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Highlight on Inexperienced Information & Views: Winter feeding of hummingbirds; 67,000 new Calif. oil wells?

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – merganser days: “Winter 2021. Salish Sea, PacificNorthwest. It’s that time of year…..ducks! Moar ducks today in the Bucket, this time from the PacificNorthwest and a saltwater bay. As I noted in funningforest’s freshwater duck Bucket yesterday, there’s a different set of ducks in a saltwater habitat. At least up here. Mergansers in winter sort themselves out with Red breasted mergansers in saltwater, Common mergansers mostly in freshwater and Hooded mergansers equally happy in both. Since I don’t see freshwater ponds very close up, it’s mostly the quiet saltwater bays where I have duck encounters, like these recently. I could tell as soon as I arrived at my nearby bay that a fair number of ducks were enjoying the quiet sunny afternoon there. […] Even more interesting to watch is what all these ducks are doing. I took some video of the activity. They were all diving constantly, meaning foraging for crabs or little bottomfish there in the shallow nearshore water, no more than about 8 feet deep, more typically 3-4 feet deep. Quick short dives, popping up and down with very little splash..” 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – winter PNW greenery: “Winter 2021. Pacific Northwest. This winter has been very mild and very wet compared to our usual weather in the PacificNorthwest. No hard freezes yet at all. No snow besides a brief dusting back in December. However, the forecast for this coming week calls for temps in the 20s. That’s actually a good thing for knocking back slugs and triggering some vegetation development.” 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – foraging in a chilly yard: “February 2021. Pacific NorthwestA Nor’easter is blowing through for a few days in western Washington, and while this one is not as cold as they usually are, it’s brought us the only hard freeze we’ve had this winter. Temps mostly in mid 20s, windy out of the NNE in the teens and 20s mph where I am in the northern Salish Sea. We had a little snow when this started  a couple days ago, but a lot more forecast for tonight. Birds have been super busy foraging wherever there might be anything to eat. Seed, suet and hummingbird feeders are very active, and birds are out in the yard also foraging on the ground and in the bushes. Robins are everywhere in my yard these days, on the raised beds, the lawn, in the fruit trees and shrubbery, driveway, deck, you name it. Some tuck into the branches of bushes and just sit there for a while all fluffed up, keeping warm.” 

 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – SNOW open thread: “February  13, 2021. Pacific Northwest. Started snowing last night, still going currently, here at midday. To say the feeders are busy is an understatement. Fortunately not too cold for hummer feeders (2 are out), 31° at 11am.”

monamongoose writes—Winter Feeding of PNW resident Hummingbirds Part 1 – temporary fix when bad weather appears: “I live along the Columbia River that flows between Washington State and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. We have two parallel mountain ranges in Western Washington and Western Oregon; The Coast Range/Olympics along the coast, and The Cascades about 100 miles inland. Between these ranges and their foothills is mostly a wide valley from Eugene, Oregon north to Canada. This valley and the Salish Sea in NW Washington has generally quite mild winters whose weather is mostly influenced by the Northeast Pacific Ocean whose temperature near the continent is in the mid 50s F (summer and winter). Occasionally our weather will come at us from the Great Plains and we’ll have weather in the teens, ice and/or snow for a few days. Because of this valley corridor from Canada leading into the Banana Belt of Southern Oregon and Northern California this area has been a flyway for migrating birds since the end of the last ice age. Hummingbirds migrate along it as well and fly down to California and Mexico for the winter. However a few (relatively speaking) decide to spend the winter here. Hummingbirds eat bugs for protein, however they need tremendous amounts of energy to fly and hover. They get this energy from flower nectar (sugar.) There are very few blooming flowers up here in the winter. Thus to survive, our hummingbirds rely upon the kindness of strangers.”

monamongoose writes—Winter Feeding of Hummingbirds Part 2 – a feeder for when it really gets cold: “This is part TWO of a trilogy that begun yesterday as Part ONE. This is a solution for someone that doesn’t have electrical skills beyond plugging stuff in and turning on switches. If you have basic carpentry skills, or can find / thrift a suitable sized wooden box / drawer you are most of the way there. The other skills needed are shopping in a hardware store / farm store / or Internet. Basically (in 25 works or less) a flat bottomed Hummingbird Feeder sits upon a heating pad, within a box attached under a house eave that protects it from wind & snow.” 

