Book Review - Lichenpedia: A Brief Compendium - Princeton University Press
Travels With Birds
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22h ago
       I am unabashed and devoted fan of the "pedia" series of books presented by PUP, so it was with delight that I recently received two new titles for review. Here is my first undertaking.      The book follows the usual format with entries from A to Z, in this instance from Acharius to Zoochory. Join me if you were unfamiliar with either of these terms! But that's the purpose of the book, isn't it? To educate, to enlighten and to entertain.      Kay Hurley displays a formidable knowledge of the subject, yet writes in so humorous a manner ..read more
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Lakeside Park, Kitchener, ON
Travels With Birds
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4d ago
24 April, 2024       It's always a pleasure to visit Lakeside Park where even on a "slow day" there are discoveries to be made.      Our good friend, Mary Ann Vanden Elzen, is deeply involved with this park, so our enjoyment is enhanced merely by knowing that. I think we should mount a campaign to rename it The Vanden Elzen Reserve!      It was quite enchanting to be greeted by extensive patches of Woodland Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica), a sprightly flower of spring that pleases always.      It doesn't rival the wo ..read more
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Ode to a Trillium
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1w ago
     "I can still bring into my body the joy I felt at seeing the first trilliums of spring, which seemed to be telling me, 'Never give up hope, spring will come.'" Jessica Stern      I was thinking recently about what nature means to me; in fact it means everything. Without its constant presence in my life I would be like a rudderless ship without power, on a dark, stormy night, out of control and drifting aimlessly.       Ironically, the stimulus for this moment of introspection was not engendered by a bird, but by a flower. Miriam and I wer ..read more
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Book Review - The World Atlas of Rivers, Estuaries, and Deltas - Princeton University Press
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1w ago
      As we plunge headlong (and aimlessly) into the Anthropocene, it's hard to imagine a more timely book. Water, without which life ceases to exist, is threatened in every way possible. Past excesses and prior foolishness are examined, together with an intensive examination of the state of the world's rivers, estuaries and deltas today. The potential for remediation exists, sometimes by relatively simple means, but more often than not by astronomical expenditures, and a reversal of repeated egregious bad practices. Even faced with disaster - and disaster that is not far ..read more
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Birding in Cuba - February, 2024 - Part 11 (Final)
Travels With Birds
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2w ago
28 February, 2024 Havana      As is customary at the end of our Cuban adventure, we spent a day touring the old city of Havana, one of the most interesting and remarkable cities in the world.  It is a microcosm of the Caribbean, yet unique too, with stories of love and war, success and failure, soaring ambition and crashing disappointment, dreams come true and dreams broken, but most of all it represents a triumph of the human spirit.       As always our beautiful Mariana was our superb guide and bonne vivante, bringing pleasure to every moment. &nb ..read more
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Book Review - Sharks, Rays & Chimaeras of the East Coast of North America - Princeton University Press
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2w ago
      If one were to conjure up two names most eminently associated with sharks, rays and chimaeras, David Ebert and Marc Dando might well be the two.      They have created a magnificent field guide; but it is in fact far more than that, with text and illustrations covering 173 species found off the east coast of North America. Every possible aspect of the lives of these vitally important creatures is covered with pictures, diagrams, charts, maps, discussions of anatomy and feeding, dentition, prey and population status. There is an excellent glossary and ..read more
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Book Review - Natural Magic: Emily Dickinson, Charles Darwin and the Dawn of Modern Science - Princeton University Press
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1M ago
       I am not sure that there is a convention when it comes to reviewing books, but it is probably customary to expound on the contents before declaring a verdict. Permit me to reverse the order here and to state immediately that I am entranced with this work. It is scholarly, extremely well written, and introduces me to an author hitherto unknown - to me at least. The title is apt - there was magic between the pages for this reader.      Darwin has been the bedrock of my belief system for almost as long as I have cogent memory of such things. Of Emily Di ..read more
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Birding in Cuba - February 2024 - Part 8
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1M ago
25 February, 2024 Cayo Coco (Cueva El JabalĂ­, Laguna Flamencos) - Playa Las Coloradas      Breakfast at the buffet was enjoyed by all, following which we went to the location popularly known as "The Cave." It is in fact an underground disco, populated by bats during the day when the party-goers are not there, with a reversal at night when the bats are out hunting.      We always start our visit aboveground with a check of a bird bath and a couple of feeders, where there is much to be seen.      One of the highlights is a subspecies of the endemic Z ..read more
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Book Review - Frogs of the World: A Guide to Every Family - Princeton University Press
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1M ago
       It seems that people have always had a fascination with frogs. After all a maiden had only to kiss one to have her very own prince, and the enduring favourite on the children's television show, Sesame Street, has been Kermit the Frog.      Lamentably, this engagement has not benefitted frogs (or other amphibians for that matter) in any way at all. From page 53: "Amphibians are the most threatened terrestrial vertebrate group on the planet, with tens of species going extinct each year."      If this does not fill you with sadn ..read more
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Book Review - Piping Hot Bees and Boisterous Buzz-Runners: 20 Mysteries of Honey Bee Behaviour Solved - Princeton University Press
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1M ago
       It was hard not to chuckle at this playful title of a book by one of the world's most pre-eminent bee biologists.       The book begins with Seeley reminiscing about being "not quite eleven years old"  and already observing a bee colony in a black walnut tree and asking himself questions about what was happening. As one goes through the book and vicariously takes part in Seeley's discoveries, one gets the firm impression that this eleven-year old boy is alive and well - and still living in Ithaca - curiosity undiminished.      ..read more
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