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If ever there was cinematic footage that left me feeling awestruck, humble, and infinitesimally insignificant at the same time, this is it. If you haven’t already had the pleasure of watching Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty’s Project Yosemite’s Yosemite in HD (Part I), prepare to be amazed.
Although it is curious how much like spiders we resemble when pinned to a cliff face with carabiners and rope (time – 1:52) or how prolific are the numbers of satellites and planes challenging shooting stars for supremacy in the night-sky (time – 2:34) – personally, the fireworks kick off when the sun drops and the stars pierce the night sky (time – 2:27), leaving me dizzy and reminding me of my precarious place on this swiftly tilting planet.
The buzz about Yosemite in HD Part II suggests a collaborative effort between Project Yosemite and The Muir Project, taking the cameras further afield to capture Yosemite in winter: more snow, more waterfalls, more remote. More awesome?
On a short hike this weekend into the East Bay Hills, we came across a shallow pond harboring a lone Pacific tree frog and several amphibian egg-masses. Among the assorted jellies in the water were those of Pacific tree frogs (Hyla regilla), western toads (Bufo boreas), and California red-legged frogs (Rana draytonii).
Egg-masses like these are a reliable calling card for the pond’s other inhabitants. Pacific tree frog eggs are usually deposited in small, thumb-sized clusters (not pictured). Western toads leave behind jelly streamers filled with what look like little chocolate sprinkles (at a distance, these streamers always remind me of an unwound Walkman cassette tape). California red-legged frogs, however, deposit large, grape fruit-sized clusters of eggs resembling transparent tapioca pearls (like the kind you find in boba bubble teas).
With the poor rainfall we’ve been experiencing, some of these eggs have a better chance of survival than others. In the topmost photo, the red-legged frog’s eggs (at center) are draped with ropes of toad eggs, all suspended loosely in the tules, free to move as the pond swells and drains into late spring. In contrast, the red-legged frog eggs in the lower photo are affixed to the tule stalk, leaving the uppermost eggs stranded in this anything-yet-but-wet-year’s dry spell.
(bio)•ac•cu•mu•la•tion: 1 : biological miscellany that has accumulated or has been accumulated 2 : the action or process of accumulating biological miscellany : the state of biological miscellany being or having been accumulated 3 : increase or growth of biological knowledge by addition esp. when continuous or repeated (~ of interest)
The (bio)accumulation blog is an outlet for the biological miscellany rattling around in my head. What does that mean? (bio)accumulation will be primarily regional, focusing on the natural world as it pertains to the history and natural history of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, the Pacific Coast, and the United States – in that order. That doesn’t mean I won’t stray beyond these confines to explore our world at large – trust me, I will – just don’t expect to accrue frequent flier miles when you visit. Under that rough framework, there’s no question I’ll dabble and delve into the topics I come across every day as a wildlife biologist, science writer, and natural historian. Here’s a back-of-the-envelope list of what you can expect in future posts:
- breaking news: journals/magazines/newspaper articles
- book reviews: field guides, references, and fiction new (and old!)
- science swag: art, apparel, and gear, be it functional or off-beat
- extinct/extirpated species: it isn’t worth saving until there’s only one left, right?
- herpetology: focusing, of course, on the western pond turtle and silvery legless lizard
- announcements: upcoming workshops, talks, symposiums, conferences, classes
As (bio)accumulation grows, so too will its breadth. Where it will stop, no one knows and, as I see it, that’s half the fun…
(Matt)hew Bettelheim is a wildlife biologist, science writer, and natural historian in the San Francisco Bay Area. Matthew’s writing portfolio includes feature articles in outlets like Bay Nature, Berkeley Science Review, Inkling Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and Outdoor California.