Opossums in Arizona?

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Opossums are common in the eastern US but are rare in the west. Strangely enough, the so-called Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) occurs in Tucson and other parts of Arizona. This is the only species of marsupials that occurs in the US. (Marsupials nurse their young in pouches. The kangaroo is probably the best known marsupial.)

An amusing decription written in early Spanish colonial times quoted in an article in Scientific American, describes an opossum as “a monstrous beast with a snout like a fox, a tail like a marmoset, ears like a bat, hands like a man, and feet like an ape, bearing her whelps about with her in an outward belly much like a large bag or purse.” (Source)

According to Wikipedia:

Virginia opossums can vary considerably in size, with larger specimens found to the north of the opossum’s range and smaller specimens in the tropics. They measure 13–37 in long from their snout to the base of the tail, with the tail adding another 8.5–19 in. Weight for males ranges from 1.7 to 14 lb and for females from 11 ounces to 8.2 lb. They are one of the world’s most variably sized mammals, since a large male from northern North America weighs about 20 times as much as a small female from the tropics. Their coats are a dull grayish brown, other than on their faces, which are white. Opossums have long, hairless, prehensile tails, which can be used to grab branches and carry small objects. They also have hairless ears and a long, flat nose. Opossums have 50 teeth, more than any other North American land mammal, and opposable, clawless thumbs on their rear limbs.

Opossums have 13 nipples, arranged in a circle of 12 with one in the middle. Perhaps surprisingly for such a widespread and successful species, the Virginia opossum has one of the lowest encephalization quotients of any marsupial. Its brain is one-fifth the size of a raccoon’s.

Opossums are mainly nocturnal and omnivorous. A large part of their diet is insects and other invertebrates, but they also eat the eggs of chickens and wild birds, fruits and berries, pet food left out in the yard, and garbage.

According to an article in the Journal of Mammology (November, 1952), an adult female opossum was captured (December, 1949) at the Rincon Stock Farm on Fort Lowell Road in Tucson. The following May, an adult male was found about four miles from the Farm. The author of this paper speculates that these animals were introduced from elsewhere, although he does mention that wild opossums lived in eastern New Mexico at the time.

A more recent article (2011) in the Western North American Naturalist journal reports opossums in Yavapai County, Arizona. The paper’s abstract reads:

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the only marsupial native to the United States. In recent times, D. virginiana has expanded its range through natural movements and anthropogenic introductions. Didelphis virginiana has been present in southern Arizona owing to range expansion by the Mexican subspecies (D. v. californica) and anthropogenic introductions of the eastern subspecies (D. v. virginiana). Here, we document the recent collection of an opossum in central

Arizona. We also discuss how it possibly moved there and report on its stomach contents at the time of collection.

There are also reports of opossums in the Phoenix area.

Opossums react to a threat by feigning death, hence the saying “playing possum.” Opossums, like most marsupials, have unusually short lifespans for their size and metabolic rate. The Virginia opossum has a lifespan in the wild of only about two years.

There is some North American mythology about opossums. “In North America, Opossum sometimes appears in legends as a buffoon or braggart, whose habit of playing dead stems from embarrassment over having made a fool of himself. In Central America and parts of southern Mexico, Opossum occasionally plays the role of a trickster or an animal hero who escapes from danger by using his wits. Opossums are also symbols of fertility in some Mexican tribes, and a drink made with an opossum’s tail is still used by some Nahuatl women as folk medicine to help deliver babies. In some South American tribes, Opossum plays a more important mythological role as the Fire-Bringer.” Read more here.

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El Nino to El Nino – no net global warming

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The Earth experienced two super El Ninos recently: 1997/1998 and 2015/2016. It was expected that 2016 would be the hottest year in the satellite record which begins in 1979. It was, but by only 0.02°C over 1998. That is not statistically significant according to Dr. Roy Spencer, keeper of the UAH satellite system data. (The margin of error is 0.1°C, much larger than the difference between the El Nino years.) The graph above shows the UAH results. A separate satellite analysis by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) came to the same conclusion.

Satellites measure the temperature of the lower troposphere, the portion of the atmosphere where weather takes place. These measurements give a more realistic picture of global temperature than do surface measurements. Essentially, global temperature now is the same as it was nearly 18 years ago.

The earlier El Nino had a sharp drop off as a strong La Nina cooling took effect. The 2016/2017 La Nina appears to has started in mid December, 2016, and we can expect more cooling during the first half of 2017, but the current La Nino is expected to be weaker.

