St James's Park
St James's Park is a 23-hectare park in the City of Westminster, central London. The park lies at the southernmost tip of the St James's area, named after a leper hospital dedicated to St James the Less, it is the most easterly of a near-continuous chain of parks that includes Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens. The park is bounded by Buckingham Palace to the west, the Mall to the north, Horse Guards to the east, Birdcage Walk to the south, it meets Green Park at Queen's Gardens with the Victoria Memorial at its centre, opposite the entrance to Buckingham Palace. St James's Palace is on the opposite side of The Mall; the closest London Underground stations are St James's Park, Green Park and Westminster. The park is Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens; the park has a small lake, St James's Park Lake, with two islands, West Island, Duck Island, named for the lake's collection of waterfowl. A resident colony of pelicans has been a feature of the park since pelicans were donated by a Russian ambassador in 1664 to Charles II.
While most of the time the wings are clipped, there is a pelican who can be seen flying to the London Zoo in hopes of another meal. The Blue Bridge across the lake affords a view west towards Buckingham Palace framed by trees. Looking east the view includes the Swire Fountain to the north of Duck Island and, past the lake, the grounds of Horse Guards Parade, with Horse Guards, the Old War Office and Whitehall Court behind. To the south of Duck Island is the Tiffany Fountain on Pelican Rock, past the lake is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the London Eye, the Shell Tower, the Shard behind; the park has a children's playground including a large sandpit. In 1532, Henry VIII bought an area of marshland, it lay to the west of York Palace acquired by Henry from Cardinal Wolsey. On James I's accession to the throne in 1603, he ordered that the park be drained and landscaped, exotic animals were kept in the park, including camels, crocodiles, an elephant and exotic birds, kept in aviaries. While Charles II was in exile in France under the Commonwealth of England, he was impressed by the elaborate gardens at French royal palaces, on his ascension he had the park redesigned in a more formal style by the French landscaper André Mollet.
A 775-metre by 38-metre canal was created. The king opened the park to the public and used the area to entertain guests and mistresses, such as Nell Gwyn; the park became notorious at the time as a meeting place for impromptu acts of lechery, as described by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester in his poem "A Ramble in St James's Park". In the late 17th and early 18th centuries cows grazed on the park, milk could be bought fresh at the "Lactarian", described by Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach in 1710; the 18th century saw further changes, including the reclamation of part of the canal for Horse Guards Parade and the purchase of Buckingham House at the west end of the Mall, for the use of Queen Charlotte in 1761. Further remodelling in 1826–27, commissioned by the Prince Regent and overseen by the architect and landscaper John Nash, saw the canal's conversion into a more naturally-shaped lake, formal avenues rerouted to romantic winding pathways. At the same time, Buckingham House was expanded to create the palace, Marble Arch was built at its entrance, whilst The Mall was turned into a grand processional route.
It opened to public traffic 60 years in 1887. The Marble Arch was moved to its current location at the junction of Oxford Street and Park Lane in 1851 and the Victoria Memorial was erected between 1906 and 1934. Media related to St. James's Park at Wikimedia Commons Visitor information at the Royal Parks website
The coscoroba swan is a species of waterfowl endemic to southern South America. It is still a large species of waterfowl, it belongs to the subfamily Anserinae in the family of ducks and geese, Anatidae. It is placed in the monotypic genus Coscoroba; the coscoroba swan is traditionally considered as an early branch from the common ancestor leading to true geese and swans, recent genetic studies have associated a phylogenetic relationship between this species and the Cape Barren goose as sister groups. Male coscoroba swans weigh 3.8–5.4 kg and females weigh 3.2–4.5 kg. The length is from 87.5 to 115 cm and the wingspan is 155 to 160 cm. They have white plumage except for black tips to the outer six primary feathers, although this black is barely visible on the closed wing. In flight, the black wing tips are conspicuous; the bird has a red beak and feet. They look somewhat more like geese than swans; the female looks identical to the male. The cygnet is a patchy color, with gray hues; the coscoroba swan is lacking the black mask that other swans have where their lores are between the eyes and beak.
They look like a small swan in body and look like a goose in the head. Eggs have a measure 89 X 61 mm, with averages of 82 to 94 53 to 67 mm, with an average weight of 170 grams and range from 129 to 203 grams The Coscoroba swan breeds in South America from southern Chile and central Argentina south to Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. In winter it flies north to central Chile, northern Argentina and the southeast tip of Brazil, its habitat is well-vegetated lagoons. Its population is estimated at 10,000–25,000 birds, it has an ancient route to the Pantanal of Brazil and has been seen in large flocks in the Nhecolandia and Rio Negro regions. Coscoroba swans have escaped or been deliberately released in to Florida, USA, but there is no evidence that the population is breeding and may only persist due to continuing releases or escapes; the coscoroba swan feeds on various plant matter, small aquatic insects, small fish. The female incubates the eggs, while the male stands guard and aggressively helps to protect the fledglings against predators after hatching.
Coscoroba swans live to an age of twenty years. Media related to Coscoroba coscoroba at Wikimedia Commons
The white geese are a small group of waterfowl which are united in the genus or subgenus Chen, in the true geese and swan subfamily Anserinae. They breed on subarctic areas of North America and around the Bering Strait, migrating south in winter. Most authorities now place these species in the grey goose genus Anser. Indeed and Anser are anatomically indistinguishable. However, external morphology and molecular data suggest that the white geese are indeed an evolutionary lineage distinct from the grey geese—from which they split off recently replacing them in North America; the AOU recognizes this genus as distinct. Like grey but unlike the Branta black geese, their feet and legs are colored in reddish hues; the bill is reddish in these birds as in most grey geese, except in adult males of Ross's goose which have a blue-black grainy cere. The wingtips are black, as in all true geese, whereas the head is always white without any markings or pattern in adult birds of this genus, which distinguishes them from all other true geese except feral domesticated geese.
The rest of the plumage is either white all over. White-phase snow geese of both species can be told apart from feral geese best by the more slender, elegant neck, thick-set in domestic geese; the supposed fossil dwarf. Brodkorb, Pierce. "Catalogue of Fossil Birds: Part 2". Bulletin of the Florida State Museum. University of Florida. 8: 195–335. Archived from the original on September 5, 2018. Carboneras, Carles. "Family Anatidae". In Hoyo, Josep. Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. Pp. 536–629. ISBN 84-87334-10-5
The Miocene is the first geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about 23.03 to 5.333 million years ago. The Miocene was named by Charles Lyell; the Miocene is followed by the Pliocene. As the earth went from the Oligocene through the Miocene and into the Pliocene, the climate cooled towards a series of ice ages; the Miocene boundaries are not marked by a single distinct global event but consist rather of regionally defined boundaries between the warmer Oligocene and the cooler Pliocene Epoch. The Apes first evolved and diversified during the early Miocene, becoming widespread in the Old World. By the end of this epoch and the start of the following one, the ancestors of humans had split away from the ancestors of the chimpanzees to follow their own evolutionary path during the final Messinian stage of the Miocene; as in the Oligocene before it, grasslands continued to forests to dwindle in extent. In the seas of the Miocene, kelp forests made their first appearance and soon became one of Earth's most productive ecosystems.
The plants and animals of the Miocene were recognizably modern. Mammals and birds were well-established. Whales and kelp spread; the Miocene is of particular interest to geologists and palaeoclimatologists as major phases of the geology of the Himalaya occurred during the Miocene, affecting monsoonal patterns in Asia, which were interlinked with glacial periods in the northern hemisphere. The Miocene faunal stages from youngest to oldest are named according to the International Commission on Stratigraphy: Regionally, other systems are used, based on characteristic land mammals. Of the modern geologic features, only the land bridge between South America and North America was absent, although South America was approaching the western subduction zone in the Pacific Ocean, causing both the rise of the Andes and a southward extension of the Meso-American peninsula. Mountain building took place in western North America and East Asia. Both continental and marine Miocene deposits are common worldwide with marine outcrops common near modern shorelines.
Well studied continental exposures occur in Argentina. India continued creating dramatic new mountain ranges; the Tethys Seaway continued to shrink and disappeared as Africa collided with Eurasia in the Turkish–Arabian region between 19 and 12 Ma. The subsequent uplift of mountains in the western Mediterranean region and a global fall in sea levels combined to cause a temporary drying up of the Mediterranean Sea near the end of the Miocene; the global trend was towards increasing aridity caused by global cooling reducing the ability of the atmosphere to absorb moisture. Uplift of East Africa in the late Miocene was responsible for the shrinking of tropical rain forests in that region, Australia got drier as it entered a zone of low rainfall in the Late Miocene. During the Oligocene and Early Miocene the coast of northern Brazil, south-central Peru, central Chile and large swathes of inland Patagonia were subject to a marine transgression; the transgressions in the west coast of South America is thought to be caused by a regional phenomenon while the rising central segment of the Andes represents an exception.
