If you have a computer, you may be fortunate enough to get the “Daily Photos” from BING. I am amazed at the quality of photos they give you each day, and I admit, I have clicked on some of their photos to see see where in the world these amazing places are. The photography from these places is also just amazing. I wanted to take this blog, at this time to share some of these photos that Bing shares with the world each day. They are worth sharing, and I hope I can give you a certain “WOW” to your day as well. Here is
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK, FOR 2/20/2020:
Flocking together in the Antarctic © David Tipling Photo Library/Alamy These birds are a few days late for Valentine”s Day, but they look like they”re in the mood for love. Wandering albatrosses (also known as snowy albatrosses, white-winged albatrosses, or goonies) live mostly on the open ocean but come on land for mating season. A salt gland located above their nasal passages allows them to desalinate and survive drinking only salt water as they feed on small marine animals. They can float on the sea surface and glide for hours.
Whales in winter © Espen Bergersen/Minden Pictures Wintertime brings large numbers of humpback whales to the icy waters off the Norwegian coast, where they feed on herring and krill—and delight whale watchers with powerful leaps, tail-slaps, and glimpses into their underwater world. Male humpbacks are famous for their haunting songs, which can last up to 20 minutes and be heard over great distances underwater. Scientists aren”t sure why exactly the males sing these ballads, but some theorize it”s related to courtship. That sounds romantic enough, but ladies take note—the humpback isn”t one to settle down. It”s a migratory animal that swims up to 16,000 miles a year, traveling from southern breeding grounds to Arctic waters like these.
Two rocks and a heart spot © joningall/Getty Images If you really want to earn someone”s affections, fly them to Corsica, rent a car, and take a drive on the only road that cuts through the red volcanic rocks of Calanques de Piana. Some call the naturally occurring rock formation in today”s Valentine”s Day photo “the two lovers,” while others call it “the heart of Corsica.” (Spot the heart?) Like most affairs of the heart, the path to this geological valentine is circuitous—it”s a winding road, sometimes too narrow to share with oncoming vehicles (the occasional pullovers help). Our vantage point may be a good spot for you to pull over, especially if it”s sunset, to see the rocks aglow as the sun creeps west toward the horizon.
Midwinter freeze © Joshua Meador/Tandem Stills + Motion Abiqua Falls in Oregon is a beautiful example of a basalt column amphitheater. Over 90 percent of all volcanic rock is basalt, but only a small fraction of it forms into the hexagonal columns that you see here. When molten lava hits the atmosphere, rapid cooling causes it to contract into these characteristic columns. It”s just part of what makes Abiqua Falls so spectacular.
Wake up, it s Darwin Day © Pete Oxford/Minden Pictures On Charles Darwin”s birthday, we celebrate Darwin Day—and, of course, there”s no better place to do that than the Galápagos Islands. Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution by natural selection, which he published in his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species.” During his travels to the Galápagos Islands years earlier, Darwin observed creatures that were similar from island to island but had slightly different adaptations to better survive in their specific environments. This became a key component of his research. The islands are home to thousands of unique species, including this Pinzon Island tortoise, which we see hatching from an egg at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Celebrating women in science © Bryce Groark/AP Photo/Netflix For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we”re visiting the Great Barrier Reef with oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle. This photo is from the 2014 documentary film “Mission Blue,” which follows Earle, a legendary marine biologist, environmentalist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. The film focuses on Earle”s campaign to create a global network of protected marine sanctuaries. Sometimes called Her Deepness, Earle has made immense contributions to science over her career. From leading groundbreaking research in deep ocean science to becoming the first female chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earle is recognized as one of the world”s preeminent oceanographers.
Hollywood s big night © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock It”s Oscars night in Tinseltown, and we”re offering you a moment”s escape from the paparazzi to gaze over the glittering megalopolis of Los Angeles—and to get an unfamiliar view of a familiar landmark. The Hollywood Sign originally read “Hollywoodland” when it was erected in 1923 and festooned with light bulbs to advertise a real estate development. But within a few years, as the silent-film era gave way to “talkies,” the sign evolved into a popular tourist attraction. Falling into disrepair in ensuing decades—at the peak of its decay, the sign was missing its third “O” altogether—the original was demolished and a sturdier version built in 1978.