The media may still proclaim 2016 as the hottest year ever (in a cherry-picked time frame). For some perspective on that let’s see a longer perspective.

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One thing the media may not mention is that our carbon dioxide emissions seem to have had no effect on global temperature. This was recently noted by Australian Jo Nova in her article “Since 2000 humans have put out 30% of their total CO2 but there is nothing to show for it.” There has been an 18-year “pause” in global warming.

If CO2 is supposed to be the principal cause of global warming, why hasn’t this great outpouring of CO2 had a noticeable effect? According to the Department of Energy, “Since 1751 approximately 337 billion metric tonnes of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels and cement production. Half of these emissions have occurred since the mid 1970s.” And 30% have occurred since the 1997/1998 El Nino. There is no indication that all this CO2 is producing global warming.

global-co2-human-emissionsBoth North America and Europe are experiencing record cold weather. The North Atlantic Ocean has been rapidly cooling since the mid-2000s. (Source) Also, Solar activity is now at a low point as the current cycle winds down. Many scientists are confident the next cycle will also be a weak one. Periods of weak solar cycles are associated with periods of global cooling.

It seems that any alleged warming effect that CO2 may have is overwhelmed by natural variation in climate.

See also:

An Illustrated Guide to El Nino and La Nina

 

The Cactus Mouse – another creature of the night

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The Cactus mouse (Peromyscus eremicus) is one of eight species in the genus Peromyscus that inhabit Arizona. All are similar-looking grayish-brown, with white bellies and feet, and large ears. They are about 3.5 inches long. The cactus mouse has a sparsely furred tail with a slight tuft at the tip. “Females weigh slightly more than males and are significantly larger in body length, ear length, length of mandible and bullar width of skull. Cactus mice can be identified by having naked soles on their hind feet, and almost naked tails which are usually the same length or longer than the animals body length.” (Source)

The Cactus mouse ranges from southern California and Nevada, through southern Arizona and New Mexico, west Texas into northern Mexico. They are common in washes and rocky hillsides, in sandy deserts and desert foothills. Depending on location, they may breed throughout the year. A female may produce 3 to 4 litters per year, each with 4 to 5 young.

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Cactus mice are nocturnal feeders. They eat seeds, fruit, and succulent plant material. Their diet includes mesquite beans and leaves, and insects. During the day they remain in burrows in clumps of cacti, in the ground, or among rocks. Their nests are usually a ball of grasses or twigs.

According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum:

“The cactus mouse often climbs around in vegetation and brush, searching for seeds and fruits to eat. It may nest in wood piles or rock piles, or use the abandoned burrows of other animals. Although this mouse needs less water than many others and is desert-adapted, it may estivate or go into a torpor in the summer when resources for food and moisture are not available.”

“These little rodents are at the bottom of the vertebrate food chain, preyed upon by everything from coyotes and snakes to hawks and bobcats. In response, they breed prolifically, with some species, like the cotton rats, able to produce eight to ten litters a year. Populations still fluctuate with drought and predation, but the mice and rats are able to respond to good conditions by rapidly rebuilding their numbers.”

“All rodents, including the mice and rats, are gnawers. Their teeth are ever-growing and must be kept trimmed down by constant gnawing. A layer of hard orange enamel covers the front surface of the teeth. The rest of the tooth is softer and wears down quicker than the enamel as the rodent gnaws, thus creating a chisel-like shape to the front teeth that is unique to the rodent family.”

Other desert rodents:

Creatures of the night – Pocket Mice

Ferocious Grasshopper mouse

Kangaroo rat

Pack Rats are Desert Archaeologists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attack of the Phainopepla

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The Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens) is a pretty bird, but around my house one has been pretty messy. For several weeks, a male Phainopepla has been feasting on the berries of a desert mistletoe plant. It has been peeping in the window. At times it attacks its reflection by pecking at the window and flying up and down the glass. It is apparently trying to drive off what it thinks is a competitor. Does he look angry?

The Phainopepla is a crested bird slightly smaller than a cardinal. It has a body length of 7- to 8 inches and a wingspan of 11 inches. The males are shiny black with red eyes, long tail and a white patch on the wings which is conspicuous in flight. Females and immature birds are all gray. The name “Phainopepla” comes from the Greek for “shining robe,” a fitting description of the shiny, jet-black plumage of the adult male. The Phainopepla is one of the four species of silky-flycatchers and the only one that occurs in the U.S. The others inhabit Mexico and Central America.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

“… the Phainopepla is unique in taxonomy, distribution, and behavior. It is particularly notable for its enigmatic pattern of breeding twice each year, in two different habitats.” It breeds in both the desert and in arid woodlands.

