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Giant Sea Worm

Above is the giant sea worm that has been caught at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, Great Britain.

I did not have any idea that a creature such as this existed on the Earth.

The sea worm was in a tank at the aquarium eating other creatures. Officials at the aquarium did not know that the creature was in the tank until the trouble started and the tank was searched. 

Here is a story on the worm. There is also a gallery of pictures you can click of giant sea creatures at the link.

I don’t like looking at that creature and it would scare me if I saw it in my bathtub or sink. Yet if it did appear in one of those places I could take a picture of it and blog traffic would spike for a few days from the novelty.

Here is the link to the Blue Reef Aquarium. 

Here is information on the city of Newquay.

Here is a story about sea worms that eat nothing but whale bones.

Here is some general information about sea worms. 

I know it’s possible you’ve come here off a search engine link about giant sea worms, and I’m glad you have, but there is a lot to know about the oceans than just strange creatures. Here is a good and accessible link to learn more about the oceans.   I have a great deal of confidence in the ability of average folks to learn things and it would be great if you’d check out this link or do some looking on your own about the oceans and different types of sea life.

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April 3, 2009 Posted by | Sea Life, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Killer Whales Spotted In Gulf Of Mexico—Marine Mammal Reference Ideas

Killer Whales have been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Below is a picture of killer whales seen in the Gulf of Mexico. Behind them you seen an oil rig which is pretty good evidence that you are looking at the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is information about the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is a link to YouTube video footage of killer whales in Texas waters.

Below is from the Houston Chronicle story on the killer whales

“Scientists say orcas have been in the Gulf for years but are rarely seen because they live far from shore and beyond the typical range of commercial fishermen. Still, a recent sighting of killer whales 95 miles off the Alabama coast has captivated those who work and play in the warm waters of the Gulf. “It was like being at Sea World because they’d come right up to the boat,” said Eddie Hall, captain of the Shady Lady, the charter boat that spotted as many as 200 orcas feeding on tuna. Hall recorded the close encounter on video, and the National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed that they were, indeed, killer whales. Tony Amos, a researcher with the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, said confirmed sightings of orcas in the Gulf date back to at least 1985.”

The guy in the Chronicle story said that it was just like Sea World. Yes–It was just like Sea World except that the whales were free and not in a kind of sea jail in the form of a (sort of ) big tank.

A killer whale is not a whale. It is a kind of dolphin. It is a very big killer dolphin. Its presence in the Gulf is not so much a surprise when you consider that it is the most widespread of any whale or dolphin. Here is some discussion of the differences between whales and dolphins.

Killer Whales can grow up to 30 feet long and live up to 90 years. Female killer whales can hang on for 80 to 90 years while males make it between 50 and 60.

A great book on marine mammals is the National Audubon Society’s Guide To Marine Mammals of the World(Books remain the stronger source on very many issues and questions than what you are able to find on the internet. Please consider getting off the computer and reading a book.)

Here is a bit of what the Audubon Guide says about killer whales—

“The world population of killer whales seems to consist of specialized subpopulation, each adapted to live off the resources available within its home range. In this sense killer whales are much like wolves.”

A book I don’t own but that maybe someday I will is The Marine Mammals of the Gulf of Mexico.

There are many types of marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. Please click here for a list of such creatures.

The American Cetacean Society is a good on-line reference for marine mammals. You can find killer whale information at the ACS.

Here is the link to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Books, Sea Life | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

First Ever Texas Liberal Video—I Have Confidence In You

Here is the first Texas Liberal video. I filmed it on Galveston’s East Beach a few days ago. It is just under 2 minutes long.

The video explains why I am making videos for the blog. The video expresses the idea that I have confidence in you because of the things that you and I have in common. 

Not in the video is the rotting dolphin carcass that was about 30 feet away from where I was standing.  At first look, people thought it was a seal carcass. Don’t folks know that the only seal ever to come near Galveston was the now-extinct Caribbean Monk Seal? (Below) This was the only seal native to the Gulf of Mexico.

