Friday, November 16, 2012

Three Great Forests to Visit in East Sussex

Every once in a while, we need to go to the countryside and give our lungs the much needed breath of fresh air. If you live in or around East Sussex, you could actually consider yourself lucky. East Sussex is home to some of the most wonderful forests and woodlands. Going to these parks will not just offer you and your family some quality time together, you will also burn that extra calories you've been dreading to get rid minus the large bills that come with your usual vacation destinations. So without further ado, here are the forests and woodlands you would not want to miss in East Sussex.

Friston Forest

If you love walking or biking, you would definitely love Friston Forest. Its rolling terrain is famous among mountain bikers and walkers. Enjoying its abundant beech woods is easy with its way routes marked to help visitor explorer the area. Be ready to find ample wildlife population in Friston Forest. It is not uncommon that visitors are greeted by unique types of butterflies while wandering through the forest. If you are patient enough, you would even be able to see some deer quietly feeding on its luscious vegetation. Other activities to enjoy here include riding and of course camping. Riding however requires permit, but I assure you getting one is worth it.

If you are going by car, you can choose between two parking providers in the area. Both offer unique views and ways to start your visit to the great Friston Forest.

Abbots Wood

Abbots Wood is brimming with a variety of tree species each serving different purpose. Chip board and paper producers get their raw materials from the conifer plantations in Abbots Wood. Finding firewood is easy in this area because of its abundance of Hornbeam and Hazel trees. And by being a bit observant, you will be greeted with the unique kinds of butterflies and small animals that inhabit this woodland. As with Friston Forest, riding in Abbots Wood requires permit.

Battle Great Wood

Battle Great Wood is popular among people who love walking. This woodland is filled with beautiful conifers, lovely ponds, heathlands, and wonderful streams. Battle Great Wood is brimming with wildlife as well. Be ready to be surprised by sightings of deer, badgers, colorful birds, and interesting small animals. Aside from some undulating terrains, the walking ways here are easy even to the inexperienced.

These are just three of the wonderful woodlands and forest that East Sussex has to offer. If you want to take your wildlife adventure to the next level you may also want to join forest school and woodland activities offered in East Sussex. These activities will not just make you enjoy the outdoors more but will give you tons of helpful insights about the world we live in and about yourself as well.

Mineral Resources of Pakistan

Mineral raw materials and deposits are essential to industry, construction, power generation and distribution, communication and agriculture. Their availability can ensure and stimulate the development of the industrial economy. To transform a mineral deposit into an asset, it has to be exploited and utilized.


After the partition of India, Pakistan inherited parts of western and the eastern flanks of the extra-peninsular mountains with their complex rock structure, deep and narrow but soil covered valleys, with powerful waterfalls and snow crested peaks, as well as part of the plains, flat wide, spacious and covered with deep soil which is considered to be one of the most fertile agricultural soil. Most of the positive relief is related to the structure of the underlying rocks, but the negative relief, like the river valleys and plains has been developed independently of these.

Main Geological Features. The geology of Pakistan, upon which the features of the state and its national planning greatly depends, is interesting from the point of view of the strait graphical sequence of the rocks and the minerals born of them. They are overturned, folded and dislocated at many places and are rich in plant and animal fossils. Regional details of mineral deposits of Pakistan are as under:-

1. Upper Indus Basin. The salt range is geologically the most important part of the upper Indus Basin. It contains a large number of geological formations, rich in certain minerals, from the oldest to the newest. The lowest layer is called "salt marl" because it contains beds or lines of rock salt. At "Khewera" the accumulation of both salt and gypsum is on a very large scale. The salt is purely crystalline, of a light pink colour and thickly bedded. Other rocks are magnesium sandstones, neobolus shales and purple sandstones. Tertiary (inferior) coal is available at "Dandot" and "Kalabagh".

2. Lower Indus Basin. The geology of the lower Indus Basin is important from the point of view of a regular series of "Tertiary Rock" formations. Although the life history of the rocks is comparatively brief, the evolution of the rocks is unique. The coastal areas, covered over with the oyster shells and other superficial deposits, extend for many miles along the coast. The "Laki Range" in "Sindh Kohistan" is a field museum of geology has an excellent stratigraphy, which contains some building stones, a few lignite deposits and clays of various kinds. Clay plays an important part in the mineral economy of this region. These were deposited in shallow seas and are closely connected with gypsum and limestone of the "Kirthar", "Laki" and "Gaj" areas.