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens)
Snow Goose Anser caerulescens

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket. C’mon In, the Water’s Fine: “FEBRUARY 5, 2021. QUINCY, CA.. Redhead, Snow Goose, Ruddy Duck.  Three new species (for me) just photographed at the wastewater treatment facility ponds. […] There are many other species of ducks to be seen at the ponds, including American Wigeon, Common Goldeneye, Ring-necked Duck and probably some I can’t identify because I’m not experienced enough.

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket. Cloudy Day, Sunny Day: “FEBRUARY 9, 2021.  QUINCY, CA. A Cloudy Day. Ping. It’s kinda like “winter ping-pong”; back and forth, back and forth, cloudy then sunny then cloudy then sunny.  Ah, but the referee is tossing in new balls, changing colors.  Makes the game interesting. I’ve started an actual list for 2021, keeping track of bird species that I’ve spotted and photographed and the photograph is good for unquestioned i.d.  The Cassin’s Finch is #24.  Not a very large number, of course, but this is something I’ve never done before, and I’ve set myself the mentioned specific criteria; I’ve already missed a couple that I know exactly which specie but didn’t get the photo so they don’t count yet.  Yesterday, the 10th, I picked up #25 which I’ll show down below.”

Bald Eagle in a tree along the north side of the Missouri  at River Mile 115
A mature Bald Eagle in a tree in my backyard near Portland Missouri.

ARodinFan writes—Change is possible It may take longer than we like but eagles nesting in my ZIPcode are living proof: “By some strange quirks of fate, I have found myself living in central Missouri near the unofficial geographic population center of the country.   As determined by the 2010 census, the tiny town of Plato Missouri, about 100 mile to the south of me in Texas Co. Missouri was actually determined to be the official center of the population based on the 2010 US Census.   However, my neighbors in Callaway County Missouri know better.   Researchers in Michigan using a 3D rather than 2D map to determine the center have found that the tiny town of Tebbetts Mo. (pop. 80 – located along the cross state KATY Trail Missouri State Park, a highly successful rail to trail conversion), actually lies at the true population center of the nation.  I live nearby along the north side of the Missouri River overlooking River Mile 115 at the mouth of Logan Creek, just east of the mouth of remarkably well named Eagle Creek.” 

Jessiestaf writes—Monday Good News Roundup: Biodiversity special: “Yesterday (As in Saturday by my writing) an article was posted talking about the impending problem if Biodiversity collapse, something which has been coming up for a while and that we, as a people need to deal with. It was rather depressing, especially since the primary response to the article in the comments was “Welp, time to lie down and die.” If you’ll forgive the blue language for a second: Fuck that. I mean really? We fight tooth and nail for the past four years to get out from under Trumps pasty orange ass, and now we’re just gonna lie down and die over biodiversity? I don’t think so. One poster in particular resonated with me, a person who said that these sort of articles only served to instill a sense of hopelessness since there’s not a lot that can be done on the ground level regarding biodiversity collapse. So I thought that, in lieu of my normal political stories, I would instead post five stories about how humans are working to restore biodiversity to the globe. These articles are to try and give some hope to people that people are working on this problem, that its not hopeless. Yes we got a lot of work to do, but the work is being done, and we can save the world if we work together and don’t give up.” 

skralyx writes—How does this little spider hoist whole animals into its web?! “The triangulate cobweb spider (Steatoda triangulosa) can capture animals that are up to 50 times its own weight, lifting them up off the ground into its web using five different kinds of silk.  This would be like you or me hoisting as much as 4 tons off the ground using only secretions from our bodies.  It’s mind-boggling (and truthfully kinda gross) to picture how we might accomplish that. As for the spider, we learn much more about how this is done, thanks to a description by Gabriele Greco and Nicola M. Pugno in the February issue of the Journal of The Royal Society Interface.  […] Greco and Pugno studied the architecture of the web and the technique the spider uses by planting some big cockroaches on the ground and observing.  Here’s a lovely example that they filmed.