File:Cms-newyorkzoologicalsociety1910.jpg

Why do you think that people must drive big pickups onto the beach and motor around in circles? I’d like people to please know that I kept my eye on the camera despite these trucks, the dolphin carcass, the many bulldozers replenishing the beach with sand after last year’s Hurricane Ike, and people feeding seagulls out of moving cars as the seagulls followed the cars in noisy flocks.  

Thank you for reading this blog and for watching the video.

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Galveston, Sea Life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Fishing Boat Picture & Sunday Links

Along with a picture of a fishing boat I took in Corpus Christi, Texas earlier this year, here are some quick Sunday links. 

Overfishing is a global problem says Greenpeace.

Fish Farming is helping people get enough to eat in the nation of Malawi.

Here is information on Malawi.

Fire fighters in Scotland looked for an escaped hamster.

Hamster prices have shot up in China.

A Houston Chronicle poll suggests Democrats will do well in Harris County on Election Day.  

Pollster.com continues to see Senator Obama with a strong national lead.

Here is information on visiting Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi is a nice place to spend a weekend.

Have a great week ahead and thank you for reading Texas Liberal.

October 26, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Sea Life, Texas | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Navy Wants To Keep Terrorizing Whales With Sonar Blasts

The Supreme Court today heard a case about Navy testing of sonar that may well harm and kill whales and dolphins.

At the moment, these tests off the coast of California are banned by federal court order.

Environmental groups say these sonar blasts sound as loud as a jet engine to whales and dolphins. The Navy says the tests are needed for national security. 

Beyond these issues, the core of the matter seems to be whether the a judge can order the Navy to stop the tests because no environmental impact study has been done by the Navy. The case has implications beyond this specific concern.

Why can’t the Navy just do the study?

I think what we should do is extensively test just how the sonar bombardments sound to whales, and then recreate that noise for Naval test subjects. Maybe some in Navy could volunteer unlike the whales who have no choice in the matter. ( Though I bet that not many would volunteer to have their ears blasted out.)The test subjects could then report just how it sounded and we could make a judgement from that point. 

This National Geographic story discusses possible harm done to Killer Whales because of Navy sonar tests.

And this National Geographic story says whales can be given the bends by such tests.

Here is some good information about many different types of whales.

Here is some history of the Supreme Court. 

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Summary Of Second Obama-McCain Debate—Dolley Madison Was Best Looking First Lady

I watched the second debate this evening between John McCain and Barack Obama. Here is my summary of this second debate.

During the debate my mind wandered and I can’t clearly recall what was said. 

I became terrified that people who remain undecided could decide the election and I could not concentrate. The debate hall in Nashville was, it was claimed, filled with these so-called undecided voters. I support democracy. Yet sometimes I run from the implications of my support for democracy. How could one not?

Who could be undecided at this point? After eight years of George W. Bush and the clear contrast between John McCain and Barack Obama, who could still be undecided? Should these folks be allowed to provide the final margin of victory for either of the candidates?

What did I think about while my mind was wandering from whatever it was the candidates were discussing?

Dolley Madison (below) for one thing. I think she was our best looking First Lady. The best biography I am aware of James Madison is James Madison–A Biography by Robert Louis Ketcham. Dolley gets a good write-up in this account of Mr. Madison’s life. 

A portrait of First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison

During the debate, I thought about giant whales smashing the boats of whalers. 

A great book to read is Leviathan–The History of Whaling in America by Eric Jay Dolin.

My debate haze was broken for a few moments when Senator McCain referred to Senator Obama as “That one.” This was good because it seemed just the kind of gaffe that would nag Mr. McCain the rest of the way. I was relieved that other guy made the mistake instead of the candidate I was supporting.

Issues? Yeah—I guess they have a place. Just not in one of these debates.

During the debate I felt I could hear airplanes roaring inside my head.

Biplanes do not make a roaring sound? In that case, what I was hearing in my head? 

Most of all during the debate, I thought to myself that I sure hope Senator Obama can hold on to his lead in the polls and win the election next month.

It is this thought that best sumarizes the debate in my mind. Just hold on and wait for Election Day to arrive.

