Eight-tentacled cuddlebug… on Ecstasy – via NPR

The drug makes the usually antisocial creatures much more interested in friendly contact with other octopuses. It’s one more sign that the chemistry of social behavior has deep evolutionary roots.(Image credit: Tom Kleindinst/Marine Biological Laboratory)

via Octopuses Get Strangely Cuddly On The Mood Drug Ecstasy — News : NPR

Great Australian birdlife sight taking place in north west Qld

by Sally Cripps – @sallyQCL

Some of the thousands of budgies flocking together around Richmond, as photographed by Terry Carrington.
 Some of the thousands of budgies flocking together around Richmond, as photographed by Terry Carrington

One of the most spectacular birding sights to be seen in Australia is taking place around Richmond at the moment.

The undulating, chirping group formation of budgerigars on the wing, known as a murmuration, has been caught on camera by Richmond grazier, Terry Carrington.

Terry, who lives at Patroy, 27km south of Richmond in north west Queensland, said he had lived in the area all his life but never witnessed as many budgies in a flock as what he has been seeing over the last week.

“2003 would have been the last time I saw them somewhere near as thick as this,” he said.

Read the full article and watch an amazing video that captures an estimated 20,000 budgies participating in a murmur here.

Ottawa bearing witness to unusual influx… of bears – The Canadian Press

By Andy Blatchford (via msn.com)

Richard Moore, acting manager of Conservation Services at the National Capital Commission, is shown beside a bear cage in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
© Provided by thecanadianpress.com Richard Moore, acting manager of Conservation Services at the National Capital Commission, is shown beside a bear cage in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – High population density is a feature of most Group of Seven capitals — but Ottawa stands out among its international peers these days with an unusual demographic situation: a sudden influx of bears.

Black bear sightings surged of late in Canada’s national capital region. Conservation officials say they’ve already had to round up more than 30 of the large mammals roaming urban areas since the start of the month.

From a human’s perspective, the bears have been getting into mischief. Locals have seen them wandering along leafy residential streets, nosing through backyard compost containers and one was even spotted rambling the alleys of Ottawa’s touristy ByWard Market.

Many of the wayward animals, including the one affectionately nicknamed “ByWard Bear,” were seen or scooped up within a few kilometres of Parliament Hill. 

Read the full article here.

NAFTA negotiations ‘hang over heads’ of Canadian farmers, U.S. counterparts – CBCNEWS

by Kaitie Fraser (via msn.com)

As the sun comes up on farmers across Essex County, Ont., it’s not their livestock or crops they check first thing in the morning — it’s the markets.

The tough talk between Canada and the U.S. around NAFTA negotiations is having real-life consequences for those working in the industry every day.

“You’re at everybody else’s whim and whatever they want,” said Henry Denotter, a grain and oilseed farmer in Kingsville, Ont.


Denotter’s farm covers nearly 610 hectares, where he grows everything from soybeans and corn to wheat and rye. But each morning, he looks to the U.S. to see what kind of profits he can expect.


“We can’t set the prices, we’re looking at Chicago everyday to see how grain is doing. And somebody starts a rumour — whether it’s [U.S. President] Donald Trump or China and the market goes down 30 cents, 10 cents, even a penny makes a difference in our end profits.”


Those profits are what keeps Denotter’s equipment running and business afloat, he said, as he has to make payments on machinery just like anyone would on a home or car.


As a grain farmer, Denotter said he is selling on a global stage, not part of Canada’s supply management system of quotas, which control how much its dairy, poultry and egg farmers are allowed to produce.

a cow standing next to a wire fence: While politicians discuss NAFTA, Essex County, Ont. farmers worry about fluctuating markets and the possible flood of foreign dairy, should supply management go the wayside.
© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation While politicians discuss NAFTA, Essex County, Ont. farmers worry about fluctuating markets and the possible flood of foreign dairy, should supply management go the wayside.

Read the full article from CBC News here.

B.C. group wants to kill the seals to save the whales – CBCNews

by Greg Rasmussen (via msn.com)

an animal with its mouth open: Associated Press
© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Associated Press

Ken Pearce throttles back on his outboard motor, his boat slowing as it cuts through the waters of the lower Fraser River near Steveston, B.C.

He’s spotted a half-dozen seals swimming in a side channel.

“They’ve fed on the rising tide and now they’re coming in to soak up the sun and snooze,” he says.

Pearce views the animals as a major threat to migrating salmon and the endangered killer whales that feed on them.

He wants tens of thousands of them killed in a commercial hunt.

His group, Pacific Balance Pinniped Society, has support from some First Nations, commercial fishing groups and elements of the sport fishing industry. 

Read the full article here.

