Iceberg Alley

On this, the last day of Iceberg Week, and the last nice day I can find in the foreseeable forecast, enjoy a couple more photos of the big beauties. 20160616-img_0472

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The iceberg above was my favorite of all. Very blue and smooth due to the unrelenting antagonizing by the Atlantic Ocean.

If you're looking for more beautiful photographs of Newfoundland icebergs, look no further. I have links for you!

A good friend of mine, and fellow biologist, takes exquisite photos of Newfoundland. Please drop by Chelsey's website and have a look. I promise, you won't regret it! http://www.chelseylawrence.com/

Also, if you want an iceberg tracker for the behemoths paying rent in Iceberg Alley (a large stretch of coast along the province of Newfoundland and Labrador), please check this out. http://www.icebergfinder.com/ is an incredible resource for locating and keeping tabs on icebergs detected by both humans and satellites. Have a look now to see how it works and then be ready to track icebergs in real-time during the next peak season (April-August).

I hope you enjoyed seeing icebergs and learning a little something about why we care for big random pieces of ice this week. There will be a couple more iceberg cameos in the weeks to come because I'm not even close to finished showing you Newfoundland.

For now, we'll head back to the world of birds where I have dozens of feathered dinosaurs waiting for the limelight.

Iceberg, right ahead!

The movie got it wrong. British people say "right ahead". Americans say "dead ahead". Just a quick bit of Titanic trivia. Which I'm obsessed with, by the way. Did you know that it was a Newfoundland-bound iceberg that sunk the Titanic? And that the great ship foundered only 400 miles south of Newfoundland? 20160615-img_0428

According to reports, the iceberg that sunk the Titanic would've been about double the size of the iceberg pictured above. Say like, 400 feet long and 100 feet high. At the largest. It's hard to say really because the Titanic struck the iceberg in the total darkness of a moonless night.

Icebergs break up slowly as they reach shallower water. Most of the icebergs seen around Newfoundland coasts will have been much larger at the time that they originally broke free.

This iceberg was a June resident of the waters just off Twillingate, NL--roughly 280 miles (444 km) from the capital city, St. John's, where I live.

Come back tomorrow for another glorious 'berg. And don't forget to click on the pictures each day to enlarge them and have a better look!

Welcome to Iceberg Week

For the next week I will be making short posts every day featuring a different Newfoundland iceberg from this summer. I thought a good way to get your feet wet, so to speak, would be to start in one of the most prolific Newfoundland iceberg towns, Twillingate. First, have a look at Twillingate. This little town is pretty easy on the eyes.

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Twillingate was first discovered by French fisherman in the 1600's. They landed on its shores to cut wood and stock up on fresh water. Though its name would later be misinterpreted by English settlers as "Twillingate", the Frenchmen originally named it "Toulinquet".

Archaeological exploration in the area has turned up primitive tools and weapons--evidence that the indigenous Newfoundland first people, the now-extinct Beothuks, once called Twillingate home.

Though the days of being a merchant hotspot are over, Twillingate remains a popular destination for tourism. Mostly because of its quaint fishing village look and ICEBERGS!

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Come back tomorrow for Monday's iceberg!

2birdfeature #8: Yellow

YELLOW-SHAFTED FLICKER

Not the sharpest spoons in the crayon box but maybe some of the best looking. The Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus) occurs east of the Rocky Mountains, breeds in Canada, and winters in Texas and Mexico. The Red-shafted Flicker (Colaptes cafer) occurs west of the Rocky Mountains. Together, they are often grouped into a single reference, the Northern Flicker. Their geographical closeness allows for much interbreeding. They also interbreed with the Guatemalan Flicker (Colaptes mexicanoides).

The Yellow-shafted Flicker's flight feathers are bright yellow on the underside. These birds are easy to identify because of all the sure-fire markings. The red crown, the spotted breast and the black half-moon beneath the chin are among the most eye-catching.

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Yellow-shafted Flickers eat ants, predominately. They'll take other insects too and berries in the winter. They are monogamous and mate for life.

Perhaps once you finally see what's making that awful and endless racket on your drain pipes and siding, you'll be a bit more lenient with this beautiful bird.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT

The theme is yellow today, see? Please pardon these poor quality photos of a Common Yellowthroat singing near Portland Creek, Newfoundland. It was foggy and I was lying down in a dairy pasture.

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The Common Yellowthroat is a migratory warbler that breeds all over North America. They winter in Mexico and the Caribbean much like other western hemisphere warblers. They prefer to eat spiders but will take nearly any insect they can get. They are abundant throughout their range, especially in eastern Canada and New England.

The black mask that sits atop the yellow throat is found only in males. Females have a buff/tan head and an equally yellow throat.

Wednesday we escape to warmer weather with a motley crew of herons.