Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mason Bees

Two years ago I purchased a mason bee hive and set up in the backyard without a single taker. Last year, I moved to the front and about 10 bees moved in and sealed themselves for the winter. Yesterday, I put the hive back up and the whole thing was buzzing today. I'm in love. There's a nice description of mason bees here

I'll need to try the wood block method and put one up in the back in a better spot. 

Here are the pics of the bees and the hive. 


The other day I continued kicking myself in the pants for having spent two years in the Amazon and so few pictures to show for it. So I've been replaying in my head, all the wonderful things about the norte (in Brazilian portuguese pronounced nortch). 

I really enjoyed rice and beans of camp life- something that was easily available in Louisiana, where I lived for 7 years. On the street, there were two things I loved: super sweet manioc cake and tacaca. There's a great picture here. It has tucupi (liquid extract from manioc), some plant, and shrimp. According to the link, the plants are jambu (fruit), and chicoria leaves. It is always served in these double black bowls.

The effect is amazing. Your lips swell and become numb, your throat burns on fire, and it is  heaven. Salty, sweet, savory, and spice all at once. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Wilkes-Barre urban birds

It has been a beautiful week and I've been walking to work and enjoying the result of raging testosterone in birds that causes the males to sit exposed and sing their hearts out. Crows are carrying sticks building nests for the past week and I saw a Song Sparrow carrying nesting material. The tree swallows aren't fighting over boxes and many seemed to have moved on. No swallows at the house gourd or the box on campus. 

Cedar Waxwing

Chipping Sparrow

momma Peregrine Falcon

Falcons are a talons way of moving around a city

female Common Merganser - above her is momma falcon

Tree Swallow near the sewage pumping station (rent is lower) 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tree swallows: they're back

A few weeks ago, I heard Tree Swallows twittering overhead and I read a couple reports of them over large lakes. This coincided with the emergence of a small stonefly I see emerging about mid-March and I've even seen this insect on snow. Then there is a lull with few reports of swallows followed by a blizzard of activity. 

My guess is that the first wave is traveling up to the Alaska coast where they need to travel farther and start breeding as soon as they can. They are supported by early hatches. Once warmer and other insects are out and about the second wave of swallows arrive and start breeding. This is now the fourth year I've noticed this pattern. We just need to stick a geolocator on a bunch of swallows and sit back. 

It was a perfect morning to walk into school - long overdue. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

On deck for the week

Three weeks left of a particularly brutal semester. Last week was all about prepping for the mid-Atlantic section of the Ecological Society of America. We had to analyze data for two projects: acorn removal across an urban-rural gradient and acorn-weevil relationships over latitudinal gradients. Neither of these had much going on statistically but I wrote seven pages of code to figure that out. So it goes. 

On deck for this week:

  • Need to finish off a review 
  • Need to start another
  • Need to send out email invitations to participate in a new project on neotropical birds (I could swear neotropical should be capitalized)
  • check up on a collaborator on the muscle physiology project
  • write more biostats lectures (covering ANCOVA (quickly) then logistic regression (awkwardly))
  • finish biostats homework (should be done today)
  • finish off plans for Ecuador and Galapagos
  • meet with deans and provost tomorrow about study abroad (which means I should probably come up with an agenda)
  • Academic planning committee meeting tomorrow (ditto) 
  • finish off the West GA paper\
  • pressure provost to get faculty training to deal with mental health issues with our students 

Monday, April 4, 2016

On deck for the week

Not much posting going on. Been swamped with work. Here's what's happening

1. Finish off Steele's senior research group's statistics. They have acorns from across the East Coast with weevil infestation rates and acorn characteristics. Going to model how intensity and other traits vary over latitude. Presenting Saturday at the mid-Atlantic Ecological Society of America

2. My own research crew put out acorn across an urban rural gradient and looked at the fates of those acorns (eaten or cached) and how quickly acorns were removed from a large pool of acorns. Also presented at the ma-ESA

3. Another crew of mine is doing DNA barcoding of local plants and insects. Their manuscript is due Thursday like the other two above. 

4. Have a review to finish from one of my favorite journals of one of my favorite subjects. 50 pages so that's a bummer. 

5. Need to work on a lecture on model selection.