Kingfisher and osprey


This video from the USA is about ospreys.

Tuesday 26 August was my second day in Weerribben nature reserve.

Just across the road, a horizontal pole just above the water. This morning, a kingfisher sits down on it! What a fine beginning of a day. A bit later, a moorhen near the same spot.

Many barn swallows, some of them nesting under the roof of our house; some sitting down on the TV antenna of the restaurant.

In a birdwatchers’ hide, a kilometer to the north: mute swans. Great cormorants. Great crested grebes; grey lag geese.

And a kingfisher, sitting on a bald branch.

Then, an osprey, flying across the lake, and sitting down near a treetop.

Later, a buzzard.

In a former church in Kalenberg village, mainly landscape paintings by Frans Obdam, 1921-1988.

Just before going on board in the evening, a rabbit running away.

After the ship has started, the third kingfisher of today, sitting on a vertical pole in the water.

Mr Dolstra, the reserve warden, tells us that there are about 350 roe deer in the Weerribben; which is a lot for a marshy area, not ideal for the species.

This spring, there were nine male bitterns calling. As they are polygamous, that means that there were considerably more nests of this rare species.

As the number of trees in the Weerribben has increased recently, the number of goshawk nests has gone up to thirteen. Which may be a big problem next to a black tern colony … Other tree loving birds, rising in numbers in the national park, are golden oriole; lesser spotted woodpecker; and bullfinch.

Other rare species here are the purple heron; and the otter. In 1967, otters became extinct in the Weerribben as the last one was then found dead. In 2002, otters were brought here again, from eastern Europe and Sweden. Cubs have been born, and there are now about thirty otters in the reserve.

Of the many plants in the reserve, three species are related: simplestem bur-reed; European bur-reed; and the smallest of those three, small bur-reed.

Mr Dolstra also showed other plants. Sweet-flag is rarer now, as water quality is getting better.

Also: lesser bulrush; and Cicuta virosa.

Water dock is very important for the caterpillars of the rare Lycaena dispar butterfly in the reserve. The caterpillars spend the winter on those plants (see also video here).

More Weerribben plant species: yellow flag iris; the insectivorous common sundew; and sweet gale.

Best year for bitterns for 130 years in Britain: here.

US soldiers killed Iraqi detainees


This shows graphic Abu Ghraib pictures and video.

By Jerry White in the USA:

Military officers testify that US soldiers murdered Iraqi detainees

29 August 2008

Testimony presented to a US Army hearing in Germany this week detailed how three US noncommissioned officers executed four bound and blindfolded Iraqi detainees in Baghdad in April 2007. The four men—whose names have been withheld by the US military—were allegedly murdered and their bodies dumped on the banks of a canal.

Two noncommissioned officers— Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, and Sergeant Michael P. Leahy Jr., Company D’s senior medic and acting squad leader, confessed to the killings and gave accounts of the event in signed statements to Army investigators in January.

The statements, obtained by the New York Times, described how each of the two soldiers killed one of the Iraqi detainees with a pistol shot to the back of the head, following the orders of First Sergeant John E. Hatley. Hatley shot the two other Iraqi men, the soldiers said, before ordering them to remove the bloody blindfolds and plastics handcuffs and shove the bodies into the canal.

US deal does not mark the end of Iraq‘s occupation: here; and here.

Weerribben nature reserve, first day


This is a video about Weerribben nature reserve in the Netherlands; especially about the rare species Lycaena dispar and other butterflies there. Lycaena dispar in Wieden reserve: here.

Today, Monday 25 August, was my first day in Weerribben nature reserve.

Before arriving there, near Steenwijkerwold, many barn swallows flying over the canal.

Many northern lapwings in a meadow.

Near the Hoogeweg, one of over thirty dragonfly and damselfly species of this national park: blue-tailed damselfly.

Soon, another species, sitting down close to the road: scarlet dragonfly. We would see this species again later.

Walking along birch trees. Some with Piptoporus betulinus fungi. Or with great tits.

A small grass snake: dead on the bicycle path.

Another beautiful reddish insect: large red damselfly.

A great cormorant passes by.

A brimstone butterfly.

Refugee children in British jails


This video is called Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.

From British daily News Line:

Friday, 29 August 2008

CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE DETAINED IN TINSLEY – says Owers

A damning report, the second in seven days on the British government’s practice of incarcerating children in UK removal centres was published yesterday.

Excerpts follow from the report on a fully announced inspection of Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre on 10-14 March this year by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers.

Owers report said: ‘Our principal concerns about safety are related to children.

‘While staff in the family centre made considerable efforts to support children and their families, they could do little to mitigate the damaging effects of their detention, the length of which often extended into days or even weeks.

‘While support from local social services staff had improved, there was still a lack of appropriate care planning and no formal links with local children’s safeguarding arrangements. Not all staff had received child protection training.

‘. . . we were disturbed to observe some unprofessional conduct by external escort staff.

‘. . . we were concerned to find two recent examples of forced medication applied to detainees threatening self-harm, which had not been subject to thorough review to ensure their appropriateness.

‘. . . we were particularly troubled by the plight of single women.’

As you can see, this blog is back from this week’s short interruption. Welcome back on board everyone.

Few, if any, new posts this week


http://www.ustream.tv/flash/video/569794Live Broadcasting by Ustream

This video from the USA says about itself:

Note: audio very low until 00:02:26. From the third annual (2008) gathering of the progressive netroots live at Netroots Nation in Austin, TX. SAT, 07/19/2008 – 4:30PM, Ballroom G Black bloggers voice will be paid close attention given Obama’s candidacy and while the increased attention and addition of new voices are welcome; our collective voice is just as pertinent for issues unrelated to Obama’s campaign. As such, what steps should we be taking now to make sure that this message is not lost on each other and the larger blogosphere/media infrastructure? PANELISTS: Brandon Q. White, Gina McCauley, Leutisha Stills, Andre Banks, Kevin Myles.

During the next week, there will be few, if any, new posts on this blog.

Don’t worry, it will only be for a week.