Monday, January 30, 2012

Masterful Macaques

When you think monkeys, you might imagine them living in a tropical rain forest.  Japanese macaques are the northern-most primates (other than man) living in areas where the snow flies several months of the year.  This is why they've earned the name snow monkey, but they've learned how to stay warm by visiting their local hot springs.

Source:  Wikipedia

Japanese macaques live in matrilineal groups with females living in their birth group all their lives while the males leave and join different groups to prevent in-breeding.

Mom with baby  Source:  Wikipedia

Their diet includes plants and herbs, fruit, nuts, insects, seeds, roots, and even fish.  In the northern most areas they add on the pounds in the fall, storing fat to last them through the winter.  These macaques also live in sub-tropical forests in their southern most range.

And believe it or not, a group of Japanese macaques were transported to Texas where they had to learn how to cool off instead of warm up, and having some fun at the same time.  Check out this video.

For a couple more videos and more info, click here and here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kaleidescopic Kestrels

I was looking through my Audubon calendar last night and a photograph of an American Kestrel in flight totally got my attention.  What a gorgeous little bird.  Look at the markings on the male.

Source:  Wikipedia

Source:  Wikipedia

The American Kestrel is the smallest and most common falcon in North America at about seven or eight inches long, but is also found throughout Central and South America.  With a diet consisting of insects, small birds and rodents, kestrels can be seen hanging out on telephone wires or poles and hovering in the air looking for prey.

The female has subtler markings, lacks the blue-gray one the wings, with more bars on its tail.

Source:  Wikipedia

There are seventeen recognized subspecies with slightly different coloration patterns.

Maybe I'll be lucky enough to see one some day.  To see a video, click here and here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Suddenly Snow

Other than our surprise snow in October until late Thursday night Rhode Island had not seen any measurable amounts of white stuff.  A couple of skiffs of snow have blown through that didn't even cover the grass, although it was enough to affect driving.  But late Thursday and again most of Saturday, we had snow - enough to shovel and even plow.

Certainly enough to flock the trees and make it look like the Christmas we never had!  Enough to bring out the juncos and song sparrows that I haven't had at the feeder all winter.  But it will all be short-lived because Sunday we had sun and temperatures in the high 30s.  And today the prediction is for temperatures in the 40s and rain!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Super Slo-Mo

I've written about my friends, Rick and Lynne, in New Jersey several times - the ones with the Bernese Mountain Dogs, kitties Sam and E-bay, and I did a post on bears with photos of their occasional bear visitors.  Rick works for Vision Research which is now part of Ametek.  They develop and produce special high speed cameras - the Phantom line.  The high speed cameras show things in super slow motion.  Sounds counter intuitive, I know.  Anyway, in February Rick and Lynne are going to the Scientific and Engineering Academy Awards in Beverly Hills because those cameras have earned several of the company's designers and developers an award important to the progress of making motion pictures!  You can click on the Vision Research link above if you're interested in the details.

If you've seen either of the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, you've seen these cameras at work in the fabulous slow motion segments.  They've also been used in many commercials and other movies.

Here are a couple of links to see really cool slow motion videos using their cameras.  For butterflies and birds, click here (there's wonderful footage of a harpy eagle at the end).  For horses, click here.  Also you can click here so see Vision Research's gallery of videos for many more.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Random Rainbows

Wikipedia defines a rainbow as a "an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines on to droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. It takes the form of a single arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the sun."  In the primary rainbow, red appears on the outer side of the arc, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.   Of course, we all know that there are also double rainbows.  This occurs when the light is reflected twice in the water droplets.  However, in the second rainbow, the colors are reversed, with indigo in the outer part of the arc and red in the inner arc. Faint third and fourth rainbows can also appear in the direction of the sun.

Source:  Wikipedia

In a double rainbow, the second rainbow is usually outside of the primary rainbow.  The darker area between the two rainbows is known as Alexander's band.

