greg Lasley and Tony Gallucci, Dragonfly Days at Town Resaca, Sabal Palm Grove (Cameron, Hidalgo Counties)
23 May 2005 – Greg Lasley and Tony Gallucci, at Zapata, San Ygnacio Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary, Frio River (Hidalgo, Starr, Zapata, Jim Hogg, Duval, McMullen, Frio, Atascosa, Medina, Bandera, Kerr Counties)

*documented; +filmed; #photographed; (!) see notes at end; [ ] captive, feral, ranch exotic, introduced free-ranging, cultivated; dor = dead on road

Species, Scientific Name (# seen [County Code/May Date])
Lepidoptera
Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor (2 [Rl/19) (4 [Uv/19]) (4 [Ki/19])
Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes
Checkered White, Pontia protodice
Great Southern White. Ascia monuste +
white sp. (1 [Uv/19])
Orange Sulphur, Colias eurytheme
Large Orange Sulphur, Phoebis agarithe +
Southern Dogface, Colias cesonia (3 [Ki/19])
Lyside Sulphur, Kricogonia lyside * (8 [Ki/19])
Little Yellow, Eurema lisa
Sleepy Orange, Eurema nicippe
Dainty Sulphur, Nathalis iole
Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus * (1 [Ki/19])
Mallow Scrub-Haristreak, Strymon istapa *
Dusky-blue Groundstreak, Calycopis isobeon *+ (1 [Ki/19])
Western Pygmy-Blue, Brephidium exile *
Cassius Blue, Leptotes cassius (1 [Ki/19])
Ceraunus Blue, Hemiargus ceraunus *
Reakirt’s Blue, Hemiargus isola *
Fatal Metalmark, Calephelis nemesis *+ (4 [Ki/19])
Rounded Metalmark, Calephelis perditalis *
American Snout, Libytheana carinenta
Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae (1 [Ki/19])
Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia *
Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta (1 [Ki/19])
Theona Checkerspot, Thessalia theona * (2 [Ki/19])
Elada Checkerspot, Texola elada (1 [Ki/19])
Bordered Patch, Chlosyne lacinia adjutrix * (40 [Ki/19])
Texan Crescent, Phyciodes texana + (40 [Ki/19])
Phaon Crescent, Phyciodes phaon * (1 [Ki/19])
Pearl Crescent, Phyciodes tharos
Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui
Common Buckeye, Junonia coenia
White Peacock, Anartia jatrophae
Hackberry Emperor, Asterocampa celtis antonia (1 [Ki/19])
Empress Leilia, Asterocampa leilia
Carolina Satyr, Hermeuptychia sosybius *
Monarch, Danaus plexippus
Queen, Danaus gilippus
Soldier, Danaus eresimus
Whirlabout, Polites vibex
Southern Broken-Dash, Wallengrenia otho
Fiery Skipper, Hylephila phileas (2 [Ki/19])
White-striped Longtail, Chioides catillus
Long-tailed Skipper, Urbanus proteus
Brown Longtail, Urbanus procne
Mimosa Skipper, Cogia calchas
Tropical Least Skipper, Ancyloxypha arene * (15 [Ki/19])
Southern Skipperling, Copaeodes minima *
Clouded Skipper, Lerema accius (2 [Ki/19])
Arizona Powdered Skipper, Systasea zampa * (1 [Ki/19])
Funereal Duskywing, Erynnis funeralis * (1 [Ki/19])
White Checkered-Skipper, Pyrgus albescens
Common/White Checkered-Skipper, Pyrgus communis/albescens (8 [Ki/19])
Desert Checkered-Skipper, Pyrgus philetas * (6 [Ki/19])
Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Pyrgus oileus (1 [Ki/19])
Laviana White-Skipper, Heliopetes laviana *+ (1 [Ki/19])
Turk’s Cap White-Skipper, Heliopetes macaira
Celia’s Roadside-Skipper, Amblyscirtes celia (2 [Ki/19])
Julia’s Skipper, Nastra julia *
Eufala Skipper, Lerodea eufala

