History fan, bit of an obsession with Celts, Mongols, Vikings and dinosaurs. I love video games and RPG. Also love metal, especially Folk. Hmm, that's about it, I guess.

 

rhamphotheca:

Eddy, a Southern Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus), from South America, rolls up into a ball as it is shown to visitors for the first time since its birth on 26 September at the Bergzoo in Halle, Germany… then unrolls.

Photograph: Imago/Barcroft Media

(via: Guardian UK)

rhamphotheca:

illustration of Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus)
from The Royal Natural History, ed. Richard Lydekker (1896)

rhamphotheca:

illustration of Three-banded Armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus)

from The Royal Natural History, ed. Richard Lydekker (1896)

rhamphotheca:

HOUSTON AUDUBON BEAK OF THE WEEK: Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) Family: Accipitridae Broad-winged Hawks are small, compact raptors with chunky bodies and large heads. In flight, their broad wings come to a distinct point. The tail is short and square with black-and-white bands. Their call is a piercing, two-parted whistle.  One of the greatest spectacles of migration is a swirling flock of Broad-winged Hawks on their way to South America. Also known as “kettles,” flocks can contain thousands of circling birds that evoke a vast cauldron being stirred with an invisible spoon. Witness the marvel of migration in person by visiting the Smith Point Hawk Watch on the Bolivar Peninsula. Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, counters and volunteers record the number of hawks observed from Aug 1- Nov 15. Broad-winged Hawk migration makes up 70% of the birds counted. During the peak of Broad-winged Hawk migration on the day of or the day after a cold front, it is not unusual for more than 10,000 raptors to pass by the tower. 
Learn more about the watch by visiting their blog: 
http://smithpointhawkwatch.wordpress.com/
(via: Houston Audubon)

rhamphotheca:

HOUSTON AUDUBON BEAK OF THE WEEK:

Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)

Family: Accipitridae

Broad-winged Hawks are small, compact raptors with chunky bodies and large heads. In flight, their broad wings come to a distinct point. The tail is short and square with black-and-white bands. Their call is a piercing, two-parted whistle.

One of the greatest spectacles of migration is a swirling flock of Broad-winged Hawks on their way to South America. Also known as “kettles,” flocks can contain thousands of circling birds that evoke a vast cauldron being stirred with an invisible spoon.

Witness the marvel of migration in person by visiting the Smith Point Hawk Watch on the Bolivar Peninsula. Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, counters and volunteers record the number of hawks observed from Aug 1- Nov 15. Broad-winged Hawk migration makes up 70% of the birds counted. During the peak of Broad-winged Hawk migration on the day of or the day after a cold front, it is not unusual for more than 10,000 raptors to pass by the tower.

Learn more about the watch by visiting their blog:

http://smithpointhawkwatch.wordpress.com/

(via: Houston Audubon)

rhamphotheca:

VICE MUNCHIES:
We Spoke to a 90-Year-Old Farmer Who Grows Pumpkins the Size of Cows


by Hilary Pollack
Is there anything more quintessentially autumnal than the mighty pumpkin? In the next six weeks, millions of Americans will be buying them, carving demonic faces into them, and adorning their porches and fruit baskets with them. We’ll be swimming in Olympic-pool-sized vats of pumpkin spice syrup and making pumpkin costumes for our helplessly imprisoned guinea pigs. And sometimes, we’ll even eat pumpkin.
We wanted to know the secrets of True Pumpkin Magick, and who better to represent pumpkin culture than Adrien Gervais, a 90-year-old man from Ontario who has been growing giant pumpkins for more than 20 years?
In 1999, Gervais grew a 981-and-a-half pound pumpkin that took home first place at the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest, which purports to attract the biggest pumpkins in the world every year. After reading about “Grandpa” Gervais—also nicknamed “Pumpkinhead”—and his current fast-growing behemoth on CTV Barrie, we had to know how more about this king of gourds…
(read more: Vice Magazine)

rhamphotheca:

VICE MUNCHIES:

We Spoke to a 90-Year-Old Farmer Who Grows Pumpkins the Size of Cows

by Hilary Pollack

Is there anything more quintessentially autumnal than the mighty pumpkin? In the next six weeks, millions of Americans will be buying them, carving demonic faces into them, and adorning their porches and fruit baskets with them. We’ll be swimming in Olympic-pool-sized vats of pumpkin spice syrup and making pumpkin costumes for our helplessly imprisoned guinea pigs. And sometimes, we’ll even eat pumpkin.