Cornell says that “An individual Phainopepla eats at least 1,100 mistletoe berries per day, when they are available.” (My visitor deposits the remains of these sticky berries on my window ledge and ironwork.)

“The Phainopepla exhibits strikingly different behaviors in its two habitats. In the desert, it is territorial, actively defending nesting and foraging sites, while in the woodlands it is colonial, with as many as four nesting pairs sharing one large tree.

“The Phainopepla rarely drinks water, even though research indicates that it loses about 95 percent of its body mass in water per day. Instead, it gets the water it needs from its diet of mistletoe.” Phainopepla also eat other berries and flying insects.

According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum:

“This bird nests in early spring in mesquite brushlands, usually well up in a stout fork or horizontal branch of a tree. The smooth, slightly glossy eggs usually number two to three per clutch, and are grayish-white or pinkish, finely and profusely spotted with black, pale lavender, or gray. The eggs are incubated by both sexes (possibly the major portion by the male) for 14 to 15 days. The young are tended by both parents and leave the nest at 18 to 19 days.”

The Phainopepla, when pursued by predators or handled by humans, mimics the calls of other birds; imitations of at least 13 species have been recorded. (Listen to sounds)

As the supply of mistletoe berries dwindle, my Phainopepla is now spending about half his time attacking a neighbor’s window which is a little closer to the berry source.

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Political Correctness is why trump won

People just got fed up with all the political correctness nonsense. Most of this nonsense is perpetrated by liberals who strive to avoid offending anyone but wind up offending many people.

Walter Williams: “Whether you are a liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, you should be disturbed and frightened for the future of our nation based on the response of so many of our young people to an election outcome. We should also be disturbed by college administrators and professors who sanction the coddling of our youth.”

Trump and College Chaos

by Walter E. Williams

If one needed more evidence of the steep decay in academia, Donald Trump’s victory provided it. Let’s begin by examining the responses to his win, not only among our wet-behind-the-ears college students, many of whom act like kindergarteners, but also among college professors and administrators.

The University of Michigan’s distressed students were provided with Play-Doh and coloring books, as they sought comfort and distraction. A University of Michigan professor postponed an exam after many students complained about their “serious stress” over the election results. Cornell University held a campuswide “cry-in,” with officials handing out tissues and hot chocolate. Read more

Here are some recent examples of political correctness excesses:

University of Wisconsin to Offer Class on ‘The Problem of Whiteness’

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will offer a spring semester class examining “the problem of whiteness” and “what it means to be #woke,” Campus Reform reports.

The course is being offered by the university’s African Cultural Studies department. According to an online description, students will be asked to examine “what it really means to be white,” and consider “how race is experienced by white people” in the United States and abroad.

“Critical Whiteness Studies aims to understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy,” the description reads. “In this class, we will ask what an ethical white identity entails, what it means to be #woke, and consider the journal Race Traitor’s motto, ‘treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.’”

The course will satisfy the university’s “ethnic studies” requirement for graduation, and will be taught by an associate professor whose course load includes a class on “Global Hiphop and Social Justice.” (Source)

Texas university takes the ‘holiday’ out of parties in December

BY Todd Starnes

Don’t call your holiday party a holiday party.

That’s the recommendation from Texas Woman’s University – posting a series of tips on how to make December office parties ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘multicultural.’

Dr. Mark Kessler, a professor of multicultural women’s and gender studies recommends not decorating with Santa Claus, a red-nosed reindeer or evergreen trees. And whatever you do, don’t serve red & green sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees. Read more

College Removes American Flag, Calls it “Symbol of Fear”

by Todd Starnes

A private college in Massachusetts has announced it will no longer fly Old Glory because it has become a “heated symbol” in the aftermath of the presidential election — in an “environment of escalating hate-based violence.”

“There were a range of views on campus, including people whose experience growing up have made the flag a symbol of fear, which was strengthened by the toxic language during the campaign, and people for whom the flag is the symbol of all that’s best throughout the country,” said Hampshire College president Jonathan Lash told WBZ.

The Hampshire College Board of Trustees initially agreed to fly the flag at half-staff on Veterans Day — but not necessarily to honor our veterans.