Odonata
American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana * (80 [Ki/19])
Smoky Rubyspot, Hetaerina titia * (50 [Ki/19])
Rainpool Spreadwing, Lestes forficula
Chalky Spreadwing, Lestes sigma +
Familiar Bluet, Enallagma civile * (1 [Ki/19])
Double-striped Bluet, Enallagma basidens * (30 [Ki/19])
Neotropical Bluet, Enallagma novaehispaniae * (8 [Ki/19])
Stream Bluet, Enallagma exsulans * (18 [Ki/19])
Arroyo Bluet, Enallagma praevarum * (2 [Ki/19])
Aztec Dancer, Argia nahuana *
Leonora’s Dancer, Argia leonorae *# (2 [Ki/19])
Kiowa Dancer, Argia immunda * (80 [Ki/19])
Blue-ringed Dancer, Argia sedula * (150 [Ki/19])
Blue-fronted Dancer, Argia apicalis *+ (1 [Ki/19])
Dusky Dancer, Argia translata * (20 [Ki/19])
Golden-winged Dancer, Argia rhoadsi *+# (80 [Ki/19])
Powdered Dancer, Argia moesta +
Lavender Dancer, Argia hinei
Violet Dancer, Argia fumipennis violacea * (2 [Ki/19])
Springwater Dancer, Argia plana
Coppery Dancer, Argia cuprea
Fragile Forktail, Ischnura posita *
Citrine Forktail, Ischnura hastata * (1 [Ki/19])
Rambur’s Forktail, Ischnura ramburii *
Caribbean Yellowface, Neoerythromma cultellatum
Desert Firetail, Telebasis salva * (3 [Ki/19])
Amelia’s Threadtail, Neonura ameliae *+#
(!) Coral-fronted Threadtail, Neonura aaroni *+#
Aeshnid sp.
Sulphur-tipped Clubtail, Gomphus militaris *# (1 [Ki/19])
Gomphus sp. cf. Plains Clubtail, Gomphus externus *
Flag-tailed Spinyleg, Dromogomphus spoliatus
Jade Clubtail, Arigomphus submedianus
Common Sanddragon, Progomphus obscurus
Eastern Ringtail, Erpetogomphus designatus (1 [Ki/19])
Narrow-striped Forceptail, Aphylla protracta *#
Georgia River Cruiser, Macromia georgina
Prince Baskettail, Epitheca princeps
Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia *
Comanche Skimmer, Libellula comanche *
Flame Skimmer, Libellula saturata *#
red skimmer sp. (1 [Ki/19])
Roseate Skimmer, Orthemis ferruginea + (1 [Ki/19])
Eastern Amberwing, Perithemis tenera *+ (1 [Ki/19])
Slough Amberwing, Perithemis domitia *
Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis * (1 [Ki/19])
Eastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis simplicicollis + (20 [Ki/19])
Erythemis ssp. cf. Western Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis collocata (1 [Ki/19])
Great Pondhawk, Erythemis vesiculosa +
Pin-tailed Pondhawk, Erythemis plebeja +
Black Saddlebags, Tramea lacerata (1 [Ki/19])
Red Saddlebags, Tramea onusta (1 [Ki/19])
Tramea sp. cf. Antillean Saddlebags, Tramea insularis (1 [Ki/19])
Red-tailed Pennant, Brachymesia furcata *+#
Four-spotted Pennant, Brachymesia gravida +
Banded Pennant, Celithemis fasciata (1 [Ki/19])
Black Setwing, Dythemis nigrescens (20 [Ki/19])
Swift Setwing, Dythemis velox (1 [Ki/19])
Pale-faced Clubskimmer, Brechmorhoga mendax
Ivory-striped Sylph, Macrothemis imitans
Spot-tailed Dasher, Micrathyria aequalis *+

Miscellaneous Insecta
Robber Fly sp. I *
Robber Fly sp. II *
Robber Fly sp. III *

Green Grasshopper nymph #+

Mollusca
[Corbicula fluminea] * (10 [Ki/19])
Rabdotus dealbatus dealbatus * (1 [Ki/19])
Rabdotus alternatus alternatus *
Polygyra texasiana texasiana *
Polygyra tamaulipasensis *
(!) Polygyra latispira *
Polygyra septemvolva volvoxis *
Praticolella berlandieriana berlandieriana *
Praticolella griseola *
Helicina orbiculata *
Euglandina texasiana *
Succinea sp. I *
Succinea sp. II *
Lymnaea sp. *
Physa sp. *
Gyraulus parvus *
Planorbella (Helisoma) anceps anceps *
Planorbella (Helisoma) trivolvis *

