Osprey nest in Montana, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Hellgate 26 05 2016

With thanks to Riverside Health Care Center, Univ of MontanaBiological Sciences & Cornell Lab of Ornithology for the cam feed.

New dinosaur species discovered ‘accidentally’


This video says about itself:

Judith’s Discovery—New Horned Dinosaur

18 May 2016

Once a dinosaur fossil is found, it’s quite a process to get the bones out of the ground and then prepare them for research and display. See how this was done for the horned dinosaur identified in 2016 at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Its scientific name is Spiclypeus shipporum. Its nickname is Judith, although we don’t know if it was female or male.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Novice fossil collector in Montana ‘accidentally’ discovers a new dinosaur species

A retired nuclear physicist made the ‘accidental’ discovery in 2005

Feliks Garcia, New York

An amateur Montana fossil hunter stumbled across a major discovery more than a decade ago when bones he found turned out to be a new species of dinosaur, researchers announced.

Retired nuclear physicist Bill Shipp discovered the leg bone for “Judith”,  known to scientists as Spiclypeus shipporum, after he hired an amateur paleontologist to teach him how to search for fossils, The Associated Press reports.

Judith, named for the Judith River rock formation near where it was found,  is believed to be a close family member of the more well known horned dinosaur, the triceratops, researchers said in a report published in the PLOS ONE scientific journal. It lived in what would become Montana nearly 7million [sic; about 76 million] years ago.

“I found it accidentally on purpose,” Mr Shipp told the AP. “I was actually looking for dinosaur bones, but with no expectation of actually finding any.”

Researchers found evidence of infection in the 15-foot, four ton plant-eater’s leg, that research[er] Jordan Mallon said would have left the animal vulnerable to predators.

“It’s an exciting story, because it’s a new species, and yet we have this sort of pathetic individual that suffered throughout its lifetime,” Mr Mallon, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, said.

“If you’re hobbling along on three limbs, you’re probably not going to be able to keep up with the herd.”

Black rosy-finch foraging, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

27 January 2016

A Black Rosy-Finch forages along the ground in Montana. These finches are among the least studied of North American birds because of their often inaccessible habitat in the high mountains of the central U.S. They eat primarily seeds and insects.

Wilson’s phalarope foraging, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

27 January 2016

Wilson’s Phalarope forage in Montana. Note their characteristic spinning, which creates whirlpools in the nutrient-rich waters, stirring up invertebrate prey and bringing it to the surface.

Eared grebes with chicks, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

27 January 2016

Eared Grebe chicks get a ride from one parent and are fed by the other. Chicks are capable of climbing, swimming, and eating within an hour after hatching. However, their downy feathers are not waterproof like adult feathers, and young chicks rely on their parents to keep them warm.

Video recorded by Timothy Barksdale in Montana.

Eocene fossil ant discovery in Montana, USA


Crematogaster aurora queen. This specimen is the oldest known species in its genus

From Smithsonian Science News in the USA:

New Montana ant species emerge from 46-million-year-old rock

By John Barrat

8 January 2016

She was a stunning brown queen; drowned some 46 million years ago in a shallow lake in Montana. Her remains, recently recovered along the Flathead River, consist of a shadowy silhouette pressed upon a piece of reddish brown shale. Named Crematogaster aurora, this winged female ant is the only known member of her species. Her discovery is raising eyebrows among scientists who study ants.

“Molecular data from living ants suggested that the genus Crematogaster had evolved more recently,” explains Dale Greenwalt, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. “Now, this 46-million-year-old specimen is requiring scientists to completely rethink when this genus and its related forms appeared. It is obvious it has been around much longer than previously calculated.”

Crematogaster aurora is one of 12 new prehistoric ant species discovered in Kishenehn Formation shale in northwestern Montana by Greenwalt. They are newly described and named in a paper in the journal Sociobiology by Greenwalt and ant expert J.S. LaPolla of Towson University in Maryland. All 12 represent species new to science, known only from the locality in Montana. All are long extinct yet some represent genera that still exist.

These Kishenehn fossils are from the middle Eocene (46 million years ago), a period of great interest for understanding the “evolution of ants and in particular, their march to terrestrial dominance,” the researchers say. It was during the Eocene that many of today’s ecologically dominant and species rich ant families emerged.

Factors that led to this diversification included the evolution and appearance of many new species of flowering plants, as well as high temperatures—in the early Eocene it was as much as 15 degrees C. warmer worldwide than it is today. “A lot of people also think the meteorite that caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs and ended the Cretaceous kind of reset the table for a lot of new things to evolve and diversify,” Greenwalt adds. “This maybe what happened with the ants.”

While LaPolla and Greenwalt name 12 new fossil species in their paper, the specimens are from a much larger pool of 249 ant fossils examined for the study. The majority of the ants discovered are alates, “which are simply winged forms of the ants,” Greenwalt says. “Workers and soldiers don’t have wings and pretty much stayed on land.”

The alates were able to fly over the lake that formed the Kishenehn shale and many of them fell into the water and ended up on the bottom. Almost all of the fossil ants in the Kishenehn are winged, many of them queens.

By comparing Kishenehn ant species and genera with other North American Eocene fossil deposits such as the Green River Deposit along the Green River in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah (48 million years old) and the Florissant Formation in Colorado (34 million years old) scientists can gradually piece together the abundance and distribution of North American ants during this period.

What can the Eocene epoch teach us about today’s global warming? Here.

Rare dragonfly in southern Netherlands


This video from the USA says about itself:

Finding Uncommon Dragonfly Species

Mud Lake is a subalpine fen near Skalkaho Pass, Montana. Fens are infrequent, as such the community of species using this habitat are
uncommon to rare. I have visited this site several times looking for two particular dragonfly species found here: Lake Darner (Aeshna
eremita) and Subarctic Darner (Aeshna subarctica) [aka Bog Hawker]. This video captures the adventure and my happiness in finally finding and photographing them on September 9, 2013.

Translated from the Vlinderstichting in the Netherlands:

Monday, October 5th, 2015

In 2013 there already was a sighting of a bog hawker in the Kampina nature reserve in North Brabant province and this year they are seen again. That seems like this rare dragonfly is establishing itself there. They are otherwise only found in the northern half of the Netherlands.