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Panda on Preggers Watch

Photo courtesy of
‘Panda sign’
courtesy of ‘brianmka’

Starting at 4pm, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s female giant panda, Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), will be a 24-hour pregnancy watch.  FONZ volunteers and animal care staff will closely monitor the panda for maternal behaviors (nest building and cradling of small objects) through keeper interactions and a series of 38 cameras set up throughout the giant panda habitat.

You can check on Mei Xiang through the National Zoo’s pandacam and view a birth should it occur. FYI: Because of increased traffic levels, pandacam visits will be limited to five minutes per session. You can refresh the page to continue viewing, unless there’s just way too much site traffic.

Zoo scientists instated the 24 hour watch as tests of Mei Xiang’s hormone levels approached baseline and indicated that the end of either her pseudo or real pregnancy is near.  If the pregnancy was legit, we should see a new cub within 24 hours.

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Plane Trails on DC Cam

I’m a big fan of the National Park Service’s webcams, especially the Washington DC cam viewing the Mall area from the Netherlands Carillon on the GW Parkway. Having a windowless inside office I like to keep this cam (among other outdoor DC cams) open in a separate browser window to provide an outside view through the course of the work day. I’ve also used it for at least one time lapse video.

Checking the cam tonight brought an especially cool treat: a long exposure shot catching a plane making the River Visual approach to landing at National:

Webcam captures plane

Webcam captures plane

(Here’s how that approach looks from a pilot’s perspective aboard a small plane in daylight. More here.)

Update: Oh nice, check out brianmka’s incidental capture of a landing plane at night from right near the same webcam.

News, The Daily Feed

Thunderstorm Timelapse

A line of thunderstorms swept over the Metro area around 1PM this afternoon; we got home from church just as the darkening sky let loose its first drops of rain. While it stormed, I ran wget on the ABC 7/News Channel 8 webcam and got this time lapse video. Watch for the two bolts of lightning.

The storms caused a few injuries today, and capsized boats at the Aquapalooza festival on the Potomac.