Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Species Discovered

Newer and newer species of plants and animals are being discovered more than ever.  Most of these new species have been discovered deep within the Amazon more than 1,200 new species of plants and wildlife have been discovered there over the past decade.  The vast amount of new species founded were 637 plants, 257 fish, 216 amphibians, 55 reptiles, 16 birds and 39 mammals proving that the variety of life living in the Amazon is greater than we could have ever imagined. 

Some of the new species discovered include a new species of anacondas called the Eunectes beniensis this is the first new species of anaconda discovered since 1936! The snake was first thought to be a cross breed of a yellow anaconda and a green anaconda but was then found to be its own breed. 

Another new species discovered in the Amazon was a new species of parrots.  These parrots have bald heads and displays a vast amount of colours on its feathers.  This parrot species was put on the list of near threatened due to its small population. 

Another new species that has been discovered in the Amazon one that I think is really cool to look at is a new type of tarantula that is called the Cyriocosmus nogueiranetoi which has been given the easier name to pronounce as the tiger-striped tarantula due to its very distinct feature of five stripes on its back. 

With all these new species being discovered it makes me wander what new species is going to be discovered next and a better question is what will happen to these new species that are being discovered with their homes being destroyed by deforestation. 

Polar Bears and The Ice

Polar bear experts are expecting a 30 percent decline in the polar bear population within the next 35 to 50 years.  More and more of the polar bears population is decreasing due to melting ice and drastic climate change.  Many polar bears are being found dead due to drowning and even cannibalism.  Polar bears main diet throughout the year is from eating dead whales that drift onto shore, but mainly consist of seals the polar bears need the ice to hunt these seals without it they are forced to move closer to human population to eat scraps of garbage to survive which also creates a bigger risk for the human population.

If the ice does not stop melting some scientists have suggested that the polar bear population could go extinct in the near future.  Many governments are being called upon to recognize the problem of declining polar bear populations and are being asked for their help. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch

Over this past summer I stopped at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis while on my way home from Kansas.  Visiting at the arch was pretty amazing I didn’t realize how big the arch actually was until I stood underneath it. 
The Gateway Arch is the largest national monument in the United States.  It stands at 630 ft. tall and the distance from one leg of the arch to the other is also 630 ft.  The arch weighs a grand total of 17,246 tons.  It took 13.5 million dollars to build the Gateway Arch and another 3.5 million dollars to build the trams that are in each leg that brings you from ground level to the top of the arch. 
Inside the Gateway Arch there are two museums, a movie theater showing a movie on the Lewis and Clark expedition, and a gift shop.  For a price around ten dollars a person you can ride in a tram that takes you to the top of the arch.  Now although this tram is very old but still safe I was scared to death when I rode to the top.  You start out by walking through a door with your designated number on it that is about four feet tall.  After walking through the door that looks like it should be part of a horror movie you enter into a very tight small circle with benches only five people can fit in at a time and even then your knees are all touching.  Then you start slowly going to the top when you get to the top it opens up to a room with windows that allow you to see over the whole city and beyond that.  If you are even a little afraid of heights do not go to the top of the Gateway Arch.   While you’re at the top of the arch enjoying the scenery you can actually feel the arch swaying in the wind.  The arch usually sways around a half inch both ways but can sway up to eighteen inches in one hundred and fifty mile per hour winds. 
I enjoyed the Gateway Arch although at times I thought I was going to die.  The Gateway Arch was a lot of fun and the tram for me was like a very slow moving roller coaster mixed with a haunted house theme.  If you are ever heading out west or passing by the Gateway Arch you should stop and check it out and if you are afraid of heights or claustrophobic you should stop and check it out from the ground.
You should also take a walk through the museums they got some pretty cool statues.

Niagara Falls

The Horseshoe Falls.
Niagara Falls
I took this picture from a ferris wheel that
you can ride and see the American Falls.
I went to Niagara Falls in February of 2009.  There are two sections of the falls the American Falls which is on the side of the United States and the more popular Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.  I strongly suggest if you go to the falls that you go behind the falls.  There is a passage way that if you pay you can take and elevator down which brings you to a tunnel that brings you behind the falls.  If you go in February though and it’s really cold like it generally is in February then the falls underneath the flowing water might be frozen. 

