Saturday, August 1, 2009

Talk about cryptic - a skimmer chick update

In the nature world, cryptic refers to a characteristic such as coloration that allows an animal to conceal itself against its background - critter camouflage. The little skimmer chicks that we've been talking about for several weeks could be an illustration for that definition. Margie sends the following good news, photos, and explanation: The chicks are growing fast and apparently thriving. There are three for sure. The little guy hiding in the depression in the sand shows up clearly in the photo, but in real life is so well camouflaged that you absolutely cannot see him/her. I was using max zoom for the photo. (Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Friday at 10:46 A.M., we heard the welcome twin sonic booms signaling a shuttle landing right on schedule (10:48). I was watching from work on Florida Today's live NASA TV feed. It was mesmerizing to watch the shuttle's progress on the map - that craft was flat moving! Friday night, I was reading Misti's blog (see link below) - she and husband Chris live in south Florida, somewhere near Big Cypress National Preserve. They were in Little Slough when the shuttle whizzed by. These are her words: Around 10:42 ('cause we looked at the watch right after), we heard a really loud boom, Boom! Boom!, twice in quick succession. In about a two second span of time we'd looked at each other and I thought thunder, then gunshot (which I looked around the slough for a series of men with large rifles), then atomic bomb (not that I know what an atomic bomb sounds like other than in a movie, but I thought maybe one was dropped on Miami), then I got my sanity again and we were discussing the possibilities when I remembered reading that Endeavour was supposed to return home today. Yep, it was the sonic boom from the shuttle re-entering the atmosphere over Florida. If you check that landing time at the Cape, it was five minutes after we'd heard the sound. Talk about flying through the air! It was probably just as loud or louder than thunder that occurs when lightning strikes very, very near you, in fact, probably much louder than that. I mean, we were standing there in the peaceful summer morning, not much making noise other than some locusts and some far off airplanes, when we heard it. So, talk about an interesting morning. (Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

As always, we welcome the astronauts home and congratulate NASA and all involved for yet another successful mission.

Reference Links:
Oceanic Wilderness (Misti's blog)
NASA (Shuttle landing story)


Cactus Jack Splash said...

Darling little chick. Love the photos.
Glad the shuttle landed safely, I always worry about them.
Thanks for keeping us posted

Martha Wolfe said...

How exciting! The baby skimmer/s have hatched! How many have you seen?

DickD said...

Marge - I am way overdue to comment on the great effort you put into your timely web site. Your professional touch is evident and the articles show deep feelings of all that happens in FL. Your use of images demonstrates your connection to Mother Nature and support by other professionals.

Your web site just keeps improving!

Friend & Classmate :)