Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Aug 28, 2022
Bearded reedlings in Flevoland
Flevoland, the 12th and newest province in the Netherlands, has only been around since 1986. Not only was it not established until this late date, but before the mid-20th century, much of the land here simply didn"t exist. Flevoland was created through vast land reclamation projects in the 1950s and "60s. While the Dutch had been reforming their landscape to meet their changing needs for hundreds of years, the 20th century would see their most dramatic and ambitious projects realized. The province"s anthem is the fitting "Waar Wij Steden Doen Verrijzen" ("Where We Let Cities Arise"). It"s an ode to pushing back the sea and creating a "province that"s not bad, youngest part of the Netherlands. Where it is nice to live, my beloved Flevoland!"
Aug 27, 2022
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington
We"re standing on the Boundary Trail at Johnston Ridge in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. This view of the volcano shows how the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, ripped apart the once-conical summit, forever changing the Washington landscape. Forty years ago today, 110,000 acres within Gifford Pinchot National Forest were set aside to memorialize the deadliest and most destructive volcanic eruption in the United States.
Aug 26, 2022
Kiteboarding and windsurfing in Croatia
Of the many ways people have invented to ride boards of one kind or another, the sport of kiteboarding (aka kitesurfing) is one of the newest. It owes a debt to all the board sports that came before it, borrowing a little bit from snowboarding, water skiing, wakeboarding, and of course windsurfing. Like snowboarders and skiers, windsurfers and kiteboarders often share play space, as they are doing here off the Pelješac Peninsula in Croatia. They can count on a stiff afternoon breeze to fill their sails in the summer months, when the land heats up and draws in the cool air over the Adriatic.
Aug 25, 2022
National Park Service Founders Day
While most of us play in our vast system of 63 national parks, others work there. Today, on National Park Service Founders Day, we recognize their efforts and the priceless gift of our country"s national parks. The NPS protects and maintains these parks as well as hundreds of national monuments and other natural, historical, and recreational properties. They include some of our most stunning natural landscapes, like North Cascades National Park in Washington state, featured here. This image, of the Triplets and Cascade Peak, is taken from atop Forbidden Peak.
Aug 24, 2022
Ukrainian Independence Day
Ukrainian Independence Day takes on a greater meaning this year, as Russian troops occupy its eastern provinces and the invaders" shells rain down on its citizens. On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began with Russia"s annexation of Crimea in 2014. NATO and Europe have rallied to Ukraine"s cause, and a war that many expected to last weeks has stretched into months, with the Western-backed Ukrainian forces thwarting Putin"s ambitions and not showing any signs of relenting.
Aug 23, 2022
Anchoring the eastern end of the French Riviera near the Italian border is Menton, the so-called Pearl of France. It"s prized for its beauty and incredible weather that features an average of 316 days a year with full or partial sun. That climate enables Menton to enjoy amazing lemon yields that have given rise to the annual Fête du Citron, or Menton Lemon Festival, a 17-day extravaganza in February featuring floats and sculptures created out of lemons and oranges. More than 200,000 visitors marvel at the nearly 150 tons of fruit used in the festival.
Aug 22, 2022
Forget looking up in the trees to find these guys. They are burrowing owls, which means that they live on the ground or under it. In fact, they often take advantage of the hard work of tunnelers such as prairie dogs or gophers by building their nests in the burrows they dug and abandoned. Think of burrowing owls as squatters of the avian world. You"ll find these 7½- to 11-inch birds in North and South America, especially in grasslands, farming areas, or dry expanses with vegetation that is close to the ground.
Aug 21, 2022
International Lighthouse Weekend
This solemn beacon set atop a rocky outcropping is in a country usually associated with sand and sun, making this a side of Spain many do not often see. We"re looking out at the sea on the Costa da Morte, or Coast of Death, a nasty name for an equally nasty (but beautiful!) stretch of Galician coastline in the extreme northwest of Spain. We"re featuring Costa da Morte during International Lighthouse Weekend because mariners are never happier to see a lighthouse than when they"re sailing this coast, known as the Bermuda Triangle of the Eastern Atlantic.
Aug 20, 2022
World Honey Bee Day
Today we"re celebrating World Honey Bee Day, honoring the humble bee"s role in pollinating our crops and sharing honey goodness with us. It"s remarkable to consider that there are around 20,000 different species of bees in the world, but just eight species of honey bees. And it"s sobering to realize how fragile their existence is. Billions of honey bees have disappeared over the last 15 years in what"s known as colony collapse disorder. There"s no definitive explanation for the die-off, though scientists believe pesticides, loss of habitat, climate change, mite infestation, and disease are contributing factors. Now we need to reintroduce bees and other pollinators to safeguard our food system.