Fish
Common Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis
Shad sp.,
Rio Grande Cichlid, Cichlasoma cyanoguttatum (150 [Ki/19])
Channel Catfish, Ictalurus punctatus

Amphibians
Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, Acris crepitans blanchardi (3 [Ki/19])
Rio Grande Chirping Frog, Syrrhopus cystignathoides campi
Cliff Chirping Frog, Syrrhopus marnockii (1 [Kr/19])
Rio Grande Leopard Frog, Rana berlandieri (1 [Ki/19])
Toad sp., Bufo sp.
Gulf Coast Toad, Bufo valliceps
[Black-spotted Newt, Notophthalmus meridionalis]

Reptiles
Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans +
Rio Grande River Cooter, Pseudemys gorzugi (1 [Ki/19])
Rio Grande Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera emoryi
Texas Tortoise. Gopherus berlandieri
Carolina Anole, Anolis carolinensis
Mesquite Lizard, Sceloporus grammicus
Spotted Whiptail. Cnemidophorus gularis
Six-lined Racerunner, Cnemidophorus sexlineatus sexlineatus (1 [Ki/19])
Texas Earless Lizard, Cophosaurus texanus texanus #
[Ornate Nile Monitor, Varanus niloticus ornatus] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
Diamond-backed Water Snake, Nerodia rhombifer rhombifer +
Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake, Thamnophis proximus orarius +
Yellow-striped Ribbon Snake, Thamnophis proximus ssp. +
Bullsnake, Pituophis melanoleucus sayi

Mammals
Armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus (1 dor [Kr/19])
Virginia Opossum, Didelphis virginiana virginiana/pigra (1 [Kr/19])
[Gray Short-tailed Opossum, Monodelphis domestica] (2 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[Red Kangaroo, Macropus rufus] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[African Pygmy Hedgehog, Erinaceus albiventris] (3 [Kr/19]) (3 [Kr/23])
Rat sp.
Edwards Plateau Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger limitus (3 [Kr/19]) (30 [Ki/19])
Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger ludovicianus
Mexican/Spotted Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus mexicanus/spilosoma
Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum epixanthum
Nutria, Myocastor coypu (1 [Ki/19])
Cottontail sp., Sylvilagus sp.
Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus merriami/texianus
Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis mesomelas
Raccoon, Procyon lotor fuscipes
[Mountain Coatimundi, Nasua nasua] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[Domestic/Feral Cat, Felis cattus]
Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes (1 dor [Kr/19])
[Domestic Dog, Canis familiaris: Miniature Schnauzer, Belgian Malinois, West Highland White Terrier]
White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus texanus (4 [Kr/19])
[Axis Deer, Cervus axis] (2 [Rl/19)
[Formosan Sika Deer, Cervus nippon taiouanus] (1 [Kr/19])
[Barasingha, Cervus duvauceli branderi] (1 [Kr/19])
[Blackbuck, Antilope cervicapra] (2 [Kr/19])
[Domestic Goat, Capra hirca: Boer, Spanish, Ibex Cross] (+ [Kr/19]) (+ [Kr/23])
[Domestic Sheep, Ovis aries: Medium Wool, Suffolk, Jacob’s Four-horned]
[Barbados Sheep, Ovis aries X Ovis gmelini musimon] (+ [Rl/19) (1 [Ki/19])
[Mouflon, Ovis gmelini musimon]
[Domestic Cattle, Bos taurus, Bos indicus, Bos taurus X indicus: Texas Longhorn, Santa Gertrudis, Red Brangus, Gelbvieh, Black Angus, Black Baldy, Hereford, Mexican Range, White Brahma, Limousin, Charolais]
[Domestic Horse, Equus equus: Quarter, Miniature, Appaloosa, Tobiano, Overo, Palomino, Arabian] (+ [Kr/19]) (+ [Kr/23])
[Domestic Donkey, Equus asinus]
[Grant’s Zebra, Equus quagga boehmi]

