Readers’ wildlife photographs

Reader Sarah Crews, who takes care of many feral cats, is also an evolutionary biologist specializing in insects, and sent some animal photos (including one of her cats, all of which bear interesting names). The links are to the photos on Sarah’s flickr site, and the indented bits are her notes:

Grizzled Mantid, adult female, Gonatista grisea – adorable insect, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, under bark of slash pine, FL:

GM1

Adorable pseudoscorpion from Hobe Sound NWR (species not identified):

Pseudo

Selenops submaculosus, adult male, super handsome and fuzzy. Also known as honorary cat spider. Jupiter Ridge Natural Area, under bark of slash pine, FL:

Selenops submaculosus

A closeup showing its hairy palps:

Selsub

Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus): Hobe Sound, Florida:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.16.56 AM

Green Heron – another boring bird 🙂 Butoroides virescens, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, FL:

Green Heron

This is Surprise, Cat! (that’s right, its name has a comma and an exclamation mark), so called because it always looks suprised. Here it’s looking moderately surprised:

Surprise Cat (2)

Here it’s looking completely surprised:

Surprise Cat

Stephen Barnard from Idaho sent two photos of a Rough-legged hawk (Buteo lagopus):

RT9A4850

RT9A4870

He also sent a picture of a Cobra, with this note:

I just bought this car. Does that make me a bad person?

I’ve lusted after Cobras since I watched them race in the ’60s. I turned 68 yesterday and decided that the money sitting in the bank, which I  won’t even notice when it’s gone, could be better put to this use, but I have some white liberal guilt.

When I assured him he wasn’t a bad person and then requested more details about the car, I got this:

It’s a 2009 Superperformance MkIII 427S/C Cobra replica with about 7600 miles in mint condition, designed to look just like the original 1965  Shelby Cobras. It has an insane amount of horsepower and torque.

The high quality replicas are actually better cars than the originals,  with better suspension, brakes, transmission, etc. The originals cost millions. I take delivery in a couple of weeks (shipped from California).

Cobra

 

75 Comments

  1. Jim Knight
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Given the “…insane amount of horsepower and torque..” in Stephen’s new ride, it is probably very aptly named after a very dangerous group of snakes! Be careful Stephen. We all enjoy your wildlife photos…!

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I’m actually a little scared of it. I’m going to be VERY careful.

      • Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:56 am | Permalink

        Forty years ago I helped out at a track where they were racing. We were pushing a Cobra to the start line and the owner got quite firm with us and told us to not push on the car itself. We had to push on the roll bar. He said the aluminum skin of the car was too delicate and we might dent it by pushing on it. It was a nice vehicle and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one.

  2. Randy Schenck
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Love Surprise, the cat and the car is not bad either.

    Don’t we usually go through this at 40? 68…I’m not sure.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      I was too busy working my ass off at 40.

  3. Jeff Rankin
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    That car — beautiful. Enjoy it!

    Nice hawk photos too.

  4. Richard Jones
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    All the time. I am 84 and full of envy. Have to make do with an ATS.

  5. Taz
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know wildlife photography paid so well! 😉

  6. gunnerkee19
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Ahh. I love the rough legged hawks and the Cobra. Proof there is a God. (just kidding)

  7. darrelle
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    The spikes on that spider’s legs are . . . alarming(?) . . . maybe scary is better.

    That insect is, for want of a better word, awesome.

    Stephen, that car looks like a very fun ride. Made largely by hand by a small company in South Africa, or am I mixing the company up with another?

    To completely enjoy your awesome new car I highly recommend you take it to a race track for some track-days. Do a little research to find a good track-day organization, there are plenty around. It is safe, much safer than ordinary driving on regular roads, you don’t have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with, you’ll probably get some good instruction, but most importantly you’ll have more fun than you know what to do with.

    And remember, when approaching the next steering point, “Flat out till you see god, count to three, then brake!”

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      You’re correct. The chassis and running gear is made in South Africa and the engine and transmission was installed by the dealer in California.

