Fleur de lis waffle!
I had the waffle hat trick (3) this morning.
I did take a quick turn through the park late this afternoon, but it was very quiet. I also had the fully loaded bike and was unable to bird off the main roads. Tomorrow I will leave the bike at home and do all my morning birding on foot. Hopefully there will be at least a few migrants put down by the overnight rain. I mapped out ~11 miles that I did today, but rounded up to 15 since I spent a lot of time just snaking around the French Quarter.
Enjoying Bourbon Street this morning.
The standard bike shot
Random place I saw this morning.
The dog really did it for me.
I was robbed of the front page by "Wrestlemania"
which will occur at the Superdome on Sunday.
Jackson Square - I managed to get a clean
shot without any people in it!
Bike. Street poles are always a problem since they can break up an image.
Here, I hid it against the door to make the shot serviceable.
Fleur de lis (not on a waffle)
A sleepy female calico cat - Notice painting of Jackson Sq!
Since I do not have any birds for you from today, I will tack on another "science lesson" similar to the refractive index discussion from the other day. The cat above is a calico cat. A calico cat is a special type of tortoiseshell cat, and tortoiseshell cats are always female. Many people know this, but fewer know the reason why. Tortoiseshell cats can trace their characteristic coats to an epigenetic phenomenon known as X-inactivation. Every one of us, males and females, has 23 pairs of chromosomes: 22 pairs of autosomes and 1 pair of sex-determining chromosomes. Females have 2 "X" chromosomes, and males have 1 X and 1 "Y". This creates a bit of a problem as females have two copies of each gene on the X chromosome to males' one. To combat this discrepancy in gene dosage, females inactivate one of their X chromosomes. In short, they crumple it up and stash the inactive chromosome (a 'Barr Body') in a corner of the nucleus of the cell. The decision of which X chromosome to crumple up is completely random. This inactivation event takes place very early in embryonic development, and the pattern of inactivation is inherited by all the cellular descendants of the cell in which the inactivation event originally took place.
This phenomenon occurs exactly the same in female humans and female cats. The last column below is the tortoiseshell cat scenario; This female cat carries one chromosome with the orange allele (XB), and one chromosome with the black allele (Xb). You can see that males cats ONLY EVER have one possible color (orange or black) since they only have 1 X chromosome. The inactive chromosome (Barr Body) in females is drawn as the U-shaped thingy in the diagram below.
To generate an actual calico cat with white fur as well is a bit more genetically complicated, but the basic idea is that there is another gene that can override either the orange or black allele to give the cat patches of white as well. We'll leave that for another day......