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Categorized by genus/species, placed chronologically by common name

    American Coot

    American Crow

    American Flamingo*

    American Goldfinch

    American Kestrel

    American Oystercatcher*

    American Robin

    American Tree Sparrow

    American White Pelican

    Bald Eagle

    Baltimore Oriole

    Barn Swallow

    Barnacle Goose*

    Belted Kingfisher

    Black-and-White Warbler

    Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck*

    Black-Capped Chickadee

    Black-Headed Gull*

    Black Vulture*

    Blue Jay

    Blue Tit*

    Blue-Winged Teal



    Broad-Winged Hawk

    Brown Creeper

    Brown-Headed Cowbird

    Brown Pelican*

    Brown Thrasher


    Canada Goose


    Cape May Warbler*

    Carolina Chickadee*

    Carolina Wren

    Cedar Waxwing

    Chipping Sparrow

    Common Gallinule

    Common Goldeneye

    Common Grackle

    Common Gull*

    Common Merganser

    Common Moorhen*

    Common Pochard*

    Common Redpoll

    Cooper's Hawk

    Dark-Eyed Junco


    Double-Crested Cormorant

    Downy Woodpecker

    Eastern Bluebird

    Eastern Goldfinch - See American Goldfinch

    Eastern Kingbird

    Eastern Meadowlark

    Eastern Phoebe

    Eastern Towhee

    Eastern Wood Pewee

    Eurasian Blackbird*

    Eurasian Collared Dove

    Eurasian Coot*

    Eurasian Jackdaw*

    Eurasian Magpie*

    Eurasian Tree Sparrow*

    European Serin*

    European Shag*

    European Starling

    Fox Sparrow

    Golden-Crowned Kinglet

    Golden-Fronted Woodpecker*

    Gray Catbird

    Graylag Goose

    Great Black-backed Gull*

    Great Blue Heron

    Great Cormorant*

    Great Egret

    Great Grey Shrike

    Great Spotted Woodpecker*

    Great Tit*

    Greater Flamingo*

    Greater White-Fronted Goose*

    Green Heron

    Hairy Woodpecker

    Harlequin Duck

    Hermit Thrush

    Herring Gull

    Hooded Crow*

    Horned Lark

    House Finch

    House Sparrow

    House Wren

    Indigo Bunting

    Ivory Gull


    Laughing Gull*

    Lesser Black-backed Gull*

    Lesser Scaup

    Lincoln's Sparrow

    Magnolia Warbler

    Mallard (Domestic)

    Mallard (Wild)

