California's Super Bloom So Intense It's Visible From Space
Thanks to above-average rainfall after an epic drought, spectacular flowers are blossoming throughout California, and now you can track it from space.
A few weeks ago, a colorful "super bloom" of sunflowers, sand verbena, dune evening primrose and ocotillos drew crowds of botany enthusiasts to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. These blooms were followed by similar phenomena in Carrizo Plain National Monument, Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge and an area close to Los Padres National Forest.
Check out the images below courtesy of Planet Labs, a company founded by former NASA scientists.
Last month, Planet Labs launched Planet Explorer Beta, where you can track satellite images for about 85 percent of Earth's changing terrain. If all of this looks to you like Google Earth on steroids, there's a good reason for that. The 2014 startup company in February acquired Google's satellite business, Terra Bella, responsible for Google Earth, and now boasts the world's largest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites.
To see how regions have changed as recorded by the satellite images, click on the white scroll bar in the middle, and slide the bar back and forth.
Near Los Padres National Forest
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
The northern California coast is the latest area to bloom. A wildflower forecast for all areas of California through July can be found at Visit California.
Cuttlefish, marine invertebrates related to squids and octopuses, can pass the so-called "marshmallow test," an experiment designed to test whether human children have the self-control to wait for a better reward.
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By John R. Platt
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Cages line the Malang bird and animal market on Java in 2016. Andrea Kirkby / CC BY-SA 2.0
A kingfisher, looking a little worse for wear, in the Malang bird and animal market in 2016. Andrea Kirkby / CC BY-SA 2.0
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One morning in January, I found myself 30 feet up a tall metal pole, carrying 66 pounds of aluminum antennas and thick weatherproofed cabling. From this vantage point, I could clearly see the entire Punta Banda Estuary in northwestern Mexico. As I looked through my binoculars, I observed the estuary's sandy bar and extensive mudflats packed with thousands of migratory shorebirds frenetically pecking the mud for food.
There are currently few Motus stations in Mexico, leading to a large information gap. Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND
Red knots and many other shorebirds travel thousands of miles from breeding grounds in the Arctic (left) to nonbreeding grounds in Latin America (right). Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND
Motus stations require a high vantage point that overlooks estuaries. Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND
Any bird with a transmitter will be picked up if it flies within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of a Motus station. Julián García Walther / CC BY-ND<h2>Tagging Birds</h2><p>The stations alone can't detect these animals. The final step, which will happen in the coming months, is to catch birds and tag them. To do this, our team will set up a soft, spring-loaded net called a whoosh net in sandy areas where the red knots rest above the high-tide line. When birds walk past the net, the crew leader will release the trigger, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwMiA2iqVc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">safely trapping the birds with the net</a>.</p>
WhooshNetCapture.MTS<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6440038cdc58961906f5fa164b457688"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vwMiA2iqVc0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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