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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Black and White Penguins

Sorry for my lack of blog posts lately- my balance of free time and bloggable birdy events has been in the negative for the past three+ weeks. Why? During much of July I had a very interesting job as an instructor for a group of 26 Korean Earth Science educators who were in Greeley, CO at the University of Northern Colorado for an Earth Systems Education workshop. Here's a pic of me with the group visiting the middle school where I teach in Boulder- they were keenly interested in the similarities and differences found in American public schools compared to their schools back home.
We visited many cool parts of Northern Colorado but the emphasis of the trips wasn't on birding. Still, participants were excited to see charismatic birds like Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson's Hawks, and Lark Buntings on our trip to the Pawnee Buttes. A Golden Eagle on Trail Ridge Road in RMNP and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds in Estes Park were also big hits- none of the group had ever seen any kind of hummingbird before so they were in awe of the aerobatics.

Throughout the workshop, guest lecturers presented talks on many interesting topics within the Earth System. Among the geology, meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography lectures and activities was a talk on the history of paleontology in Antarctica and its resulting contributions to the support of plate tectonic theory and paleoclimatic reconstructions (like dinosaurs living near the Antarctic Circle in the Jurassic Period- had to have been warmer back then!) The professor giving the talk had the latest copy of The Polar Times with him and gave it to me- the cover caught my eye right away, featuring a melanistic Chinstrap Penguin photographed by Karin Lundstrom on 12 January, 2008 at Deception Island's Baily Head rookery. In complete contrast, the back cover shows an albino African Penguin (born in captivity at a Bristol, England zoo, but still extremely cool...) The detailed cover photo caption on page two includes mention of the Australian Antarctic Division's web page featuring unusual penguins- well worth a visit for those interested in plumage abnormalities and penguin hybrids. Anyway, goes to show that even when you can't go out and find interesting birds, sometimes they find you. The Polar Times website doesn't have an updated current issue page as of this post, so I scanned the front and back covers for your perusal...

1 comment:

Beverly said...

LOL I figured you were up to something interesting!

Did you hear about the Leucistic Eagle found down here earlier this month? Both Birdchick and I quoted local papers...I got a follow-up piece, too. He's a beautiful bird!