Saturday, November 19, 2005

Loose Feathers #6

News and links on birds, birding, and the environment.

  • Governor Ehrlich has proposed new air pollution standards for coal-fired power plants in the metropolitan Baltimore and Washington areas. The new rules require substantial reductions in emissions ofnitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide by 2010. Carbon dioxide, however, is left out. -- Some reduction is better than none, but carbon dioxide emissions will have to be addressed at some point. Perhaps Ehrlich wants to push the problem on to his successor.
  • A house sparrow in the Netherlands was shot and killed for knocking over 23,000 dominoes that had been set up for an attempt at breaking a record. Since house sparrows are endangered in Europe, the killing is under investigation. (More here.) -- I did not know that house sparrows were endangered there, because they are so common here in the United States.
  • The EPA plans to release new fuel efficiency standards in the near future. The new standards would take effect beginning for 2008 models. The goal of the new standards is to reflect actual driving conditions rather than the current city and highway ratings.
Other Stuff
  • As the Washington area was feeling its first real cold snap of the fall, a tropical storm formed off Honduras. Tropical Storm Gamma may cross Florida, and may have a chance of affecting weather here.
Recent Sightings
  • Friday afternoon I saw a gray catbird in the Ripley Gardens near the Arts and Industries building. It was skulking along the side of the museum.
  • Today I was on a wonderful trip to Blackwater NWR with the DC Audubon Society. Strangely, the waterfowl were absent or uncooperative, but other birds (including a life vesper sparrow) made up for it.