3. North West Mountain Region. This area is largely unexplained. The "Siwalikes" and other tertiary rocks continue along the Kashmir Himalayas into this tract of Hazara District, Muzaffarabad and Muree. Some rock formations are traced in the Abottabad and Attock regions e, g. The Attock slates.

4. Baluchistan Mountain Region. Baluchistan region actually is a continuation of Iran series with typical geology and topography. The land of Paroli, the Hingoli and weird forms of rocks, that have so offered from sub-aerial denudation, and so the scenery is superb and awe-inspiring. There are many deposits and some extinct volcanoes. The Makran series, Khojak beds are found in the south and middle of the region.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Conserving and Protecting the Natural Beauty of Baja California

Terra Peninsular is a lovely gallery and community center with an important mission. Located in the heart of Ensenada's tourist village, visitors are invited to see the "Real Baja." The idea began with just a few like-minded souls in 2001 as a way to create public awareness for the need to conserve the remaining natural coastline of northern Baja, as well as the protection of the National Forest corridors as important water shed regions. The mission statement to conserve and protect the natural ecosystems and wildlife of the Baja California Peninsula supports the vision that one day their efforts will change the present course of how the lands of Baja are used. With community awareness and private land owners coming together, the natural resources of the Baja California Peninsula will be protected and managed.

How is that to be accomplished? It starts with just a few being aware of what has already been lost in development from Tijuana to San Quintín. These few crusaders are lighting a fire in others to face the need for change. Horacio Gonzales is one such visionary. He was one of the mission's original founders and now works with both private landowners and the public. I met with him at the Gallery and was stunned by the beauty of Alan Harper's photography that captures the light, the color and the feeling of the Baja landscape. Alan, also one of the founders has worked with large format photography to capture the landscapes and the extraordinary biodiversity of Baja California. He points out, "Rapid development and serene beauty are found in close proximity." He hopes that these photos will help the people of the region appreciate what they have, and what they will soon lose if no action is taken. The images he calls, "Real Baja."

One of the areas being focused on at this time is the corridor that runs along the coastline of the agricultural valley of San Quintín. Some photos show the fields tilled just a few feet from the bluff overlooking the Pacific. What is not realized by most is that first there is the loss of the rich mix of flora and fauna as well as, the problem of the pesticide poison runoff entering the world of the Pacific marine life.

Horacio said that what is helping is the public's need for organic produce. This pressures the farmers to give the public what will sell. Spokespersons from the organization go out to talk directly to farmers and ranchers asking them to consider changing their current methods. The "coastal disturbance" is well documented in a video brilliantly produced to show what has already been lost, and how significant this loss impacts us all.

Land acquisition is very important to the vision. Horacio and others interface with the landowner in the critical areas. They might convince a rancher that he could use his land in sustainable ways by inviting eco-friendly tourism such a hiking, fishing, camping that would replace some of the money that might occur in the change. If there is an opportunity to buy the land, Terra Peninsular's task is to find the funding. In addition, another most recent option is to actually lease the lands known as "Federal Zone" from the Mexican government. The Federal Zone was created to protect ownership of the coastal waters of both Baja coastlines. Developers then "leased" the land to build permanent structures. WildCoast activist, Serge Dedina, first awakened to the idea of leasing federal land as a conservation program to protect from further development. Horacio is quick to clarify that he and the organization are not against development, as long as it is sustainable and sensitive to the natural ecosystems and wildlife.

Martina Dobesh is a freelance journalist and author. She writes for The Baja News, The Baja Times, and a new website She lives on the Baja peninsula and through her writing is active in promoting greater awareness about the plight of Baja's remaining natural beauty and resources.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sounds of a Cabin Morning

It was December 22, 2009, I was 75 miles from civilization, nestled deep in the Canadian bush. Lying deep down inside the Eiderdown, not at all interested in rising. The air was frosty, and the thermometer read 35 below zero.

But, the eiderdown was a luxury I was soon going to have to leave.

Here is how the sounds and smells of morning, nudge you out of the warmth of your bag.

