When does the tide come in?
From the air, this tract of Mockhorn Island on the Atlantic coast of Virginia's Eastern Shore could pass for gentle farmland. But what you're really looking at is rugged tidal marshland, visible when the tide is out—the rest of the time, much of this area is underwater. Mockhorn is itself part of Virginia's coastal island chain called the Barrier Islands, which run down the east coast of the state from the Maryland-Delaware border for about 70 miles, stretching to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The green vegetation you see is grass, although not the kind you'll find in a suburban lawn. Instead, it's saltmarsh cordgrass, a type of perennial deciduous species that grows in wetlands and salt marshes like this one.
The only way to access the tidal channels of Mockhorn Island is by boat, and plenty of kayakers, hunters, and sport fishers are willing to brave the fickle, windy weather to enjoy the island's labyrinth of sloughs, bays, and inlets. The area's also a great destination for bird watchers, as many bird species fly directly overhead while migrating. Historically, the rugged terrain and remote location of the Barrier Islands made them a great place for those running from the authorities—it's said that pirates, including Blackbeard himself, spent time in hiding in the backwaters of this rugged coast.
'Cheese! We'll go somewhere where there's cheese!'
Ahh, the pastoral countryside of the Yorkshire Dales in Northern England. Dewey mornings, grazing farm animals, hand-built dry stone walls, and…cheese? Well, if you're a fan of the beloved British claymation series 'Wallace & Gromit,' then you may have first heard of this area of the Yorkshires, Wensleydale, because of its local cheese. In fact, the animated duo's notorious affinity for the local curd--which Wallace likes because producers thought it makes his face look 'nice and toothy'—became so widespread that it helped the Wensleydale cheesemakers stave off bankruptcy.
Cheese aside, another staple of Wensleydale, and the surrounding Yorkshire Dales National Park, are the 5,000 miles of dry stone walls that have crisscrossed the landscape for centuries. The walls were built by farmers to delineate boundaries, clarify land ownership, and more practically, to keep their cows and sheep from wandering off. The walls are considered 'dry' because they were built with no mortar to bind the stones together. Larger stones form a base for the wall, upon which smaller stones are stacked to create two parallel wall faces, constructed simultaneously. More stones are then used to fill in the gap between the two wall faces, with gravity doing the rest. While that may sound flimsy, a well-constructed dry stone wall can last at least 100 years.
One giant leap for penguins
These Adélie penguins are jumping for joy because it's World Penguin Day. Or maybe they're just looking for a snack as they dive off this iceberg. Adélies live on Antarctica and nearby islands all year long, but in the fall and winter they spend most of their time near the coast. They can dive as deep as 575 feet or travel as much as 185 miles to find krill, fish, and squid.
The smallest penguin in the Antarctic, Adélies are one of only two penguin species (the other is the Emperor penguin) that live exclusively on the Antarctic continent. Huge colonies of Adélies were once spread throughout the Antarctic Peninsula and the coastline of the continent, but as climate change took hold, populations declined in some areas. Fortunately, a robust colony of some 1.5 million Adelie penguins was found on the Antarctic Peninsula's Danger Islands.
A house of grand scale(s)
We're looking at the rooftop of Casa Batlló, a 6-story building in the center of Barcelona topped with colorful 'scales.' What brings us here? Well, here in Spain's province of Catalonia, and in several other locales from England to Ethiopia, it's the feast of Saint George. You know George (or Jordi, as the Catalans call him): He's the knight who, legend holds, saved a much-loved princess by defeating a fierce dragon. It's said the tower jutting from the Casa's tiled roof represents George's lance thrust into the monster's scaly back.
George is Catalonia's patron saint—but the designer of Casa Batlló's façade could be called the land's patron architect. Antoni Gaudí designed dozens of buildings around Barcelona in matching fashion: bold fairy-tale designs with curvy constructions and vibrant colors. Gaudí's long-unfinished masterpiece, the famous Sagrada Família cathedral, is set to be completed in 2026, a century after his passing.
我们在看Casa Batll的屋顶ó, 巴塞罗那市中心的一座6层楼高的建筑，上面有五颜六色的“鳞片”。什么风把我们吹来了？嗯，在西班牙的加泰罗尼亚省，以及从英国到埃塞俄比亚的其他几个地方，这是圣乔治的盛宴。你知道乔治（或者加泰罗尼亚人叫他乔迪）：传说中，他是一位骑士，他打败了一条凶猛的龙，拯救了一位深受爱戴的公主。据说这座塔从木屋的瓦片屋顶伸出，代表着乔治的长矛插进了怪物鳞片般的背部。
Gazing down on planet Earth
It's Earth Day today and we are high above the blue marble looking down on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi. Those small, blocky shapes are towns, fields, and pastures–the teal green is the mighty Mississippi River. Anyone who has flown in the window seat of an airplane and has gazed down at Earth below might wonder why the colors in this image are so unreal. That's because they are. These images were taken in 2013 by Landsat 7, a NASA satellite that uses thermal infrared sensors to help scientists better distinguish flora, fauna, water, and manmade objects. For almost 50 years, NASA has been using satellite imagery to understand how climate change and population growth are affecting our fragile planet. These satellites help NASA see where deforestation and wildfires are happening, where glaciers are melting, and how rising waters are encroaching on cities.
The biggest cause of these changes? According to NASA, it's us. Since the first Landsat launched in 1972, the Earth's population has almost doubled, from 4 billion people then to 7.8 billion today. But there is some good news to mark this Earth Day: The Mississippi River we see here is much less toxic now than it was back in 1972, thanks to environmental laws and regulations.
Exploring the 'Pearl of the Atlantic'
We're taking a view of the island of Madeira, by far the largest island in the Madeira archipelago, which sits 320 miles off the coast of Morocco in the North Atlantic. Part of an autonomous region of Portugal, Madeira, known as the 'Pearl of the Atlantic,' boasts a diverse forest ecosystem, endemic flora and fauna, and the largest living stand of laurel trees in the world. It's a great place to hike, too. Trails run alongside irrigation channels, called levadas, that move water all over the island. Walks range from easy strolls in the countryside to precarious hikes along mountain ridges or into remote parts of the forests. Afterward, the calorie-depleted can dig into a local delicacy like peixe espada com banana (fried local fish with banana) and sip on Madeira wine. Saúde!
我们正在观看马德拉岛，这是迄今为止马德拉群岛中最大的岛屿，位于北大西洋摩洛哥海岸320英里外。作为葡萄牙自治区的一部分，被称为“大西洋明珠”的马德拉拥有多样化的森林生态系统、特有的动植物群和世界上最大的活月桂林。这也是徒步旅行的好地方。小径沿着被称为levadas的灌溉渠延伸，这些灌溉渠将水输送到全岛。散步的范围从乡村的轻松漫步到沿着山脊或进入森林偏远地区的危险徒步旅行。之后，消耗掉的热量可以吃到当地的美味，比如peixe espada com香蕉（用香蕉炸当地鱼），然后啜饮马德拉葡萄酒。萨乌德！
Terraced fields of green
Twice a year, all of Bali, Indonesia—including those who live and work in the lush, green rice terraces you see here—join together to celebrate the country's most important holiday, Galungan. This 10-day Balinese-Hindu milestone always comes at the end of the traditional 210-day Balinese calendar, usually in March or April, and then again in September or October.
This spring, the festivities began on April 14, and on that day the Balinese invited the spirits of their ancient ancestors into their homes with prayers and other offerings draped from bamboo poles called penjor, which seem to be erected everywhere. Planted in the ground at individual homes or along the sides of roads and decorated with coconut leaves and flowers, penjor are used to hang offerings as a kind gesture towards the spirits. The tenth and final day of Galungan is called Kuningan, which comes on April 24 this year. To mark this finale, a specially prepared yellow rice will be offered to the departing ancestors, a gift to accompany them on their return journey to the spirit world.
Rays on parade
The feeding frenzy is on! Each spring and fall, the waters off Mexico's Baja California peninsula become the perfect place to spot Munk's devil rays in massive schools like this one. Unlike stingrays (and perhaps the devil), devil rays lack fearsome pointy tails. In fact, these giants—whose wingspans can reach about 9 feet—are pretty gentle all around, feeding mainly on plankton. And for them, mealtime is party time: During huge devil ray gatherings like this, rays are seen continually bursting out of the water and landing with loud bellyflops.