Sunday, November 06, 2005

Loose Feathers

This is a continuation of the "Odds and Ends" series under a new name. As always, here are some short blurbs and links to bird, birding, and environmental news from around the internet.

  • The Army has admitted to dumping tons of old munitions offshore around the east and west coasts. The dumping was done in the mid-20th century, and ended in 1970. But it is not clear exactly where all the dumping grounds - and the munitions - are. Many of these are chemical weapons, which still pose a hazard to anyone who finds them. As these objects corrode, they may also pose an environmental hazard because of released toxins. (Via Metafilter.)
  • Probably most local birders are aware of this by now, but a neotropic cormorant has been seen on the Potomac River near Violette's Lock in Montgomery County, Maryland. I have not been out to see it myself, but it has been reported on a daily basis for the last few weeks. Every year at least a few oddities show up around here during the fall.
  • In another local Maryland story, it appears that Montgomery County is taking birdwatching into account in developing its land-use plan for public land in the county. The principle competitor for space against birdwatching and other quiet activities that require undeveloped land appears to be motorbiking and all-terrain-vehicles.
  • The DC Department of Transportation is undertaking a tree-planting campaign over the next few months. They will plant 8,000 trees: 6,000 along roadways and 2,000 in city parks. The trees listed in the press release sound like good choices; some plantings in the past were rather unfortunate. An addition of several thousand trees should, over time, take a good chunk out of the urban heat island effect over the summer. (Via DCist.)
  • The Washington Post reminds us that this Monday, November 7, is the 200th anniversary of the day Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific Ocean during their exploratory trek across North America and back. Bird Note: Two birds named for the pair are the Lewis's Woodpecker and the Clark's Nutcracker.
Finally, a cartoon from Tom Toles: