Cornflowers scattered in a grain field in the Mühlviertel region of Upper Austria.
The verdant blush of spring in the orchard country of Lower Austria.
Wild mountain strawberries.
Linz, sprawled along the Danube, with the crest of the Alps just visible on the far horizon on the right.
Out of the city and into the countryside the past few days, enjoying windswept grain fields, swimming holes, wild berries and ripening fruit trees in mountain orchards. A few scenes from Upper and Lower Austria in this early summer set. Visit the Summit Voice Sunday Set archive for more travel pics, or head over to our online gallery at FineArt America for a full selection of nature and landscape photography.
While most people picture majestic, glacier-clad crags when they think of the Alps, the great European mountain range has a softer side at its far eastern edge, where the mountains gradually taper off toward the Danube Valley, just west of Vienna. The temperate climate in these foothills is perfect for apple and pear trees, growing so prolifically that there’s and entire district dedicated to the production of tasty cider. And in the famed Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), thick silver-barked beech trees dominate the forests. Just a bit farther south and west, the first high peaks of the Alps rise up to the summit of the Ötscher, a landmark peak surrounded by deeply carved valleys where crystal-clear aquamarine streams flow through protected landscapes like the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park. In the last few weeks, the soft greens of spring burst forth in abundance in these landscapes near Austria’s first city, and we’re looking forward to more explorations this summer.
At the end of a long winter, it’s fun to daydream about hot summer days by the sea in the pleasing coastal towns of the Mediterranean. We especially enjoyed Varazze last July. The Italian harbor town isn’t particularly well known internationally, but it’s a favored getaway for residents of bustling Genoa and for yachties looking for a calmer alternative to Nice or Cannes. It is also, apparently, a surf hotspot in the winter season, as you can see in this YouTube video. We also saw some fine waves at Frejus during a summer tempest, and the paddler in the photo was enjoying the shorebreak. Check out more Summit Voice travel, nature and landscape photography in our Sunday Set archive, and visit our online gallery to buy prints and more — a great way to support our independent environmental journalism.
Study projects 55 percent increase in acidity in next 50 years
There’s no stopping ocean acidification without stopping CO2 emissions, and that’s bad news for many marine species, including Dungeness crabs, according to new new research published in the journal Global Change Biology.
Tiny shell-forming organisms like pteropods and copepods are vulnerable to acidification, but will likely experience only a slight overall decline because they are prolific enough to offset much of the impact, the study found. But those impacts will cascade through ocean ecosystems to affect larger animals like crabs, that will suffer as their food sources decline. Dungeness crab fisheries are valued at about $220 million annually, and may face a strong downturn over the next 50 years. Continue reading “Ocean acidification to hit key fisheries”→
For the first time in many years I spent early spring in the lowlands and as the plantscapes around me came to life, I marveled at the variety of deciduous trees, from old-growth beech forests to city parks and riverside orchards. The seasonal transition proceeds at a completely different pace and with a dizzying burst of efflorescence. This set of spring pics was taken in and around Vienna, Austria. More Summit Voice photography posts here, and visit our online gallery for fine art landscape and nature images.
Well density seen as key factor in decline of birds in Wyoming
Limiting the density of new oil and gas drilling rigs in Wyoming may not be enough to stem the decline of greater sage-grouse, according to scientists tracking populations of the imperiled bird.
Berween 1984 and 2008, populations declined by 2.5 percent annually, and the drop is clearly linked with oil and gas development, the new study from the USGS and Colorado State University found. The researchers used annual counts of males at breeding sites for their estimates, comparing those tallies to the the density of oil and gas wells and the area of disturbance associated with these wells. Continue reading “Sage grouse and drilling just don’t mix”→