Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Oct 23, 2020
Saskatchewan s spookier side
If you"re greeted by a friendly face and a warm "Welcome to Bents" as you stroll up to this old general store, you might be having a paranormal experience: It"s been 50 years since a living soul dwelt in this Saskatchewan ghost town.
Oct 22, 2020
Moving as one
After the nesting and breeding seasons of spring and summer have passed, starlings become highly social birds, often gathering in flocks that number in the thousands. These flocks sometimes take the form of a murmuration—when the birds form a group large and dense enough that they appear to move together as a single organism, even if the movements seem arbitrary. Though scientists still don"t quite understand how the individual starlings in a murmuration coordinate their tight, fluid formations, the behavior is thought to be a way to confuse predators.
Oct 21, 2020
Does this chameleon look a little insecure?
If it appears to be slinking away from the camera, maybe this chameleon is all too aware of the way some of us humanfolk see reptiles: as frightening at best, disgusting at worst. We know you die-hard reptile lovers are out there too, but it"s undeniable that reptiles" reputation among people has suffered thanks to popular villainous depictions—from "Anaconda" and "Godzilla" to the serpent encountered by Adam and Eve. Even our everyday language throws shade on this vast class of critters: When"s the last time you called someone "reptile" and meant it nicely?
Oct 20, 2020
Reflecting on fall
Some of the best things about fall in many parts of the country are the amazing colorful displays across the landscape. While the trees here in Beaver Lake Nature Center, near Syracuse, New York, are already bare, the autumn ferns cast a radiant reflection on the water. This 661-acre natural area contains a 200-acre glacial lake that draws migrating Canada geese to its shores. Visitors may also see more than 200 other species of birds and over 800 varieties of plants. The nature center is a destination for cross-country skiing in the winter, while the summer months are popular for kayaking and canoeing.
Oct 19, 2020
A cliff-hanging complex of temples
Feast your eyes on the colorful Mati Si (Horse"s Hoof Temple) and its cliffside complex of sandstone grottoes and wooden pavilions. An indentation in the sandstone provides a clue to the mythical origin of the temple. One legend has it that a frightened longma—a winged dragon horse—visited here thousands of years ago and left its hoof mark in the rock as it landed. What you can"t see in our homepage image is the narrow network of tunnels cut into the cliff, connecting the seven floors and multiple grottoes to the Mati Si pagoda, which is 200 feet high and holds hundreds of Buddha statues.
Oct 18, 2020
Sitka shines on Alaska Day
In honor of Alaska Day, we"re in the harbor of Sitka, Alaska, which was the capital of Russian America in the 19th century, when it was called Novo-Arkhangelsk. It was here on this day in 1867 that officials of the Russian Empire formally transferred the Territory of Alaska to the United States in a sale for $7.2 million, or just around 2 cents per acre. It seems an astonishingly small price today, but at the time, opponents called it "Seward"s Folly" after then-Secretary of State William H. Seward, who negotiated the deal. Few Americans moved to the "Last Frontier" at first, but in the 1890s, when gold was discovered in the Yukon and Alaska, a rush of prospectors and others began a wave of settlers in the territory. Ever since, Alaska, with its vast natural resources and staggering beauty, has been a prized American domain and an enduring symbol of American wilderness.
Oct 17, 2020
Fog above the forest
Today we"re looking out over Pisgah National Forest, which was established on this day in 1916. One of the first national forests established in the eastern United States, it comprises more than 500,000 acres of mountainous peaks, cascading waterfalls, and heavily forested slopes. With hundreds of miles of trails, Pisgah is a popular place for hiking, backpacking, road biking, mountain biking, fishing, and rock climbing.
Oct 16, 2020
It s harvest time on World Food Day
This tractor is transporting trailers full of one of the world"s most versatile veggies: cabbage. A stalwart in Slavic recipes, a key ingredient in Korean kimchi, and essential to that sauerkraut on your ballpark dog, it"s the perfect cosmopolitan crop to represent World Food Day.
Oct 15, 2020
A star is borne by seaweed
With a little "kelp," this starfish is enjoying a change from its typical view of craggy tidal beds. Both passenger and vehicle in this photo, taken off California"s coast, play important roles in their ecosystems.
Oct 14, 2020
In praise of the old…the very old
What better way to honor National Fossil Day than with this amazing dragonfly! It"s rare to find one in such exquisite condition, but this one was discovered in Solnhofen, Germany, where limestone deposits preserved some of the most detailed fossils ever found—including the birdlike dinosaur called Archaeopteryx. This dragonfly was preserved in the Solnhofen limestone about 150 million years ago in the Jurassic Period. It measures about 5.5 inches across.
Oct 13, 2020
Where can you find a red fox?
The biggest of all fox species, the red fox lives in many different habitats around the world, including forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountains. This fox is in the Netherlands, but red foxes can be found throughout most of Europe, as well as in temperate Asia, North Africa, and North America. A male fox is called a dog, and the female a vixen. A young fox is a kit, cub, or pup. Foxes live in groups called skulks. The red fox"s tail accounts for about a third of its length, and it can serve as a blanket, as well as a flag the fox raises to communicate with other foxes.
Oct 12, 2020
Indigenous Peoples Day
With this image of totem poles, carved and erected by Haida people in British Columbia, Canada, we"re touching on two important events in North America today, one in the United States and the other in Canada. In the US, an increasing number of Americans observe the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, a celebration of Native American peoples and an implicit (and sometimes explicit) critique of the Columbus Day holiday. Observations of Indigenous Peoples Day reflect an effort to honor the tribes, nations, and cultures that existed in North America before the arrival of European settlers and have endured since then.
Oct 11, 2020
A monastery in the mountain
Built into the side of a mountain in the Azat Valley of Armenia, the monastery of Geghard is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the country. The location of the monastery has been inhabited for millennia and venerated by locals since the pre-Christian era due to the spring which emanates from one of the caves in the mountainside. The monastery was originally founded in the 4th century by Saint Gregory the Illuminator—the patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church—though none of the original buildings survive.
Oct 10, 2020
Birds of a feather
Today is World Migratory Bird Day in Latin and South America, so to honor the occasion we"ve chosen these flamingos, rising above the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela. Changes in daylight hours and food availability can trigger seasonal migrations in many bird species, including flamingos. American flamingos like these will migrate relatively short distances, usually to ensure a steady food supply. Found mainly throughout the Caribbean, their range extends as far north as southern Florida.
Oct 9, 2020
Falling for Tennessee
Although it might not look like it in this image of a tranquil fall day, Roaring Fork in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has earned its ferocious name. The stream descends 2,500 feet over just 2 miles—a steep drop. After heavy rains, Roaring Fork transforms into a whitewater rush, the sound echoing off the mountainsides. But during drier spells, the stream quiets to more of a babbling brook, as seen here along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The popular 5.5-mile loop drive passes waterfalls, well-preserved historic log cabins, and scenic overlooks of a forest that during this time of year reaches its fall color peak, exploding in bold yellows, oranges, and reds. These are just some of the things that make Great Smoky Mountains the most popular national park in the country.
Oct 8, 2020
An underwater rainbow
You might look twice if you passed by this Technicolor sea creature gliding through the ocean water. In celebration of World Octopus Day, we"re marveling at a photograph of the rarely seen blanket octopus, near Palm Beach, Florida. The blanket octopus gets its common name from the sheets of webbing that stretch between some arms of the female, like the one pictured here. When threatened, it spreads out its arms, creating a blanketlike silhouette to intimidate would-be attackers.
Oct 7, 2020
The circular castle of Cornwall
Many generations watched fog roll over this countryside long before the bellicose Norman visitors who built this fortress got the chance. The peninsula of Cornwall has been populated since the Mesolithic period 10,000 years ago, and is one of the traditional Celtic nations—areas of the British Isles and France where the Celts" culture survived Roman, Norman, and other outside influences despite repeated attempts at incursion.
