new guinea


Around the garden, 31 Jul 2015:

Top: Japanese Blood Grass with Ligularia, Fern, and New Guinea Impatiens.

Second Row, Left: Sweet Peas and Nasturtium.

Second Row, Right: perennial Sweet Peas.

Bottom Row, Left: Harry the pug sunbathing in the back garden.

Bottom Row, Right: I do not know what plant this is – it grew from an area where I scattered a seed packet marked as “cottage garden” flowers months ago – but it sure is beautiful! Maybe one of my followers will be familiar with it?

Bloody Sunday (2002) Directed by Paul Greengrass

Simon Mann who played Colonel Derek Wilford was a member of the Special Air Service who served in Northern Ireland and The Gulf War. After his service ended he was allegedly involved with the private military company Executive Outcomes and became a part of Sandline International which gained infamy due to the Sandline Affair in Papua New Guinea. He would later serve a prison sentence in Chikurubi in Zimbabwe and the infamous Black Beach prison in Equatorial Guinea for his role in the 2004 coup attempt. He was released and returned to Britain in November 2009.


The birds-of-paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. The majority of species are found in New Guinea and its satellites, with a few in the Maluku Islands and eastern Australia. The family has 41 species in 14 genera. The diet of all species is dominated by fruit and to a lesser extent arthropods. Birds-of-paradise are closely related to the corvids. Birds-of-paradise range in size from the king bird-of-paradise at 50 g (1.8 oz) and 15 cm (5.9 in) to the curl-crested manucode at 44 cm (17 in) and 430 g (15 oz).

#Volcanofriday part 2

Earlier today we covered the initiation of an eruption in Iceland. On the other side of the world, an eruption that is much more serious also is unfolding as I type this. This ash cloud is pouring out of the volcano known as Tavurvur on the island of New Britain, in the nation of Papua New Guinea.

Tavurvur is part of a much larger volcanic complex known as the Rabaul Caldera that sits at the far northeastern tip of New Britain. This caldera is the remnants of several large volcanic explosions, the most recent of which took place 1400 years ago. A caldera is a giant hole in the ground; when a large magma chamber beneath the Earth’s surface empties during an eruption, it leaves empty space and the rocks above the magma chamber collapse downward, forming a huge crater in the ground.

The Rabaul caldera is about 8 x 14 kilometers in size. On its southeastern slope, the rim of this caldera has been breached by the Pacific Ocean, flooding the caldera center and creating a natural harbor, protected from the open ocean by the eastern and northern walls of the caldera.

This setup, a protected harbor, is a solid place for economic activity. By the early 1990’s, about 50,000 people lived on the coastline of this harbor, but the volcano had something to say about that.

Calderas don’t die when they erupt. It can take thousands of years for their magma chambers to rebuild, but the magma supply doesn’t shut off after large eruptions. Typically, small volcanoes will begin growing on the edges of the caldera what is known as the resurgent phase of caldera activity. Tavurvur is one of these volcanoes. In 1994 it erupted simultaneously with another cone known as Vulcan on the volcano’s rim, decimating the area. Thankfully, the population was mostly evacuated the night before the eruption as earthquakes gave an early warning, leading to only 5 deaths, but today the population of the area today is a small fraction of what it was before these eruptions.

Tavurvur rumbled to life again today, sending ash clouds high into the air and producing fountains of lava. There is video of the eruption up at our blog, 

This volcano is a direct hazard to many more people on the ground than the current eruption in remote Iceland, and has also caused aviation alerts and forced the redirection of some flights due to ash in the air.


Image credit: Oliver Bluett/AFP

Read more:

Genetic Forensics Wakes a Dragon

A genetic investigation into the illegal trade of sailfin dragons has unearthed a surprise: a new species of the rainbow-colored lizards that resemble small dinosaurs. The finding highlights just how little is known about these mysterious and threatened animals.

Sailfin lizards (genus Hydrosaurus) look like they were pulled from a child’s coloring book. As the water-loving reptiles mature, their faces, dorsal crests, and saillike tails shift from a drab green and gray to vibrant shades of neon purple, cyan, and harlequin. That’s made them a popular target for an illegal pet trade which—along with destruction of their habitat in the Philippines, eastern Indonesia, and New Guinea—has decimated their numbers. In the wild, only juveniles remain in most populations, says Cameron Siler, the curator of herpetology at the University of Oklahoma, Norman.

Read more (via

Greater Sooty Owl (Tyto tenebricosa)

…is a species of barn owl (Tytonidae) that is native to south-eastern Australia, New Guinea and Flinder’s Island in the Bass Strait. Like other barn owls T. tenebricosa are nocturnal and inhabit moist forests where smooth-barked gum trees are present, along with ferns and a wet under-story. Greater Sooty Owls feed mainly on large arboreal marsupials like greater gliders, but will take birds, bats, and large insects as well. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Strigiformes-Tytonidae-Tyto-T. tenebricosa

Image: Quollism


Red-eyed Crocodile Skink - Tribolonotus gracilis

The Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink, Tribolonotus gracilis (Scincidae), is a terrestrial, semi-aquatic skink, with up to 25 cm in length, native to New Guinea and the surrounding islands of Indonesia and Solomon Islands.

Adults develop the trademark bright orange or red ring around the eye and a creamy appearance to their underbelly. Crocodile skinks have large, triangular heads and are distinguished by four rows of pointy, ridged, bony scales (vertebral spines) along their back and tail, and textured, leathery skin, all of which are reminiscent of a crocodilian and lead to the skink’s name.

Other common names are Orange-Eyed Crocodile Skink, Red-Eyed Bush Crocodile Skink, Armored Skink or Helmeted Skink.

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Photo credit: ©Geoffrey Einon | Locality: captive (UK), 2008 | [Top] - [Bottom]