This lovely Mimus saturninus was very vocal in Buenos Aires’s Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve. It’s great place to walk and go birding, and it was a marvellous start to our trip to Antarctica, almost three years ago.
The taxonomy of Phalacrocorax atriceps is apparently very complicated. Much easier to say is that this one was quite happily settled between Adelié and Gentoo penguins, and getting on with breeding on Petermann Island in Antarctica.
It’s a slightly odd picture of a Zonotrichia capensis, but unfortunately I didn’t have much time. When we were in Tierra del Fuego, we only spent a few minutes at a lovely lake bordering Argentina and Chile in the National Park near Ushuaia. So I’m very glad I saw at least the sparrow’s back.
Today is Penguin Awareness Day. So, I proudly present an Aptenodytes patagonicus. This one was wandering around South Georgia with lots of fur seals for company, plus tens of thousands of his/her own kind in the rookery. If you want to do something good for penguins you can go to www.penguinwatch.org and count them. It’s easy and fun!
At some point last August, I was kindly asked by a friend and former student of mine, Milo, to consider giving a talk at an upcoming conference called Dell3i. It was supposed to be something akin to a TED-talk; and after a week or so of weighing pros and cons I decided to say yes.
I want to use this post to do two things: firstly, thank all the people involved who helped me preparing my talk, and secondly give some sources for some of the ideas I mentioned. The reason for the latter is that I drew on a lot of things I have heard and read or experienced over the years, but some people were particularly influential. And I should probably add that this is not a Dell-sponsored post.
So, thank you (in no particular order):
- Daniel, Monika and Milo for the rehearsals
- Astrid for a wonderful walk through Oxford
- Mark for being a (mostly) willing victim
- Rhiannon, Emily, Pavol, Eva, Barbora, David, Lucia and Alica for listening
- my colleagues and students for encouraging me
- Marcel for the book voucher (it’s been put to very good use)
If you’ve been following this blog for longer, you’ll know that I’m doing volunteer work for the citizen science platform Zooniverse. The two photos in the talk, about Galaxy Zoo and Penguin Watch, are copyright of those respective projects.
As mentioned in the talk, Yuval Harari‘s ideas from his book ‘Sapiens’ are fascinating. I took part in his MOOC a few years ago, and I hope he’ll do a similar project again in the future.
Other people whose blogs or books I’ve recently read or who I’ve heard speaking and who had some bearing on this talk were Richard Dawkins, Tayie Selasi, Ann Morgan and Tom Hart. Any factual errors are my own 🙂 .
Now, what was it like? As a teacher, I’m used to being in front of people (I’ve taught classes of 50+ students, tricky to ‘un-front’ that), but having an audience of 100+ and on top of that the cameras was a wee bit otherworldly. And exhilarating, I’ve got to admit. If you want to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys93TAyNfHY&feature=youtu.be
This family of Cygnus melancoryphus was frolicking in a river in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. I only saw them from a bus, hence the blurry photo. But since they are the biggest waterfowl in South America, you can still see the three distinct colours in the adults.