“This was meant as an expression of grief over the violent deaths being suffered in this country and globally, including many U.S. service members who have lost their lives,” Lash wrote in a Facebook post.

So Hampshire College basically insulted every member of the Armed Forces — men and women who sacrifice their lives for a bunch of ungrateful over-educated brats. Read more

Town renames Good Friday for the sake of “Cultural Sensitivity”

by Todd Starnes

Whenever you hear a liberal talking about cultural diversity and sensitivity it normally means something insensitive is about to happen to Christians.

The latest case in point: Bloomington, Indiana – the home of Indiana University and a nesting place for a gaggle of intolerant liberals.

Mayor John Hamilton recently announced that are renaming two paid holidays for city workers — in an effort to respect “differing cultures.”

Columbus Day will henceforth be known as “Fall Holiday” and Good Friday will be known as “Spring Holiday.” Read more

University of Texas issues 29-point checklist on offensive Halloween costumes

Even themes approved by school ‘can be carried out incorrectly’

by Brian Bensimon

Leave your cowboy boots and Hawaiian leis at home this Halloween unless you want to hear from University of Texas-Austin administrators.

Sorority and Fraternity Life, part of the Office of the Dean of Students, issued its updated “costume and theme resource guide” last week, instructing UT Greeks to avoid Halloween party costumes and themes that may “appropriate another culture or experience.” Read more

Univ. of Northern Colorado students forced to use ‘mandatory’ gender-neutral language

By Jillian Kay Melchior

More colleges around the country are launching “inclusive language” campaigns that encourage students to avoid everyday words and phrases that could possibly offend someone, somewhere—”hey guys,” “mankind” and “man-made” are just a few of the terms now frowned upon.

The University of Northern Colorado has also jumped on the “inclusive language” bandwagon. But at the Greeley, Colo., university, there’s an extra wrinkle: In at least five classes in the last year, the new, ultra-inclusive lexicon wasn’t optional—it was required. Read more

University of Florida offers counseling for students offended by Halloween costumes

By Brittany Loggins

The University of Florida wants students to know that counseling is available for students hoping to work past any offense taken from Halloween costumes.

“Some Halloween costumes reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions. Regardless of intent, these costumes can perpetuate negative stereotypes, causing harm and offense to groups of people,” the school administration wrote in a blog post. “If you are troubled by an incident that does occur, please know that there are many resources available.” Read more

A Blizzard of Snowflakes

By Peter Skurkiss

Infantile skittishness on campus is not confined to just politically correct and so-called diversity issues, as bad as that is. As a recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out, college students are now literally flooding mental-health centers on campus year round for anything and everything. Read more

Duke University: Combating “Toxic Masculinity”

by David L. Hunter

Rather than classically educating the mind and developing the character, Duke University has officially joined the academic cult of politically correct social engineering.

The estimated cost to attend North Carolina’s Duke University this year is $70,092. For all those greenbacks—some $280,000 for a 4-year degree—any male offspring can look forward to being demonized for inherent “toxic masculinities” due to his gender. To that end The Men’s Project is creating a “safe space” so young men can, in essence, ‘make healthier choices while critiquing their own masculinity’—and fretting over their “male privilege”. Thus, by design, young men should feel deficient solely for the expression of their manliness? What complete hogwash!

College junior Dipro Bhowmik, of the 4-person student leadership team, informed the Duke Chronicle that the indoctrination concerns “questioning how you can be accountable to feminism, to the women in your life and to the larger community.” Excuse me, accountable to feminism? Read more

University of Michigan professors instructed to stick to ‘preferred pronouns’

By Jillian Kay Melchior

The University of Michigan yesterday unveiled a new webpage that allows students to choose their preferred pronouns, including “they” and “ze.”

Preferred pronouns will appear on class rosters, and if professors accidentally use the wrong pronoun, “you can acknowledge that you made a mistake and use the correct pronoun next time,” said the university’s provost and vice president for student life in a campus-wide email announcement. It also called using preferred pronouns “one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities.” Read more

Follow up: Michigan student successfully changes preferred pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ on class roster. Read more

A Guide to the Geology of Sabino Canyon and the Catalina Highway

The Arizona Geological Survey has recently released a 56-page booklet which points out areas of geologic interest in Sabino Canyon and along the Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon. The booklet is available for free download here.

http://repository.azgs.az.gov/uri_gin/azgs/dlio/1526

The citation is:

Bezy, J.V., 2004, A Guide to the Geology of Sabinho Canyon and the Catalina Highway. Arizona Geological Survey Down to Earth, DTE #17, 56 p.