While there are numerous registers of Oligo-Miocene transgressions around the world it is doubtful that these correlate. It is thought that the Oligo-Miocene transgression in Patagonia could have temporarily linked the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as inferred from the findings of marine invertebrate fossils of both Atlantic and Pacific affinity in La Cascada Formation. Connection would have occurred through narrow epicontinental seaways that formed channels in a dissected topography; the Antarctic Plate started to subduct beneath South America 14 million years ago in the Miocene, forming the Chile Triple Junction. At first the Antarctic Plate subducted only in the southernmost tip of Patagonia, meaning that the Chile Triple Junction lay near the Strait of Magellan; as the southern part of Nazca Plate and the Chile Rise became consumed by subduction the more northerly regions of the Antarctic Plate begun to subduct beneath Patagonia so that the Chile Triple Junction advanced to the north over time.
The asthenospheric window associated to the triple junction disturbed previous patterns of mantle convection beneath Patagonia inducing an uplift of ca. 1 km that reversed the Oligocene–Miocene transgression. Climates remained moderately warm, although the slow global cooling that led to the Pleistocene glaciations continued. Although a long-term cooling trend was well underway, there is evidence of a warm period during the Miocene when the global climate rivalled that of the Oligocene; the Miocene warming b
The shelducks, most species of which are found in the genus Tadorna, are a group of large birds in the Tadorninae subfamily of the Anatidae, the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl such as the geese and swans. The shelducks are a group of larger semi-terrestrial waterfowl, which can be seen as intermediate between geese and ducks, they are mid-sized Old World waterfowl. The sexes are colored differently in most species, all have a characteristic upperwing coloration in flight: the tertiary remiges form a green speculum, the secondaries and primaries are black, the coverts are white, their diet consists of small shore animals as well as other plants. They were known as "sheldrakes", which remained the most common name until the late 19th century; the word is still sometimes used to refer to a male shelduck and can occasionally refer to the canvasback of North America. The genus name comes from the French name Tadorne for the common shelduck, it may derive from Celtic roots meaning "pied waterfowl" the same as the English "shelduck".
The namesake genus of the Tadorninae, Tadorna is close to the Egyptian goose and its extinct relatives from the Madagascar region, Alopochen. While the classical shelducks form a group, monophyletic, the interrelationships of these, the aberrant common and Radjah sheducks, the Egyptian goose were found to be poorly resolved by mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data. Ruddy shelduck South African shelduck Australian shelduck Paradise shelduck Crested shelduck - extinct Common shelduck The Radjah sheduck placed in the genus Tadorna, is now placed in its own monotypic genus: Radjah shelduck Fossil bones from Dorkovo described as Balcanas pliocaenica may belong to this genus, they have been proposed to be referable to the common shelduck, but their Early Pliocene age makes this rather unlikely. Based on the Taxonomy in Flux from John Boyd's website
The Canada goose is a large wild goose species with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, a brown body. Native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, its migration reaches northern Europe, it has been introduced to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Like most geese, the Canada goose is herbivorous and migratory. Successful at living in human-altered areas, Canada geese have proven able to establish breeding colonies in urban and cultivated areas, which provide food and few natural predators; the success of this common park species has led to its being considered a pest species because of their depredation of crops and their noise, aggressive territorial behavior, habit of begging for food. The Canada goose was one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae, it belongs to the Branta genus of geese, which contains species with black plumage, distinguishing them from the grey species of the genus Anser.
Branta is a Latinised form of Old Norse Brandgás, "burnt goose" and the specific epithet canadensis is a New Latin word meaning "from Canada". According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first citation for the'Canada goose' dates back to 1772; the Canada goose is colloquially referred to as the "Canadian goose". The cackling goose was considered to be the same species or a subspecies of the Canada goose, but in July 2004, the American Ornithologists' Union's Committee on Classification and Nomenclature split them into two species, making the cackling goose into a full species with the scientific name Branta hutchinsii; the British Ornithologists' Union followed suit in June 2005. The AOU has divided the many subspecies between the two species; the subspecies of the Canada goose were listed as: Atlantic Canada goose, B. c. canadensis Interior Canada goose, B. c. interior Giant Canada goose, B. c. maxima Delacour, 1951 Moffitt's Canada goose, B. c. moffitti Aldrich, 1946 Vancouver Canada goose, B. c. fulva Dusky Canada goose, B. c. occidentalis Lesser Canada goose, B. c. parvipes The distinctions between the two geese have led to confusion and debate among ornithologists.