      I don’t think there are any race tracks nearby, but every year the sports car club has a rally and they shut down a long straightaway on Highway 75 between Ketchum and Stanley. People can run their cars flat out. Last year a Bugatti Veyron went over 240mph.

      • darrelle
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        It is hard to beat a W16 motor with 4 turbos for power and speed. But, damn, that’s a lot of money for the performance.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          The Veyron is a ridiculous car intended for only one thing: to go as fast as possible in a straight line. The ultimate modern supercar, IMO, is the McClaren F1.

          • Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

            You should watch Top Gear’s races and segments with the Veyron. More than just a straight line car.

          • darrelle
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            The Veyron is definitely a monster, but it is no slouch in the handling department. Top speed was a major design intent, but handling was also. But yeah, particularly in the hands of an expert I’d bet on the F1 on a GP type course.

            But I’ll take bikes. Much more bang for the buck.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted February 18, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

              Bikes indeed, but a car that could go like my GSXR 1000 would be stunning.

              • darrelle
                Posted February 18, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

                Yes. I recall a conversation I had with an aquaintance once who was a hot rod enthusiast (he had a couple of very nice rides too!).
                He asked about the power and speed of the bike I had ridden up on that day and I told him that with stock gearing, which it had, the red line in 1st gear was just over 100mph.

                He said, “Oh, 3rd gear? Yeah, that’s pretty fast.”

                I said, “No, 1st gear, and there are 5 more to go after that.”

                He said, “Uhhh?” Or something like that.

                But bikes do have some inherent disadvantages over cars. Cars have a big aerodynamic advantage which makes it a bit easier to achieve higher top speeds relative to a bike.

                And then there’s cornering. Bikes are, in my opinion, way more fun to corner than a car, but they just can’t achieve the lateral accelerations possible with a car. Less than 2G even for a MotoGP bike with a top rider, whereas the best race cars can do over 4G. No one has yet figured out how to use downforce for bikes as is done for cars, but not for lack of trying.

                Actually I can think of one successful application of aerodynamic down force on a bike, but it wasn’t for increasing cornering speed. I can’t remember the name, but a guy running the Maxxton Mile used winglets attached to his forks to help keep his front wheel on the ground.

                The Maxxton Mile is land speed racing on a paved surface, an old runway. It is a standing start with speed measured at the 1 mile mark. An official speed requires two runs and is the average of the two. This guy was running a 1st generation Hayabusa (I had an ’04) turboed to 550-580 HP at the rear wheel(can’t remember exact value). He was the record holder in that class at the time with a speed of 258 mph. With that kind of HP it becomes an exercise in maintaining traction through the whole run, and keeping the front wheel on the ground really helps with that! His set up was capable of more HP, but HP was not the limiting factor, maintaining traction, even at the high end, was the limiting factor. He found that backing down to the 550-580 HP gave better results.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

                There is no ‘reply’ under your post for some reason.
                Yeah that first gear thing really spins people out. And then 5 more, as you know its not 5 more of the same but a decreasing effect but still. I haven’t the chance to really wring my current bike but the little I have really rams my eyeballs back in my head. It’s got so much power it doesn’t need a power band, and then it hits he power band. The ignition is retarded in 1st and 2nd stock.
                Bikes have inherent stability problems to do with the physics of castoring wheels, hence tank slappers and consequentially steering dampers. The aero flow has an impact on that stability and its usually a matter of moving the instability to a point where it can be managed. So then , if you could work out some downforce body work when leaned over it would/could have deleterious effects at other angles. As well as making cross winds interesting.
                It is more fun cornering on a bike but it is also more hairy on the limit. I can slide a car fairly well but so much on a bike. ( a little bit, not the front).
                258 is pretty fast. Did he have some down force on the rear? I thought about 200 was when the rear would start losing traction due air restriction.
                A few years ago, before my current 1000 I had a GSXR750 and before that an 1100. I went to Philip Island raceway with both of them to do advanced riding courses and just ride days.
                Fun you ask? Yes indeed. I’ assuming you will know of Philip Island.

              • Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

                This afternoon, I went to my first drag race, the NHRA qualifying rounds at Wild Horse Pass. The various variations on “normally” aspirated and fueled cars were most impressive.

                And then came the nitromethane.

                It is no exaggeration to call it an earth-shattering experience. Verily, I have been in the presence of the chariots of the gods.

                Fastest pass I saw was a 3.76. My mind — and everything else, really — is still well and fully boggled.

                b&

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

              There was no ‘reply’ under your post so I don’t know if you’ll get this.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

              I’ve gone reasonably fast on a bike but some the things other guys ride, like the one you mention are amazing, I’m not sure I would be brave enough.

              • darrelle
                Posted February 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

                Oh, I know Phillip Island, but I’ve never been to Australia. It is high on my list of places I must go, and riding Phillip Island would be fantanstic.

                I have never gotten around to bypassing the limiter on any of my bikes. If I were to try land speed racing I certainly would. I have taken two different bikes to the limiter many times, a 1st gen Hayabusa and an ’05 R1. The R1 takes ideal conditions to hit 186 mph (300 km), but the Busa charges right up to it, still accelerating strongly when it hits the limiter.

                The most thrilling high speed experience I’ve had was on the Hayabusa. I actually set it up for track riding as best as possible. +2″ links on the rear suspension to raise the rear, rebuilt forks, raised the front end as much as possible. Besides weight and wheel base length the main disadvantage with the Busa for track riding is more limited ground clearance because the engine case is wider and lower than the 1K bikes. Instead of a narrow sharp V it is a trapezoid.

                So, I took the Busa to Daytona International and ran what is typically called the “Old AMA 200” course. It includes most of the NASCAR portion of the track, except the West Banking, and has about six more technical turns in the infield area. This was in about 2006, before the track was repaved.

                So, instead of the Back Straight leading right into the East Banking, the bike course includes a chicane to make you reduce speed before entering the East Banking. I would exit the chicane in 3rd gear (I tried 2nd once but 3rd worked better), roll the throttle to the stop, tuck in and start clicking up through the gears. It was just completely insane. The chin of my helmet would be on the tank. I’d be looking as hard as I could around the turn. The bike is accelerating so hard my but slams into the hump hard enough to be sore the next day. Regardless of my chin being on the tank the airstream is just catching the top of my helmet and as speed increases it shakes my head violently at high frequency. This caused my vision to blur and the field of view to tunnel down to about 1/3 normal. And then, just to make it more exciting, the track surface is so rippled around the banking that the suspension is just working like crazy. It felt like two giant hammer-drills that were out of sync with each other.

                I’d exit the East Banking down into the Tri Oval tapping the limiter in 6th gear, hold that through most of the Tri Oval, and then on the brakes hard to hit a survivable entry speed for turn 1 into the infield, maybe 35 mph. Turn 1 is about 150 degrees or so and goes sharply off camber right about the apex. It seems like about half of everyone on the track goes off roading at turn 1.

                A straight smooth run up to 186 mph is pretty exciting by itself, but that took 186 mph to a whole different level of experience.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted February 22, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

