Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Jun 20, 2021
Happy Father s Day
These bald eagles look like they"re enjoying some family time on Father"s Day. But today is extra special for them, because it"s also American Eagle Day, a celebration that commemorates the date in 1782 when the bird was added to the Great Seal of the United States, effectively becoming a national symbol. With an olive branch in its right talons and a bundle of 13 arrows in its left (representing the 13 original states in the Union), the eagle is said to represent a strong desire for peace, but readiness for conflict. You"ll recognize the Great Seal of the United States from its appearance on passports, flags, official documents, and American currency.
Jun 19, 2021
Surf s up—Down Under
It"s International Surfing Day! Here in the US we may be welcoming summer tomorrow, but these Aussie surfers are saying g"day to the rad waves of winter (which started for them on June 1). Though peak surf season is autumn (that is, our spring) here in the Gold Coast area of Queensland, these tropical beaches offer world-class breaks all year long.
Jun 18, 2021
A city of bridges
We"re in the heart of Switzerland looking down on the compact city of Lucerne, in a charming waterfront setting along the shores of its namesake lake and the River Reuss. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains just out of frame, Lucerne lies in the German-speaking part of central Switzerland and is divided into two parts linked by a series of bridges. The most famous of these bridges—the centerpiece and symbol of Lucerne—is the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), a covered wooden footbridge that you can see spanning diagonally across the Reuss in our photo. The building rising from the river alongside the footbridge is a medieval water tower, which has been used as a prison, torture chamber, local archive, and treasury.
Jun 17, 2021
Just another day in paradise
It takes some effort to reach the stunning Nā Pali Coast on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Located on the island"s northwest side and stretching about 16 miles, Nā Pali isn"t accessible by car. You have to hike in, fly in by helicopter, or come at it from the sea by boat. In the summer, when the waves are calm, you can explore the rugged coast by kayak, but you"ll need a solid supply of muscle power for the sometimes-grueling paddle. If you seek a gentler approach—and if COVID restrictions allow—book a boat trip to explore the interiors of the sea caves that dot the shore. Today, we"re looking down on the Bright Eye sea cave, one of several caves on the Nā Pali Coast that lost their ceilings to the pounding of the sea.
Jun 16, 2021
Put your flippers in the air…
…it"s World Sea Turtle Day! The gentle giant seen here doing the wave was snapped mid-dive, headed to the seafloor near the Great Barrier Reef to munch some marine grass. The green sea turtle is among the larger of the seven sea turtle species, with some individuals reaching 5 feet in length and weighing 700 pounds. They live throughout the world"s subtropical waters, and like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances for food. Despite all that traveling, they return to hatch their eggs on the same select nesting beaches where they were born.
Jun 15, 2021
Are you older than this lake?
If you were born before summer 1991, the answer is yes. Sorry if you already felt a bit long in the tooth, but it"s true: Until 30 years ago, Lake Pinatubo was just a rumble in Mount Pinatubo"s magma-filled belly. It was a calamitous eruption on June 15, 1991—one of the 20th century"s most powerful—that blew off Pinatubo"s original summit and formed a vast crater, which gradually filled with water as greenery reclaimed the summit.
Jun 14, 2021
A Flag Day tradition
Because it"s Flag Day in the US, we"re at the site of what"s believed to be the largest free-flying US flag in the land. It"s crowning the George Washington Bridge connecting Manhattan with Fort Lee, New Jersey. For those crossing the Hudson today, Old Glory will be on full display on the New Jersey tower, at least between the hours of 7 AM and 1:15 PM, after which New York Port Authority workers will reel the 60-by-90-foot, 450-pound nylon flag back into the tube where it"s housed, suspended hundreds of feet above the busy crossing. The flag is set to come out again on July 4, and if you can"t catch it then, you"ll still have a chance to see this enormous flag a few more times this year, as it is scheduled to fly again on Labor Day, September 11, and Veteran"s Day.
Jun 13, 2021
Bear watching in the Finnish forest
If you go out to the woods today in parts of Finland, you might get a big surprise. That"s because about 2,000 brown bears can be found freely roaming the taiga—or boreal forest—which covers most of the country, making this rugged wilderness in northern Europe the perfect place to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat. And bear watching is a popular pastime in Finland. The bear-watching season begins in April—when the first bears emerge from hibernation in a white blanket of snow—and lasts until fall. Summer nights are the best time to spot the bears, even under the golden glow of the midnight sun for those who venture north of the Arctic Circle. Many observe the creatures from the safety of a "hide," a purpose-built wooden cabin offering visitors a close-up view of a real teddy bear"s picnic.
