Thursday, July 21, 2011

Burbot (Lota lota)

Burbot face.

Burbot (Lota lota)

Burbot (Lota lota)

This burbot was seen the week of July 5th, 2011 sometime in the afternoon. This fish, and others, is part of a study being conducted by a fisheries grad student at Colorado State University. I am not sure what the point of the study is, other than it has something to do with monitoring the jumping behavior of the fish. I went to the Foothills Campus with my friend Lauren (yes, I know she has the same name as me, and no I don't just mean myself) so she could do some transfers of the fish from one tank to another. She identified tags on the fish, and then I measured it before transferring it to a tank.

Looking for tags on the underside of the burbot's head.

Me holding a burbot before adding it back into the tank.

Me measuring the length of a burbot.

These fish are common in streams and lakes in North America above 40ÂșN. This was my first time holding any fish, so it was  a learning experience for me.  They are really slippery and hard to hold, more so than other fish. You can read more about them here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shirasi Moose (Alces alces shirasi)

Shirasi Moose (Alces alces shirasi) - female
This moose was seen near the Rawah Wilderness in Colorado on the afternoon of July 3rd, 2011. There was a calf present with this cow, but it is not in the picture. Hopefully I can get more of the pictures that were taken and add them here, but for now this is what there is. We were backpacking in the Rawah Wilderness for the holiday weekend when we were met with minimal success- we encountered snow drifts that were impassable even in July. We decided to relocate to another area, and on the way out of the wilderness I saw these moose as we were driving by so of course we stopped to take pictures. This area is where the moose were reintroduced to Colorado in the 1970's, and as such contains the largest population of moose in the state. It is a shame that a male wasn't seen, because their antlers are pretty cool. Apparently the male will drop his antlers after mating season to conserve energy. You can read more about the moose here, more about their reintroduction to Colorado here, and more about the Rawah Wilderness here.

California Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)

California Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)

Me + California Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)
These California purple sea urchins were seen in a tidal pool on Laguna Beach on the afternoon of January 29th around 3:30PM. I had to walk across craggy rocks barefoot in order to get a look at these guys, but it was worth it. Chris Bremer, who took the pictures, was lucky enough to have shoes on.

Here I am shortly after finishing observing the sea urchins, giving my feet a rest before walking back across the craggy rocks. The best I can tell, the surface of the rock was sharp and porous, with a lot of broken shells everywhere.

Sea urchins are really cool, especially when you don't expect to come across them. I'm not sure about the conservation status of these particular sea urchins on Laguna Beach, but there was a guy with a clipboard nearby that was paid by the city to make sure people didn't like pick them up or pee in the tidal pool. He wasn't obvious- he was sitting off to the side on the sand waiting for people to brave the rocks before he approached. In fact, I'm not sure he wasn't a rocky intertidal zone hippie activist.

Anyway, these urchins are only found in the Pacific, and you can read more about them here.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - male
This house sparrow was seen on the beach at Lincoln Park on the afternoon of June 5th, 2011, near where the snow geese were seen. Collin Moore took this awesome picture without even realizing it. House sparrows aren't related to any of the other sparrows in North America, and they were only introduced to North America in the late 1800's. These sparrows partake in dust bathing to help with grooming. You can read more about dust baths and watch a video of a house sparrow taking dust bath here, and learn more about house sparrows here.

These female house sparrows were seen in Bothell, Washington on the afternoon of June 5th, 2011. They were involved in an altercation with other birds outside the window.
AHouse Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - female

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - female