27 February 2011

Grand Cormoran à la pêche dans le Petit Rhône

Un grand Cormoran (Phalacrocorax carbo) au pied d'un pont surplombant le petit Rhône à Arles

Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) down a bridge over the Rhône in Arles

Great Cormoran in Arles, France

25 February 2011

House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus

Originally native to Mexico, the House Finch was imported during the 1940's into North America.

To avoid prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, many dealers when confronted by game wardens or regulators would let the birds free.  House Finches have now naturalized into Florida.

Scientific Name:  Carpodacus mexicanus
Common Name:  House Finch

Carpodacus mexicanus, Male

Carpodacus mexicanus, Male

Carpodacus mexicanus, Female

24 February 2011

Urban Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis

Pelicans have adapted their lives to most Urban seaside areas, taking advantage of readily available food.

To me, Pelicans are a majestic bird, prehistoric in appearance, fun, almost comical to watch.

Urban Nature at its seaside finest.

Scientific Name:  Pelecanus occidentalis
Common Name:  Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis, January 2011, Mayport, Florida

22 February 2011

Shorty's Mate - Urban Red Tail Hawks - Buse à queue rousse - Today's Photos

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

21 February 2011

The Resilient Pitangus Sulphuratus

Do you recognize this proud feathered fellow on the left? If you tell me you've never seen such bird, and you live or have been to somewhere on this Planet, from the tropics to the equator lines, I will tell you that there is a strong possibility that at least one of this type has already seen you.

photo by Luis A. Florit

Pitangus sulphuratus, the bird's scientific name, derives from pitanga (surinam cherry) fruit and from its sulfur yellow belly color. It has a popular and onomatopoeic name in different languages and countries because of its exuberant BEE-tee-WEE call; in Portuguese: bem-te-vi (I saw you well), in Spanish: bien-te-veo (I see you well); in French: qu'est ce (what is...), in German: Schwefeltyrann (sulfur tyrant), in Japanese, in Russian and so on....Of course, in English, it's the great kiskadee.

The great kiskadee is a conspicuous bird. It is almost omnivorous and hunts like a shrike, or flycatcher, waiting on an open perch high in a tree to sally out to catch insects in flight, or to pounce upon rodents and similar small vertebrates. It will also take prey and some fruit from vegetation by gleaning and jumping for it or ripping it off in mid-hover, and occasionally dives for fish or tedpoles in shallow water; making it one of the few fishing passerines.

photos: Luiz Álvaro & Flavio Cruvinel

This alert and aggressive bird uses its strong
and maneuverable flight as a good effect when it feels annoyed by raptors. Even much larger birds are attacked by the great kiskadee; usually by diving down or zooming straight at them while they are in mid-air.

The great kiskadee is commonly used in the control
of invasive species and is of large importance for
sowing seeds in urban areas.

mobbing a hawk - Wikipedia

The bem-te-vi is the most popular bird in Brazil. Maybe all along Latin America, as well; for it can be seen in most biomes and urban sites. Also, its amazing adaptability seems to be an infinite source for scientists.

I personally have good experiences with bem-te-vis. One of them is for their having killed my problems with my circardian cycle.

Daylight saving time ended yesterday in many states of Brazil, and friends were commenting on the delight of an extra hour and how the change in the chronological clock always affects their biological ones. I know nothing about this anymore. Whether it is part of my karma or not, in the dense urban environment where I happen to live; no matter the season, disregarding the height of my window, from where everyday there's a stubborn 'dude' with a yellow belly, blowing his throat loudly, in mornings' first light. There he goes: bem-te-vi, bem-te-vi. The wise feathered fellow knows I like to watch the sunrise.....

19 February 2011

Shorty & Mate, Today's Photos

Buteo jamaicensis

Buteo jamaicensis
Buteo jamaicensis

Today's photos of the mating pair of Red Tail Hawks living near the Green Roof!

15 February 2011

Les Figuiers de l'église des Carmes-Déchaussés, Arles

Pour continuer la série sur cette église d'une autre époque, voici quelques images des figuiers qui ont pris place dans le bâtiment - bel exemple de nature urbaine sauvage !

To continue the series on this abandoned French church, here are some images of fig trees that have taken place in the building - fine example of wild urban nature !

