Friday, October 29, 2010

Loose Feathers #262

Rough-legged Hawk / Photo by Dave Menke (USFWS)

Birds and birding news
Birds in the blogosphere
Oil spill

Environment and biodiversity
  • Over the past decade, a new species has been discovered in the Amazon about every three days – over 1200 news species, including 637 plants, 257 fish, 216 amphibians, 55 reptiles, 16 birds, and 39 mammals. Here is a gallery of some of the highlights.
  • A new USGS survey estimates that Alaska's North Slope contains only 896 million barrels of untouched oil, one-tenth of previous estimates.
  • Scientists found hundreds of new insects from 52 million years ago encased in amber in Gujarat. The amber is soft enough to be dissolved so that the scientists can examine the specimens in three dimensions, like contemporary specimens. Here is a gallery of some of the insects. See also the comment at Myrmecos on taxonomy.
  • Pennsylvania has announced a moratorium on new natural gas wells on state lands. The extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing is suspected of contaminating local groundwater.