For a longer view, read the excellent America’s Three Regimes–A New Political History by Morton Keller. Every minute we spend following this campaign is time we don’t spend learning something that will have value after November 4.

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Politics, Sea Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dolphin Teaches Other Dolphins How To “Tail-Walk” on Water

Tail-walking dolphin
The BBC reports that a dolphin in Australia is teaching other dolphins how to “tail-walk” on water.
 
Above is a picture of one one of the tail walking dolphins. This behavior may have been learned from a brief time the dolphin doing the teaching spent in a marine park.
 
I’d sure like to see that in Galveston Bay some day.
 
Do you think the dolphin teaching the other dolphins is a show-off. Or do you think it is some sort of power grab in the dolphin hierarchy?
 
It could though be an act of kindess or just good fun.
 
 
Don’t you wish sometimes that people could pick up stuff so easily? The real trick though would be if dolphins could teach people this stunt.
From the BBC story–

A wild dolphin is apparently teaching other members of her group to walk on their tails, a behaviour usually seen only after training in captivity. The tail-walking group lives along the south Australian coast near Adelaide.  One of them spent a short time after illness in a dolphinarium 20 years ago and may have picked up the trick there.

Scientists studying the group say tail-walk tuition has not been seen before, and suggest the habit may emerge as a form of “culture” among this group.  “We can’t for the life of us work out why they do it,” said Mike Bossley from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), one of the scientists who have been monitoring the group on the Port River estuary. “We’re doing systematic observations now to determine if there’s something that may trigger it, but so far we haven’t found anything,” he told BBC News.

In the 1980s, Billie, one of the females in the group, spent a few weeks in a local dolphinarium recovering from malnutrition and sickness, a consequence of having been trapped in a marina lock. She received no training there, but may have seen others tail-walking.

Now, other females in the group have picked up the habit. It is seen rarely in the wild, and the obvious inference is that they have learned it from Billie.  “This indicates that they do learn from each other, which is not a surprise really, but it does also seem that they exhibit elements of what in humans we would call ‘cultural’ behaviour,” said Dr Bossley.

“These are things that groups develop and are passed between individuals and that come to define those groups, such as language or dancing; and it would seem that among the Port River dolphins we may have an incipient tail-walking culture.” The “cultural” transmission of ideas and skills has been documented in apes, while dolphins off the coast of Western Australia are known to teach their young to use sponges as an aid when gathering food.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m Driving To Galveston Blindfolded, Using Dolphin-Like Echolocation To Navigate

I’m going to drive 50 miles south today to take a walk along the Gulf of Mexico in fabulous Galveston, Texas.

In an effort to bond with dolphins in Galveston Bay, I’m going to blindfold myself and drive to Galveston using echolocation. Echolocation is one way dolphins find fish in murky waters. 

While I don’t have the dolphin anatomy you see in the above illustration, I’ve been practicing some of the skills involved. Just a few weeks ago, I shut my eyes and walked successfully from the dinner table to the couch. At that point I had to open my eyes because I wanted to watch the TV.

Having mastered that walk, I feel I’m now ready for the blindfolded drive to Galveston. I’m hoping at some point to be able to communicate with dolphins. (Please click here for my post on commuincating with zebra mussels.)

Better that I speak to the dolphins— I’m also practicing my sonar clicks— than somebody with a more evil plan.

Once reaching Galveston, I’ll be keeping my eyes open in case I see a mermaid. I’ll have my digital camera because blog traffic would spike if I could get a picture of a mermaid.

August 1, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, Sea Life | , , , , | 2 Comments

Despite Toxic Fish Warning, Galveston Is A Great Place To Visit

I feel a bit like the chamber of commerce folks in Jaws who denied any shark problem, but despite a toxic fish warning for Galveston Bay, Galveston, Texas is still a great place to spend a day.

You don’t have to flee the beach as are the people in the picture. Just be careful what you eat if you go fishing.

Galveston is what it is. A place to take a walk, get lunch, ride the free Bolivar Ferry, learn some history and do some shopping. There is enough to do for at least one day. You could spend the night as well and not run out of stuff to do the next day.

