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Honduran white bat, Ectophylla alba; Ghost Bat, rare, threatened species,...

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Caption: Honduran white bat, Ectophylla alba; Ghost Bat, rare, threatened species, has snow white fur and a yellow nose and ears. It is tiny, only 3.7-4.7cm long. The only member of the genus Ectophylla, it is found in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama at elevations from sea level to 700 m. It feeds at least in part on fruit. this bat will use the leaf of the large heliconia plant to form a tent. It does so by cutting the side veins of the plant that extend out from the midrib; this causes the leaf to droop along the stem, making a tent. The little white bats then cling to the inner plant upside-down in small colonies of around six, although larger groupings have been reported. Unlike most bats that do make tents - the Honduran White Bat will not flee if disturbed lightly by looking under the leaf - they will only flee when the stem itself is disturbed causing a brief flurry of activity. The advantage of having their white fur is postulated to be the reason - as when sunlight filters through the leaf they look green, and so by not moving they will go un-noticed by possible predators from below. Tortuguero, Costa Rica, Central America, BatW1781CopyZs1gz.jpg
Location: Costa Rica
Copyright: © Ann & Rob Simpson / www.snphotos.com
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AGPix ID: AGPix_RoAnSi18_1110
Photo Alignment: 35mm (vertical)
Comments: Ann & Rob Simpson - Simpson's Nature Photography, 1932 E Refuge Church Rd., Stephens City, VA 22655 Ph & Fax 540 869 2051 - AnnRobSimpson@snphotos.com - www.agpix.com/snphotos

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Ann & Rob Simpson
1932 E Refuge Church Rd.
Stephens City VA 22655-9607

