Sunday, October 17, 2010

Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus)-1476

Large Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus)-1476
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

Location: Mt. Kanlaon National Park, Philippines

I'm not a fan of bats, but for me to not photograph them while I'm in Negros would be a crime. So I'm paying respects to these endangered animals.

They roost along with other species of bats like the Giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) which I also photographed. If someone wants to really see them, let me know, otherwise, it will just remain in my storage drives.

My mountain guide showed me a spot above the Mambukal Mountain Resort and I had the bats at eye level.

Despite the funky "vampyrus" name to it, these bats are fruit bats. I believe they are the main reason why I found santol fruit trees (Sandoricum koetjape) at the primary forest in Mt. Kanlaon. There's no farming or human activity up there.

Fixing my 1TB USB drive: Seagate FreeAgent Go 1 TB USB 2.0 Review

I wanted to do a quick write up of Seagate's FreeAgent Go 1TB USB drive. I bought it in May 2010 and it stopped working for me over the weekend (October 2010).

I'm very careful with my drives as I have a significant amount of photographs and wildlife videos in them. I plugged it in this weekend and I was shocked that it wouldn't read my drive.  The power light turned on but I didn't see Windows recognizing the drive.  I tried to hear if there was any physical damage and wasn't able to detect the usual audible "clicks" that sometimes occur when your drives crash.

I had two choices: attempt to open it myself and fix something, or send it in for repair under Seagate's five year warranty.  The problem with the latter choice is that potentially, Seagate would just ship me a new drive and wipe out my old data.   That would be a disaster.  My hard drive was worth $100 or so, but the data that's in it is priceless.

Choice 1: Fix it!

1. I opened up the top container of the drive with a small screwdriver.  It needs to be a small screwdriver, like the ones used for eye glasses.  The yellow arrows in the image below shows where the glue is placed so the container would stick.  Aside from the glue and a small LED cable, there's nothing else holding the container panel together.

2. The red arrow shows the LED power cable.  Even if you damage it, it won't hurt your data or your hard drive.  I originally thought this was something important but all it does is power up the LED lights so that you know the hard drive is turned on when you plug it in.

3. The green arrow shows where the problem was.   The power connector / data connector was loose.  Every time I plugged it in, the contacts weren't connecting properly.  Once I pushed it back in and held it steady a piece of paper folded several times (or you can use foam), the hard drive was readable again.

Success!  I didn't lose 700 GB of data on my 1TB drive.

I have no doubt that by opening this I may have voided my warranty.  So be warned if you are thinking about fixing your own hard drive.  You have to understand which is more important to you.

Will I buy this hard drive again?

There's some reviews online from Amazon and other sites that their hard drives of the same models crashed. Some talked about hardware issues like faulty sectors, but I believe some also were affected by this "loose connector" issue.

At any rate, now that I know it's a relatively easy fix if this happens to me again, I will continue to buy this model. Overall it is reliable except for that one loose part that can be remedied with one quick fix.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia)

Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia)-1977
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

Location: Bgy. Sum-ag, Bacolod City, Negros Island, Philippines

A Scottish birder, Gerry Brett, who resides in Thailand stopped by in Bacolod and did some sorties with me. He told me of a great spot he found in Barangay Sum-ag. When we got there, the tide was still pretty high. As we managed our way through, a fisherman told us (in Ilonggo) that there were birds coming in at 5:30pm.

Roughly around that time, literally hundreds of Intermediate Egrets (Ardea intermedia) flooded the sky. This was the largest colony I have ever personally seen in the Philippines. What a miracle! It was a testament to the egrets' ability to survive despite destruction of their original habitats.

The Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermediam) is a medium-sized heron. It is a resident breeder from east Africa across tropical southern Asia to Australia. This species, as its scientific name implies, is intermediate in size between the Great Egret and smaller white egrets like the Little Egret and Cattle Egret, though nearer to Little than Great. It has all-white plumage, generally dark legs and a thickish yellow bill. The sexes are similar.