Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Small Earthquake

Looks like we just had a small earthquake in New England.
And I thought earthquakes were why I moved to MA instead of the west coast!

Wednesday Update: here is a link to an article from NPR.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Birds, Blogs, and Windows

Since starting this blog I have been searching for more local birding blogs. One of my favorites that I have found is Circling the Smiling Pond. I thought it would be nice to share this blog with you in lieu of my own adventures which have been sorely lacking. This blog frequently explores the Charles River Peninsula and other areas in Needham and further afield as well. Two of the author's recent posts have been about birds and window strikes (a downy, and a pine warbler) and made me remember that NPR recently had some articles on the danger that windows pose for birds and how to mitigate them:

How Glass Kills Birds
How to Make a Bird Friendly Building
Architects Aim for Safer Skies

This particularly makes me thing of the construction at the Hammond Pond shopping area and it makes me shudder to think about how many birds we will loose if these new buildings have lots of glass and don't take into consideration our migrating friends. My only experience so far with window fatalities was a dead cuckoo in the parking garage of my former job. A 12 story glass building was immediately adjacent and must have proffered the offending window.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Praying Mantis

This morning I was walking to work in Newton when something flying caught my eye.  It had the look of a very large but skinny insect. I stepped closer to get get a better look as this fine specimen climbed up a shrub on improbably long and skinny legs.

After getting some pictures I tried to discover more about this preying mantis. While I am certainly no expert on insects a little hunting around online led me to believe that this was a Chinese Mantis. Apparently preying mantis is the common term for all mantids, of which there are several thousand species. The Chinese mantis was introduced to the US in 1895 for pest control and is now established in the northeast as the largest mantid we will find. The mantis has sharp spines on its forelegs that it uses to catch prey. The craziest thing that I learned was that there has even been a documentation of a one of these Chinese mantids catching a hummingbird, though probably rare occurrence.