AZGS introduces the booklet:

“ Upper Sabino Canyon Road, also known as the 1 Sabino Canyon Shuttle Route, and the Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon offer a variety of spectacular geologic features. Because of the relatively sparse vegetation in the lower part of the range, most of these features are easy to recognize and photograph. Some of these features are common throughout this southern part of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Others occur in many other parts of the American Southwest. This booklet is your field guide to the geology of this spectacular mountain landscape. All of the geologic features described in the text can be reached by short walks from the Sabino Canyon Shuttle Route or the Catalina Highway. This book is written for the visitor who has an interest in geology, but who may not have had formal training in the subject. It may also help assure that the visiting geologist does not overlook some of the features described.”

The booklet provides short geologic descriptions of Sabino Canyon and the Catalina Mountains, and describes 11 features in Sabino Canyon and 14 features along the Catalina Highway, all of which are illustrated by photographs, maps, and diagrams. This booklet can make your visit to these areas more interesting and informative.

Below are maps of Sabino Canyon and the Catalina Highway showing the location of geologic features described.

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More articles on Tucson area geology:

Beneath the Tucson Valley

Gold of Cañada del Oro and rumors of treasure

Old mines of the Tucson Mountains

Eurasian Collared-Doves

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Have you seen this bird? Collared doves have been showing up in my backyard for the past few years. They flock with other doves and I rarely seen more than one collared dove at a time.

The Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) is about 12 inches long and has a wingspan of about 14 inches which makes it larger than a Mourning dove and about the same size as a White-winged dove.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

“Eurasian Collared-Doves made their way to North America via the Bahamas, where several birds escaped from a pet shop during a mid-1970s burglary; the shop owner then released the rest of the flock of approximately 50 doves. Others were set free on the island of Guadeloupe when a volcano threatened eruption. From these two sites the birds likely spread to Florida, and now occur over most of North America.”

Eurasian Collared-Doves eat mainly seeds and cereal grains. They will occasionally eat berries, plant greens, and bugs. Their principal habitat appears to be urban and suburban areas, especially where people put out bird feeders. They may also occur on farms.

“Mainly ground foragers, they peck at grain and seeds scattered beneath backyard feeders and on feeding platforms, or spilled at farmyards. Flocks of 10 to several hundred doves may gather at prime spots. Although they can feed peacefully in mixed flocks, Eurasian Collared-Doves will also chase off other birds, including Mourning Doves, cardinals, and Blue Jays.” (Cornell)

Nesting (source, Cornell):

“The male dove brings the female twigs, grasses, roots and other nesting materials, which he sometimes pushes directly under her. Over 1 to 3 days she builds a simple platform nest, which may include feathers, wool, string and wire. A pair often uses the same nest for multiple broods during the year, and may renovate old nests.

“Males show females potential nest sites in trees and on buildings, giving a low- pitched, slow koo-KOO-kook call at each site (listen here). Nests are usually built 10 or more feet above the ground. In warmer regions, Eurasian Collared-Doves can nest year-round, which may help explain their success as colonizers.”

“Eurasian Collared-Doves are one of very few species that can drink “head down,” submerging their bills and sucking water as though drinking through a straw. Most birds must scoop water and tip the head back to let it run down into the throat.” (Cornell)

Eurasian Collared-Doves may be mistaken for Ringed Turtle Doves which are slightly smaller and lighter in color. According to the Sibley Guide to Birds, the Ringed Turtle Dove is a domestic variety, not a naturally occurring species, and it fares poorly in the wild.

See also:

Mourning Doves

White-winged Doves

Black-necked Stilt

black-necked-stiltThe Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a fun bird to watch as it noisily feeds along shorelines. (Listen to sounds). This Stilt occurs in the southern and western U.S. Its range includes the Great Basin, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts near bodies of water. The Sonoran Desert, south to the tip of Baja, California Mexico, is within its year-round range. You can see some at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum where I took the photograph.

black-necked-stilt-rangeThe Black-necked Stilt stands about 18 inches high and has a wingspan of 28 inches. It has a black head, neck and back over a white body. Its bill is long and black. One of its most striking features is its very long, red/orange legs. “ They have the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird, exceeded only by flamingos.” “Five species of rather similar-looking stilts are recognized in the genus Himantopus.” (Source)

Stilts forage, often in groups, in shallow water or along shorelines for insects and other prey. Cornell Lab of Ornithology adds: “Black-necked Stilts wade in shallow waters to capture their meals of aquatic invertebrates and fish. They often consume such fare as crawfish, brine flies, brine shrimp, beetles, water boatmen, and tadpoles. They peck, snatch, and plunge their heads into the water in pursuit of their food, and will herd fish into shallow waters to trap them there.”

