Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This Penguin's Progress

My friend Grrlscientist has a popular and well-informed blog whose subject is, by and large, ornithology. This is perhaps not surprising as she is an expert on the habits and molecular biology of parrots, although these days she earns a crust as a writer and blogger.
One of the highlights of her blog is her regular mystery-bird feature, in which readers are invited to identify a bird from a photo. This is the twitching equivalent of Mastermind, and only serious birders should think about taking part. The most recent example is, apparently, quite easy, but I'll have to take Grrlscientist's word for it, as I am usually hard put to tell the difference between a Pink-Footed Booby and a Large Hadron Collider. (I did my Ph.D. on bovid bones, so when I found a cow bone on Cromer beach a couple of days ago, I not only identified it as the distal femur of a cow, but the left distal femur of a cow. However, what the left distal femur of a cow was doing on Cromer beach, I can't imagine).
Grrlscientist should like to extend her ornithological reach to the Great White South by going on a month-long adventure to Antarctica as Official Blogger, courtesy of Quark Expeditions - and this is where you come in. The blogger lucky enough to go is chosen purely by popularity. Of the 540 or so entrants, Grrlscientist is running around third place. You can read her entry here and, of course, vote. You have to register to vote, but don't let that put you off - Grrlscintist tells me that there have been no reports of spam or similar abuse resulting from the registration system, and it worked well enough when I cast my own vote. Should you wish to support Grrlscientist (something I'd encourage), then do so soon - the vote closes in fewer than 30 days, or maybe even less.
The reason why I should like Grrlscientist to win is purely one of self-interest. Were she to travel to Antarctica, you see, I might be in with a chance of identifying one of her mystery birds ...


  1. You realise that there are like 20 kinds of penguin, right?