Downy woodpecker hunting for food-----
Downy woodpecker

Jeff Graham writes—The Daily Bucket – “It was a walk in the park”: “Follow along with us at Magnuson Park in Seattle, Washington as the walk unfolds. Lots of photos follow. Two Bald eagles in a tree by the water was our first treat. The mature eagle on the right was close to the immature on the left. After being a model for a few minutes, the adult flew off. The immature basked in the limelight (at least it didn’t leave.)” 

 Featheredsprite writes—Seagulls in western Washington: ”We have a whole bunch of different shorebirds who seem to enjoy the Olympic Peninsula but my favorites are the gulls. They are big and loud and I think they’re beautiful. In my area, we have two types of gulls: Western and Glaucus-winged. ‘Glaucus’ derives from the Greek word for gray. Westerns are dark gray to black and white. The Glaucus-winged gulls are gray and white. Their gray is not dark, being closer to Puritan gray. Both the Western gull and the Glaucus-winged gull are large. They are about two feet long, with a wing span of four and a half feet or so. Both are about four years old when they get their full coloration. In the Washington area, the two gulls have a hybrid zone, interbreeding with each other. Both types live about 15 years in the wild. I find it difficult to determine the birds’ pedigree by looking at them but the Washington Audubon Society assures me that both kinds reside in my neighborhood, with more hybrids than distinct breeds.”

panoche05_1242leow.jpg
Long-eared Owl.

lineatus writes—Dawn Chorus: It’sSuperb Owl Sunday!! “Yes, it’s Superb Owl Sunday, when we celebrate our silent-flying friends!  It’s pretty appropriate this year since they’re good at keeping their distance. […] I could stretch to make football related puns but… naaaah.  (Feel free to do so in comments, of course.)  Let’s just take a moment to celebrate the awesomeness of owls. On one hand, they are the very embodiment of wildness — the hoot of an owl is movie shorthand for “you’re outside in a wild place”.  They’re so at home in these wild places that they blend right into the trees they inhabit.  How many branches have you passed, not realizing they weren’t branches? OTOH, they’re quite at home with us and among us. Some owls have adapted to humans and their structures — one species has adapted so well that it’s part of their name, Barn Owl.  But they’ll use plenty of other buildings as well.  These siblings, for example, are growing up in one of San Francisco’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Their neighbors may be billionaires but who has the best view? UPDATE:  Aha!  My strategy is working.  By posting a lot of mediocre photos of owls, it has encouraged people to post a lot of really incredible photos of owls!  In fact, they are posting Superb! owl photos.”

Lenny Flank writes—Photo Diary: A Walk in the Pinellas County Botanical Gardens: “The Florida Botanical Garden in Pinellas County is another one of my favorite places to walk around for an afternoon. No matter what time of year, there’s always something blooming here. And it’s a great spot to watch for birdies, turtles and gators. So join me for a nice relaxing walk in the Gardens. For those who don’t know, I lived in a converted campervan and traveled around the country, posting photo diaries of places that I visited. But the pandemic has clipped my wings, and I am now holed up in Florida until I can begin traveling again. :)”

Angmar writes—“As humans we have the power to affect the lives of entire species of animals”: “Animals cannot be held morally responsible for their actions. However, that does not mean that they don’t have moral worth. In fact, it is reasonable to infer that we, as rational beings, have a moral responsibility towards animals. But what does that entail? According to John Stuart Mill, ‘the ultimate end’ of morality is ‘an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and as rich as possible in enjoyments…secured to all mankind; and not to them only, but, so far as the nature of things admits, to the whole sentient creation.’ The inclusion of animals in our moral circle does not imply, however, that humans and animals are of equal moral value. Yet the fact remains that we share many morally relevant traits, such as a capacity for suffering. When it comes to the treatment of animals, argues Jeremy Bentham, “the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?’ The animal industry—in particular, the meat and dairy industry—inflicts suffering on billions of creatures whose neurological anatomy and observable behavior leave no doubt that they experience pain and fear just as we do.”