Frozen fun in the Canadian cold © RENAULT Philippe/age fotostock Not far downriver from Montreal, where the banks of the St. Lawrence River widen as it approaches the Atlantic, lies Quebec”s picturesque and often chilly capital. Quebec City, one of the continent”s oldest European settlements, is often called the most European city outside Europe. It”s the only North American city outside Mexico whose fortified walls still stand, and its winding streets showcase a French-tinged exemplar of old Romantic architecture (typified by the steep-roofed Château Frontenac in the photo”s foreground).
A hint of spring © Péter Hegedűs/Getty Images Native to Western Europe, and especially popular in Great Britain, snowdrops are the bulb you”ll want to plant if the cold, drab landscape of winter gets you down. These small bulbs bloom very early—sometimes as soon as January—and are commonly associated with the promise of spring. But plant enough of them, or come across a naturally occurring patch, and it can look like a light dusting of winter snow has coated the ground. Need a little hope to get you through this last stretch of winter? Look no further than the lovely snowdrop.
Frozen beauty © robertharding/Alamy Located on the North Saskatchewan River, Abraham Lake is an artificial lake and Alberta”s largest reservoir. Even though it”s man-made, it takes on the blue color of other glacial lakes in the Rocky Mountains. In winter, the lake draws nature photographers interested not just in the wildlife and spectacular landscape, but also the lake”s odd appearance when it freezes over. Bacteria on the lake bottom feed on dead organic matter and release the methane bubbles you see here. When the surface water freezes, the bubbles get trapped, creating a photographer”s dream. They may be beautiful, but these frozen bubbles can be dangerous because they”re highly flammable. If you happen to be lighting a match nearby, you”ll want to watch out or the released methane could explode. The bubbles aren”t so friendly to the environment, either; methane in the atmosphere is a major part of global greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.
Rock of ages © Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images We”re here at Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, in Sri Lanka, for the South Asian nation”s Independence Day, celebrated annually on February 4. Sigiriya towers 600 feet off the ground, jutting dramatically out of the heart of this island country and serving as a formidable monument to the past. The king of Sri Lanka himself, King Kashyapa, who ruled from 473 to 495 CE, once made this the site of his new capital. He ordered that his palace be constructed atop the rock and about halfway up, he had a large gateway carved into the side of the outcropping in the shape of a lion (hence the name). His fortress was abandoned when he died, and the site later served as a monastery. These days it”s a tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The moai you know © blickwinkel/Alamy Roam around tiny, remote Easter Island and you”ll find almost 900 of the stern stone faces called moai. They seem ancient as the pyramids, even a little alien, but they were actually sculpted between 500 and 800 years ago from compacted volcanic ash that”s as terrestrial as it comes. You”re seeing six of the 15 moai that stand on Ahu Tongariki, the largest ahu (stone platform) on the island. These statues were toppled in the 18th or 19th century along with other moai island-wide for reasons not fully known to scholars, though earthquakes or possible tribal infighting are postulated. The statues were later buried by a tidal wave and lay in ruins until the 1990s, when they were excavated and placed back on the ahu.
Hut, hut, hike! © stefbennett/Shutterstock Meerkats, also called suricates, are highly social animals that enjoy playing together and grooming each other. Members of the mongoose family, they live in mobs (yes, that”s what a group of meerkats is called) of 20 to 50 individuals that work together and share underground burrows to stay cool in the African heat.
Dance of the egret © Brian Lasenby/Getty Images They say, “Dance like nobody”s watching,” but here in Florida, this reddish egret could very likely have an audience of birders. The species has a reputation for bold, energetic feeding behavior that can resemble a frenetic dance. As it stalks its prey in shallow water, the reddish egret is prone to prance, stagger, and leap, while strategically positioning its wings to block the glare of the sun and boldly stab at fish. It”s one of many species that make Florida a year-round delight for birdwatchers.
The Pearl of Siberia © Amazing Aerial Agency/Offset Russia”s Lake Baikal is a record-holding wonder: It”s the world”s oldest (25 million years), deepest (over 5,000 feet in some parts), and largest freshwater lake (more than 20 percent of the Earth”s fresh surface water by volume). Baikal lies in the deepest continental rift on Earth, and because the rift is geologically active, the tectonic plates continue to move farther apart.