Aug 19, 2022
National Aviation Day
In the summer of 2016, an experimental solar-powered airplane called Solar Impulse 2 completed a 26,000-mile multi-stage trip around the world without using a single drop of jet fuel. The remarkable feat took longer than a year and made the slow-flying plane part of aviation history. We are remembering this seminal flight today to mark National Aviation Day, established in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt as a day to celebrate the advancement of flight. August 19 was chosen because it is the birthdate of Orville Wright, who in 1903, with his brother Wilbur Wright, became the first to achieve powered, controlled flight on the hills of Kitty Hawk on North Carolina"s Outer Banks.
Aug 18, 2022
Get your clothespins ready, it"s Surströmming Day! For the uninitiated, that means we"re in Sweden and cracking open this year"s surströmming harvest to enjoy its putrid wonder. Surströmming is Baltic herring that"s been caught in April and May, then lightly salted and allowed to ferment. Beginning in the 1940s, a royal ordinance forbade the selling of Surströmming before the third Thursday in August to prevent incompletely fermented fish from being sold. The ordinance is no longer on the books, but the tradition holds.
Aug 17, 2022
Freshwater plants in Aquário Natural, Brazil
Aquário Natural (Natural Aquarium, naturally) is the pristine, crystal-clear source of the Baía Bonita River and a highlight of the Baía Bonita Ecological Reserve. This remote inland region near the town of Bonito, Brazil, is a popular spot for ecotourism. A tour of the Aquário Natural offers a hike through the jungle followed by snorkeling with over 30 varieties of fish and gorgeous vegetation to marvel at. Other popular activities of the area include swimming in the Rio da Prata (Silver River), rappelling 236 feet down into the waters of the Anhumas Abyss, and walking through the treetops on the suspended steel walkway of the Circuito Arvorismo (Trees Circuit).
Aug 16, 2022
National Roller Coaster Day
To really get the feel for today"s photo, stop what you"re doing, put your hands in the air, and imagine yourself plunging downhill at 50 miles an hour. Screaming is optional. It"s National Roller Coaster Day and we"re waiting in line at Morey"s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey, for our ride on the Great White. A hybrid wooden and steel coaster, it"s been in operation since 1996 and reaches its highest point 110 feet above the ground. Coaster enthusiasts point out the ride"s dip under the pier shortly after the start as one of its highlights. It"s also noted for a portion of the ride swinging out over the nearby beach.
Aug 15, 2022
Indian Independence Day
At 8 miles in circumference, the Chittorgarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India, a nation with scores of ancient and medieval fortresses. For starters there are seven massive gates from which to enter. Inside you"ll find four palaces and 19 temples. At one time there were almost 100 bodies of water, most of them ponds fed by natural catchment and rainfall, although now there are only 20. Chittorgarh ("garh" means "fort," so it"s also known as Chittor Fort) is so old, no one is sure exactly when it was built, although reports of its earliest capture go back to the 8th century. It is one of six large forts in the northwestern state of Rajasthan referred to as the Hill Forts of Rajasthan, all of them collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We"re featuring this important and ancient complex on India"s 75th Independence Day, one of India"s three national holidays.
Aug 14, 2022
World Lizard Day
Do you hold a warm spot in your heart for these cold-blooded creatures? Lizard lovers celebrate the scaly squamates on this day each year. This camouflaged panther chameleon is one of a multitude of lizards that inhabit the island of Madagascar, many of which are found nowhere else. More than 50% of chameleon species are found only on the island, including the world"s smallest known chameleon, the recently discovered Brookesia nana, which is smaller than your fingernail.
Aug 13, 2022
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
In the mood for a quiet canoe ride? If so, consider a trip to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeast Minnesota. The Boundary Waters wilderness stretches for 150 miles along the US-Canada border within Superior National Forest. Known by those seeking solitude, Boundary Waters is one of America"s most beautiful and remote locations. Formed long ago from the scraping and gouging of glaciers, the area is distinct with its rugged cliffs, canyons, and thousands of lakes and streams. More than 1,200 miles of canoe routes are enjoyed by thousands of people every year.
