"....The truth is out there."
-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer
Thursday, November 05, 2009
-- The Pearl, Once Again --
For anyone not reading the comments sections here, and thus unaware, Mike C. has posted recent video from the Pearl (La.) which he believes to be of Ivory-bills. Go to this link and scroll down to 11/3 - 11/4 posts:
Certain frames/aspects of the clips are interesting (indeed, the more I watch the more intrigued I am, while also having doubts). We may be headed once again straight into Luneau-video unresolvable la-la land, but will be curious to see what various others have to say, and interested to see what Mike uncovers on follow-up visits to same area (...or has this nomadic bird already moved 5 miles up the road ;-)
In the first video from his 11-3 post, we seem to see the bird's underside as it banks to the right, giving us only a ventral view. I think the bird is backlit, and if so we need to evaluate what we are seeing in that context and understand that what appears to be dark isn't necessarily so. The body appears to be all-dark. In one frame, I can kind of see a dark bar between white underwing linings and secondaries which would be distinctive if not an artifact of the video or my imagination. I can't see black outer primaries, however. In other frames, the wing linings appear black with backlit white secondaries and primaries (again with no black outer primaries visible to my eye). I think having wing linings appear black is certainly possible in bad light. The wings are perhaps a little shorter than I expect from Tanner photos.
The lighting is tricky - careful analysis might tell us more about what it is not, but I don't think it would tell us what it actually is. This is analysis is kind of just for fun, as the video isn't clear enough to convince the world, but I credit Mike for a) busting his butt (or more specifically various other body parts) and taking alot of time sitting in trees in his search and b) making his videos available on his website.
One thing it might be possible to determine from this clip and the “chase” portion of the video are the relative wingspans of the hawk and the bird in question. If the size is approximately right, and if Mike is right about features of the flight being characteristic of woodpeckers, then it may come down to whether or not a pileated woodpecker underwing can look like that. I am skeptical that it can.
His entry for today, just posted, is "Got that sucker". I wonder what that means...
11-6-09. Other frames show much more detail and key characteristics of the bird, but this frame gives an indication why Audubon said, "The flight of this bird is graceful in the extreme."
So, we're going to see something that is undeniably an Ivorybill. I can't wait. It's taken so long. Perseverance has finally paid off and the doubters have been proved wrong.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Mike's has been personally certain of what he has seen before, but his videos haven't been high enough resolution for the rest of us who lack the rest of the context of his encounters. This could be his best quality video yet, but that doesn't necessarily mean institutional acceptance.
- people don't want to speculate about what we'll be seeing shortly
- before publicly releasing the video, Mike is sharing the video with a few people who might otherwise comment here
- we're the only ones who don't have stuff to do on a Friday night!
Thankfully, Mike is not Cornell. He is not secretive and he is very forthcoming with the results of his work. We'll know the story soon.
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