“From a tired, broken-hearted vet.” The sad reality of what our pets do in their final moments.

by Clare Stephens (via msn.com)

a dog looking at the camera: "I have never had pets worry during their final moments." Image via Getty.
© Getty “I have never had pets worry during their final moments.” Image via Getty.

There are few thoughts as sickening as imagining your pet in a scenario where they’re vulnerable, scared and alone.

We’d like to think our pets know they’re loved always, and know we’ll do whatever is necessary to protect them and make them feel safe.

But according to a post that recently went viral, there’s one moment in particular where humans fail.

Read this heart-wrenching yet poignant article here AND hug your dog, cat, bird, or other pet tight and promise them you’ll never abandon them in their final moments.

5-foot rattlesnake caught ‘dancing’ atop tree in New Mexico

There was an added complication to keen hunter Frank Gonzales’s scouting trip in Nutt, New Mexico, on August 19.Gonzales spotted a five-foot-long rattlesnake that appeared to be dancing in the high branches of a tree while he was scouting suitable ground for the upcoming hunting season.Uploading the unnerving sight to Facebook, Gonzales wrote: “Not only did we have to watch for rattlesnakes on the ground but the dang trees too.” Credit: Frank Gonzales via Storyful

Watch the video here.

Tennis rallies behind Serena Williams after US Open sexism claim – The Guardian

So let me get this straight, Serena and others are calling the game and yesterday’s Women’s Final’s alleged ‘bad calls’ sexist, yet the women get the same prize money as the men regardless of the fact that the women only play three sets vs the men’s five.  Yes, the game is sexist – in favour of the women!  Serena was getting coaching from her player’s box, that was blatant.  Then she broke her racket, warranting a point penalty.  Then, she calls Chair Umpire Carlos Ramos a liar and a thief, warranting a full game penalty.

As someone who watches every major tennis tournament with enthusiasm and anticipation, I applaud Ramos for standing firm and enforcing the rules.  This is not an issue of past alleged poor officiating, it was about what Serena did yesterday, at the 2018 US Open Women’s Final.

Should chair umpires enforce the rules more consistently, yes.  Should other players – men and women, be more harshly sanctioned, yes.  But this does not or should not detract from the reality that at yesterday’s Final, Serena Williams was offside.  She (and her coach) committed each of the offenses and, based on the rules, should and was penalized rightly because of those actions.

It’s not sexist: it’s not about Cornet’s shirt changing penalty or Serena’s 2018 French Open catsuit sanctioning, it’s only about what happened yesterday.  In my opinion, both Serena and Roger Federer get special treatment on almost every court on which they play, and that’s not fair either.

Of course there’s sexism in tennis.  I applaud Serena for what she and other female players have done to help level the playing field and elevate the women’s game to its rightful place.  However, in this instance, this was an example of poor behaviour, not sexism – and poor behaviour is a universal human failing.

Below from The Guardian

Tennis players past and present have rallied behind Serena Williams after she claimed the sport was riddled by sexism following an extraordinary on-court tirade at an umpire during the US Open women’s final.

The 23-time grand slam winner said she was fighting for the future rights of women players by publicly criticising the chair umpire Carlos Ramos for what she interpreted as double standards. The final was won by Naomi Osaka of Japan – with the enormously talented 20-year-old claiming her first major title – but it will be remembered for the controversy prompted by a furious outburst from Williams.

Serena Williams points at the umpire
 Serena Williams points at the umpire during her US Open final match against Naomi Osaka. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Read The Guardian’s full article here.

These Canadians flew in a secret WWII mission to destroy German dams – thestar.com

by Ted Barris – Excerpt from Dam Busters – via msn.com

a group of people in uniform posing for a photo: Sixteen of the surviving Dam Busters were pictured at the English airfield the day they returned from the raid. All in this photo were Canadian except American Joe McCarthy (second from right in back row), who had trained in Canada.
© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Sixteen of the surviving Dam Busters were pictured at the English airfield the day they returned from the raid. All in this photo were Canadian except American Joe McCarthy (second from right in back row), who had trained in Canada.

On May 16, 1943, an unprecedented operation was launched by Squadron 617 of the Royal Air Force. The mission was to destroy three German dams in the Ruhr Valley with a new kind of bomb, dropped from a low-flying Lancaster, to cause flooding and chaos, disrupt key industries and possibly shorten the Second World War. In Dam Busters, Ted Barris tells the dramatic story with a focus on the large number of pilots, engineers, navigators and bombers on the mission who were Canadian or trained in Canada.

Read Ted Barris’s full article here to learn more about these brave young Canadians and how their efforts helped stem German advances and lead Canada and the Allies to victory.

Comings And Goings On The Marsh — leaf and twig

room for all the hurried arrival the leisurely stroll

via Comings And Goings On The Marsh — leaf and twig