Aug 12, 2022
World Elephant Day
Today is World Elephant Day, when we focus on these remarkable creatures and pledge to protect them. African elephants, like those shown here, are the largest living land animals, with bull elephants standing a whopping 13 feet tall at the shoulder. Their distinctive trunks and big, flapping ears make them one of the first animals every child can recognize. Adults marvel at the close family bonds they create and the way a herd rallies to protect its members, grieving when one dies. They form a strong, social community over their life span of about 60 to 75 years.
Aug 11, 2022
It s Mountain Day in Japan
It makes a mountain of sense for Japan to celebrate Mountain Day, which occurs each August 11. First celebrated in 2016, it"s Japan"s newest holiday. Nearly three-quarters of the country is made up of mountains, thanks to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire volcanic zone. Japan"s four major islands—Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku—all have ranges running through them.
Aug 10, 2022
Joshua Tree National Park
These immensely photogenic and relatable trees, their shaggy, sinewy limbs thrust upward into the pale light of the desert sky, are the main reason people come here to California"s Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree was declared a national monument on August 10, 1936, before being designated a national park in 1994. Perhaps no other national park is so completely defined by a single feature, be it a plant or wildlife or natural formation. While Joshua Tree National Park contains other wonders, this tree that looks drawn by Dr. Seuss is what visitors come to celebrate.
Aug 9, 2022
International Day of the World s Indigenous Peoples
What at first glance appears to be graffiti tagged on a rock wall is, in fact, artwork created by the first human settlers of this remote region deep in Argentine Patagonia. It"s thought that the cave paintings were made between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago. The archaeological site is known in Spanish as the Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands). It"s the largest display of prehistoric handprints in the world, made all those years ago by people holding a hand against the rock wall and blowing pigments through tubes made of bone. Of the 829 black, white, red, and ochre prints, most are of young male hands. One print has six fingers, and only 31 are of right hands.
Aug 8, 2022
There isn"t much to the tiny island of El Pantaleu (or Es Pantaleu in Catalan), cast off the westernmost shore of Mallorca, itself an island only about 60 miles across. Pantaleu and Mallorca are part of the archipelago of Balearic Islands in the Balearic Sea, off the east coast of Spain. Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, and Formentera are the chain"s four major islands, famous as destinations for tourists seeking the warm Mediterranean climate and inviting shoreline.
Aug 7, 2022
National Lighthouse Day
It"s Lighthouse Day in the United States, so let"s stroll over to Spring Point Ledge Light on the breakwater next to Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, Maine. Lighthouse enthusiasts will recognize this as a caisson-style light station, meaning it"s a lighthouse built on top of a water-tight chamber called a caisson. In the US, caisson lighthouses were once known as "bug lights" because at a distance they appeared short and broad, a bit like a beetle on the surface of the water. After the invention of the internal combustion engine, the shape reminded many people of spark plugs, so they started calling them "spark plug lighthouses." Most caisson lighthouses are offshore or on dangerously exposed sites, but this is the only spark plug lighthouse in the country that visitors can walk to.
Aug 6, 2022
San Francisco Bay salt flats
You might be wondering where the volcano is in today"s photo, but that"s not lava. These are salt flats in San Francisco Bay—many of these tidal marshes have been developed into evaporation ponds for the harvest of sea salt. If you happen to be in the air and flying over this part of the country, you"ll notice pools of not just bright orange but green, blue, and even magenta among the famous salt ponds. The vibrant colors are determined by brine shrimp, algae, and other microorganisms and their responses to different levels of salt. This orange results from a mid-level saline concentration and the presence of tiny brine shrimp in the water. Green indicates low levels of salt, while pink or red are signs of high salt content in an algae-rich pond.
Aug 5, 2022
Here"s the world-famous Edinburgh Castle, lit up in all its glory as it keeps watch over Scotland"s capital city. Today the castle hosts the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a full-on Scottish experience, with bagpipes, drums, and seemingly enough kilts to cover all of Scotland. Enthusiastic visitors can also indulge in whisky and haggis in one of the many hostelries on the Royal Mile, the colorful, bustling historic street that wends its way from the castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Queen Elizabeth II"s official residence in Scotland.
Aug 4, 2022
Satla marshland in Bangladesh
There may be a more peaceful, stress-free job somewhere, but we wager that the farmers harvesting water lilies and gliding along the river in Satla, Bangladesh, might have that locked up. The flowers bloom during the seasonal flood from August to November, cloaking an incredible 15 square miles of wetlands in gorgeous, fragrant pink. The village of Satla, in the Barisal District of south-central Bangladesh, is known as the capital of "shapla," or water lilies, for obvious reasons.