                I haven’t been to America, I would love to go, so many famous places and things there.
                Philip Island is a fabulous course but its way out of the way so the place itself is not much.
                I’m only saying that in comparison to something like Daytona which must be amazing.
                I was looking on wiki to see the track layout. So the east banking must be turn 12 by the look of it? I see turn one is nice and tight and if it goes of camber, especially after banking, that must be a real pain.
                Philip island is pretty high speed but I couldn’t hit top speed on the straight. I think with a good entry I got maybe 170 before have to back of for turn one which is really fast, maybe 120. (I’ve converted into mph) and then a bit slower into southern loop a long two apex kind of turn that just goes a bit of camber and then wind it up again through a very fast left hander down to Honda corner at maybe 35, it has a runoff road. And so on.
                That vibration you mention I understand very well. How about when you hit the brakes and sit up. The first time can be a surprise when you sit from behind the screen into 160 or so mph wind, hang on tight, although once on brakes it seems to balance out.
                Getting a corner entry just right and then exiting with just the right amount of power, maybe a little drift and then the front going light into the next strait, getting that right, in the zone, are some of the best experiences I have ever had.
                I have wondered what riding on banking would be like.
                How did you manage to hit top speed on your (formidable) bikes. One needs a long stretch of road and some kind of immunity from the police. Was it just Daytona cos most tracks don’t allow for top speed (although the modern MotoGP bikes do 200 or so down Philip Island strait? Or was it a special road somewhere.
                The bike magazines here use an airfield when they can get it.
                Your R1 would be the same as my Gsxr pretty much. I would love to really wind it out.
                Unfortunately I have developed tinnitus which restricts my riding now as the wind noise is bothersome, even with earplugs. But still, I’ll think of something, riding a fast bike is amazing.

                We have a lot of winging here by some bike riders, that cars don’t look out for them. It’s partly true, but as we have been discussing the things we can do on a bike is universe away from what a car driver can understand. A bike can be in your mirrors and then past in an eyeblink. Even I am surprised sometimes, they just appear out of nowhere. (As we do)

              • darrelle
                Posted February 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

                You are absolutely right that it is not possible to hit top speed on most tracks, even Moto GP riders on Moto GP bikes on Moto GP tracks. Though it seems there is a trend in Moto GP tracks to have at least one straight that allows top speed. It used to be there were just a couple on the circuit where they could hit 200+ (320+), but it seems all the newer tracks added to the circuit in more recent years have a top speed straight. My favorite track that I have personally ridden, a fast rider can only hit low to mid 150’s (240 kph) through the fastest area, but it is very exciting making that happen.

                It is not something I would recommend to anyone, but most of the times, by far, that I have ridden a bike to its top speed limit have been on public roads. I’d like to think that I used pretty good judgement where that is concerned, i.e. middle of nowhere, clear lines of sight, no access. But I wouldn’t claim it was ever a good idea or a responsible thing to do.

                I complain about car drivers too, but I am pretty equitable in my views. I don’t think bike riders in general are any better than car drivers. It is my experience that most people riding motorcycles really should not, especially on the street. I do think car drivers really need to learn to see what is going on around them better, and understand it, but I also think anyone wanting to ride a bike on the road needs to accept reality as it actually is. And that means you need to accept that things are not equal. That “cages” will try to run you over just about every time you ride on the street and if you want to survive you will have to learn to see such situations developing and do something to stay out of it without relying on anybody else doing the right thing. No matter how righteous your position is, riding as if you are due a certain respect, which I see a lot of, is not too smart because you on your two wheeled 200 kg machine just are not going to win any arguments with that four wheeled 2000 kg machine. In the US it is worse than most places because of the infatuation with private vehicles that weigh more like 3100kg. Damn things are everywhere.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted February 22, 2015 at 1:25 am | Permalink

              Nitromethane! I went for the first time, a couple of years ago to see Top Fuel nitro cars.
              Unfortunately I missed the first pass of the few that were there and then due to other considerstion into the evening they didn’t run. Except one, driven by a woman called Rachel Splatt.
              However whatever the problems with the track preventing the others running were caused her to cut it within 1 second.
              I was at the end of the quarter, wanting to see the enormous speed so I didn’t see it.
              However I did get a taste of the other reason to go, the enormous mighty roar, a giant wall of sound, it was an experience, even that little taste, so far away, unbelievable.
              I did get too see other cars called doorslammers, running only methanol, about half the hosepower of the top fuel, maybe 3000.
              I forget the times maybe 5 and a bit and 250 but they were pretty good and sent an amazing thrumming vibration through ones very core.
              However I am fully jealous of your nitro experience and is something I must experience myself.