According to ASDM: “These are ground-nesting birds, whose eggs are well camouflaged and whose downy chicks can run about and find their own food shortly after hatching. Adults defend eggs or chicks with a repertoire of distraction displays. These birds are good runners and strong flyers.”

According to Cornell: “Male and female Black-necked Stilts trade off the job of constructing the nest. While one mate observes, the other scrapes into the dirt with breast and feet to form a depression about 2 inches deep. As they dig, they throw small bits of lining over their back into the nest. Most lining is added to the nest during incubation, and consists of whatever material is closest to the nest, including grasses, shells, mud chips, pebbles, and bones.” “ During breeding and during winter, they are strongly territorial birds, and are particularly aggressive to chicks that are not their own. When not breeding, Black-necked Stilts roost and forage in closely packed groups, often staying within a foot of each other. Black-necked Stilts are semicolonial when nesting, and they participate en masse in anti-predator displays. The displays include one in which nonincubating birds fly up to mob predators, and one in which all birds encircle a predator, hop up and down, and flap their wings.”

A more general note on shorebirds from ASDM:

Shorebirds in general do most of their foraging along the water’s edge, probing in soft mud or picking at the surface in search of tiny invertebrates. They belong to several related families. The largest shorebird group is the sandpiper family (Scolopacidae); nearly two dozen species of sandpipers migrate through the Sonoran Desert, but for the most part their presence with us is fleeting, a few days’ stopover as they travel between breeding grounds on Arctic tundra and wintering grounds on southern coasts. More relevant here are two long-legged waders and one plover that are with us for much of the year.

The avocets and stilts make up a small family, with only a few species worldwide. All are slim birds with long necks, thin bills, very long legs, and striking patterns. All forage in shallow water, feeding on small invertebrates. North America has one avocet and one stilt. Both have ranges which extend into the Sonoran Desert, where they seem to have benefited from human activity; most of their modern nesting sites are around the edges of artificial ponds.

History of the Copper Mountain (Morenci) Mining District, Greenlee County, Arizona

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The Arizona Geological Survey has just published a well-written history of the Morenci, Arizona, mining district. The report was written by geologist David F. Briggs and was published as AGS Contributed report Cr-16-C. The 79-page report is available for free download:
http://repository.azgs.az.gov/sites/default/files/dlio/files/nid1695/cr-16-c_morenci_0.pdf

The Copper Mountain (Morenci) mining district is located approximately 115 miles northeast of Tucson, Arizona.

Mining began in 1873. This district has produced more than 36 billion pounds of copper from 1873 to 2015. Since 1985 is has been America’s largest domestic copper producer.

The discovery of copper at Morenci during the turbulent years of the American Civil War brought new opportunities for many, but foreshadowed the end of a way of life for Native Americans, who had lived in the region for millennia. A diverse cast of characters has played a role in Morenci’s history, including veterans who ventured west after the war, as well as immigrants eager to make a new life in America.

Briggs provides an interesting narrative of the development of the district as different companies gradually consolidated the mines. Briggs breaks the history into five phases of development as the owner(s) dealt with different types of ore, changing technology, new discoveries, and the sometimes volatile copper market.

Phelps Dodge Corporation operated the district beginning in 1917. Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, Inc. (renamed Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. in July 2014) acquired an 85% interest in the Morenci project through its merger with the Phelps Dodge Corporation in March 2007, and has been operating the mine since then.

The report contains many maps and both current and historical photographs. This report is an interesting read and its story is one that was similar to that of many mines in the West.

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 More reports from AZGS:

AZGS field guides to Arizona Geology

A guide to the geology of the Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon area of Arizona

A Guide to the Geology of the Santa Catalina Mountains

A Guide to the Geology of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve

A Guide to the Geology of the Flagstaff Area

A Guide to Geology of Petrified Forest National Park

A Guide to Oak Creek-Mormon Lake Graben

AZGS Guides to Northern Arizona Geology

History of the Copper Mountain (Morenci) Mining District, Greenlee County, Arizona

Climate Madness 9

The climate madness highlight in November was the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, held 7-18 November. The bureaucratically official designation of this meeting is: The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22), the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1).