Phone:
540 869-2051

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540 869-2051

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annrobsimpson@snphotos.com

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Kirtland's Warbler, Dendroica kirtlandii,  The endangered Kirtland's Warbler is one of the rarest members of the wood warbler (Parulidae) family.  It nests in just a few counties in Michigan's northern Lower and Upper peninsulas, in Wisconsin and the province of Ontario and, currently, nowhere else on Earth. Its nests generally are concealed in mixed vegetation of grasses and shrubs below the living branches of five to 20 year old jack pine (Pinus banksiana) forests. North America; Canada; Central Canada {Central provinces}; Ontario; Point Pelee National Park, one of the best bird migration concentration spots in the world, animals; wildlife {undomesticated animals}; birds {avain, aves, bird}; warbler; Kirtland's Warbler, Dendroica kirtlandii, endangered species. The jack pine forest community provides the primary nesting habitat for the Kirtland's warbler. This forest species is adapted to dry land conditions and has been present on the sandy outwash plains of northern Michigan since the retreat of the Wisconsin ice sheet about 14,000 years ago. A narrow, band of jack pine habitat can be found across the north central states and the province of Ontario.  The Kirtland's warbler has very restrictive habitat requirements. In addition to being ground nesters, Kirtland's warblers prefer jack pine stands over 80 acres in size. Those stands, which are most suitable for breeding, are characterized by having dense clumps of trees interspersed with numerous small, grassy openings, sedges, ferns, and low shrubs. The birds nest on the ground under the living branches of the small trees. Jack pine stands are used for nesting when trees are about five feet high or about five to eight years of age. Nesting continues in these stands until the lower branches of the trees start dying, or when the trees reach a height of 16 to 20 feet (about 16 to 20 years of age). A breeding pair of warblers usually requires about six to ten acres for their nesting territory, although as little as 1.5 acres may be adequate under optimal conditions.  Nearly all nesting occurs in jack pine stands where the soil type is Grayling sand. This is an extremely well drained sandy soil with low humus and nutrient content. Water percolates through the sand so quickly that nests seldom are flooded during a rainstorm. This soil also supports the plant community required for nesting habitat.  Fire always has been an important disturbance factor in the jack pine barrens. The young jack pines upon which the Kirtland's warbler depends grow after fire removes older trees and rejuvenates the forest. Heat from fire opens jack pine cones to release seeds. Fire also prepares the ground for the germination of the seeds.  Historically, the jack pine barrens were maintained by naturally occurring wildfires that swept through the region. The jack pine held little value for the lumbermen who came in search of white pine. Once logging activity ended in the 1880's, the continuing forest fires helped increase the range of jack pine, which created more nesting habitat. As a result, the Kirtland's warbler population reached its peak between 1885 and 1900.  With the advent of modern fire protection and suppression efforts, forest management practices did not emphasize the regeneration of jack pine. Consequently, there was a drastic decline of available warbler nesting habitat, and its numbers plummeted. In order to provide appropriate habitat for the Kirtland's warbler, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources created four areas within state and national forests to be managed specifically for Kirtland's warbler nesting habitat between 1957 and 1962. By 1973, these areas contained 53% of the nesting population.  It was clear that providing more jack pine areas would be necessary to increase the Kirtland's warbler population. During the mid 1970s, some 134,000 acres of jack pine were designated for management as Kirtland's warbler nesting habitat within 24 management areas of state and national forests. Additional lands were added through the 1990's to bring the total public land specifically set aside for the Kirtland's warbler to more than 150,000 acres.  Jack pine stands are managed by logging, burning, seeding, and replanting on a rotational basis to provide approximately 38,000 acres of productive nesting habitat at all times. By carrying these stands to a 50 year rotational age, nesting habitat can be maintained for the warblers with little sacrifice to the commercial harvest of jack pine. These jack pine stands also provide habitat for the upland sandpiper, Eastern bluebird, white tailed deer, black bear and snowshoe hare, and for several protected prairie plants, including the Allegheny plum, Hill's thistle, and rough fescue. Unfortunately, the jack pine habitat also provides a home for the brown headed cowbird, an undesirable nest parasite. The brown headed cowbird (Molothrus ater), once called the "buffalo bird," was common in the open plains. Cowbirds followed the vast herds of American bison and then cattle, eating the insects that swarmed around the hoofs of the grazing herds. Unable to move with the wandering herds while maintaining a nest, these birds developed an unusual behavior; they began to lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. The cowbird chicks, which hatch earlier than most songbirds, are more aggressive and will out-compete their nest mates for food. This added competition reduces the number of non cowbird young that fledge.  As land in Michigan was opened up during logging and agricultural development, cowbirds moved into the new areas, and the Kirtland's warbler was an extremely vulnerable host. The egg laying activity of the cowbirds began to impact the Kirtland's warbler population.  Studies have revealed that when one cowbird egg is laid in a warbler nest, only one to three warbler chicks may survive. If two cowbird eggs are laid and hatched in a warbler's nest, none of the warbler chicks survive. Heavy cowbird parasitism is believed to have been a major factor in the decline of the Kirtland's warbler population. In 1972, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Michigan Audubon Society, began controlling cowbirds with large live traps that are placed in Kirtland's nesting areas during spring and early summer. The traps, which are baited with millet, water, and several live cowbirds, are checked daily and any trapped cowbirds are euthanized. Non target species are released unharmed. Since 1972, an average of 4,000 cowbirds per year have been removed from Kirtland's warbler breeding areas.  Kirtland's warbler reproductive success has improved dramatically since cowbird trapping began. The nest parasitism rate has declined from the 1966 71 average of 69% to less than 5%. Average clutch size has increased from 2.3 eggs per nest to more than four. The average number of young warblers fledged per nest increased from less than one to almost three birds during the same period. The 2002 annual census counted over 1000 singing males for the second year in a row. endangered species,
© Ann & Rob Simpson
Asian food; Thai food, Bangkok's Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Numerous shops selling traditional goods, and is especially known as a gastronomic destination. It was founded in 1782 when the city was established as the capital of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, and served as the home of the mainly Teochew immigrant Chinese population, who soon became the city's dominant ethnic group. Originally centred around Sampheng, the core of Chinatown now lies along Yaowarat Road, which serves as its main artery and sometimes lends its name to the entire area, which is often referred to as Yaowarat. Chinatown's entire area is roughly coterminous with Samphanthawong District, and includes neighbourhoods such as Song Wat and Talat Noi along the Chao Phraya River, and Charoen Chai, Khlong Thom and Nakhon Khasem along Charoen Krung Road.Bangkok Chao Phraya River delta, Bangkok  is the capital and most populous city of the Kingdom of Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep. The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq mi) in the Chao Phraya River delta in Central Thailand, and has a population of over 8 million, or 12.6 percent of the country's population. Over 14 million people (22.2 percent) lived within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region at the 2010 census, making Bangkok an extreme primate city, significantly dwarfing Thailand's other urban centres in terms of importance. Limited roads, despite an extensive expressway network, together with substantial private car usage, have led to chronic and crippling traffic congestion, which caused severe air pollution in the 1990s. The city has since turned to public transport in an attempt to solve this major problem. Thailand, Asia; Pacific Rim; THAI48325_130.jpg
© Ann & Rob Simpson