              • Posted February 22, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

                It’s definitely an experience everybody should have. There’s no way to put it in words, save in vague poetic terms such as “the chariots of the gods.”

                No need to go to the finals or any sort of “important” race. Qualifying runs are every bit as unimaginably impossible. Sure, it matters an awful lot to the drivers if they run a 3.82 second quarter mile at 337 mph as opposed to a 3.75 second quarter mile at 354 mph, but no mere mortal is going to tell the difference. Just find the most convenient-to-you time that they’re going down the track, and go.

                b&

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted February 22, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

                Nice poetic terms.
                I agree, just any full bore run would be ok.
                The track near me is off the main circuit of circuits but they do come every now an then. Being Australia we have all that many but still.
                I wanted to both be at the finish, to see and feel such phenomenal speed, and at this track you could go right to edge of the track (probably not now) and at the launch to see and hear the might off 8000 odd horsepower blasting off.
                I will.

          • Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

            What’s a bit scary is that the Tesla P85D gives the F1 a serious run for the money. I think the Tesla might actually beat the F1 at the 1/8 mile, and isn’t that far off at the 1/4 mile. Top speed, of course, is much lower in the Tesla, but there’re damned few roads where you can get anywhere near either car’s top speed even if you don’t care about how much the ticket costs.

            …and it costs, what, a tenth as much? Still some serious coin, but gives you some idea of what the future holds.

            b&

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted February 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

              I really like Tesla and I’m invested in them. I’d buy a Model S P85D if they had any infrastructure in Idaho. They’re all over the place in Silicon Valley. I wish they’d make a pickup.

              Warning: This isn’t a widows and orphans stock. It’s highly speculative.

              • Posted February 17, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think any single stock is good for widows and orphans. But I do think Tesla is firmly on the path to corporate dominance.

                I’m eager to see what starts coming out of their battery “gigafactory.” Not just electric vehicle batteries, either; they’re talking about black boxes you can put next to your water heater (or wherever). If you’ve got solar, you could go off the grid. If not, you could buy all your electricity at off-peak times (and rates) and use it to fill up the batteries, and then drain them during on-peak times; that in and of itself would almost certainly pay for itself in a matter of years for many.

                Electric companies should be damned nervous of Tesla right now. The smart ones will do whatever it takes to become Tesla dealers, and offer subsidized deals on the batteries that let them backfeed the grid from them to reduce the need for peaking power generation. The dumb ones — and, I fear, that will be the majority — will shit all over themselves and try to regulate these sorts of things out of existence. That will suck for many, but there’re too many parts of the country that won’t fall for it…which just means that the dumb ones are going to go the way of Ma Bell.

                Cheers,

                b&

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            I too like the McClaren but like all supercars, way too powerful for me.

            • Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

              …not to mention, expensive….

              b&

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        I don’t want to do stuff like go to the track because I don’t want my tires messed up. I guess they don’t always teach you drifting, but it’s the main thing I’d want to learn.

        • Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          If you want to drift…start small. There are go-karts designed for that, with handbrakes and slippery tires and the like.

          Doing that sort of thing in a full-sized car is going to be seriously expensive. First, you’re going to need lots of horsepower. Next, you might need to modify some of the controls. You’ve already mentioned the tires you’re going to chew through. And…well, you’re gonna crash sooner or later, probably sooner, and that gets really expensive, too.

          Much better to crash at 15 – 30 MPH in an inexpensive go-kart than at 50 – 80 MPH in your beloved roadster.

          If it turns out you’re particularly good at it, you can get sponsors to pay for everything in exchange for splattering their logos everywhere….

          You might find this inspirational. It certainly looks like an awful lot of fun!



          b&

      • Wayne Y. Hoskisson
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Great car. When I saw the photo my first thought was “What a car to drive over the pass to Stanley.” It will also look great shopping in Arco.

  8. Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Don’t know the species, but the unknown insect is some kind of mantis.

    • Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      I’ve added the links and species names that Sarah sent me this morning.

  9. Stephen Barnard
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I wonder why the pseudoscorpion looks so scary. Could it be a case of Bayesian mimicry?

    • Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      You mean “Batesian” mimicry. But it doesn’t look scary because it’s trying to convince you it’s a scorpion. It just have perfectly functional pincers for pedipalps just like lots of arachnids. And it’s also tiny: only a couple of millimeters long.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        I thought about blaming that on spell-check, but I don’t think I could get away with it. 🙂

  10. Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The pseudoscoropion is about 2 mm, so most things won’t be seeing it; like all arachnids, it has modified palpi (the chela or “pinchers”). They administer venom through those, so to small things they actually are scary. They are also phoretic, or ride around on other insects.

  11. Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Congrats on the new toy, Stephen! Cobras are absolutely one of my all-time favorite cars.

    Bob Bondurant’s Cobra is parked outside the main room at his school just outside town. There’s row after row of yellow student cars, mostly Corvettes with a bunch of Chargers for the beginners. Plus a bunch of odds and ends…they even had a VW Thing in the garage.

    And, yes, the ‘Vettes are very impressive cars, especially with an instructor behind the wheel. But, honestly? If I won some sort of a contest and could drive home any car on the premises?

    It’d be that old Cobra.

    In just a little bit I’m going to head downtown to talk to somebody at the place that’s the leading contender to build an engine for my new-to-me 1964 1/2 Mustang. The car still has the original 260 cc V8…and, you might or might not know, the very first Cobras had a souped-up version of that same engine. I tried to find a practical way to do that type of a performance rebuild of this car’s engine…but, for significantly less money, I can get a crate engine with substantially more power. It’s the last small-block Ford motor with a 3.8″ bore (instead of 4″), and that’s just the beginning of the heartache.

    If I ever drive the Mustang up to Idaho or if you drive the Cobra to Phoenix, we’ll have to find some safe place to race. Depending on what winds up going in the Mustang, it could be close…but those Cobras have oversized engines in undersized cars….

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      My daughter had a ’65 289 Mustang. She crashed it on the 101 freeway in California and would have died if I hadn’t installed 3-way safety harnesses. (Disc brakes are another wise mod.) That cloud turned out to have a silver lining because the scans at the hospital turned up a large adrenal tumor that was causing a lot of problems. Fortunately, it was benign and removed successfully.

      • Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Scary!

        Already got the disc brakes in front, and an all-new polyurethane suspension. New wheels and very meaty tires. Seatbelts were an option in 1964, one that this car didn’t come with. It still doesn’t have them…but it’ll have shoulder + lap belts in some form before I drive it again. Probably not that much else to do for safety, other than to drive it like my ’68 VW Westfalia where you’re basically spread-eagled like an Aztec sacrifice on the front of the car. Okay, not really…but your knees are an integral part of the VW’s front crumple zone….

        b&

    • darrelle
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      My wife has a ’68 convertible Mustang, 200 ci 6 with automatic, that she has had since high school. It was driven regularly until about ’92 or so. It has been in storage since with plans to rebuild it. Still planning on that some day.

      The rebuild plan is currently, complete frame up restore, a 351 Windsor built a particular way, auto trans built a particular way, current best suspension available, 4 wheel disc brakes, modern seat belts and center console AC.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I was 17 and in High School and my older brother was 19 and in College when he purchased a ’67 Fastback with a 3-speed manual transmission. He bored out the 289 to make it a 302, added a Holley 4-barrel carb and some glasspack headers. Man that thing was a blower. When I knew he wasn’t going to be around for a while, I would surreptitiously “steal” it and drive it around the neighborhood. A couple times I drove it to my high school. Like an idiot teenager showing off, I’d peel out and just roar around for a few minutes; once I even got lucky as a girl I had a crush on saw me and gawked, smiling. I loved that car! Luckily my brother never caught me, or there’d be hell to pay. A number of years later he got an offer for it he couldn’t refuse, and it was gone forever. Damn. That’s the last time I’ve driven a super-powered car, but it is an unforgettable feeling.