First, I heard the click! No, not the gun safety, only the sound of a headlamp being turned on, in the darkness at 7:00 am. Then follows the familiar swish of the woolen clothing as it is pulled on. Long underwear, heavy wool pants, a wool undershirt and then another wool shirt.

As I lie comforted inside my envelope, the sound of the metal door being opened on the small stove, creaks into my dreams. I listen for the sound of the ashes being stirred, possibly to reveal any lingering embers from the night.

The verdict, is no, for the very next sound is the newspaper from the box on the floor. It is crumpled up into balls and tossed into the stove. I hear the kindling can being moved... then I wait.

I wait for the mighty strike of the match! The roar of the whoosh of flames followed by snaps and crackle as the fire come to life. It signals me that warmth is soon forthcoming and it will be time to rise... but not yet!

I hold out a bit longer, hugging the warmth of the down around me. I drift in and out of my dreams and take note of the progression.

The lid comes off the top of the kettle, the dipper goes into the pail of water again and again, filling the pot. With one ear, I listen for the hiss to arrive in the air, telling me that the water has come to a boil and it won't be long now. Reluctantly, I realize that my sojourn deep inside the eiderdown bag, is fast approaching the end. If one is to function fully inside a log cabin deep in the Canadian Wilderness, ones needs the morning cup of java.

I guess there is no use in holding out, for as the water sinks down through the grounds, how can you resist the golden scent of the morning coffee?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Super Storms

The name Hurricane Sandy did not do justice to the overachieving, late-season cyclone that spread death and destruction from Jamaica to New England. The media has taken to calling it "Superstorm Sandy" in order to describe a once-in-a-lifetime meteorological event.

Once in a lifetime will be more than enough for anyone who dealt with the storm's vicious winds, heavy rains, absurd October snow drifts (yes, snow from a system that was born in the tropics), towering ocean waves and record storm surges. The grim figures are not in, but it seems likely that Sandy claimed close to 100 lives, perhaps more. Having seen the video of the storm's aftermath, I suspect property damage will rival or surpass Hurricane Katrina's destruction of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

If nothing else, Sandy probably ensured, at least for a while, that people will pay more heed to mere Category 1 hurricanes, whose winds of 74 to 95 mph often do not command the respect paid to more impressive "major" hurricanes in Categories 3, 4 and 5. When a storm strikes a densely populated area, or one with a lot of trees or buildings that cannot withstand high winds and high water, there is no such thing as a "minor" hurricane.

I did not personally experience Sandy's full force. I was in Florida when it brushed us on its way northward through the Bahamas. We had a blustery, rainy evening in Fort Lauderdale, and that was about it. I lived through the rest of the storm vicariously, checking in frequently with two daughters who live in Manhattan (the upper part of the borough, where the streets stayed dry and the lights stayed on), our firm's New York staff and our office in Scarsdale, which lost power briefly and internet access for a day, but which we kept closed for three days for safety reasons. My New York home went dark and is likely to stay that way for some time to come.

Regular readers know that I take a strong interest in the science, history, economics and politics of weather. It has been part of my makeup as long as I can remember. As a little boy one summer in New York's Catskills, I noticed, during a heavy rain, that the field outside our bungalow was so foggy that I could not see the trees on the far side. I slipped out of the house and walked across the field to see what it was like to be in the fog. I remember being surprised when I looked back and saw that, from my new vantage point, our bungalow had now vanished in the mist.

I also remember that my mother was not amused when I returned, utterly drenched, from being AWOL.

When I was a teenager, Hurricane Agnes swept up the East Coast. The winds gusted into the Bronx off Long Island Sound, and I had a lot of fun marching around in the rain. (Apparently, I was a slow learner.) But Agnes was not fun for people in the Appalachian hills of New York state and Pennsylvania, where the storm stalled and dumped feet of rain that caused devastating floods in places like Elmira and Corning, N.Y. My family happened to drive through those towns weeks later, during a summer vacation trip to Canada, and I saw house after house where people's lives had been emptied into the street, in the form of ruined belongings piled on the curb. That was when I realized that bad weather is not always fun.

Agnes was just a tropical storm by the time it reached the Northeast, but it was still the costliest U.S. storm in history to that date.