US Coast Guard: Protecting us for 105 years © Tom Schwabel/Tandem Stills + Motion In recognition of the modern US Coast Guard, formed on this day in 1915, we”re featuring the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, one of many lighthouses managed by the USCG. How did Cape Disappointment get its name? A British fur trader in 1788 mistook the mouth of the Columbia River for a bay and was disappointed because his ship couldn”t pass due to the river”s shallow bar. Many ships would eventually sink in these dangerous waters, but this lighthouse has warned off countless others since it was lit in 1856, making it the first lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest. Most of the lighthouses in the US have been built and maintained by the US Coast Guard and its predecessors.
It s Republic Day in India © Michele Falzone/plainpicture For India”s 70th Republic Day, we”re featuring an uncommon view of the Taj Mahal in Agra. It”s on this day that India celebrates its official beginning as an independent democratic republic after having endured nearly a century of British rule. Republic Day events include presentations of the Padma Awards (national service honors), a Republic Day parade in New Delhi, and other ceremonies.
Sunlight sets Iceland s Eyjafjallajökull aglow © Erlend Haarberg/Minden Pictures This is the sun-soaked ice cap of Iceland”s Eyjafjallajökull. Remember the name? It”s that unpronounceable volcano that made you miss your connecting flight back in 2010. That eruption and the vast ash cloud it belched over the North Atlantic was the biggest disruption to air traffic since World War II. And this relatively small but volatile island may yet waylay the world again: Eyjafjallajökull is a lightweight among the 32 active volcanic systems dotting the Land of Fire and Ice—its much larger neighbor Katla has been closely monitored since the 2010 incident.
Across the great plains of Africa © Raffi Maghdessian/Cavan Images This time of year, from late January to early March, babies arrive on the Serengeti. At the height of the wildebeest calving season, thousands of calves are born every day. Moments after birth, these youngsters can walk, and in just a few days, they”ll be able to run fast enough to keep up with the herd. That”s a good thing. Calving season isn”t just a draw for safari tourists wanting a front row seat at the start of the circle of life, but also for predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas on the hunt for easy prey.
A horse of many colors © Design Pics/Danita Delimont Whitehorse, Yukon”s only city and the largest in northern Canada, will have just seven hours of daylight today, but nature has a way of compensating for this injustice. The area enjoys frequent and spectacular light shows, thanks to the aurora borealis. The mechanics of northern lights are still not fully understood, but scientists agree that solar winds—big pulses of energy from our sun—pass through the Earth”s magnetic fields, especially at the polar regions, resulting in shimmering colors.
Observing a squirrelly day © Images from BarbAnna/Getty Images January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Really. It was established by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator from North Carolina, to draw attention to the importance of these remarkably widespread creatures. Native to five continents and currently living on six (there”s no Antarctic squirrel), there are about 285 species of squirrels in the world, ranging from the tiny African pygmy squirrel to the Bhutan giant flying squirrel (when in Bhutan, be ready to duck).
Sands of time © Grant Kaye/Cavan Images At a quick glance, you might mistake these dunes for massive snowdrifts. Although they do make for great sledding, the tiny crystals that form the dunes at White Sands National Park are not snow or ice but gypsum, a soft mineral often used to make plaster and chalk. The dune field became a national monument on this day in 1933 with a proclamation by President Herbert Hoover, which set aside nearly 150,000 acres for preservation. Recently, on December 20, 2019, President Trump signed legislation making it the 62nd designated national park in the National Park System.
In the valley of the doll © Marco Capellari/Getty Images Today we”re featuring a picture-postcard view of Val Gardena, a valley nestled in the Dolomites in the South Tyrol region of Italy. This time of year, the remote area may be a bit busier than usual as skiers are drawn to its famous slopes. In summer, it”s known for other outdoor activities, such as rock climbing and hiking. Since the 17th century, the villagers have been famed for their wood carving. Artisans create everything from simple, utilitarian items, like bowls, to finely detailed figurines. One of the woodcarvers” biggest hits? A wooden peg doll that was popular across Europe and the US during the 19th century.
Going head-to-head with winter © Oliver Smart/Alamy Muskoxen are built to chill. These animals can endure, even thrive, in some of the harshest conditions on Earth—the Arctic winter. Their long, wiry outer coat covers a soft and thick inner layer, called qiviut, that keeps them toasty even as temperatures plummet. When winter ends, the muskoxen shed this undercoat, which is collected and spun into yarn that”s warmer than sheep”s wool and softer than cashmere—pricier, too.
