Tag Archives: Animals

The First Reported Sighting of The Loch Monster

August 22, 565

The earliest report of a monster in the vicinity of Loch Ness comes from the biography of Saint Columba by Adomnán. Writing a century after the actual event, Adomán describes the Irish monk’s interaction with the beast not in the lake itself but the River Ness which feeds into the lake.

Columba, after hearing how a local man was mauled to death by a water-beast, sends one of his companions to swim across the river. About halfway across the river, the man is pursued by the beast, but Columba makes the sign of the cross and commands the monster to turn around, allowing his associate to continue swimming.

While not much stock is given to the report, as water-beast tales were often used in the exploits of Saints, taken in context with the many sightings, Nessie proponents  claim that it adds validity to the monster’s existence.

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Last Dusky Seaside Sparrow, “Orange Band,” Dies

June 17, 1987

Orange Band, the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow, dies on June 17, 1987. Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens, a non-migratory subspecies of the Seaside Sparrow found in Southern Florida in the natural salt marshes of Merritt Island and along the St. Johns River, is officially declared extinct in December 1990.

The dusky’s demise begins in 1940 when DDT is sprayed on the Florida marshes for the control of mosquitoes. This pesticide enters the bird’s food chain which causes the population to go from 2,000 to 600 breeding pairs. When Merritt Island is flooded with the goal of reducing the mosquito population around Kennedy Space Center, the sparrows’ nesting grounds are devastated, and their numbers plummet. Later, the marshes surrounding the river are drained to facilitate highway construction, a further blow. Eventually, pollution and pesticides take such a high toll that by 1979, only six dusky seaside sparrows are known to exist — all of whom are males, a female having been last sighted in 1975.

In 1983, the last four living dusky seaside sparrows are taken to Walt Disney World Resort to continue crossbreeding and living out their days in a protected habitat on the Discovery Island nature reserve. By March 31, 1986, only “Orange Band” remains. Despite being blind in one eye, Orange Band reaches extreme old age for a sparrow, having lived at least nine years, and possibly as many as thirteen, before dying on June 17, 1987.

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