CLIMATE CHAOS

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Climate Solutions Caucus Co-Founder Mike Braun (R) Opposes Climate Solutions That Don’t Profit Him: “During last week’s vote-a-rama, Indiana Republican Senator Mike Braun introduced an amendment to try and prevent President Biden from banning fracking (which he has hasn’t done, and has said, repeatedly, he won’t do, to the chagrin of many on the left), using the power of the purse to prohibit CEQ or EPA from working on blocking fracking. It passed with the votes of seven Democrats, but was then stripped out anyway as part of the budget reconciliation process. So it was a purely symbolic move, like the other 800 or so amendments; a futile gesture of political posturing. While it would usually be par for the course for a Republican to loudly oppose a climate solution, Senator Braun is the co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. Hmmmm so if an obvious solution, stopping one of the main activities that causes the problem, is off the table, what solutions would Braun prefer? Thankfully, Braun did an interview with the Indianapolis Star in which he laid out just that. Because while he will vote for President Biden’s EPA pick Micahel Regan, Braun said he didn’t support the Biden agenda on the environment. He’s worried that Biden’s actions will set back ‘all the progress we’ve made in the Senate Climate Caucus”, and that they’re ‘going to lose some of the people we got on the caucus’.” 

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Dan Bacher writes—Delta Group Responds to LA Times Story on MWD’s Harassment, Bullying and Ignoring of Women: “Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, the Executive Director of Restore the Delta, today responded to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times documenting the harassment, bullying and ignoring of women at the powerful Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, one of the key organizations pushing for the environmentally destructive Delta Tunnel: ‘They thought I was so low’: Women say they were harassed, bullied, ignored at powerful water agency – Los Angeles Times 2/12/21. ‘In interviews with 20 current and former staffers and reviews of hundreds of pages of district records, court documents and audio recordings, The Times found a pattern of complaints alleging harassment and bullying of women who enrolled in the apprentice program, which trains workers who operate and repair the water pumping stations and treatment plants of the Colorado River Aqueduct and other district facilities,’ wrote ADAM ELMAHREK. Times reporter. ‘It is a crucial pathway into higher-paying, skilled jobs.’ ‘Only nine of the 218 apprentices hired between 2003 and 2019 were women, according to agency records. Four of them have filed equal employment opportunity complaints with the district, a spokeswoman said.” wrote Elmahrek.”

ENERGY

Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—EXPOSED: 87 Years of Gas Stove Propaganda, From Slogans To Rap Video To Sock Puppets on NextDoor: “Last summer, Rebecca Leber at Mother Jones exposed how the gas industry is using social media influencers to advertise. Now Leber’s back with a new feature exposing another social campaign, and tying it back to decades of the industry’s propaganda.It starts simply enough, with a comment on NextDoor, a social media platform for getting in touch with neighbors about local issues. Wilson Truong posted to a Culver City California group, ‘as if he were a resident of the Fox Hills Neighborhood,” Leber writes, to talk about a potential ban on gas stoves that Culver City was considering. ‘I used an electric stove,’ Truong said, “but it never cooked as well as a gas stove so I ended up switching back.’ Well you can probably see where this is going, but the users engaging and debating the various pros and cons of gas stoves vs. electric induction probably didn’t. Wilson Truong wasn’t a concerned citizen of Fox Hills, he was a public relations employee at Imprenta Communications Group, working on behalf of Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions (C4BES), itself a front for SoCalGas.