Many people in Houston are snobby about Galveston. Yet I’m not aware of anywhere else in this area you can take a nice walk on the beach. Going in the water is another matter. But I’m scared of the jellyfish anyway, so that does worry me much.

Here is a link to some of the many things to see in Galveston.

Below is a nice Galveston sunset.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, History, Houston, Sea Life | , , , | Leave a comment

Another Killer Whale Dead At San Antonio Sea World

From the Houston Chronicle

A 2½-year-old killer whale died Sunday night at SeaWorld San Antonio, becoming the second orca to die at the theme park in the past eight months. Early Monday, Sea World officials said the female killer whale named Halyn died unexpectedly.

But Sea World spokeswoman Fran Stephenson said Monday evening that the whale had been under a 24-hour watch and was on two courses of treatment after her behavior changed earlier in the weekend. She said she didn’t know what those changes were.

Tissue samples from the whale will be examined to establish a cause of death, she said, but that will take about six weeks. “While we recognize that death is part of the life cycle, we are saddened over the unexpected loss of this animal,” a SeaWorld press release said.

Halyn was one of five killer whales at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Shamu Theater, but Stephenson said Halyn didn’t perform regularly because she was young.The whale was, however, featured in educational presentations and behind-the-scenes tours.

The death comes almost eight months after Taku, a 14-year-old male orca, died Oct. 17 at the park. Officials said that death was unexpected as well. Tests showed Taku died of pneumonia, a respiratory infection.

I’ve said a number of times on this blog that killer whales don’t belong in tanks.

Above you see a picture of a killer whale that did not have to be trained to jump.

Please click here for my post on what is done with killer whales after they die at Sea World

Please click here for my post on the death last year of Taku the killer whale at San Antonio Sea World

Here is some good information about killer whales

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life, Texas | , , , , | 11 Comments

Photo Of Seaweed and Sea-Tumbleweed

Above is a photo I took of seaweed and what is, as far as I’m concerned, a sea-tumbleweed.

This picture was taken on the Gulf of Mexico side of North Padre Island National Seashore just outside of Corpus Christi.

Here is a definition of seaweed-

Any of various red, green, or brown algae that live in ocean waters. Some species of seaweed are free-floating, while others are attached to the ocean bottom. Seaweed range from the size of a pinhead to having large fronds (such as those of many kelps) that can be as much as 30.5 m (100 ft) in length. Certain species are used for food (such as nori) and fertilizer, and others are harvested for carrageenan and other substances used as thickening, stabilizing, emulsifying, or suspending agents in industrial, pharmaceutical, and food products. Seaweed is also a natural source of the element iodine, which is otherwise found only in very small amounts.

Here is a link to the well-done Seaweed Site. It will teach you a lot about seaweed.

Here is information from NOAA about deep water seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

The first tumbleweed I ever saw was covered with snow at a truck stop in Sidney, Nebraska. Though since it was covered with snow it was not tumbling very much.

Here is a link to a tumbleweed farm in Kansas that will ship tumbleweeds around the world.

Here is the definition of a tumbleweed—-

Any of various densely branched annual plants, such as amaranth and Russian thistle, that break off from the roots at the end of the growing season and are rolled about by the wind.  

March 30, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life, Texas | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picture Of Corpus Christi Bay Fishing Boat And Many Pelicans

Here is a photo of a fishing boat that is returning with its catch from Corpus Christi Bay.

Here is a map of Corpus Christi Bay.

Here is information on destructive fishing practices.

Here is information about the ecology of Corpus Christi Bay.

The boat is being followed by many brown pelicans. Here is information on brown pelicans.

Here is information on visiting Corpus Christi, Texas

I took this picture last week while visiting Corpus Christi.

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life, Texas | , , , , | Leave a comment

Harmony In The Ocean—White Killer Whale Not Shunned By Others

Above is a photo of a white killer whale taken in seas around the Aleutian Islands in late February.

Notice the racial harmony among the killer whales.

They do not care the that one killer whale is of a different color.

They are just all swimming around and about the affairs of killer whales.

Why can’t all people be as smart as these killer whales?