It seems that the UN delegates are terrified of Trump because it could mean the end of their cash cow. (“My only worry is the money,” said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of Democratic Republic of Congo, who heads a group of the 48 least developed nations. “It’s worrying when you know that Trump is a climate change skeptic,” he toldReuters.)

COP22 climate conference has now ended – and green groups are just waking up to the fact that without US financial support, nobody has committed any money to anything. Read more

Marc Morano, who publishes the Climate Depot website and co-wrote and hosted the new skeptical film ‘Climate Hustle,’ demonstrated outside the meeting by literally shredding the UN Paris agreement. Morano was removed by UN guards (See videos). Morano also attempted to present a 43-page report on the state of the climate (Read full 43-page report).

This is what the meeting accomplished:

UN Climate Talks Agree to Delay Paris Rules until 2018

by Alister Doyle and Megan Rowling, Reuters

At the end of two-week talks on global warming in Marrakesh, which were extended an extra day, many nations appealed to Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, to reconsider his threat to tear up the Paris Agreement for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Showing determination to keep the Paris Agreement on track, the conference agreed to work out a rule book at the latest by December 2018. A rule book is needed because the Paris Agreement left many details vague, such as how countries will report and monitor their national pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Read more

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Get Your Gender Climate Tracker

by Rupert Darwall

An event of such magnitude struck the latest round of the climate conference – talks which have been going on in various forms since the early 1990s – that the response of many participants and NGOs is to pretend nothing’s happened and carry on as before. Today is gender and education day at the COP22 in Marrakech. Gender equality and the empowerment of women is written into the preamble of last December’s Paris Agreement, the climate treaty that President Obama ratified without sending to the Senate for its advice and consent. ‘Gender justice is climate justice,’ as one feminist NGO puts it.

There are Feminists for a Fossil Fuel Free Future. You can download a Gender Climate Tracker app for iPhone and Android. ‘Our existing economies are based on gender exploitative relationships,’ one speaker told a side meeting. ‘The first ecology is my body,’ another declared. Sexual and reproductive rights require climate justice. ‘Sixty percent of my body is water. What I’m drinking takes me to my city and to the health of the planet.’ Read more (What is she drinking?)

COP22 also had to deal with an inconvenient fact: a dramatic decline in global temperature (1.2°C drop) since early 2016; and the fact that satellites show very different temperatures than “adjusted” land based thermometers. See: Hottest Year?! NOAA claimed ‘record heat’ in numerous locations that don’t have any actual thermometers. Maybe this was the “Gore Effect.” (see ADI explanation)

Other climate madness news:

There Is A Major Climate Issue Hiding In Your Closet: Fast Fashion

by Maxine Bédat and Michael Shank

Disposable clothes, often made from oil, in factories powered by coal, and shipped around the world, mean that the apparel industry contributes 10% of global emissions. Today, more than 150 billion new articles of clothing are produced annually. People don’t keep their clothing anymore; it is no longer owned, it is just consumed. They wear and discard it quickly. That’s fast fashion and it’s ruining our planet. Read more

UK Researchers: Tax Food to Reduce Climate Change

by Eric Worrall

A group of researchers in Oxford University, England have suggested that imposing a massive tax on carbon intensive foods – specifically protein rich foods like meat and dairy – could help combat climate change. Pricing food according to its climate impacts could save half a million lives and one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Taxing greenhouse gas emissions from food production could save more emissions than are currently generated by global aviation, and lead to half a million fewer deaths from chronic diseases, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change. Read more

Children win right to sue US government for climate change inaction

You may not have realized we have the right to a perfect climate. A bunch of kids age 8 to 19 have won the right to take the US government to trial for not protecting the atmosphere. It’s being called the “biggest case on the planet”. Read more

New study quantifies your personal contribution and guilt over Arctic sea ice melt

by Anthony Watts

From the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and the department of “it’s all YOUR fault and it’s worse than we thought” comes this guilt trip over Arctic sea ice from Greenpeace activist and NSIDC scientist (now just a person because she stopped being a scientist when she started accepting Greenpeace assistance, IMO) Julienne Stroeve. Of course, Stroeve has no explanation of what caused dramatic sea ice melt in 1922, but she’s certain you caused it today.