    Mourning Dove

    Mute Swan*

    Neotropic Cormorant*

    Northern Cardinal

    Northern Flicker

    Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

    Northern Shoveler

    Northern Shrike - See Great Grey Shrike

    Orange-Crowned Warbler

    Painted Bunting*

    Palm Warbler

    Red-Bellied Woodpecker

    Red-Breasted Nuthatch

    Red-Headed Woodpecker

    Red-Legged Thrush*

    Red-Tailed Hawk

    Red-Winged Blackbird

    Ring-Billed Gull

    Ring-Necked Duck

    Rock Pigeon


    Ross's Goose*

    Royal Tern*

    Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

    Ruddy Turnstone*

    Sandwich Tern*

    Scarlet Tanager

    Smooth-Billed Ani*

    Solitary Sandpiper

    Song Sparrow

    Spotted Sandpiper

    Swamp Sparrow

    Syrian Woodpecker*

    Tricolored Heron*

    Tufted Duck*

    Tufted Titmouse

    Tundra Swan*

    Turkey Vulture

    White-Breasted Nuthatch

    White-Cheeked Pintail*

    White-Crowned Pigeon*

    White-Crowned Sparrow

    White-Eyed Vireo

    White-Throated Sparrow

    White-Winged Dove

    Wild Turkey

    Wilson's Warbler

    Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

    Yellow-Legged Gull

    Yellow-Rumped Warbler


    American Beaver

    Common Raccoon

    Eastern Chipmunk

    Eastern Cottontail

    Eastern Fox Squirrel

    Eastern Gray Squirrel

    Groundhog - See Woodchuck

    Ground Squirrel - See Eastern Chipmunk

    Red Fox

    Striped Skunk

    Virginia Opossum

    White-Tailed Deer


Nature Blog Network
Saturday, November 12, 2016

A few year ago my son and I took the a bus from Malmö to Falsterbo, in southern Sweden. It was a beautiful late-summer day. We stumbled across a long pier out in to the North Sea (or is it the Baltic Sea? The location off the southern tip of Sweden always makes it unclear to me.). We saw a number of different birds and bugs, but then ran across what appeared to be seals in the cold, dark northern waters. As it turns out, there is a nature reserve called Måkläppen that is home to seals and gray seals.

darian on pier

Continue Reading »

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Last summer I spent 22 days in Russia getting tutored in the Russian language by a tutor at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. I stayed in the dorm, as well, to get the full immersion experience.

Here is a quick video showing the buildings surrounding Red Square: first (and to the east) is GUM (pronounced GOOM), a giant multi-story mall with department stores, coffee shops, etc.; rotating clockwise, the second building (to the south) is St. Basil’s Cathedral, then the Kremlin, the Mausoleum of Lenin, and the State Historical Museum (on the north side of the square). You can see Kazan Cathedral for a moment at the beginning of the video (the northeast corner of Red Square). For a description and to read the historical significance of each, start here.

Continue Reading »

Sunday, October 30, 2016

…in order to fix the disparity between white arrests and black arrests, and white incarceration and black incarceration.

From the Des Moines Register:

Black adults and white adults use illegal drugs at roughly the same rates. But being black in this country means being 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for drug possession. In Iowa the statistics are especially appalling.

A black person in this state is seven times more likely to be arrested for possessing drugs, according to a new ACLU/Human Rights Watch report. Only one state, Montana, has a wider racial disparity.

The report, based on FBI and other government data, documents the devastation of enforcing drug laws that result in the arrest of more than one million Americans each year. Thousands of people cycle through jail, lose jobs, owe crippling fines and are haunted by criminal records. A felony conviction in Iowa means automatically losing your right to vote. Republicans and Democrats alike agree there is a need for comprehensive justice reform, which includes reducing sentences, eliminating mandatory minimums and investing in alternatives to jail and prison…In Iowa, 3 percent of residents are African-American, while 23 percent of state prison inmates are black…

They should begin by doing what several other states have done: pass legislation to ban racial profiling by law enforcement.

While a nice gesture, we (Iowans) need to be a little more radical in our solutions if we want to make a difference. The Editorial offers, as a solution, a law that would ban racial profiling. Well, racial profiling is already illegal. That is, no police officer can arrest someone and base probable cause on the individual’s race (nor can they use race to support “reasonable suspicion” for a Terry-style stop). No officer admits to racial profiling anyway. An officer who is profiling is going to give a race-neutral reason for the stop (traffic violation, etc.), and attorneys already have the ability to challenge those stops as pretextual in nature.

To make a real difference, we should be talking about decriminalizing marijuana completely, and decriminalizing the use and possession of other drugs, in general. Adults have every right to use drugs should they choose to do so (just like they can eat or drink whatever they choose, or engage in any type of consensual relationship with another adult, should they choose to) as long as they are not doing the drugs in a way that endangers others (driving while intoxicated, using around or while in charge of children, etc.). Not only is decriminalizing drug use a liberty issue for the individual, but it actually achieves the results the War on Drugs was supposed to achieve (as Portugal has shown).