We wanted to know the secrets of True Pumpkin Magick, and who better to represent pumpkin culture than Adrien Gervais, a 90-year-old man from Ontario who has been growing giant pumpkins for more than 20 years?

In 1999, Gervais grew a 981-and-a-half pound pumpkin that took home first place at the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest, which purports to attract the biggest pumpkins in the world every year. After reading about “Grandpa” Gervais—also nicknamed “Pumpkinhead”—and his current fast-growing behemoth on CTV Barrie, we had to know how more about this king of gourds…

(read more: Vice Magazine)

rhamphotheca:

White Xenia Crab from Indonesia
“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps. When I backed up, it came back out. The skittish crab, in addition to having the wrong lens for the task, made this a challenging shot.”
— Nature’s Best Photographer, Marli Wakeling
(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

rhamphotheca:

White Xenia Crab from Indonesia

“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps. When I backed up, it came back out. The skittish crab, in addition to having the wrong lens for the task, made this a challenging shot.”

Nature’s Best Photographer, Marli Wakeling

(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

rhamphotheca:

White-tailed Deer grow new antlers every year. 
They grow from bony bases on the skull called peduncles, and are themselves bone. As they’re growing, they are soft and receive a rich blood supply through the velvet covering. Deer antlers are among the fastest-growing tissues in the animal kingdom, growing by up to 2 inches (5 cm) a week during peak growth in the summer. By late August or September the blood supply is cut off and the velvet is shed, usually within about 24 hours. 
The antlers’ primary purpose is in jousts between males to establish dominance during breeding season, but they are also an indicator of the physical condition of the male. Antlers are not strongly correlated to age - you can’t count the points and tell how old a deer is - though peak size usually occurs between 5-8 years old. Instead, antler size is mainly determined by genetics and the nutrition of the deer’s diet as they’re growing; a bigger rack usually indicates a healthier deer, at least within its age group. 
The antlers have no big advantage outside of the mating season, and the extra weight and size can be energetically costly, so by mid-winter, as a result of dropping testosterone levels, the joint between the antler and the peduncle weakens and the antler is shed. Male deer are antler-less for 3-4 months of the year, until new ones begin growing again in spring.photograph: USDA/Scott Bauer
(via: Peterson Field Guides)

rhamphotheca:

White-tailed Deer grow new antlers every year.

They grow from bony bases on the skull called peduncles, and are themselves bone. As they’re growing, they are soft and receive a rich blood supply through the velvet covering. Deer antlers are among the fastest-growing tissues in the animal kingdom, growing by up to 2 inches (5 cm) a week during peak growth in the summer. By late August or September the blood supply is cut off and the velvet is shed, usually within about 24 hours.

The antlers’ primary purpose is in jousts between males to establish dominance during breeding season, but they are also an indicator of the physical condition of the male. Antlers are not strongly correlated to age - you can’t count the points and tell how old a deer is - though peak size usually occurs between 5-8 years old. Instead, antler size is mainly determined by genetics and the nutrition of the deer’s diet as they’re growing; a bigger rack usually indicates a healthier deer, at least within its age group.

The antlers have no big advantage outside of the mating season, and the extra weight and size can be energetically costly, so by mid-winter, as a result of dropping testosterone levels, the joint between the antler and the peduncle weakens and the antler is shed. Male deer are antler-less for 3-4 months of the year, until new ones begin growing again in spring.

photograph:
USDA/Scott Bauer

(via: Peterson Field Guides)

rhamphotheca:

White-lipped Treefrogs (Litoria infrafrenata), Queensland, Australia
photograph by Brian Cassey
(via: Australian Geographic)

rhamphotheca:

White-lipped Treefrogs (Litoria infrafrenata), Queensland, Australia

photograph by Brian Cassey

(via: Australian Geographic)

rhamphotheca:

17 Mile Falls, Jatbula Track, Northern Territory, Australia
Photograph: Nick Rains
(via: Australian Geographic)

rhamphotheca:

17 Mile Falls, Jatbula Track, Northern Territory, Australia

Photograph: Nick Rains

(via: Australian Geographic)

rhamphotheca:

The Grey-headed Albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma) is an endangered  albatross of the Southern Ocean, averaging 81 cm (32 in) in length and 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in wingspan, which breeds further south than any other mollymawk. Though its common name derives from the species’ ashy-grey head, throat and upper neck, the scientific name is a reference to the bright golden streaks on its bill.

Photographs: adult - JJ Harrison; chick - Ben Tullis

(via: Wikipedia)