January 4th, 2009

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Where the Whales Are

Off the coast of East Timor is a dense gathering of cetaceans:

Positive: Global whale 'hot spot' discovered off East Timor
One of the world's highest concentrations of dolphins and whales -- many of them protected species -- has been discovered off the coast of East Timor, local and Australian researchers said on Wednesday. A 'hot spot' of marine cetaceans migrating through deep channels off the Timor coast, including blue and beaked whales, short-finned pilot whales, melon headed whales, and six dolphin species was uncovered in a study for the Timor government. 'We were all amazed to see such an abundance, diversity and density of cetaceans. Most of them are actually protected,' principal scientist Karen Edyvane told Reuters.


Ideally places like this would be protected immediately upon discovery. When it comes to environmental refuges, the most effective ones target places where endangered animals naturally congregate for some reason.
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Hawk on the Wing!

Just now I was standing at the kitchen window, putting away dishes, and watching a few dozen sparrows mob the birdfeeder hanging in a tree about ten feet away. Suddenly a redtail hawk swooped down through the flock, flying sideways -- whoosh, right in front of the window! -- then up into a walnut tree farther out in the yard. He missed, though.

I find it amusing that the hawks seem to think I've put out feeding stations for them, because the birdfeeders attract flocks of tasty tidbits. I've only seen the hawks in action a few times, but it's always exciting.