Even if people want a distinction between using drugs and selling drugs, selling drugs should never land someone in prison for 25 or even 10 years. Selling drugs should not make you a felon. There will always be a market for drugs (illegal or otherwise), and ruining people’s lives for selling them serves no purpose (since it has no effect on eliminating the drug market). The felony convictions, while doing nothing to stem the flow of drugs, contribute to and perpetuate poverty and unemployment – especially in minority communities. (As an aside, in my personal experience, it is not about minorities being singled out so much as it is those in the lower socio-economic sphere of society – and it just so happens that minorities are disproportionately poor (a legacy of our embarrassing history)).

In Iowa, consider that sexual abuse, robbery, home invasion, assaults with injury, etc., can get you 5-10 years in prison (more or less, as well, depending on the facts), while having a bag of crack cocaine can get you the same or worse – up to 25 years in some cases. The worst drug possession is better than the “best” sexual assault, yet sexual predators regularly get less time than drug dealers (accompanying violence aside, of course).

We need serious reform, and a ban on racial profiling isn’t it.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Via the QC Times:

A Davenport man, one of three charged in connection with the stabbing and beating death of 29-year-old Romane Nunn Sr., has pleaded not guilty.

Terrell G. Bloch, 45, of Davenport, waived his right to a formal arraignment Thursday and filed his plea through his attorney, Michael Motto Jr., in Scott County District Court.

Posted by: Mike in: Davenport,Iowa,Law at 5:14 pm

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Via the QC Times:

A Davenport teen has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the shooting death of 15-year-old Ayana Culbreath.

Trevor D. Owens, 17, filed his written plea to first-degree murder, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon or an adjudicated delinquent, through his appointed attorney, Assistant Public Defender Derek Jones, on Tuesday.

Jones also filed a motion this week to withdraw from the case, saying that his continued representation would be a conflict of interest because the public defender’s office has or is currently representing 14 prosecution witnesses identified in the trial information.

On Wednesday, District Court Judge Mark Cleve granted Jones’ motion and appointed Michael Motto Jr. to represent him.

Posted by: Mike in: Davenport,Iowa,Law at 5:12 pm

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

I suppose this could be considered a graphic video, as the eel is filleted alive.

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Posted by: Mike in: Japan,Travel at 3:58 pm

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

In December, when we were in Sarajevo, we had the pleasure of watching a soccer/football match between FK Željezničar and NK Vitez in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FK Zeljeznicar - Sarajevo, Bosnia

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

This “chapter” produced 4 trials for me, personally. The last one is finally done.

Sex offender Melvin T. Lucier heard the word he’s heard three times before in a Scott County courtroom: Guilty.

A Scott County jury deliberated nearly 20 minutes Wednesday before finding the 55-year-old guilty of one count of third-degree sex abuse for abusing a then 12 or 13 year old boy in 2011 or 2012.

More than two hours later, Scott County District Court Judge Joel Barrows sentenced him to up to 25 years in prison, which will be served back-to-back with multiple life sentences for sexually abusing three girls

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Posted by: Mike in: Davenport,Iowa,Law at 3:11 pm

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Today, Radovan Karadzic was found guilty of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

“Finding Karadzic guilty of the Srebrenica genocide, judge O-Gon Kwon said that after Bosnian Serb forces attacked and seized the UN-protected enclave in July 1995, a “plan to destroy the Muslim population” was implemented in an organised way.”

I was able to visit the Srebrenica Memorial last December on a quiet, windless day. It’s a pretty eerie place, set off by the abundant fog, the lack of any noise whatsoever, and the backdrop of forest in the surrounding Dinaric Alps.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Another mistrial (back-to-back mistrials for me):

An “inappropriate” comment by a prospective juror this week led a Scott County judge to declare a mistrial for two brothers accused of beating a man at a Davenport strip club in October.

The comment was made Monday during the first day of jury selection for Kamden Shelton, 24, and Juan Shelton, 32, who are charged with attempted murder and willful injury causing serious injury.
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Posted by: Mike in: Law at 3:05 pm

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Via the QC Times:

An inadvertent comment from a prospective juror questioned to sit on the jury for four-time convicted child sex offender Melvin T. Lucier led a Scott County District Court judge to declare a mistrial Monday morning.

