1938, Daniel B. Beard, a ranger charged with conducting a “wildlife reconnaissance” of the future Florida Everglades National Park, attempted to describe the character of the land:
The southern Florida wilderness scenery is a study in halftones, not bright, broad strokes of a full brush as is the case of most of our other national parks. There are no knife-edged mountains protruding up into the sky. There are no valleys of any kind. No glaciers exist, no gaudy canyons, no geysers, no mighty trees unless we except the few royal palms, not even a rockbound coast with the spray of ocean waves. . . . Instead, there are lonely distances, intricate and monotonous waterways, birds, sky, and water. To put it crudely, there is nothing (and we include the bird rookeries) in the Everglades that will make Mr. Jonnie Q. Public suck in his breath.
And yet the strangeness of the Everglades made them beguiling. One day, Beard, who was on his way to Coot Bay, at the southern extremity of the park, met a returning visitor on the road. “What’s there to see down there?” Beard asked, feigning ignorance. “Mister, don’t miss it,” the man replied. “Not a damned thing!”
via Slide Show: The Changing Everglades – The New Yorker.
Antarctic animals are exposed to some of the coldest environments on earth. Animals survive in these harsh conditions by reducing the percentage of body heat that is lost to the environment. This can be by physical means generally evolved over many generations or patterns of behaviour.
via Adapting to the cold — Australian Antarctic Division.
Social media has lit up with striking images from a storm cell that battered Brisbane and South East Queensland, smashing windows, bringing down trees and powerlines and cutting power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
via Brisbane storm: Photos show full scale of destructive cell system – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Iceland’s epic vistas, vast glaciers, soft light and ominous volcanoes make beautiful abstract art in Emmanuel Coupe-Kalomiris’s aerial photos. He’s made striking visuals out of the island’s natural formations without focusing on their actual geography.
“I wanted something that doesn’t have context, no sense of scale,” says Kalomiris. “I wanted it to be lost. In the end it doesn’t really matter what you’re looking at. It’s supposed to be just pure visual pleasure.”
via The Wild Beauty of Iceland’s Uninhabitable Landscapes | Raw File | Wired.com.
Spiders are among the craftiest and most beautiful of arthropods, entirely undeserving of their maligned reputation. Some signal their presence with massive horns or brilliant colors, others attempt to blend into the scenery. Many spin intricate traps of sticky silk, but some chase their prey — or ambush it, bursting out of burrows hidden beneath Earths surface. Some spiders are solitary, watching over trembling webs and waiting for the day when they can mate and cannibalize their partner. Others live in colonies, dividing chores among hundreds of individuals. Some spiders are as big as your face — others can be mistaken for dewdrops.
via These Are the Most Exquisitely Weird Spiders You Will Ever See – Wired Science.
In years past butterflies have been abundant in my Ecosystem Garden to the point where I wrote about Red Admiral Population Explosion and also Why Are There so Many Tiger Swallowtails this Year?But this year butterflies of all kinds are much scarcer, so I celebrate each individual sighting.I haven’t seen ANY Monarch Butterflies in my wildlife garden this year, despite the plethora of Milkweed I’ve planted for them.
via Red Admiral Butterfly Sipping From Sap Flow.