Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Photo courtesy of -- 11/20/09

Bill Trankle, a faithful correspondent from Indianapolis, sent in the following note. Perhaps some reader has some more information on the subject:

Marie, as so often happens, I was struck by some of Lincoln Karim's photos of the great horned owl you New Yorkers were fortunate enough to have visiting last November; specifically I noticed for the first time that Le Grand Duc is zygodactylic (two toes on either side of a perch). Since hawks, falcons, eagles, and most raptors exhibit anisodactyly, with three toes forward and one back, I was wondering why some owls have evolved this configuration of toes. Wikipedia ( indicates that zygodactyly is usually found in arboreal birds that clamber through foliage or climb tree trunks; while I've seen GHOs in the past, I've not gotten the chance to observe them in forested areas, so I don't know if that's typical behavior for these birds.
He's a beauty, though, regardless of how he grips his limbs.

Bill Trankle

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day offering

Lola with twig heading for the nest -- the season is beginning -- 2/14/10
Photo courtesy of

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mysterious apparition in the park

What is this creature? asks Murray Head, the photographer.

My answer: A duck-billed pterobranch.

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow pix by Murray Head

The snowstorm lives on in memory...and in photography:

Bow Bridge in the snow

Preparation for the biggest snow ball fight The Park has ever seen! [2 photos below] I will not send the resulting pictures as I deem them too graphic for this column.

Sound Equipment... The operator was recording the
sound of snow falling in Evodia Fields, Really.
photos and captions by Murray Head -- 2/10/10