The decision by Judge Joel Barrow came less than an hour into jury selection in Lucier’s fourth sex abuse trial.

Prior to Monday’s trial, Barrows granted a motion filed by defense attorney Michael Motto seeking to bar any mention or testimony regarding Lucier’s prior convictions or that he already is a convicted sex offender.

Posted by: Mike in: Law at 5:20 pm

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Saturday, January 9, 2016
ivory gull 01

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Posted by: Mike in: Birds at 6:59 pm

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Categorized by family, placed chronologically by common name

    Ants (Formicidae)

    Assassin Bugs (Reduviidae)

    Bee Flies (Bombyliidae)

    Blow Flies (Calliphoridae)

    Brown Lacewings (Hemerobiidae)

    Brushfooted Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

    Bumble Bees, etc. (Apidae)

    Carrion Beetles (Silphidae)

    Cellar Spiders (Pholcidae)

    Centipedes, House (Scutigeridae)

    Cicadas (Cicadidae)

    Common Sawflies (Tenthredinidae)

    Crane Flies (Tipulidae)

    Emeralds (Corduliidae)

    Ermine Moths (Yponomeutidae)

    Fireflies (Lampyridae)

    Flower Flies - See Syrphid Flies

    Funnel-Web Spiders (Agelenidae)

    Ground Beetles (Carabidae)

    Honey Bees - See Bumble Bees, etc.

    Hornets - See Yellowjackets, etc.

    Hover Flies - See Syrphid Flies

    Ichneumon Wasps (Ichneumonidae)

    Jumping Spiders (Salticidae)

    Katydids (Tettigoniidae)

    Ladybird Beetles (Coccinellidae)

    Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae)

    Leaffooted Bugs (Coreidae)

    Leafhoppers (Cicadellidae)

    Lightning Bugs - See Fireflies

    Longhorned Beetles (Cerambycidae)

    Mantid Flies (Mantispidae)

    Mantids (Mantidae)

    Minettia Flies (Minettia)

    Narrow-Winged Damselflies (Coenagrionidae)

    Orb-Weavers (Araneidae)

    Paper Wasps - See Yellowjackets, etc.

    Picture-Winged Flies (Ulidiidae)

    Plant Bugs (Miridae)

    Primitive Weevils (Brentidae)

    Robber Flies (Asilidae)

    Scarab Beetles (Scarabaeidae)

    Scentless Plant Bugs (Rhopalidae)

    Short-horned Grasshoppers (Acrididae)

    Signal Flies (Platystomatidae)

    Snout and Bark Beetles (Curculionidae)

    Soft-Winged Flower Beetles (Melyridae)

    Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae)

    Soldier Flies (Stratiomyidae)

    Sphinx Moths (Sphingidae)

    Spittlebugs (Cercopidae)

    Stink Bugs (Pentatomidae)

    Swallowtails (Papilionidae)

    Sweat Bees (Halictidae)

    Syrphid Flies (Syrphidae)

    Tiger Moths (Arctiidae)

    Tiphiid Wasps (Tiphiidae)

    Yellowjackets, etc. (Vespidae)


      Brown-Eyed Susan



      Crown Vetch


      Day Lily

      Field Marigold


      Mountain Blue

      Palm Tree*

      Purple Coneflower



      Spider Lily - See Spiderwort



      Sweet Alyssum


      Whorled Tickseed

      Wild Pansy



      American Toad

      Common Garter Snake

      Eastern Box Turtle*

      Green Frog

      Long-Tailed Salamander*

      Northern Fence Lizard*

      Painted Turtle


      Giant Sea Star*

      Nassau Grouper*

      Puffer Fish*

      Scrawled Filefish*

      Sergeant Major*

      Spanish Hogfish*

      Spotted Grouper*

      Stoplight Parrotfish*

      Yellowhead Wrasse*

      Yellowtail Snapper*





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