Jun 12, 2021
In Texas, even the riverbend is big
We"re celebrating the 77th birthday of Big Bend National Park, the place the National Park Service calls "one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States." To get here, you have to be committed. This rugged terrain, which covers almost a million acres, is one of the most remote spots in the country—it"s hours from the nearest towns or the closest airport, making it one of the least-visited national parks in the country. Those who do make the effort to get to Big Bend are rewarded with an undeveloped natural beauty, and silence, two things that seem to be in short supply these days.
Jun 11, 2021
An island in the Highlands
Here in the Scottish Highlands, there"s something about the rugged environs of Glen Etive that has tickled the imaginations of both ancient and modern storytellers. A glen is a long, narrow valley and this one is especially beautiful. It has strange footnotes in both Irish and Scottish folklore. The name itself translates to "little fierce one" and was given in honor of Etive, the Gaelic goddess long associated with Loch Etive.
Jun 10, 2021
A Portuguese fort takes a star turn
Perched on a strategic hillside, high above the hot, dry plains of eastern Portugal, the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort has been called a masterpiece of 18th-century military architecture. The thick walls that surround the fortress are shaped in a star pattern, with pentagonal bastions jutting out from the curtain wall at the corners. We"re looking at one of those bastions coming to a point in the lower center of our image.
Jun 9, 2021
Ring of fire
No, this isn"t some kind of early promo for "Halo Infinite." Today"s homepage image shows an annular solar eclipse captured in New Mexico in 2012. ("Annular" is just a fancy word for doughnut-shaped.) It"s not unlike the eclipse some northerly parts of the world will enjoy tomorrow.
Jun 8, 2021
A day for our oceans
To celebrate World Oceans Day, we"re swimming through a shoal of jack fish just off the coast of Baja, California, in Cabo Pulmo National Park. This Mexican marine park in the Sea of Cortez is home to the northernmost and oldest coral reef on the west coast of North America, estimated to be about 20,000 years old. Jacks are clearly plentiful here, but divers and snorkelers in Cabo Pulmo can also come across many other species of fish and marine mammals, including several varieties of sharks, whales, dolphins, tortoises, and manta rays.
Jun 7, 2021
Dressed to impress
This time of year, from late spring to summer, male adult indigo buntings take it up a notch and turn a brilliant deep blue. They fly to a high perch—like our cheerful fellow atop a sunflower—and sing from morning to night to try to catch the attention of females. Indigo buntings are members of the "blue" clade (subgroup) of the cardinal family. During breeding season, you"ll find the small, seed-loving songbirds in brushy habitats in pastures, along roadways, and at the edges of forests throughout eastern and central North America, from southern Canada down to Florida. But you"ll have to keep a sharp eye out for the plain brown females, who are usually tending to their young deep in the thicket.
Jun 6, 2021
On this shore, history was made
As the sun sets on a beach in Normandy, France, what appear to be working barges and boats offshore are actually the remnants of a Mulberry harbour, one of the temporary portable harbors created by the Allies during World War II. Their story began 77 years ago today, on D-Day, when the first of the Allied troops touched down on the Nazi-occupied beaches at Normandy. After the Allies successfully held the beachheads, the Mulberries were towed into place so the artificial harbors could provide the port facilities necessary to offload the thousands of men and vehicles, and tons of supplies necessary to sustain the effort to drive the Germans out of France.
Jun 5, 2021
Bird s-eye view on World Environment Day
For World Environment Day today we"re in northeastern Costa Rica, a nature lover"s paradise. The UN established World Environment Day in 1974 to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It begins with research, which is exactly what happens in this pristine corner of the planet. The misty canopy of forest pictured here is part of La Selva Biological Station, an internationally renowned center for tropical forest research that"s associated with universities and research institutions in the United States, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico.
Jun 4, 2021
Islands that turned the tide
Pictured here are Eastern Island and Spit Island, the two smallest of the three islands in the Midway Atoll, located about 3,200 miles west of San Francisco and 2,500 miles east of Tokyo. The atoll was formed as a shield volcano roughly 28 million years ago. Over the millennia, the volcanic island subsided under the sea but the coral reef encircling it has maintained itself and protected the atoll"s three, low-lying islands (Sand Island, not shown in our photo, is the third).