I can personally remember at least a dozen "once in a lifetime" weather events, though I did not experience all of them firsthand. Hurricane Camille, a Category 5 storm that presaged Katrina's later assault on New Orleans, was just a news story to me, though a college friend later described cowering all night in his family's car inside their Louisiana garage. Camille struck in 1969, a few months after the "Lindsay blizzard" crippled both Queens and the political hopes of New York City's mayor, John V. Lindsay. That was the last big snowstorm of my childhood.

April 3-4, 1974, brought a massive outbreak of tornadoes in the midsection of the country. I remember that event simply by the name "Xenia, Ohio," which was a small city that was nearly leveled by one of the twisters. I thought I might never see another such outbreak, but in April 2011, my staff and I were in Atlanta when an even worse cluster of twisters roared across the Deep South and Midwest. Some of us were stranded for a couple of days, but we escaped injury or damage, though many others were less fortunate.

We had "super storms" in the 1970s, too. In January 1978, a monstrously powerful low pressure system marched up the western flank of the Appalachians to the Great Lakes with blinding snow and 100-mph winds. I was living in Montana and was used to blizzards by then, but I was duly impressed. Less than two weeks later, a comparable storm struck New York City and New England. Though this was a powerful extra-tropical cyclone, meteorologists noted that its intensity gave it an eye-like structure reminiscent of a hurricane. People died in their cars along Interstate 95 when snow blocked the exhaust pipes as the occupants kept their engines running for warmth.

The 1980s were a fairly quiet time, if you discount the freak East Coast blizzard of April 7, 1982, which put down a foot of snow in New York City and nearly two feet in Albany, N.Y., where I was then working. The decade ended with Hurricane Hugo smashing into Charleston, S.C., and with a Christmas Eve snow and ice storm that stretched from Jacksonville, Fla., to the North Carolina coast. My family and I managed to get stuck in that storm when our car broke down in Jacksonville just as everything started to freeze. It was the first white Christmas on that stretch of coastline in a century.

Storms don't only happen in the eastern United States, of course. Others of equal severity happen all over the world with regularity. They may be "once in a lifetime" events, but they don't happen to be part of my personal lifetime. One that comes to mind is the Columbus Day storm that struck the Oregon coast with wind gusts up to 138 mph in 1962. Another is Hurricane Gilbert, a beautifully formed (meteorologically speaking) Category 5. It was a terrible disaster in the Caribbean and Mexico, killing more than 400 people in 1988.

The early 1990s brought a plethora of remarkable weather: the "Perfect Storm" of 1991, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the "Storm of the Century" in 1993. The Perfect Storm had much in common, meteorologically, with Superstorm Sandy, as it was a merger of a tropical system with a strong extra-tropical cyclone. But the Storm of the Century was more like Sandy in the way it was predicted days in advance; disasters were declared and the Emergency Broadcast System was activated in many areas long before the first snowflake fell.

Many other storms have come and gone since then. Some have names we will long remember, like Katrina and Wilma and, now, Sandy; some have pedestrian monikers that fade into the history pages, like the Blizzard of 1996. We're getting better at naming our weather systems. Who is going to forget Snowmageddon?

Each of these weather phenomena was unique, so I suppose each could be called a "once in a lifetime" event. It is highly unlikely, though not impossible, that I will live to see another storm tide in New York Harbor like the one Sandy produced; it took just the right combination of wind speed, direction and duration, timing at high tide and phase of the moon to send water cascading through the Financial District's streets and into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

But extreme weather events are not rare and are hardly once in a lifetime experiences. People older than me have other memories, like the Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935, or the Long Island Express hurricane that sent a wall of water up Narragansett Bay and inundated downtown Providence, R.I., in 1938.

Nature regularly reminds us that she has the power to reshape our lives and our memories, no matter how we name the reminders.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why You Should Install A Squirrel Feeder

The primary reason you should set up a squirrel feeder is due to the fact that as long as you have bird feeders set up in your yard, you are going to have squirrels climbing on them and attempting to steal the food. Why not entice them away from your bird feeders.

Squirrels are extremely amusing little creatures to watch and there are lots of different squirrel feeders that are created not only for feeding squirrels but also designed to keep you laughing. We feed birds because we enjoy watching them so why not feed your squirrels and enjoy some amusing entertainment.

