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November 2020

A Cool New Podcast about My Bond Book

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The Free Library of Philadelphia just posted a cool podcast about The Real James Bond, including a segment about a 16th-century cartographer/spy.

You can listen to the podcast -- which begins with a snippet from Schiffer's audiobook version narrated by Raphael Corkhill -- on Spotify here for free.

The Free Library's Joe Shemtov and Andrea Lemoins hosted the podcast. (Thanks, Joe and Andrea!)

Monday Mystery Answered

On Monday I asked

On a visit to High Mountain on Friday, my wife Patty and I came across two extremely bright boys who were looking for amphibians.

They not only helped us find the guy pictured here but told us what it was, how to find him and his kin (under certain rocks), and how to replace the rocks so the salamanders could return to their hangout safely.

Who is this salamander? Does his name change with the season?

 (A big thank you to the wonderful anonymous boy who shared these photos. He has a great future as a naturalist.)

Last Monday's mystery was from High Mountain as well. You can read more here.


Answering correctly was Alec Ayers, who called it a Redback. The young herpetologist who sent me the pix ID'd it as a Northern Red-back Salamander.

Remembering Frank M. Chapman

This Sunday marks the 75th anniversary of the death of the incredible ornithologist Frank Chapman (1864-1945), one of the most influential naturalists and birding writers in history.

Chapman started the Christmas Bird Count. He founded the forerunner of Audubon Magazine. He was the first curator of birds at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, where he helped develop the modern diorama. (The video on Chapman above, by the American Museum of Natural History, was narrated by the AMNH's Steve Quinn of Ridgefield Park.)

Chapman fought for laws to protect wild birds from wanton slaughter for the millinery trade and large-city markets.  And he helped to save the Everglades. To name a few of his achievements.

Frank Chapman courtesy AMNH 277469In his honor, Bergen County Audubon is sponsoring a walk on that day along the trail that bears his name in his hometown of Teaneck.

I found the following in the Jan.-Feb. 1946 issue of Audubon Magazine, and thought I'd share it here. (I hope that's OK.)


A tribute and a valedictory by Ludlow Griscom,  Chairman of the Board, National Audubon Society

THE passing of a rarely gifted personality, the termination of a highly successful career, are sad events. These enable the thoughtful man to reflect on the services rendered by such a life and to voice not only his own personal debt of gratitude, but also describe the benefits which have accrued to an ever-widening circle of people.

Continue reading "Remembering Frank M. Chapman" »