Who s wearing such cute hats? © Malcolm Fairman/Alamy The stone figures lining the steps in today”s photo are among 500 rakan statues on the small island of Miyajima in Japan. The colorful knitted caps they”re wearing are offerings from people visiting the island, a tradition followed in other areas of Japan as well. Some believe this gift-giving is based on a children”s folk story of an elderly hatmaker who was unable to make it to market on a snowy day, so he placed his collection of hats on rakan statues to keep their bare heads dry. Later, the statues showed their appreciation by delivering gifts to the hatmaker and his wife so they could celebrate the new year properly. The statues in this photo were individually carved sometime between the 1780s to the 1820s, and no two are alike. They line the path at the base of Mount Misen that leads to the Daisho-in Temple, one of the many temples and shrines on the island.
Into the woods © Mia2you/Shutterstock On this day in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared 554 acres in Marin County, California, a national monument. William and Elizabeth Kent, who donated the land, insisted the monument be named after naturalist John Muir, the environmentalist known as the “father of the national parks.” Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods is best known for its old-growth coastal redwood forests, which make up more than half its land. The redwoods in the monument are 600-800 years old, on average, with the oldest being at least 1,200. The tallest tree is about 258 feet, though redwoods grow as high as 379 feet farther north. Redwoods are an important part of the forest ecosystem. They absorb and “strip” moisture from fog, which then drips into the ground, supporting the trees as well as other forest life.
Have fun storming the castle © Andrius Aleksandravicius/Alamy Our headline quote comes from “The Princess Bride” film, of course, but our homepage castle is found in Lithuania, the largest of the three Baltic states (the others are Latvia and Estonia). Construction on this fortress was begun in the 14th century by the Grand Duke of Lithuania and completed years later by his son. It served as a strategic and bustling center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a European state that lasted until 1795. Like much architecture from so long ago, the castle was damaged and fell into disrepair, only to be reconstructed and reopened as a museum. These days it”s known as one of the most charming medieval castles in Europe.
Digging the birds © Cagan Hakki Sekercioglu/Getty Images Burrowing parrots, sometimes called burrowing parakeets, are native to the arid Monte Desert of western Argentina. The birds use their beaks and talons to hollow out nesting spaces in soft limestone cliffs found in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The parrots sometimes end up captured and sold as pets for the wild bird trade. While that”s not illegal—burrowing parrots aren”t endangered—the capture and sale of these birds and others is part of the focus of National Bird Day in the United States, which is observed on January 5. National Bird Day was created to educate the public about the value of wild birds remaining wild. While keeping a parrot as a pet may seem like fun, the organizers of National Bird Day claim the parrot is going to be healthier and happier in its natural habitat.
Celebrating whales—and a whale of a tale © Flip Nicklin/Minden Pictures A mother sperm whale surfaces in the North Atlantic as her young albino calf swims beside her. It”s an especially photogenic moment for these underwater powerhouses, which spend much of their time in the dim depths over 1,000 feet below the waves. You”re meeting them to commemorate the day in 1841 when a young Herman Melville set out from New Bedford, Massachusetts, on a whaling voyage to the South Pacific that would help inspire his masterwork “Moby-Dick.” Today at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Melville fans will begin a marathon public reading of the novel—an annual event that lasts a leviathan 25 hours.
Winterpret on ice © Lourens Smak/Alamy These skaters in the village of Kinderdijk are embracing “winterpret,” a Dutch word that means “winter joy” or “winter fun.” Whenever temps drop low enough, many locals take to the ice and skate away on a complex network of canals. These waterways were built centuries ago—along with pumps, dikes, and the windmills pictured here—to protect the village of Kinderdijk by diverting water from the land. It”s an important job, since Kinderdijk, like much of the Netherlands, lies below sea level and flooding is a major problem. Nowadays a modern water management system with multiple pumping stations does the work, and the windmills are left with a new job–to maintain an iconic Dutch scene. In 1997, the Kinderdijk windmills were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A special thanks to Bing Photos for the daily delivery to my computer of these images. They are amazing. And I have loved having these on my computer. As they come to my home computer each day, I often will click on the photo to see the information about where, and what they are. Thanks again, and I hope you enjoyed these too.