Tulula's Blog
Monday, June 20, 2005
  Treasures at Boston's Prudential
I never thought a mall could have anything this cool, but the treasures at the Prudential are beyond anything anyone could imagine. Walking around in my old neighborhood in Washington Heights helped train me to discover these hidden beauties: to avoid stepping in all that doggy-do, I had to constantly look down as I walked! So I looked down as I walked through the Pru -- and lo and behold! What did I see? Hundreds of ammonites staring up at me! Check 'em out the next time you're there!

They are all over the place. What a jackpot quarry the Pru builders hit! And the best part is . . . .

. . they're cephalopods! They're closest living descendant is the nautilus. With their swirling shells, from the outside they resemble snails. However, unlike snail shells, inside of the ammonite consists of distinct chambers. (You can see the chambers in some of the Prudential ammonite pictures here.) All of these creatures are molluscs. Apparently, both ammonites and nautiluses regulate the air in their chambers in order to float and swim. This page by Neale Monks of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London has a wonderful wealth of information on ammonites and nautiluses.

So even upon our man-made castles, Mother Nature leaves behind her indelible imprints.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
  In Search of Wildlife
. . story continued from yesterday:

So on Sunday evening, we went on the moose tour. We first passed a ski slope -- and climbing up it was a black bear!

From the bus, it looked like a little fuzzy dot making its way up the mountain. Thankfully, that was just about the right distance for my viewing comfort.

We proceeded along the highway and passed the Indian Head, New Hampshire's last remaining profile mountain after the demise of the Old Man.

We slowed down when we were approaching the various wallows by the side of the highway. Wallows are pools of mud and salt that is left over from the winter and washes to the side of the road during spring thaw. After a long, hard winter, the meese need to replenish their sodium levels and come to these mudpools to feed. It's best to look for meese at sunrise or dusk by the side of the highways.

We saw a scrawny female moose very intently licking up the salty mud at one of these pools. (She looked roughly like a donkey, similar to the one in this picture, only scrawnier).

After gazing at her for ten minutes or so, we decided to get out of the bus for a closer look. She began to leave, though very reluctantly. As soon as we made motions to board the bus, she returned to the wallow and continued to feed. After sundown, with Tony's spotlight, we managed to see a deer and a pair of other female meese.

Later we stopped at a small country store to fill up on snacks and fudge. While the door was open, in flew a cute little black bat!


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