Birds
[Emu. Dromaius novaehollandiae]
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis #+ (1 [Uv/19]) (2 [Ki/19])
[Domestic Goose, Anser anser: Emden] (1 [Ki/19])
[Muscovy, Cairina moschata] + (5 [Ki/19])
[Domestic Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos]
Mottled Duck, Anas fulvigula
Plain Chachalaca, Ortalis vetula
[Helmeted Guineafowl, Numida mitrata]
[Common Blue Peafowl, Pavo cristatus] (2 [Kr/19]) (2 [Kr/23])
[Ring-necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[Golden Pheasant, Chrysolophus pictus] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[Domestic Chicken, Gallus gallus, Gallus X: Red Game, Black-breasted Red Olde English Bantam, Egyptian Sultan, Porcelain D’Uccle, Red Pyle Olde English Bantam, Black Olde English Bantam] (+ [Kr/19]) (+ [Kr/23])
Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
Northern Bobwhite, Colinus virginianus (1 [Ki/19])
[Button Quail, Excalfactoria chinensis] (3 [Kr/19]) (3 [Kr/23])
Least Grebe, Tachybaptus dominicus #+
Pied-billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps #+
Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga
Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias (1 [Ki/19])
Great Egret, Ardea alba
Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron, Butorides virescens
White-faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi +
Roseate Spoonbill, Platelea ajaja
Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus (4 [Rl/19) (3 [Uv/19])
Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura (10 [Kr/19]) (1 [Rl/19) (5 [Uv/19])
Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
White-tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
Gray Hawk, Asturina nitida
(!) Harris’s Hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus (1 [Rl/19) (1 [Ki/19])
Red-shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus (1 [Ki/19])
(!) White-tailed Hawk, Buteo albicaudatus
Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamiacensis fuertesi (1 [Ki/19])
Crested Caracara, Caracara cheriway
American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
Virginia Rail, Rallus limicola
Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
Killdeer, Charadrius voceiferus
Black-necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
Laughing Gull, Larus atricilla
Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica
Least Tern, Sterna antillarum
[Rock Pigeon, Columba livia] (2 [Rl/19)
[Ringed Turtle-Dove, Streptopelia risoria] (11 [Kr/19]) (11 [Kr/23])
[Eurasian Collared-Dove, Streptopelia decaocto] (2 [Ki/19])
White-winged Dove, Zenaida asiatica (7 [Kr/19]) (2 [Rl/19) (10 [Uv/19]) (41 [Ki/19])
Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura (13 [Kr/19]) (40 [Rl/19)
Inca Dove, Columbina inca (4 [Ki/19])
Common Ground-Dove, Columbina passerina
White-tipped Dove, Leptotila verreauxi
[Amboina King Parrot, Alisterus amboinensis amboinensis] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[White-crowned Parrot, Pionus senilis] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[Bronze-winged Parrot, Pionus chalcopterus] (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
Green Parakeet, Aratinga holochlora
Red-crowned Parrot, Amazona viridigenalis
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus (3 [Ki/19])
Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus
Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris
Barn Owl, Tyto alba
Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus (1 [Kr/19])
Lesser Nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis
Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor
Common Pauraque, Nyctidromus albicollis
Chuck-Will’s-Widow, Caprimulgus carolinensis (2 [Kr/19])
Chimney Swift, Chaetura pelagica (16 [Ki/19])
Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Amazilia yucatanensis
Black-chinned Hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri
hummingbird sp. (2 [Ki/19])
Ringed Kingfisher, Ceryle torquatus
Belted Kingfisher, Ceryle alcyon
Green Kingfisher, Chloroceryle americana (1 [Ki/19])
Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Melanerpes aurifrons (1 [Ki/19])
Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Picoides scalaris (1 [Ki/19])
Eastern Wood-Pewee, Contopus virens (3 [Ki/19])
Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigircans (1 [Ki/19])
Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus (4 [Ki/19])
Ash-throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens (1 [Kr/19]) (2 [Ki/19])
Brown-crested Flycatcher, Myiarchus tyrannulus (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Ki/19])
Great Crested Flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus (1 [Kr/19])
Great Kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus #+ (3 [Ki/19])
Couch’s Kingbird, Tyrannus couchii
Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis (1 [Uv/19]) (1 [Ki/19])
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus (2 [Kr/19]) (15 [Rl/19) (1 [Ki/19])
Loggerhead Shrike, Lanius ludovicianus
White-eyed Vireo, Vireo griseus (2 [Ki/19])
Bell’s Vireo, Vireo bellii (2 [Ki/19])
Yellow-throated Vireo, Vireo flavifrons (6 [Ki/19])
(!) Green Jay, Cyanocorax yncas (1 [Ki/19])
Chihuahuan Raven, Corvus cryptoleucus
Common Raven, Corvus corax (1 [Rl/19)
Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris
Purple Martin, Progne subis (2 [Kr/19]) (20 [Rl/19)
Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (30 [Rl/19)
Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva (20 [Rl/19) (20 [Ki/19])
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica (14 [Rl/19) (10 [Ki/19])
Carolina Chickadee, Poecile carolinensis (2 [Kr/19])
Black-crested Titmouse, Baeolophus atricristatus (2 [Kr/19]) (2 [Ki/19])
Cactus Wren, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus (3 [Ki/19])
Carolina Wren, Thryothorus ludovicianus (2 [Kr/19]) (2 [Ki/19])
Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii (3 [Ki/19])
Eastern Bluebird, Sialia sialis (4 [Kr/19])
Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Uv/19]) (1 [Ki/19])
Long-billed Thrasher, Toxostoma longirostre
Curve-billed Thrasher, Toxostoma curvirostre (1 [Rl/19)
[European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris] (3 [Rl/19) (2 [Uv/19]) (6 [Ki/19])
Yellow-throated Warbler, Dendroica dominica (1 [Ki/19])
Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Geothlypis poliocephala
Yellow-breasted Chat, Icteria virens (4 [Ki/19])
Summer Tanager, Piranga rubra (1 [Kr/19]) (3 [Ki/19])
White-collared Seedeater, Sporophila torqueola
Olive Sparrow, Arremonops rufivirgatus (4 [Ki/19])
Cassin’s Sparrow, Aimophila cassinii
Lark Sparrow, Chondestes grammicus (1 [Kr/19]) (2 [Ki/19]) (6 [Ki/19])
Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis (2 [Kr/19]) (6 [Ki/19])
Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatus
[Red-capped Cardinal, Paroaria gularis ] (2 [Kr/19]) (2 [Kr/23])
Blue Grosbeak, Passerina caerulea (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Rl/19)
Painted Bunting, Passerina ciris (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Ki/19])
Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoenicius (16 [Rl/19) (24 [Uv/19]) (4 [Ki/19])
Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna
meadowlark sp., Sturnella sp.
Common Grackle, Quiscalus quiscula (4 [Rl/19)
Great-tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicana (6 [Kr/19]) (15 [Rl/19) (6 [Uv/19])
Bronzed Cowbird, Molothrus aeneus (1 [Kr/19]) (1 [Ki/19])
Brown-headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius
Hooded Oriole, Icterus cucullatus (2 [Ki/19])
Altamira Oriole, Icterus gularis
Audubon’s Oriole, Icterus graduacauda
House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus (1 [Kr/19]) (4 [Ki/19])
Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria (2 [Kr/19]) (8 [Ki/19])
[Hooded Siskin. Carduelis magellanica ] (2 [Kr/19]) (1 [Kr/23])
[House Sparrow, Passer domesticus] (2 [Kr/19]) (10 [Rl/19) (4 [Uv/19])
[Paradise Whydah, Vidua paradisaea] (8 [Kr/19]) (8 [Kr/23])
[Cardinal Quelea, Quelea cardinalis] (3 [Kr/19]) (3 [Kr/23])
[African Silverbill, Lonchura cantans] (5 [Kr/19]) (5 [Kr/23])