A squirrel can basically consume it's body weight in approximately one week so that is why they will certainly be looking for readily available food in their area. They like to consume bird seed however dry corn cobs, peanuts and sunflower seeds are favorite treats for squirrels.

Popular Squirrel Feeders:

The most preferred are the dry corn feeders. You just attach an ear of dry corn to the feeder and the squirrels take pleasure picking off the kernels. This kind of squirrel feeder can be rather inventive and as we mentioned earlier, entertaining.

The advantage to these type of feeders is the squirrels must work for their food so they are occupied for a long period of time. The longer they are at their feeders, the less time they are attempting to raid your bird feeder.

One excellent example is the squirrel bungie which is a big favorite. The squirrels have to jump up to get at the corn and then they begin bouncing up and down while they attempt to pop off a few kernels. This one is a lot of fun to watch.

Another fun squirrel feeder is the spinner type dry corn feeder. These are designed to start spinning when a squirrel climbs on it to access the ear of dry corn. These can be very entertaining plus it's fun for the squirrel.

Once again as we have said earlier, these type of feeders occupy squirrels for a long period of time so they work quite well and are recommended if you want to keep them away from your bird feeders.

The last type of squirrel feeder is the feed box style. These can be made from wood, recycled plastic or metal. They come in many different shapes and sizes but all basically serve the same purpose. You fill them with sunflower seeds, shelled or un-shelled peanuts and watch the squirrels go to town. These type of feeders will get emptied pretty fast so be prepared to be stocking up on peanuts and sunflower seeds.

With the many choices available it makes sense to try this strategy to win the battle against those pesky squirrels. If you love to watch your birds visit your feeders and have accepted the fact that the squirrels are never going away then it's beneficial to install a squirrel feeder to satisfy all the visitors in your yard.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Flight Of A Lifetime: The Bald Eagle's Lifespan

The Bald Eagle's Lifespan

Being the national bird of America, the eagle has become the global symbol of freedom and bravery. It can be easily identified in photos as an eagle with a white head and a golden beak. But being a bird of prey that eats other animals for food, not many people name it as their favorite bird. A lot of information about this bird is not very known to the public; details like actual diet, habitat, and the lifespan.

The Eagle's Diet

All animals, including bald eagle, live in habitats in which there is a rich source of food. Even though it is a predatory bird, the common misconception is that it eats roosters and little mammals,although it actually eats carrion (dead or dying fish); particularly salmon. The eagle is more of a scavenger than a real predator. They are rarely observed to prey on hen and other livestock, but they do take advantage of the most available food source around them.

The North American Bald Eagle

The bald eagle is the only bird which is recognized to be uniquely found in North America. Their boundaries stretch from down south to Mexico and way up north to Alaska and Canada. Their natural habitats are near their food sources; near waters rich with salmon, making the western half of North America it's ideal home.

The Bald Eagle Lifespan

All living creatures' lifespan depends on lots of elements; their diet, habitat, food source, their place in the food chain etc. Bald eagles can live up to the age of forty, but most eagles living in the wild have a lifespan averaging between fifteen to twenty years. The oldest identified of this species lived up to the age of forty-eight. In the past, their lifespan was much shorter due to hunting. However, since hunting them is prohibited and considered a serious crime, bald eagles can now live up to their full age potential.

The Hoax About The Eagle's Rebirth

Some stories tell the rebirth of the eagle, allowing it to live for yet another thirty years making the eagle the longest living bird. The story talks about a time in an eagle's life when the eagle will lose its beak, talons and feathers providing way for new ones to grow; thus it is reborn to live an additional life. Although this story revolved around the internet raising questions from bald eagle lovers about the reality in it, professionals announced that the story is an absolute hoax. Professionals say that the story lacks scientific and logical proof on the possibility of the eagle's survival without its beaks. It could have died of starvation way before the new beak could have sprouted. The story is no more than an allegory about life starting at the age of forty and moving on as authorities suggests, and not to be taken seriously.

The Symbol

According to experts, parrots and other birds can live longer than the bald eagle. It is not the longest living bird around, unlike the tale of its rebirth suggests. This bird may not be the all time crowd favorite; however, it will remain as the trademark of the USA and a symbol of freedom and bravery.