Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review #2: Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Cawardine

Douglas Adams is most commonly known as the author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a science-fiction/humor novel that is probably one of the funniest books I've ever read. But not only did Mr. Adams write science-fiction, he wrote about some science fact as well.
Last Chance to See is the compilation of several expeditions Douglas Adams went on to look for the world's most endangered animals, led by zoologist Mark Cawardine. The book is written in a hilarious, witty style, but still manages to teach you important facts about the lives and situations of all of the animals.
Each chapter recounts an expedition, to anywhere from Madagascar to the Yangtze River in China. I enjoyed every one of them, but I especially liked the chapters titled "Heartbeats in the Night", about kakapos in New Zealand, and "Rare, or Medium Rare?", about fruit bats on Mauritius Island.
I particularly liked the way Mr. Adams described the animals--on kakapos: "It has a look of serenely innocent incomprehension that makes you want to hug it and tell it that everything will be all right, though you know that it probably won't be." On Komodo dragons: "One is over twelve feet long and stands about a yard high, which you can't help but feel is entirely the wrong size for a lizard to be, particularly if it's a man-eater and you're about to go and share an island with it."
Just as entertaining is the way he described the scientists he met on his travels; for example, an ornithologist on Mauritius: "One of the things you need to know about him, indeed the thing you need to know about him, is that he's an ornithologist. Once you know that, everything else more or less falls into place."

I would give Last Chance to See 5 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Photography

This blog has been sadly void of new posts lately, and for that I apologize. Again. (I am working on a new book review post, though, so be on the lookout!)
Though I haven't been posting much, I have been taking lots of photos. I thought I'd share some with you guys.

A Buckeye butterfly.

Bluebird babies!  

We had two pairs of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in our new nestboxes this spring! They should return soon for the next brood.

A female Common Whitetail Skimmer.
 I received The Princeton Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East for my birthday about two months ago. It is awesome, and I had no idea that there were this many species of Odonata until I got that book. 576 pages of them, and that's only for the eastern United States!

A Red-headed Woodpecker preparing to steal our blackberries.
Field notes on a Cerulean Warbler.
I also got my lifer Cerulean Warbler a couple of months ago on a walk at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, which I was super excited about. I didn't get any photos, but I did take field notes.

Well, that's all for now. Again, I am working on a book review post that should (hopefully) be up soon. But I'm really busy, because my dad and older brother are in New Mexico ( many awesome birds there) at Philmont Scout Ranch with my brother's Boy Scout troop, so I'm helping my mom take care of my little brothers.
But anyway, I hope all of you have an awesome 4th of July (if you're American) and a great summer!