Oct 6, 2020
Xiechi Lake in Yuncheng, China, has such a high level of salinity, it"s sometimes called China"s Dead Sea. But unlike the Dead Sea in the Middle East, Xiechi Lake supports abundant microscopic life: algae and other microorganisms that have a high tolerance for the salt. In summer and autumn, the lake temperature is high enough to spark algae blooms, bringing a variety of intense colors to the lake water.
Oct 5, 2020
Hey, you two in the front!
For World Teachers" Day, we"re taking you to a class of emperor penguin chicks getting a lesson from a couple of wise adults—at least that"s how it looks to us. All kidding aside, the celebration has a special significance this year. Educators dedicate their lives to engaging the minds of young and old alike, all the while sparking curiosity about the world around us. But with in-person classes widely curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many teachers have had to adapt their instruction methods by shifting to remote learning. More than ever we"re grateful for their efforts, including their support to parents who are contributing at home.
Oct 4, 2020
Infrared Jupiter, erupting Io
To celebrate World Space Week, we"re featuring this montage of images of Jupiter courtesy of the New Horizons probe"s flyby of the planet in 2007. If Jupiter looks a little different than you"re used to seeing, it"s because it was imaged using the space probe"s near-infrared imaging spectrometer. In this false-color image, Jupiter"s high-altitude clouds, like its stormy Great Red Spot, are rendered white, while deeper cloud formations take on reddish hues. The planet"s innermost moon, Io, is captured in a true-color composite image during one of its frequent volcanic eruptions. A close look will show lava is glowing red beneath the blue and white plume of particles being ejected into the moon"s thin atmosphere.
Oct 3, 2020
In the belly of Fat Bear Week
In Alaska"s Katmai National Park and Preserve, the "fattening" is under way. Brown bears like our homepage friend are bulking up for the long winter, gathering at Brooks Falls to feast on migrating salmon. The base of the falls is a prime fishing spot because it creates a temporary barrier to salmon jumping upstream. This makes the fish relatively easy pickings for hungry bears, who can catch up to 30 salmon a day.
Oct 2, 2020
A wild and scenic scene
Some of our nation"s most treasured rivers are protected thanks to a program that was first established on this day in 1968. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act aims to preserve rivers with "outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations." That"s something we can get behind.
Oct 1, 2020
A lunar lantern celebration
The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, is a celebration of the autumn harvest observed by the Chinese and other Asian peoples. It falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the full moon closest to the fall equinox. Originally a plea to the gods for rains to ensure a good harvest next year, Mid-Autumn Festival has become a more secular bit of autumn fun, with children and adults gathering to give thanks, eat sweet mooncakes, and light lanterns like the hand-painted ones we"re looking at here from a previous celebration in Singapore. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival coincidentally lands on another holiday, China"s National Day.
Sep 30, 2020
All eyes on moths
Quick! Can you find this moth"s head? If the markings on the wings distracted you for a second, score an evolutionary victory for this saturniid moth resting in Mole National Park in Ghana. It"s thought that moths, butterflies, and other creatures use this crafty form of mimicry, called eyespots, to either intimidate predators or draw them to attack less vulnerable parts of the body.
Sep 29, 2020
A crush in Lavaux
The "crush season," aka the grape harvest, has arrived in these picturesque Swiss vineyards. The steeply terraced vineyards of the Lavaux region along Lake Geneva"s northern shore produce grapes for some of the best wine in the country. The vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007, Lavaux is the largest contiguous vineyard region in Switzerland. It"s known for producing Chasselas wine, a light, delicate white wine that"s considered the ideal pairing with Swiss raclette cheese. Visitors enjoy hiking between the vines and wine tasting at local cellars in the villages along the lakeshore. We"ll toast to that!