13 February 2011

Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula and the Hummingbird Feeder

My Mom and Dad have a hummingbird feeder hanging just outside their kitchen window.

It is always a treat to watch the birds come to the feeder.

Yesterday Mom sent me this photo of a persistent Oriole who wanted the nectar also.  He stayed and drank for quite some time.

You never know what birds you will see int he city!

According to Wikipedia, the Baltimore Oriole is so named because of the resemblance or the bird's colors to Lord Baltimore.

Baltimore Oriole

12 February 2011

Latin American Green Cities

Latin America's rural challenges
such as Amazonian deforestation, often receive a great amount of attention from the media, environmentalists and other observers around the world. However, the rapid rise in city populations of Latin America has had economic, political and social implications; and environmental considerations are a major part of this integrated puzzle.

- Latin America comprehends the most urbanized areas of the developing world.
- 81% of the population in Latin America live in cities.
- Traffic jam, land use policies, waste disposal and air quality are more immediate issues to the majority of the Latin American residents than the matters of rural areas.

full study

Belo Horizonte Bogotá Brasília Buenos Aires

Curitiba Guadalajara Lima Medellin

Mexico City Monterrey Montevideo

Porto Alegre Puebla Quito

Rio de Janeiro Santiago São Paulo

Nine of the 17 cities assessed, derive more than 80% of their electrical energy from renewable sources (São Paulo 100%); policies on green spaces are widespread; Curitiba, the sustainability pioneer and the birthplace of "bus rapid transit" (BTR); São Paulo, harvesting methane to power the city and the state's climate change policies; Belo Horizonte, a leader in solar energy; Buenos Aires, setting targets for the public buildings; Rio de Janeiro, expanding cycle lanes and green corridors; Puebla, turning waste into cash; Porto Alegre, delivering "water the right way" are some of the highlights in the study.

The missing link: There is no clear relationship between overall environmental performance and the city income. For example: Curitiba, which ranked above average in the index overall, is within 15% of the income for three other cities with widely differing performances: Rio de Janeiro (above average) , Porto Alegre (average) and Guadalajara (below average). This contrasts sharply with the strong link between environmental performance and GDP per person found in similar EIU studies, including the European Green City Index and initial research taking place in Asia.

Still, according to the study, much has to be improved on transportation and urban sprawl issues. Experts predict that the infrastructure of most of these cities will come under increasing pressure from larger populations and the extreme weather effects of climate change; including floodings , droughts and storms. In addition, the growth of cities, outside of the formal planning framework will also continue. Adressing these challenges will require a broad, long term vision to balance urban redevelopment with restoring nature.

No matter how hard we try to behave in "sustainable terms" to avoid big loss, Nature seems determined to recover from what was taken from it; and the centuries relying on studies and on civilization did not provide regular citizens with the access to the science that would prevent them from having their lives reconducted by extreme events.

The Policeman and His Car

Shorty the Red Tailed hawk lives in a tree up high in our neighbor's backyard.

Shorty's mate has just given birth to a very loud and very hungry chick.

Chick stay's impatiently hungry all day and Shorty and his mate must chase down all the mice, snakes, squirrels and fish from the creek to feed the juvenile Buteo jamaicensis.

We drove up yesterday and Shorty was perched on my neighbor Steve's Police auto.

Adaptation is key to survival for wildlife in the Urban Core.

Buteo jamaicensis - Neighborhood Mice Police

Shorty, Red Tailed Hawk

Mating Pair, Red Tailed Hawks

10 February 2011

Les ruines de l'église des Carmes-Déchaussés, Arles

Les Carmes déchaussés ou Petits Carmes s'établissent en Arles en 1647. 
Sur un terrain acheté à l' extérieur de la ville, l' église est construite entre 1673 et 1678.  La voûte s' écroule en 1801. Au milieu du 19e siècle, le percement du canal de navigation d' Arles à Port-de-Bouc et la construction du quai modifient totalement ce secteur. 
Les bâtiments du couvent qui entourait l' église sont démolis. 
Seule une moitié de l' église, sans toiture, subsiste. Elle conserve encore une partie de son décor sculpté du 17e siècle (frise de rinceaux, têtes de profil, ...) .
Il ne subsiste aujourd’hui que sa façade dégradée, isolée par l’urbanisme moderne, en bordure de la voie rapide Marseille-Nîmes, à côté du Canal de Craponne.

