Four fun facts about puffins

I think we can all agree that puffins are pretty darn cute, but here are some fun facts to help you get to know these avian clowns a little better.

 

1. Puffins only develop their spectacularly coloured bills and striking black and white plumage during breeding season, the rest of the year they spend in ‘eclipse’ plumage.

Puffin adultnon breeding

2. Puffins nest and rear their chicks in burrows and are reluctant to give away their location when being watched. This often gives the impression that the adult has ‘forgotten’ where it’s burrow is, but it is actually a clever trick to avoid chick predation.

Puffin sheltering in its burrow

3. The proper name for puffin chick is a ‘puffling’ and they are ludicrously fluffy.

A guillemot chick, sporting a black down coat for the summer

4. There are four species of puffin, with the award for the most fabulous eyebrows going to the tufted puffin.

Tufted Puffin

 

10 amazing micro animals you wont believe actually exist

10. Pygmy seahorse
Tiny seahorses which inhabit Sea fan corals (Gorgonians). There are several species, each perfectly camouflaged to it’s corresponding species of coral.

9. Pygmy anteater
Also known as the silky anteater
8. Barbados Threadsnake
The smallest species of snake currently know, it is blind and endemic to the Island of Barbados
7. Pygmy Marmoset
This is the world smallest primate.
6. Bumblebee bat
This is the world’s smallest mammal weighing about as much as a penny.
5. Paedophryne amanuensis
This is the world’s smallest frog only discovered in 2012, it lives in the leaf litter of Papua New Guinea an island in the South Pacific with a huge number of endemic species.
4. Pygmy leaf Chameleon
One of my personal favourites, also endemic to Madagascar, living in the leaf litter eating tiny flies.
3. Pygmy possum
There are 5 species of extant pygmy possum all endemic to Australia.
 
2. Virgin Islands dwarf gecko
A beautiful little gecko endemic to the Virgin Islands.
1.Yellow Capped pygmy parrot
And one for luck… The musky rat kangaroo, the world’s smallest species of kangaroo.

Oddity advocacy

If your thinking ‘what on earth is that?’ then this is for you. No it is not a walking pine cone, or some sort of evolutionary joke, it is a pangolin, one of my all time favourite creatures and a perfect illustration of my point.

Whenever people ask me what my favourite animal is I usually say ‘Pangolin’ and the response I get from about 90% of people is a blank expression. I have become known amongst my friends and colleagues as ‘eccentric’ namely because I spend a fair bit of time sending photos to them of caecelians and binturongs.

The ‘charismatic mega fauna’ such as tigers and polar bears have historically gotten much publicity, although they are very important in fundraising campaigns and conservation organisations do some great work conserving whole ecosystems, let’s not forget about the other species. The weird and wonderful, the odd and the ugly (often highly endangered) creatures than many people may not have even heard of.

I started a tumblr blog focusing on beautiful images and especially the weird and wonderful creatures that (hopefully) people may not have heard of. But an interesting thing I found was that many of the species I had never heard of are critically endangered.

Please also check out the below small sample below of the many species which are going extinct without (many of) us noticing.

My Top 5 critically endangered animals you may have never heard of

5.  Atlantic Goliath Grouper – one of the most critically endangered fish species in the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Red-crowned roof turtle, just one of many species of freshwater turtle in dangerous decline, critically endangered.

3. Cuban greater funnel eared bat, critically endangered less than 100 mature individuals in the wild

2. Santa Caterina’s guinea pig, critically endangered, about 40-60 individuals left

IUCN meeting: 100 most critically endangered species

1. Madagascar Pochard, critically endangered, less than 20 individuals left in the wild. This species is the rarest duck in the world.

Thanks for reading and why not have a look yourself there are hundreds of critically endangered species out there and they all need our help!

Thanks for reading,

p.s. I am well aware that I have not covered invertebrates in this post, but I thought better than trying to squeeze them in I would devote a whole future post to them..

A picture is worth a thousand words? – modern day collection

Mother’s little headful

 

Like many other people, I am a subscriber to the BBC Wildlife Magazine and just received my annual Wildlife Photographer of the year portfolio, beautiful as always. Now they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but, which words?

Victorian gentlemen naturalists such as Charles Darwin, collected, eggs, insects and animals which were stuffed, and this fascination for the natural world still persists today, but- thank goodness- in a more sustainable form.

Humans seem to be obsessed with collection, whether it’s collecting money, cars, clothes, stamps, and this translates to the natural world too. Twitchers collect bird sightings, photographers collect images, moments in time, and the more difficult the moment to capture or the rarer the bird, the greater the accolade.

But wildlife photography seems to be evolving, its not only about capturing that perfect moment, or that elusive creature anymore. The photos in the portfolio that comes through my door every year are getting more political, more evocative.

The categories give you an intimate insight into the animal’s world and behaviour, whether it is up close and personal with sparring jaguar or the exhaustion of a noddy tern caught in a spiders web after a long migration. The beautiful images show the animals in the context of their environment and more often than not are highly endangered, coincidence, I don’t think so.

This competition can be a real chance to inform and educate as well as bring wonder at the natural world. Often a least photo will usually feature a polar bear, the poster child of global warming. A couple of years ago, many of the photos featured oiled birds, this year, an Amur leopard and cubs the most critically endangered big cat and a gruesome scene of ivory poaching.

So, enjoy the photographs, yes, marvel at the nature world, yes, but we should not be complacent, these amazing images highlight the beauty if the natural world, are we are it’s keepers. If we fail to conserve, protect and respect, these wonders will be gone, and in the not too distant future.

For a sneak peak of this years entrants and winners, please follow this link http://bbc.in/19GfXyK

Thanks for reading,

Lucy

Photo credit Udayan Rao Pawar

#conservation #wildlife photography