If you get a chance to, I suggest you eat at Falls View, located in the Embassy Suites, at night where you can get seats straight across from the falls where you can see the light show that they do at the falls every night.  The food isn't to bad either and even though it has an awesome view the prices are quite reseasonable.
The length of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls brink is about 2600 feet.  The height of the falls is 167 feet tall. More than 600,000 gallons of water flow over the Horseshoe Falls per second! The American Falls brink length is 1060 feet.  The height of the American Falls is 170 feet.  More than 150,000 gallons of water flow over the American Falls per second.  The first person to go over the falls in a barrel and live was a sixty three year old female school teacher.

Niagara Falls is a really amazing sight to see I really didn't think at first that I could just be content on sitting and looking at the falls for hours but I really was.  Seeing the falls is really spectacular and although no one tried to go over the falls in a barrel while I was there it was still a lot of fun  and I suggest you go there even if you already seen it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Picture of a black bear
 I got on my trail cam.
One of my hobbies I guess you could say is traveling to state parks in Pennsylvania.  I enjoy the outdoors I like hiking, fishing, and hunting, basically anything that deals with being outside is my thing to do.   If you haven’t been to or heard of Tuscarora State Forest the first thing I suggest you do before you go hiking there in the summer time is to buy some snake guards.  Tuscarora State Forest has a lot of animals there including but not limited to deer, bears, foxes, coyotes, and porcupines all of which I have personally seen there. 
I’m not scared of the animals I can see that can do harm to me like a bear because then I can avoid it I’m more afraid of the ones I can’t see as in this story it’s pretty hard to see a timber rattlesnake.  I am a hunter and one cool device I use is a trail camera that is a camera with a motion detector in which it will snap a picture when something moves in front of it.  I had one of these set up in an area deer like to travel unknowingly something else like to live in that area too.  I was walking out to get my camera with my sister and wife when after crossing a log I noticed a snake lying on the trail in front of me about seven feet away.  I noticed it was a rattlesnake I told my wife and sister to watch it and I would go around it and get my camera.  I didn’t want to run into it on the way back.  The rattlesnake blended in with the ground perfectly with its striped pattern.  As I walked around it my wife asked me “do rattle snakes travel in packs” I laughed and said no.  I was only about four feet away from the snake on the other side of it now when I went to go to take another step toward where my camera was another rattlesnake was coiled up about two feet away from me. 
Picture of the rattlesnake coiled up.
          I thought rattlesnakes would rattle when something was near them but apparently not because neither of these ones rattled at all.  I consider myself lucky after seeing the second one and taking a bunch of pictures of them we headed back to my truck and I decided I would get my camera some other time. 
Blurry picture I took of the rattlesnakes coil.
          Rattlesnakes will tend to stay in open wooden areas and fields in the summer and then later when closer to fall will head to rocky areas to den for the winter.  Timber rattlesnakes range from as far north as new England to as far west as Texas.  They are closely related to the pit viper and are cousins to the more lethal of the two species the eastern and western diamondback rattlesnakes.  Timber rattle snakes are protected in most states and their numbers are said to be dwindling.   I guess I was not only lucky to have not been bitten by one of them but to actually see them at all.  
  Just a follow up on the receiving of the camera situation two days later I went back to go get my camera with my dad.  When we got to the spot where the rattlesnakes were the smaller one of the two was still there after some poking with a stick it slithered off  the trail and I finally got my camera, and that time we had snake guarders on.

Ricketts Glen

Canoga Falls (94 ft tall) I'm at the very top on the left.
If you are one for the outdoors and like hiking and scenic views you must travel to Ricketts Glen.   I went there over this past summer and it was pretty amazing.  I had heard of this state park and its jaw dropping waterfalls but I had never seen them.  So this past summer I had some free time and decided to go up to the state park with my wife.  From Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Ricketts Glen it was about a two hour drive north including bathroom breaks and of course breakfast.  The park is thirty miles north of Bloomsburg on PA 487.
          The state park was opened for its recreational uses to the public in 1944.  The park has various activities you can enjoy like fishing, hunting, boating, swimming, and of course hiking the some twenty seven miles of trails.  There is a seven point two mile trail that will take you through the scenic route of the upper and lower section waterfalls. Twenty two of the waterfalls are actually named at the park and the highest waterfall the Ganoga Falls is ninety four feet tall.  The waterfalls are classified into two different types of falls wedding cake falls which descend in a series of small steps and bridal-veil falls that flow over a top ledge and descend vertically into a plunge pool. 
The waterfalls are not the only thing to see and do at Ricketts Glen but by far the most interesting activity to explore.  I highly encourage anyone who hasn’t been to state park to go and see for themselves.