        • darrelle
          Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          Sounds like fun. Reminds me of driving a ragged out ’67 coupe, a 351 Windsor out of a station wagon dropped in it, 4 speed manual, down this tiny little “road” between orange groves in the dead of night with my future brother in law. As fast as possible. The steering was so sloppy you could rotate the steering wheel 20 degrees or more in either direction before having any affect. The car was stripped down to nothing but the two front seats, the suspension sucked, the afore mentioned steering sucked, the tires were toast, and it was stupid powerful. At about 60 mph you could light the rear tires up shifting into 3rd, and keep them lit as long you liked. In other words, it was a blast to drive!

      • Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        That’s kinda what I’m in the middle of with mine. I just got back from spending some time at a shop that I had thought was going to be the leading contender to build the engine…but he was selling me a bit too hard to hand him the car and a blank check instead of just build an engine.

        The other place I’m considering just does engines, so I’m hoping I get better vibes from them when I visit them later in the week.

        b&

        • Mark R.
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          The mechanical specialists are similar to doctors, aren’t they? Go for the best…let us decide…trust us. The more expensive it is, we’re seduced into thinking, must be the best. We’ve all fallen for it. You’re smart though, so remember not to jump. I’m sure you’ll make a sound decision.

  12. Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Nice. How do I send in my wildlife pictures?

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Google “Jerry Coyne email”.

      • Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Don’t think I want to send an email willy nilly to his work email. Bit rude. Didn’t find any other address. Does Jerry have an inbox specifically for receiving wildlife photos from readers?

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          See Rool 9:

          If you find something that you think would interest readers, by all means send it to me. My email is easily available via elementary Googling.

        • Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

          Just do it. That’s what all the readers do. I have private email addresses, but don’t use those very often.

  13. Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    That makes you pretty much normal then, Stephen. Old neighbour bought one when he hit 60. His was blue with the white stripe.

    Belated Happy Birthday too!

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Blue with white stripes is the traditional USA racing colors. I’d have gone with that on a new car, but I like this color — titanium. I like titanium, a super metal, stronger and less dense than steel, resistant to corrosion, but expensive and difficult to machine. I even like the name.

      • Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Blue with white is what Bondurant’s Cobra is.

        Is the actual car made of titanium, or is it just coated / colored / etc.?

        b&

      • Posted February 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        I must say that you got the ‘pick of the litter’ and ‘the prettiest one’!! 🙂

  14. Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Great wildlife photos, Sarah. Thanks!

  15. Grania Spingies
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Woah, that car’s beautiful.

    Stephen, being a little bit bad is okay.

  16. Mark R.
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Great insect photos Sarah…all are unique and new to me. The pseudoscorpion just doesn’t look right without a stinger…I almost feel sorry for it. That’s a juvenile crocodile, right?

    Surprise, Cat’s name is indeed apropos. Made me laugh! I see she has a nicked right ear…that must have been a real surprise. Ouch!

    Congrats on the Cobra Stephen. Echoing many readers, that’s my favorite sports car as well. I like a description I’ve read for cars like that: “neck-snapping performance”. Vintage Porsche Spyders are up there for me too, but perhaps I just want to say I have a similar taste in cars like James Dean. 🙂 I’m sure the car will give you miles of smiles. Will you take Deets along on any rides? Some cars are too nice for d*gs though.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been wondering about taking Deets in the car. Unlike most d*gs, he doesn’t much like riding in the car and usually goes to sleep, but he’s never been in an extremely loud convertible. When I lived in Stanley some guy used to drive an MGA around with a black bear in the passenger’s seat. Another guy had a jeep painted like a Holstein cow with a huge set of horns mounted on the front. That town has some characters.

  17. Yiam Cross
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Buying the Cobra makes you a bad person. Lucky for you, though, there’s a way out. I’m already a bad person so send it to me. You can save yourself and I’m lost anyway, how about that for a win/win?

