Tag Archives: video

Wilson’s Phalarope – Spinning Fools

Wilson's Phalarope - Phalaropus tricolor

Still from a video of a very large flock of "spinning" Wilsons' Phalarope. See below to view the YouTube video.

What an incredible, LOOOOONG winter it’s been.  It’s May 1st…and we’re supposed to get 2 inches of snow today.  In mid-April, we had the biggest ice storm I’ve ever seen, resulting in 3 days where my work was closed, and 4 days of school being closed.  Since mid-April we’ve had significant snow about 3 times.

Sunday I went birding for a bit.  April 28th…and there was still ICE on parts of the lakes where I was birding.  Unbelievable.  From a birding perspective, it’s certainly been an odd spring, as “winter” species have hung around well past their normal departure times, and some of the early spring migrants have stacked up in the region, waiting for a thaw further north so they can resume their migration. Just last week, during (yet another) snow storm, at my feeders I had the incredibly odd mix of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak (summer bird!), scads of Dark-eyed Juncos (Winter!), a Pine Siskin (Winter!), and Red-winged Blackbirds (bird I’ve never seen in my yard). I’ve had “winter” sparrows (American Tree Sparrows) foraging right alongside “summer” sparrows (Song Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows) below my feeders.  Weird, weird, weird.

Sunday was a warm, “normal” spring day, and despite the ice still hanging around the lakes in Lake and Kingsbury counties, there were quite a few birds.  I specifically was looking for shorebirds, and in a normal year, we’d have quite a few around.  However, despite a lot of waterfowl, gulls, pelicans, cormorants, and wading birds, there were hardly any shorebirds.  The one exception?  A massive flock of Wilson’s Phalarope on the “highway 81 lakes” north of Madison, South Dakota.

Wilson’s Phalarope are a personal favorite of mine.  They are rather pretty birds, and are unusual in that it’s the female who is the more colorful.  While pretty, it’s not their looks that makes them a favorite of mine, it’s their behavior.  Wilson’s Phalaropes, like other Phalaropes, often feed by “spinning”.  They swim in very tight circles on the surface of the water, and it’s thought the spinning action brings up small food items from below, close to the surface where the Phalaropes can grab them with their bill.

Wilson’s Phalarope do breed in the area, but when breeding, they’re not as visible and you don’t see them in numbers.  On this trip, I saw the largest flock of Phalaropes I’ve ever seen…at least 1,000 birds, and they were all doing their mad spinning in the shallows.  I never, and I mean never, video birds, but for some reason I had my little video camera with me and really wanted to document their behavior.  I pulled onto a tiny abandoned driveway next to the water, and was at first disappointed when all the birds flew away.  However, as I sat there, the circling flock slowly began to return, with small groups landing in the water many yards from shore.  After 20 minutes or so, they’d largely “forgotten” about the guy sitting in his car, and the entire flock was spinning like crazy on the water’s surface, just a few yards from where I sat.

Fun day, and very cool to capture it on video.  Here’s a YouTube link to the video of the “spinning” Phalaropes:

Wilson’s Phalarope Video – Spinning

Video – Human Impact on the Atmosphere

New York - Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Video produced as part of a study for Mayor Bloomberg's office in New York City. This screen capture from the video shows how much carbon dioxide is emitted from New York EVERY DAY. That's the Empire State Building sticking out of the top.

One of the arguments often made by conservatives, especially religious conservatives, is that man simply can’t affect the atmosphere enough to be causing global warming.  There are many on the religious right who believe mankind doesn’t have the power to change the planet to that degree, that only God has the ability to control the Earth and its environment. 

This is a great video to help folks understand the impact human beings have on the environment:

New York City – Carbon Dioxide Emissions Video

The video was produced as part of a study by Mayor Bloomberg’s office, on the long-term effects of carbon emissions.  It’s one thing to explain to people just how much carbon dioxide people emit.  It’s another to graphically depict exactly how large one ton of carbon dioxide is, and the cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide over time.

Striking video…even more striking when you consider this just depicts carbon dioxide emissions for one city, over what’s a blink of an eye in terms of the Earth’s history.  When you imagine the emissions depicted in this video, multiplied millions of times over from emissions all over the planet, year after year, it’s hard to deny that human beings are significantly impacting the earth’s atmosphere.  It’s impossible to deny that human beings are the cause of global warming.

Limbaugh Calling on “Feminazis” to post sex videos

Ah, Rush.  Just a short 12 hours ago I honored you with the “Scum of the week”.  It only took a few hours for you to build on your resume, and strengthen your position as a leading weekly candidate for the Scum of the Week.  Perhaps I should just skip right to making him a permanent Scum of the Week. 

After calling Georgetown student Sandra Fluke “a slut” and “a prostitute”, for daring (Gasp!) to testify that womens’ contraception should be covered, today, Limbaugh came out with the following lovely line on his show. 

“So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.”

Pretty hilarious coming from a man who was detained at the Palm Beach airport a couple of years ago for having Viagra in his bag with another man’s name on the prescription.  Considering that there is evidently no controversy from these “hairy old white men” (again, one of my favorites lines from my wife) about insurance COVERING that Viagra for their own, uh, shortcomings, doesn’t someone think it’s a wee bit hypocritical to harp on women for wanting contraceptives covered?  Or is that it Rush?   Having a wee little (hah) problem?  Taking out your wee little problem on women in general?

Are Republicans in general just hell-bent on losing every woman’s vote come November?  Now not only are the candidates sticking their foot in their collective mouths regarding women’s rights, but the right-wing talking heads are doing the same. 

Thank god Limbaugh’s “Feminazis” have the FINAL say this November, with their VOTE.