This has been aggravated by the overlap between the small types of Canada goose and larger types of cackling goose. The old "lesser Canada geese" were believed to be a hybrid population, with the birds named B. c. taverneri considered a mixture of B. c. minima, B. c. occidentalis, B. c. parvipes. The holotype specimen of taverneri is a straightforward large pale cackling goose however, hence the taxon is still valid today and was renamed "Taverner's cackling goose". In addition, the barnacle goose was determined to be a derivative of the cackling goose lineage, whereas the Hawaiian goose originated from ancestral Canada geese. Thus, the species' distinctness is well evidenced, A recent proposed revision by Harold C. Hanson suggests splitting Canada and cackling goose into six species and 200 subspecies; the radical nature of this proposal has provoked surprise in some quarters. The black head and neck with a white "chinstrap" distinguish the Canada goose from all other goose species, with the exception of the cackling goose and barnacle goose.
The seven subspecies of this bird vary in size and plumage details, but all are recognizable as Canada geese. Some of the smaller races can be hard to distinguish from the cackling goose, which overlap in mass. However, most subspecies of the cackling goose are smaller; the smallest cackling goose, B. h. minima, is scarcely larger than a mallard. In addition to the size difference, cackling geese have a shorter neck and smaller bill, which can be useful when small Canada geese comingle with large cackling geese. Of the "true geese", the Canada goose is on average the largest living species, although some other species that are geese in name, if not of close relation to these genera, are on average heavier such as the spur-winged goose and Cape Barren goose. Canada geese have a 127 -- 185 cm wingspan. Among standard measurements, the wing chord can range from 39 to 55 cm, the tarsus can range from 6.9 to 10.6 cm and the bill can range from 4.1 to 6.8 cm. The largest subspecies is the B. c. maxima, or the giant Canada goose, the smallest is B. c. parvipes, or the lesser Canada goose.
An exceptionally large male of race B. c. maxima, which exceed 8 kg, weighed 10.9 kg and had a wingspan of 2.24 m. This specimen is the largest wild goose recorded of any species; the male Canada goose weighs 2.6–6.5 kg, averaging amongst all subspecies 3.9 kg. The female looks identical, but is lighter at 2.4–5.5 kg, averaging amongst all subspecies 3.6 kg, 10% smaller in linear dimensions than the male counterparts. The female possesses a different, less sonorous, honk than the male; this species is native to North America. It breeds in the northern United States in a wide range of habitats; the Great Lakes region maintains a large population of Canada geese
Birds known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds range in size from the 5 cm bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are less developed depending on the species. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites and diverse endemic island species of birds; the digestive and respiratory systems of birds are uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming; the fossil record demonstrates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs.
The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early "stem-birds", such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of powered flight, many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages, but birds those in the southern continents, survived this event and migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics; some birds corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animals. Many species annually migrate great distances. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals and bird songs, participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting and mobbing of predators.
The vast majority of bird species are monogamous for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous or polyandrous. Birds produce offspring by laying eggs, they are laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching; some birds, such as hens, lay eggs when not fertilised, though unfertilised eggs do not produce offspring. Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds being important sources of eggs and feathers. Songbirds and other species are popular as pets. Guano is harvested for use as a fertiliser. Birds prominently figure throughout human culture. About 120–130 species have become extinct due to human activity since the 17th century, hundreds more before then. Human activity threatens about 1,200 bird species with extinction, though efforts are underway to protect them.
Recreational birdwatching is an important part of the ecotourism industry. The first classification of birds was developed by Francis Willughby and John Ray in their 1676 volume Ornithologiae. Carl Linnaeus modified that work in 1758 to devise the taxonomic classification system in use. Birds are categorised as the biological class Aves in Linnaean taxonomy. Phylogenetic taxonomy places Aves in the dinosaur clade Theropoda. Aves and a sister group, the clade Crocodilia, contain the only living representatives of the reptile clade Archosauria. During the late 1990s, Aves was most defined phylogenetically as all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of modern birds and Archaeopteryx lithographica. However, an earlier definition proposed by Jacques Gauthier gained wide currency in the 21st century, is used by many scientists including adherents of the Phylocode system. Gauthier defined Aves to include only the crown group of the set of modern birds; this was done by excluding most groups known only from fossils, assigning them, instead, to the Avialae, in part to avoid the uncertainties about the placement of Archaeopteryx in relation to animals traditionally thought of as theropod dinosaurs.
Gauthier identified four different definitions for the same biological name "Aves", a problem. Gauthier proposed to reserve the term Aves only for the crown group consisting of the last common ancestor of all living birds and all of its descendants, which corresponds to meaning number 4 below, he assigned other names to the other groups. Aves can mean all archosaurs closer to birds than to crocodiles Aves can mean those advanced archosaurs with feathers Aves can mean those feathered dinosaurs that fly Aves can mean the last common ancestor of all the living birds and all of its descendants (a "c