Dan Bacher writes—Kern Co. Planning Commission will vote tonight on proposed ordinance allowing 67,000 new oil wells! After a pandemic year in which the Gavin Newsom administration doubled the number of new oil production wells in California, the Kern County Planning Commission tonight will vote on a proposed ordinance to allow permitting of more than 67,000 new oil and gas wells over the next 20 years with no additional environmental review. ‘If approved, this ordinance would nearly double the number wells there, representing one of the biggest decisions that will be made regarding California’s energy and climate policy for decades to come,’ according to a press statement from the Last Chance Alliance. ‘The hearing is taking place at 7pm PT and will inform a final supervisors vote in the coming weeks.’  To watch the hearing, go to: https://www.youtube.com/user/KGOVTV or the Planning Commission website Opponents of the ordinance say the hearing is taking place during a ‘particularly troubling week’ for California’s climate legacy — right after a week during which the four biggest oil industry lobbyist employers reported that they spent over $10 million lobbying the Legislature, Governor’s Office and other state regulators to advance the Big Oil agenda.

NAT’L FORESTS, PARKS, MONUMENTS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

Username4242 writes—Wandering the astonishing beauty of the cottonwood forests by the Yellowstone River (Video): “Wandering the cottonwood forests of the Yellowstone River, a place that dramatically helped shape my love for roaming in nature as a child.” 

Username4242 writes—A new milestone for Wonderlust Adventures! How you can help with what’s coming next (Video): “In part thank to you all, Wonderlust Adventures has now reached the 1,000 subscriber mark. I’m now looking to expand the watch time of the channel so that I can begin to monetize these videos, which in turn will support future exciting journeys.

Ojibwa writes—Public Lands: Community Spirit Monument art (photo diary): “Woodland Park, a public area created during the Great Depression by the WPA, is located in Kalispell, Montana. Kalispell is, of course, named for the Salish-speaking Kalispel Indians who currently have a reservation in eastern Washington. The name Kalispel means ‘Camas Eaters.’ Reflecting the racism of many people in the community, the Native American heritage of the area tends to be invisible. In Woodland Park there is a Community Spirit Monument made up of about 2,000 tiles reflecting the diversity of the Valley.” 

MISCELLANY

Pakalolo writes—Landslide triggers a broken Himalayan glacier to collapse, leveling a hydroelectric plant: “A glacial landslide scar, all that remained of a previous piece of ice that had collpased, is believed to have triggered a new landslide that slammed into and triggered part of Nanda Devi glacier to collapse. When the rocky debris slammed into the Himalayan glacier’s much larger remnant, it sent rock and ice down a valley where a hydroelectric plant was under construction. Some described it as a rock tsunami. Workers were trapped in tunnels underneath the plant when the reservoir was breached, sending water cascading down a mountain valley where scores of people were killed.   To be clear, this disaster was not caused by a glacial meltwater lake outburst.”

Meteor Blades writes—Earth Matters: Fossil fuels kill 8.7 million people a year; climate crisis an eco-justice issue: “Rep. Mike Thompson of California reintroduced the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act on Friday. The act would extend solar and wind energy tax credits for five years, expand incentives for electric vehicles and energy efficiency, and add new credits for energy storage that would last until 2028. Environment America’s Renewable Energy Advocate Ben Sonnega said in a statement: ‘Clean energy tax credits are an important tool for helping America transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Think of them like a power drill in the process of building a comprehensive renewable energy future. They’re reliable, their application is wide-reaching and they’re absolutely necessary if we are going to change the way we approach energy consumption’.

Meteor Blades writes—Earth Matters: Fracking’s promises fall flat in Appalachia; Buttigieg praises high-speed rail: “Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Richard Glick announced Thursday that he plans to ensure the commission does a better job of including environmental justice and equity matters in the commission’s decision-making process by creating a new senior position focused on that task. “I believe that the commission should more aggressively fulfill its responsibilities to ensure our decisions don’t unfairly impact historically marginalized communities,” Glick said, adding, “This position is not just a title. I intend to do what it takes to empower this new position to ensure that environmental justice and equity concerns finally get the attention they deserve.” More details will be released in the future, but Glick said the new position will work with experts in all FERC’s program offices. Only Glick and one other Democrat sit on the five-member commission, but the chairman sets the agenda, and President Biden will get the chance this summer to appoint a new member when the term of one of the Republicans expires.

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