Jun 3, 2021
Get on your bike and ride
In honor of the UN"s World Bicycle Day, we"re at Triglav National Park in Slovenia, with a bird"s-eye view of riders crossing this dubious-looking wooden suspension bridge over the blue glacial water of the river called Soča. Protecting some of the most magnificent mountain landscapes of the Julian Alps, Triglav is the country"s only national park, but it"s a stunner. Running along Slovenia"s northwestern border with Italy, Triglav was first protected as a "conservation park" in 1924, then made a national park in 1981. The park gets its name from the mountain at its heart, Triglav, long considered a symbol of Slovenia and of Slovene identity.
Jun 2, 2021
The dry days of winter in Etosha
During the dry winter months from May to October, scattered waterholes sustain wildlife in the grasslands of Etosha National Park in Namibia. Large numbers of animals, such as elephants, giraffes, zebras, and our springboks here gather for a drink—making this among the best times of year to view wildlife. A medium-sized antelope, springboks are native to the dry savannahs of southern Africa where they once migrated in large numbers. Today, springbok herds live mainly on game preserves and protected areas like the 8,600 square miles within the Etosha boundaries.
Jun 1, 2021
Pretty poetic for a pit
Taking a bird"s-eye view along the coast of Italy"s bootheel, you"ll spot many coves and caves like this one, the Grotta della Poesia. In English that"s Poetry"s Cave, a sea-flooded sinkhole so named for the ancient poets who—legend has it—were charmed by a beautiful princess who often came here for a dip.
May 31, 2021
Here we honor the women who ve served
For this Memorial Day, we"re paying our respects at the Military Women"s Memorial, at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Since the American Revolution, more than 3 million women have served the nation in a military capacity, and this memorial is dedicated to them, honoring their courage, patriotism, and leadership. Opened in 1997, it"s the only major national memorial to honor all the women who have defended the United States in, or with, the armed services. And it"s more than just a memorial. It"s also an education center, with thousands of photographs, documents, textiles, artifacts, and other materials representing all eras and services of American women"s military history.
May 30, 2021
Who s hiding in the kelp?
This California sea lion is peeking out from a kelp forest near the Channel Islands of California. Although this species is named for the Golden State, the California sea lion"s range stretches all along the western coast of North America, from central Mexico up to Southeast Alaska. They tend to live in shallow coastal areas, dining on squid, anchovies, mackerel, and more. Highly social and intelligent, California sea lions often congregate in large—and loud—colonies on beaches and rocky shores to breed and have their pups.
May 29, 2021
A path into history
When it comes to tourist destinations, the Wuhou Temple in the city of Chengdu, China, must be among the world"s oldest. It"s been attracting visitors for nearly 1,800 years and remains one of the most popular attractions in all of China. Located in Sichuan province, this temple complex was constructed to honor two principal members of the Shu Han state (221-263) of China"s early Three Kingdoms period. And although the founder of Shu Han, Liu Bei, is honored with his own temple and shrine here, the real headliner is one of China"s most important historical figures, Zhuge Liang, who is remembered as a great wit, scholar, astronomer, statesman, and military strategist. In fact, the name Wuhou itself derives from the Chinese title "Marquis of Wu," which was an honorary title given to Zhuge Liang.
May 28, 2021
Freeloaders of the avian world
Ever felt like some folks are just born jerks? Birds can relate. Take for example the uninvited speckly-white visitor to this robin"s nest: That smaller egg belongs to a baby cowbird whose mother sneakily laid it among the blue robin eggs when no one was looking. Once the baby birds all hatch, the cowbird will grow much faster and larger than its robin "siblings," soon becoming an only chick by muscling them right out of the nest. And if mama robin ejects the cowbird egg before it hatches, the cowbird mom may take notice and chuck the remaining robin eggs from the nest out of spite.
May 27, 2021
Listening to the sea
Two enormous horns like those of old-fashioned gramophones are pointed toward the North Sea along this stretch of the Belgian coast. At the end of one of the horns, a bronze figure of a woman sits on a bench, seemingly listening to the distant sounds of the sea, while the other horn invites a visitor to do the same. The woman"s antiquated clothing, the outsized bolts on the horns, and the fluted Victrola-like design all echo the Belle Époque style once prevalent here on the Flemish coast. (Click on the above image to see more detailed views.)