Thursday, May 11, 2006

Loose Feathers #46

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

  • Researchers are looking for reports about golden-winged warbler sightings - especially from outside the United States and Canada - so that conservationists can better monitor its status. Golden-winged warblers are declining due to habitat loss and hybridization with blue-winged warblers.
  • The horseshoe crab harvest will be reduced but not banned after a decision announced by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The harvest will be limited to 100,000 crabs, and only males may be taken. New Jersey will maintain its complete moratorium on horseshoe crab fishing.
  • Birders near Pittsburgh, PA, have found an odd wader that some believe is a great blue heron X great egret hybrid. It has been returning to this spot for several years. Such a find would be extraordinary since such a cross has previously not be documented. More likely it is a leucistic great blue or a great blue X "great white" cross known as Würdemann's heron. Either way, it is an interesting-looking bird; photos can be found here. I found one error in the article: great blue heron and great egret are not in separate genera; they are both in the genus Ardea.
  • National Geographic reports on the role of poultry smuggling in the spread of H5N1 influenza. Spring testing of migratory birds along the Europe-Africa flyway has come up negative for a migratory bird role in spreading this strain of avian influenza.
  • I have been asked to pass on this action alert about a sports facility being built next to a wetland on the campus of Malaspina University-College in British Columbia. I really know little about this situation aside from the presentation linked above, but Canadian readers may wish to look into it.
DC News
  • Various projects to redesign the Potomac waterfront in Georgetown may be moving forward. One sticking point in the plans for the Georgetown waterfront has been public concern over the desire of Georgetown University to construct a very large private boathouse on land that is currently part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.
  • DC may also finally get a vote in Congress, courtesy of a compromise between Del. Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-DC) and Rep. Thomas Davis (R-VA). The measure, if it passes, would allow the delegate from DC to vote both in committee and on the House floor, and would add an at-large representative to Utah's Congressional delegation, bringing the total House voting population to 437 instead of the current 435. Update: The bill has been introduced.
  • Riders on Metro this weekend need to be aware of station closings due to track work on the Blue and Yellow lines. Metro birders might want to take this into consideration when planning their outings.
  • If you have not done so already, take a look at some of the responses to the Most Beautiful Birds meme. Some have excellent photography and explanations for their picks.