Plants
Eastern Gamagrass
[King Ranch Bluestem]
River Cane
[Johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense]
[Coastal Bermuda Grass, Cynodon dactylon]
Spikerush, Eleocharis sp. I
Spikerush, Eleocharis sp. II
Spikerush, Eleocharis sp. III
Bullrush, Juncus sp.
Spotted False-Aloe, Manfreda maculosa
[Variegated False-Aloe, Manfreda variegata]
Sacahuista, Nolina lindheimeriana
Spanish Dagger, Yucca treculeana
Banana Yucca, Yucca baccata
Plains Yucca, Yucca cf. constricta
Century Plant, Agave americana
Lily de los Llanos, Echeandria chandleri
Baldcypress, Taxodium distichum
Montezuma Baldcypress, Taxodium mucronatum
Ashe Juniper, Juniperus ashei
[Washingtonia Palm, Washingtonia ]
Texas Palm, Sabal mexicana
[Canary Islands Palm ]
[Date Palm, Phoenix sp.]
Ballmoss, Tillandsia recurvata
Bailey Ballmoss, Tillandsia baileyi
Bluebell,
Centaurium beyrichii/texanum
Texas Oak, Quercus buckleyi
Lacey Blue Oak, Quercus laceyi
Plateau Live Oak, Quercus fusiformis
Coast Live Oak, Quercus virginiana
Yellow Lantana
Purple Lantana
Hammock Lantana, Lantana microcephala
Mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa
Viperina
Guayacan, Guaiacan angustifolium
Bullthorn Acacia
Whitethorn Acacia
Huisache, Acacia farnesiana
Catclaw Acacia
Huajillo,
Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata
Sugarberry, Celtis laevigata
Granjeno, Celtis pallida
Texas Persimmon, Diospyros texana
Soapberry, Sapindus drummondii
[Ligustrum ]
Maurandya antirrhiniflora
Alamovine, Ipomoea
Salicornia
[Russian Thistle/Tumbleweed, Salsola kali]
Western Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
Annual Sunflower, Helianthus annuus
Calliandra confuta
Buddleja sessiliflora
Mortonia greggii
Purple Sage/Cenizo, Leucophyllum frutescens
Helietta parvifolia
Anacua, Ehretia anacua
Texas Wild Olive/Anacahuita,
Goldenrod, Solidago semervirens
Coursetia axillaris
Randia rhagocarpa
Macrosiphonia macrosiphon
Southwestern Bernardia, Bernardia myricaefolia
Chilipitin, Capsicum annuum
Night-blooming Cereus, Acanthocereus pentalophus
Peruvian Prickly-Pear, Opuntia peruana
Flutestem, Cereus peruvianus
Schaefferia cuneifolia
Lippia graveolens
Barbados Cherry, Malpighia glabra
Phaulothamnus spinescens
Frostweed, Verbesina microptera
Passiflora suberosa
Amyris texanum
Tall Gaura, Gaura (+ [Kr/19])

Commercial Crops
Aloe Vera, Aloe vera
Sugar Cane, Saccharum officinarum
Corn, Zea mays
Grain Sorghum, Sorghum bicolor
Tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum
Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus
Watermelon, Citrullis lanatus
Honeydew Melon, Cucumis melo francais
Orange, Citrus sinensis
Grapefruit, Citrus paradisi

Special Notes
Coral-fronted Threadtail – A group of these (along with Amelia’s Threadtail) was first discovered by Bob Behrstock, Dennis Paulson and others at Anzalduas County Park during pre-DD2005 scouting for the first valley record, and many were able to see them during the festival. During this time, Martin Reid visited San Ygnacio and found quite a few more. Greg Lasley and i stopped at San Ygnacio on our winding trip home and were able to photograph and film a number of these. The first batch were new county records for Hidalgo County, and Martin’s bugs (which he photographed and posted on TexOdes about) were new for Zapata County. These critters were otherwise unknown in Texas outside the Hill Country and just off the escarpment in central Texas and to the coast along the Hill Country drainages – so these represent a rather surprising find. Congrats to everyone involved.

Polygyra latispira – This toothsnail has been previously recorded in Texas only from El Paso County. I obtained a specimen in Webb County on 20 May 2005 for a new county record.

Harris’s Hawk – A single individual of this bird in Real County on the 19th is a rather odd record. I have no other personal records of it in this county.

White-tailed Hawk – This bird is generally limited to the coastal plain of Texas, though there are (as five million TexBirders will attest) other records well inland. This bird in Webb County is the farthest inland i have recorded the bird.

Green Jay – Ft. Clark Springs

Other species reported at Dragonfly Days: Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum), Blue-faced Darner, Common Green Darner (Anax junius), Five-striped Leaftail, Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami), Seaside Dragonlet, Band-winged Dragonlet, Marl Pennant, Thornbush Dasher, Carmine Skimmer (Orthemis discolor), Hyacinth Glider (Micrathyria marcella), Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), Spot-winged Glider, Striped Saddlebags (Tramea calverti)