This story says the pictured whale is not a true albino.

This is apparently for the best because true albinos can have health problems.

The picture was taken by a researcher for the National Marine Mammal Laboratory.

Here is some good information on killer whales.

Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts on sea life.

March 8, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dolphin Stranding In Texas—Facts About Bottlenose Dolphin

 

Here in Texas, there has been a large stranding of Bottlenose Dolphins in Jefferson County and Galveston County beaches.

21 dolphins have been found in the last two days.

Here is a report on the stranding from the Galveston County Daily News.

Here is a report from the Houston Chronicle.

Another large stranding took place around this time last year.

This may prove to be the beginning of a large die-off of dolphins this year.

Some will claim this proves that Texas beaches are dirty.

As much I enjoy visiting Galveston, this claim may have merit.

From a leading guide to marine mammals–

Major die-offs of these dolphins along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts have been linked to viral outbreaks and acute exposure to toxins. There is speculation that heavy burdens of pollutants have weakened their immune systems.    

The Bottlenose Dolphin is a common dolphin in the world.

Here are some facts and information about these creatures.

The Guide To Marine Mammals of the World published by the National Audubon Society reports that–

“This is the archetypal dolphin, well known to the ancient Greeks and Romans because of its common seashore presence throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Today it has achieved world-wide exposure as the start of the television series Flipper and as the main attraction in many oceanariums.”

Also—

“This dolphin is a cosmopolitan species that occurs in oceans and peripheral seas and tropical and temperate latitudes. It occupies a wide variety of habitats and is regarded as perhaps the most most adaptable cetacean….

Don’t you wish some people were as flexible and as adaptable as these dolphins? 

Common Bottlenose Dolphins occur in groups that vary greatly in size…animals in bays from smaller groups ( 2 to 15..) than those offshore ( often tens or hundreds.) Composition and stability of these groups often varies. bands of related females may stay together for many years, during which time they are visited briefly and occasionally by adult males.”

“Pair bonds between adult males have been documented to last 20 years or longer.”

( Please click here for a good blog about a gay marriage.)          

“In Scotland’s Moray Firth, Bottlenose Dolphins have been seen chasing, butting, and propelling Harbor Porpoises clear out of the water. Sharks are significant natural predators of Bottlenose Dolphins and it is not unusual to see wounds or scars attributed to shark bites on the bodies of living dolphins.”

The Bottlenose Dolphin can live up to 50 years. Male Bottlenose range from 8 to 12 feet long and can weigh up to 1100 pounds. Females are 8 to 10 feet long and reach 570 pounds.

Here is more information on the Bottlenose Dolphin from the excellent webpage of the American Cetacean Society

Here is information on the Harbor Porpoise.

Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts on sea life and marine mammals.

Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts about Galveston

(Here is a photo of a Bottlenose Dolphin killing a Harbor Porpoise in Scotland. Now how cute and nice do you think they are?)

March 4, 2008 Posted by | Books, Galveston, Sea Life, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

1000 Views A Day Last Week—Thank You Blog Reading Public

 

A goal I set for Texas Liberal this year was to reach 1000 page views a day. I’ve not reached that goal as of yet over the long haul, but I am glad to report that thanks to readers such as yourself, I did last week hit 1000 views a day for a full week’s time.

I have the goal of 1000 and when I hit that target I’ll set a new goal.

I know some folks place more stock in unique visitors when counting blog traffic. I figure if someone comes to your shop and finds more than one thing of interest, then you have done pretty good with that person. 

All the ways that people count blog traffic have both good points and flaws. I just use my WordPress counter which gives me views and not unique visitors.

In any case, regardless of the traffic, it is good to have a forum with which to communicate and I appreciate all visitors to Texas Liberal.

An additional note–This Thursday I’ll be live-blogging the Democratic debate in Austin between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. I’ll be doing so on this blog and at my space as one of seven featured political bloggers on the Houston Chronicle web page.

The illustration above is of the Ichthyosaur. Here is a good web page with information about this pre-historic sea beast.  

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Sea Life | , , , | Leave a comment