A rare supernumerary rainbow, also called a stacker rainbow, occurs when there is interference between the rays of light striking the water drops and several faint rainbows can be seen on the inner arc of the primary rainbow.

Source:  Wikipedia

Rainbows can also be seen near waterfalls and fountains, or in this case, waves in the ocean.

Source:  Wikipedia

And, of course, everybody knows there's a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.  I'm headed off to find this one!

Source:  Wikipedia

Maybe I'll see you there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Silly Shenanigans 6

Ready for another Silly Shenanigans post?  All from the LOL Cats and LOL Dogs, and Just Capshuns websites.  Enjoy!!

This one doesn't really need a caption!

Have a great day!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Knowing Koko

Did you watch Harry's Law Wednesday night?  If you didn't, it was a story about a gorilla who knew sign language and the legal battle between the zoo that owned him and the woman who wanted to provide an intelligent being with a better living situation.  I had two cousins email me who thought it was a real gorilla on the show.  Pretty amazing visual effects, but even though the gorilla wasn't real, it was most likely BASED on a real gorilla who knows sign language.  Her name is Koko and she lives with a woman named Penny Patterson in California at The Gorilla Foundation.

Koko has been around for quite a while.  Last year she celebrated her 40th birthday.  Back in the 1990s when I started taking classes at the local community college, I took two classes of sign language strictly with the hopes of meeting her or working with her some day. Of course, I've forgotten it all by now.

Koko knows over 1000 signs in American Sign Language and understands even more spoken English. Like Kanzi, she's one very smart great ape.

And like the woman on Harry's Law, Penny Patterson believes that gorillas should be granted the status of personhood.  To learn more, click here and here and on the two Gorilla Foundation links above.  To see a video of Koko meeting Betty White, click here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Singing Sensation

When I went to Smith I took an animal behavior class from Mark Feinstein at Hampshire College.  At the time he was studying New Guinea singing dogs.  What is a New Guinea singing dog,  you might ask?  They are wild dogs closely related to Australian dingos.  Originally found in the wild, the only known New Guinea singing dogs are now found in captivity.

New Guinea Singing Dog puppy  Source:  Wikipedia

While captive-born New Guinea singing dogs make good companion dogs, they do much better on a raw meat diet rather than the usual dog food.

New Guinea singing dogs are known for, of course, their howl, thus their name, and also for their climbing ability.  Yes, they climb trees for prey including birds, rodents, and even fruit.

Source:  Wikipedia

Are you interested in learning more?  For more information about New Guinea singing dogs and hear why they got their name - click here and here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

January Jambalaya

My last post I showed pictures of frost on my windshield and talked about below zero wind chills.  Saturday was a totally different story.  Beautiful, sunny, and temps hitting 60 degrees F.  What month is this?  I had my flannel sheets washed and drying on the line outside.

All the outside kitties were sunbathing.

Miss Kitty and Van Gogh

Tang on my neighbor's porch

I had my windows open letting in some much needed fresh air.  My kitties all crowded on top of the sofa also relishing the tantalizing smells of a clear January day.  I even went to the grocery store without a coat.

Sunday was a little different story; still sunny, but not as warm.  Closer to a real January day in Rhode Island, but yet very nice.  Hope your Saturday was just as beautiful.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feathery Frost

Yes, more frost pictures.  Tuesday and Wednesday were really cold days with wind chills below zero Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning there was some beautiful frost on the windshield of my car.  I tried to resist, but couldn't.  I wanted to get some pictures before I turned on the defrost.  The frost looks like feathers or in some cases pine boughs.  See what it looks like to you.

I love the beautiful frost, but I enjoy a warm day more!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Keeping Kanzi III

You may have read my 'Keeping Kanzi' post about the bonobo I worked with when I lived in Georgia, along with the subsequent, 'Keeping Kanzi II' post about his son, Teco.  Well, there has been a recent post about him on the 'Mail Online' website I thought you would enjoy seeing.  Click here for the link to the article and video.