For each tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) that any person on our planet emits, three square meters of Arctic summer sea ice disappear. This is the finding of a study that has been published in the journal Science this week by Dirk Notz, leader of a Max Planck Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and Julienne Stroeve from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre. These figures enable us for the first time to grasp the individual contribution to global climate change. Read more

Feds Join Conference on ‘Psychosocial Resilience’ to Climate Change – Causes Depression, PTSD, Suicide, and Spiritual Problems

by Penny Starr

(CNSNews.com) – Several federal officials spoke on Friday at a conference in Washington, D.C., organized by The Resource Innovation Group, an Oregon-based organization that promotes the idea that climate change can cause a range of human health problems, including PTSD, depression and suicide and that human behavior should be changed to avoid these problems.

The website said attendees to the conference will learn:

The personal mental health, spiritual, and psychosocial impacts of climate change on youth, adolescents, adults, and why major preventative human resilience-building policies and programs are urgently needed to address the risks.

Methods, policies, and benefits of building personal resilience for climate change-enhanced traumas and toxic stresses.

Methods, policies, and benefits of building psychosocial resilience within all types of groups and organizations for climate change-enhanced traumas and toxic stresses.

Methods, policies, and benefits of building psychosocial resilience within communities for climate change-enhanced traumas and toxic stresses. Read more

Green heads to explode: ‘elimination of GMO crops would cause hike in greenhouse gas emissions’

by Anthony Watts

From Purdue University and the “better living through genetics” department comes this press release that is sure to setup an impossible quandary in the minds of some anti-GMO zealots who also happen to be climate proponents…

Planting GMO crops is an effective way for agriculture to lower its carbon footprint.

A global ban on genetically modified crops would raise food prices and add the equivalent of nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, a study by researchers from Purdue University shows. Using a model to assess the economic and environmental value of GMO crops, agricultural economists found that replacing GMO corn, soybeans and cotton with conventionally bred varieties worldwide would cause a 0.27 to 2.2 percent increase in food costs, depending on the region, with poorer countries hit hardest. According to the study, published Oct. 27 in the Journal of Environmental Protection, a ban on GMOs would also trigger negative environmental consequences: The conversion of pastures and forests to cropland – to compensate for conventional crops’ lower productivity – would release substantial amounts of stored carbon to the atmosphere. Read more

The Latest Global Warming Threat: Trick Or Treating

by Andrew Follett

Environmentalists have decided that letting kids trick or treat on Halloween is increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and the only solution is for the activists to get more money to fight it.

Environmentalists suspect that candy eaten by trick-or-treating kids probably generates a lot of CO2 and therefore isn’t sustainable. The environmental website TerraPass even encourages parents to “start a new trend and skip the candy handouts, opting for more sustainable treats as a greener way of participating in the festivities. Instead of candy coated, sugary bites, offer up little storybooks, crayons, playing cards or toys.” Read more (That sounds like the “safe places” offered college students traumatized by Trump’s election.)

Explosive coolant being put into cars to fight global warming

By Ed Straker

A new kind of explosive coolant called HFO-1234yf is being put into cars to fight global warming.

HFO-1234yf is already becoming standard in many new cars sold in the European Union and the United States by all the major automakers, in large part because its developers, Honeywell and Chemours, have automakers over a barrel. Their refrigerant is one of the few options that automakers have to comply with new regulations and the Kigali agreement.

It has its detractors. The new refrigerant is at least 10 times as costly as the one it replaces.

Daimler began raising red flags in 2012. A video the company made public was stark. It showed a Mercedes-Benz hatchback catching fire under the hood after 1234yf refrigerant leaked during a company simulation.

Daimler eventually relented and went along with the rest of the industry, installing 1234yf in many of its new cars.

“None of the people in the car industry I know want to use it,” said Axel Friedrich, the former head of the transportation and noise division at the Umweltbundesamt, the German equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency. He added that he opposed having another “product in the front of the car which is flammable.”

While cars, obviously, contain other flammable materials, he was specifically worried that at high temperatures 1234yf emitted hydrogen fluoride, which is dangerous if inhaled or touched.

The new coolant is superior to the HFC it is replacing in its impact on global warming.

Man-made global warming is a myth, a fantasy; there has never even been a workable theory to even prove it. (The current theory, that man-made carbon dioxide causes global warming, doesn’t work because most CO2 is produced naturally in the environment, not by industrial output.) And yet our lives are risked, again and again, to protect us against this fantasy.

More and more people are dying because cars are getting lighter and lighter – the left’s human sacrifices to appease their global warming gods. The left won’t be satisfied until we are driving around in vehicles loaded with explosives with the crash-worthiness of papier-mâché. (Source)

 

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