Et depuis des années la nature y reprend doucement ses droits 

An abandoned church of Discalced Carmelites in Arles ... since years nature takes its rights gently

Je vous montrerai la végétation plus en détail dans d'autres articles
I'll show the vegetation in more detail in a next article

09 February 2011

Pigeon arlésien

Un grand classique souvent mal-aimé en ville : le pigeon ...

A classic, often unpopular in the city: the pigeon ...

Urban Birds, Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias

St. Augustine, Florida Coastal Marshes, February 8, 2011
Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, by Kevin Shea

08 February 2011

Prostrate Rosemay Blooming Today on the Living Roof - Urban Beauty by Mother Nature

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.

06 February 2011

Urban Oceanscapes

Jacksonville is built on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sometimes I stand and look across the horizon and wonder about all the nature and green roofs in Europe.

Then the seagull calls and distracts me back to reality.

05 February 2011

Le Mur du Canal de Craponne, Arles

Ce n'est pas vraiment un des plus beaux endroits à visiter à Arles ...
Not really one of the nicest places to visit in Arles ....

Mais en regardant le mur d'un peu plus près on découvre mille et une choses intéressantes :)
But looking at the wall a little closer we find lots of beautiful and interesting things  :)

03 February 2011

Carolina Wren and the Sugar Snap Pea Trellis

Thryothorus ludovicianus
Feb. 2, 2011
Jacksonville, FL US
Carolina Wren and the Sugar Snap Pea Trellis

02 February 2011

Tillandsia usneoides - Spanish Moss is Uniquely American

The plant commonly know as Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides, is an epiphyte and grows across the Southeastern US,

Hanging from trees in Cities, along Roads and throughout Urban Neighborhoods, Spanish Moss takes water and nutrients from the air.

Other common species in the Genus Tillandsia include air orchids, such as Bromeliads.

Tillandsia usneoides

Tillandsia usneoides

Spanish mos can eventually cover a tree so thoroughly as to prevent the availability of adequate light levels and the tree may die. 

Tillandsia usneoides

Tillandsia usneoides

Spanish moss is not selective as to types of host trees, however is seen often on Live Oaks, Cypress, Red Maple, Pine, Crepe Myrtle and others.

In rare instances, when Spanish moss grows too thickly, the plant masses fuse and take on a life of their own, even walking about (see photo below).

Mutant Tillandsia usneoides

Spanish moss helps define Florida's swamps.

Flying Rivers / Rivières Volantes

When you look at clouds in the sky, what do you see?
Some climate scientists see flying rivers.

Watch the video and know why:

The term flying rivers was coined by the scientist from INPE (National Space Research Institute) in Brazil, José Marengo, to describe the low levels of jets of air currents that carry water vapor from the Amazon forest, down the Eastern lands of the Andes up to Northern Argentina.

The Flying Rivers Project aims to investigate and to map the connectiveness of the rain water, coming from the Amazon forest, with the multiple factors that build the Brazilian economy.

For us, dwellers of the Southeastern Latin America, dependent on the water of the North of Brazil, flying rivers are messages from the Amazon, as a reminder of how much we should care for trees, no matter how far they may seem to be. For us, flying rivers are literally part of our urban nature.

When you look at clouds in the sky, what do you see?
I see the Amazon Forest.

01 February 2011

Laurent Geslin - Safari urbain

Des renards à la fac des sciences, des hérons devant la préfecture,des faucons pèlerins dans le clocher d'une église, des fouines dans les greniers, des abeilles sur le toit de la mairie et de l'opéra...  dans la plupart des villes du monde, la faune sauvage reprend ses droits.

Foxes in college science, herons front of the prefecture, peregrine falcons in the steeple of a church, squints in attics, bees on the roof of city hall and opera ... in most cities in the world, wildlife reasserts itself.






  Have a look here  - Regardez Safari Urbain sur le site de Laurent Geslin - c'est magnifique !

Merci à cet article de Ouest France de m'avoir fait connaître ce magnifique livre et son talentueux photographe Laurent Geslin.