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Planet Earth Under Threat

Colorado Calling

  • Howard Stableford
  • 11 May 06, 02:51 PM

Howard StablefordGreetings fellow bloggers from Colorado, my home for the last seven years. Through my office window I can see the spectacular heights of Pike's Peak, a four thousand plus metre snow capped mountain along Colorado's Front Range. At least I can today. Yesterday it was snowing!

I am delighted to have been invited to cover the Americas for this series. My association with NHU Radio goes back several years during which time I have battled with the Generation X Cicada in Ohio, swum with sharks in the Bahamas and followed the trail of ace American biologist John Steinbeck in Monterey California. In fact while I am standing on this soap box of shameless self promotion I should point out that you can still hear some of my programmes on Radio 4's rather excellent "Listen Again" site!

I am equally delighted to have been given the opportunity to contribute to this blog. I must say that giving a presenter free reign to vent on an open forum is a bit like me offering the local population of black bears full access to the contents of my dustbin whenever they feel a bit peckish. However, I promise to use this site judiciously as long as you agree to rummage through the debris of my thoughts in similar fashion

Planet Earth Under Threat promises to be a fascinating series. I first started doing some research on the possible effects of changing climates on wildlfe just over a month ago. (This comment is directed solely at editor Julian Hector in order to score brownie points. Otherwise it is of little interest or value.) Possible stories that have caught my eye include increased observations of Grizzly/Polar Bear encounters in Alaska as the former encroach on to Polar Bear territory. I would love to witness this first hand for the series from a considerable distance away. Also in Alaska there are reports that the Red Fox is moving into Arctic Fox territory where they out compete the Arctics for food. Then there's the whole issue of a melting tundra turning into marsh and further reducing useable landmass for wildlife. In California my interest has been peeked by the northward movements of some marine species possibly in search of cooler water and the northward and upward migration of the Edith's Checkerspot Butterfly. The well monitored cloud forests of Costa Rica are showing signs of possible regime changes too and this would be well worth investigating.

Obviously I am mentioning these fascinating destinations in an early attempt to promote anticipation and expectation among the readership such that Julian will now feel duty bound to send me to them. Anyone got a story in Hawaii? That counts as the Americas right?

I actually had the chance to peer down at the Costa Rican cloud forests from the air a couple of weeks ago as I flew from Panama up to Nicaragua. I spent a month in these beautiful countries working on two hour long documentaries for Santa Fe Films, an American production company based in Denver. We were reporting on real estate investment opportunities for the millions of baby boomers who are looking to do something a little more edgy in their retirements than previous generations. Apart from the odd real estate shark there was lots of great wildlife available for viewing. In Panama City, a troupe of White Faced monkeys would parade through the trees outside my window early each morning and agoutis which look like very large gerbils would nibble at the lawns all day long. The tarantula featured in this blog was a nightly companion on my doorstep up in the Western Highlands of Panama near the town of Boquete on the slopes of the Baru volcano.

Tarantula

He was hoping for an invitaion to come in I think. However he was also keen on the very large green creature that I suspect is some kind of stick insect or mantid and which liked a patch of wall close by. I couldn't exactly tell who was inviting whom to be dinner though.

Stick Insect

The self portrait of my finger happens to indicate another neighbour on my window. I don't know the latin name for this insect but in English it's called a "Bigbuzzyflyingscarything"......at least by me.

Finger

Well that's quite enough by way of introduction. I see from comments to Julian's postings that there are a lot of good ideas for ways in which the series should progress. Keep them coming. I look forward to hearing from you too and to reporting in again soon.

Howard

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:25 PM on 11 May 2006,
  • maggie wrote:

Love the pics...tho'even scarier things are to be found lurking in the flotsam of Rose's bedroom. Tho'not sure whether the mess, which is gradually permeating evry room in the house is down to global warming.She is doing Geography A level, so I might ask her. You're very welcome to bring the Natural History Unit here for a closer look.
Much love
Magsxxxxxx

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Hi Howard,
You might contact some of your neighbours at:
http://www.wildrockies.org/
and then there's another possible gig for you if Julian will spring some license-payers' bread for it...:

"Why are we still debating climate change? How soon will we hit peak oil supply? When politics mix with science, what is being brewed? Join speakers from the left & the right, from the lab & the field, from industry & advocacy, as we air the ongoing debate about whether human activity is actually changing the climate of the planet.

"From June 2–4, 2006, the Environmental Wars conference will host scientists, writers, environmentalists, and thinkers from all points along the environmental spectrum at the California Institute of Technology for questions, answers, and opinions.

"The conference is hosted by the Skeptics Society, a scientific and educational organization that applies rational inquiry and journalistic research to claims made by scientists, historians, writers and politicians on a wide range of subjects.....
http://www.environmentalwars.org/index.php
(Cal Tech is the MIT of the West)

I envy you visiting Steinbeck's footprints. Did you get to the Sea of Cortez?

Meantime, Vaya con Gaia
ed

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I would like to congradulate you and Gabrielle on the articles about Planet Earth. I am developing some photos I took of the Florida Countryside that I want you to use. I want to know where to send them.

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  • 4.
  • At 11:49 AM on 20 Jun 2006,
  • Fred Sandall wrote:

Good to see this series I caught it by chance on the radio this morning and thought I should check it out. I wondered what had happended to Howard??? I certainly miss your excellent reports on programmes like Tomorrows World ( or does that date me too much...sadly I remeber the first ever episodes too!..bring it back!!)

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  • 5.
  • At 08:54 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • DAMIAN JAMES PAINE wrote:

I,ve got Howards Kallista (Panther) would love any info or pictures of him with it, currently restoring. I know this is not much to do with wildlife but one has to try....

Damian

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