  18. Diane G.
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, what beautiful shots of some very interesting critters! I love pseudoscorpions–so very fierce looking…after you realize it’s not just some crumb you spilled. 🙂 Nice to see one in such detail.

    The close-up of the Selenops is fascinating. All those different kinds of hairs and bristles! I imagine many if not most are highly sensory, coveying a lot of environmental information to the spider? The spines on the legs are impressive!

    Beautiful shot of the heron! Green Herons are the ABA (American Birding Association) Bird of the Year for 2015. 🙂

  19. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I really like that cute little pseudo scorpion. I once saw one as a kid – it was in my bathroom.

    Congrats on the car, Stephen. I believe in enjoying your money. So far I have no regrets for treating myself to the material things I like or make my life easier.

  20. Diane G.
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful light morph Rough-legged Hawk, Stephen! One of my favorite buteos!

    I’m sure you know, but others may not, that one of the classic ways to find this species is to know that it will usually be found sitting in the very tops of trees, on branches that would almost seem too small to support it. (It’s roughly the size of a Red-tail!)

    It’s just a winter visitor to the States; it summers way up in the tundra. As one might imagine, it has a few adaptations to the sub-arctic climate. The obvious one led to its common name –its tarsi are feathered all the way down to the foot, giving it a “rough-legged” appearance. In addition, following Allen’s rule, it has a relatively small bill and tiny feet for a buteo.

    It took me way too long to have my aha moment about this: small feet–> small perches, thus the tree top penchant! It’s also one of the few buteos you might find perched on a telephone wire.

  21. merilee
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Stephen, looks like we were born the same week (me in L.A. on the 11th). I don’t lust after a car, though;-)

  22. merilee
    Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    and sub

  23. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted February 18, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Fabulous car. How does it go? Has it got about 550 hp in 2,500 lbs?
    It must hammer you back in the seat.
    Cool.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted February 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Roush 351W/427SR V8 engine. 525hp/540 lbs.ft. torque

      • Posted February 23, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        That should be more than enough to get yourself in some serious trouble, yes.

        Incidentally…I remember a news item from a month or three back about a company that made an all-electric Cobra replica from a blank slate to finished car in some insanely short amount of time with 3D printing and some new rapid prototyping techniques. Wish I could remember where I saw it….

        b&

  24. Stephen Barnard
    Posted February 22, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I have a Harley Sportster Roadster. I bought it because I like the sound and the general ambiance. It’s not a super bike, but it’s fun to ride. I’ve had a few bikes over the years. My first was a 1969 Honda 750, the first super bike. I bought it in south Minneapolis and rode it all the way to north Minneapolis, having never ridden a motorcycle before. It’s a miracle I survived. During my starving grad student days, when I couldn’t afford a car, I rode it all winter in Minneapolis on the freeways with a snowmobile suit and rain gear and double mittens.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted February 22, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Nice first bike. Surviving the first bit is the main thing.
      We had no restrictions on learner bikes for a long time. WE do now. Roughly 250.
      My first bike was an 860 Dutaci. 76. And a 75 750. Not super power but stable handling and nice V twin sound.
      I rode the 860 from Melbourne to Darwin then to Alice springs where it broke a valve adjuster.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted February 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        That ’69 Honda 750 was notorious for two things: chewing up chains and blowing head gaskets. I went through chains like popcorn. I replaced the head gasket twice, by myself, which isn’t easy on a dual overhead cam engine. Eventually sold it for parts.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted February 22, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        My motorcycle pal at the time (We don’t speak any more, for years — many years) was into Nortons. What pieces of shit those were, but they could haul ass from the line. The English manufacturers were freaked out by the smooth running Japanese four bangers, so they put rubber bushings on their twins to damp the vibration. Well enough, but they had sympathetic vibrations at idle that flexed the electrical connections between the frame and the engine, leading to catastrophic failure. His Nortons looked like they’d jump off the kickstand at idle. We spent days in Rock Creek, Wyoming trying to get it fixed, on the first day of hunting season when every mechanic was gone. Those were the days.


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