Saturday, September 25, 2010



The Common Sandpiper ( Actitis hypoleucos )

Sandpipers are familiar birds that are often seen running near the water's edge on beaches and tidal mud flats. The common sandpiper has a brown upper body and a white underside. When at rest its wingtips reach halfway back to its tail. The bird is a European and Asian species, but is closely related to the similar-looking spotted sandpiper of the Americas.
(National Geographic Society,1996-2010)

The Spotted Sandpiper ( Actitis macularia )

ORDER : Charadriiformes
FAMILY: Scolopacidae

The most widespread breeding sandpiper in North America, the Spotted Sandpiper breeds along the edges of nearly any water source throughout the northern half of the continent. It is at home around urban ponds as well as tundra pools.Copyright © 2010 Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Ospreys are superb fishers and indeed eat little else—fish make up some 99 percent of their diet. Because of this appetite, these birds can be found near ponds, rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways around the world. Ospreys hunt by diving to the water's surface from some 30 to 100 feet (9 to 30 meters) up. They have gripping pads on their feet to help them pluck fish from the water with their curved claws and carry them for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind resistance.

American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus

The American crocodile is considered an endangered species in nearly all parts of its North, Central, and South American range. Survey data, except in the United States, is poor or nonexistent, but conservationists agree that illegal hunting and habitat depletion has reduced populations of this wide-ranging reptile to critical levels.

A small, remnant population lives in southern Florida, but most are found in southern Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America.

Saltwater Crocodile Crocodylus porosus

Earth’s largest living crocodilian—and, some say, the animal most likely to eat a human—is the saltwater or estuarine crocodile. Average-size males reach 17 feet (5 meters) and 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms), but specimens 23 feet (7 meters) long and weighing 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) are not uncommon.

Saltwater crocs, or "salties," as Australians affectionately refer to them, have an enormous range, populating the brackish and freshwater regions of eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. They are excellent swimmers and have often been spotted far out at sea.

Nile Crocodile Crocodylus niloticus

The Nile crocodile has a somewhat deserved reputation as a vicious man-eater. The proximity of much of its habitat to people means run-ins are frequent. And its virtually indiscriminate diet means a villager washing clothes by a riverbank might look just as tasty as a migrating wildebeest. Firm numbers are sketchy, but estimates are that up to 200 people may die each year in the jaws of a Nile croc.

Sea Otter Enhydra lutris

This aquatic member of the weasel family is found along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. Sea otters have webbed feet, water-repellent fur to keep them dry and warm, and nostrils and ears that close in the water.


Birds of prey (Order Falconiformes) include eagles, hawks, kites, the secretary bird, ospreys, and falcons. These birds have superb eyesight, strong legs and talons, a sharp, hooked bill and are adept hunters. Birds of prey are primarily carnovires (that is, they feed on other animals).

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Falconiformes
    The Order Falconiformes contains the following subgroups:
    • Family: Sagittariidae (secretary bird)
    • Family: Pandionidae (osprey)
    • Family: Accipitridae (kites, eagles, hawks)
    • Family: Falconidae (falcons)

    There are LOTS OF FALCONS
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There are even two types of Peregrine Falcon ... or 17 types, depending on who you ask??

The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known simply as the Peregrine, and historically as the "Duck Hawk" in North America, is a cosmopolitan bird of prey in the family Falconidae.

It is a large, crow-sized falcon, with a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache". It can reach speeds over 322 km/h (200 mph), making it the fastest animal in the world. As is common withbird-eating raptors, the female is much bigger than the male.

Experts recognize 17–19 subspecies, which vary in appearance and range; there is disagreement over whether the distinctive Barbary Falcon is a subspecies or a distinct species.


  1. Thanks for putting sandpiper information on the blog. It will really help with the research.
    Allie!! Violet

  2. Hey Mr V,
    I am in your marine class 1st period and have a question (this is the most recent post so figured i comment here). I have always wondered about boats and the way their anchors work. I dont understand why a boat doesnt "revolve" around the anchor. For instance if i stop my boat in the midle of the Gulf of Mexico and anchor and am faceing west what or whos to say it doent move around?Whos to say when i return it is now faced East or South or North?

  3. t does revolve around. Boats will often use two (or more) differing anchors for security in storms. Anchorage heading truly depends on which is stronger the wind or the "current" which work together or in opposition resulting in the direction the boats heads..generally, into the wind.

    Hope this helps....

  4. I tried to post this question on the link you showed us in class today, but it said a server error has occured so i will just post it here.

    Do you think since florida did not exist many years ago that in many more years more landforms will appear? Also do u think in Zillions And zillions of years the whole world will just be land????


  5. thank you for posting the information! it was a big help!! it will really help my reserch. Halie!!

  6. Ada,

    We won;t be here in zillionz of years...

    In less that 5 billion years Sol ( our star, the sun) will go NOVA .. and all the planets, satellites, asteroids around wil become crispy bits of dust.

    Many scientists and other people think and predict the Earth will continue fluctuate between greater heating and cooling with Heating eventually taking over and we would become more like Venus... heat tapped by heavy clouds and gasses making life VERY different if not impossible.

  7. Thanks alot for all the links, this really helped me get a ton of work done tonight! See you in class tomorrow with a bunch of facts.

    Michael S., Red Class

  8. How come when the waves come up, the sandpipers run away from it? Are they scared of the waves or something?

    Devery C, Yellow

  9. Hilarious post Devery! There's scary things in the water, it takes a lot of energy to dry out/off.. the food sandpipers seek is left by the wave swash. the (tiny) live biota will often quickly bury into the sand and the non-live biota may be carried out by the next swash action.

    They're just hungry, and the food doesn't stay in one place very long.

    Put two (2pts) in the box - been a long time since anyone has asked that one!