Wild Florida: Laughing Gulls

If you’ve been to Florida, then you’ve seen Laughing Gulls. The large raucous flocks with their distinctive high-pitched “laugh” are found virtually everywhere–at the beach, in parking lots, at the parks, wheeling around in the sky–begging for tidbits (and actively stealing food) from tourists. Toss a few french fries on the ground, and you’re likely to be mobbed by dozens. I refer to them affectionately as “sky rats”.

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Laughing Gull, in summer plumage (just beginning to turn into winter plumage)

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World War One and the Birth of Aerial Warfare

On December 17, 1903, two bicycle manufacturers from Dayton, Ohio, stood on a windy beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and tossed a coin.  While the winner, Orville Wright, positioned himself inside a flimsy machine, made of wood and cloth, his brother Wilbur started up their homemade gasoline engine.  Moments later, the rickety contraption rolled along a metal guide rail, then, as it gained speed, it left the ground and flew about ten feet above the sand for twelve seconds, covering a distance of 120 feet.

The age of flight had begun.

A new type of combat had also been born, though the world’s leading military establishments were not quick to see it.

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Roland Garros, the first fighter ace.

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A Shameless Plug :)

All of my posts here are draft chapters for a number of book series that I am working on for Red and Black Publishers. Several of these books are now available, both in paperback and as Kindle eBooks:

Hidden History: A Collection of Forgotten Mysteries, Oddities, and Unknown Stories From True History
http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-History-Collection-Forgotten-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00KZ76IZ4

Hidden History 2: Another Collection of Forgotten Mysteries, Oddities, and Unknown Stories From True History
http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-History-Collection-Forgotten-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00NDE36V0/

Museum Pieces: The Forgotten History, Science, and Mystery Behind Some of the Most Interesting Museum Exhibits and Historical Places in the World
http://www.amazon.com/Museum-Pieces-Forgotten-Interesting-Historical-ebook/dp/B00HQLFAGK

Museum Pieces 2: More Forgotten History, Science, and Mystery Behind Some of the Most Interesting Museum Exhibits and Historical Places in the World
http://www.amazon.com/Museum-Pieces-Forgotten-Interesting-Historical-ebook/dp/B00NDEAZ9Q

So if you like these stories and want to see lots more like them, pick up a copy. And please consider posting a review at Amazon. 🙂

Florida’s Invaders: The Lionfish

Florida is the land of invasive species. Because of our status as a center for the importing of exotic pets and houseplants from overseas, and our neo-tropical climate, we have been invaded by everything from kudzu plants to Burmese pythons. One of our invaders is the Lionfish, also called the Turkeyfish–an attractive and popular saltwater aquarium fish that has venomous spines on its back, breeds like a rabbit, and has an insatiable appetite for eating local fish.

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Florida’s Invaders: Water Hyacinth

Florida is the land of invasive species. Because of our status as a center for the importing of exotic pets and houseplants from overseas, and our neo-tropical climate, we have been invaded by everything from kudzu plants to Burmese pythons. One of our invaders is a free-floating aquatic plant with showy violet-blue flowers, the Water Hyacinth. Its aggressive invasiveness have led biologists to label it “the worst plant in the world”.

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The Pig War: How a Dead Hog Almost Led to War Between the US and England

It was one of the oddest stand-offs in North American history; in 1859, an American farmer on an island in Puget Sound, in the Pacific Northwest, shot a pig that was raiding his potato field–and almost touched off the third war between the US and Great Britain in 70 years . . .

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US Troops camped on San Juan Island, Puget Sound    Photo from Wiki Commons

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Forgotten mysteries, oddities and unknown stories from history, nature and science.