Greenfinches and mandarin ducks


Today to the cemetery.

Jays, blue tit. A male great spotted woodpecker.

A nuthatch climbs up and down a tree trunk.

Two greenfinches sitting just under a treetop.

In the old harbour of Hilversum, open water. Hundreds of mallards. A few coots and moorhens. Two mute swans.

And a male and a female mandarin duck swimming together.

This video is from the film Earth (2007): mandarin ducklings leap from their tree nest.

The greenfinch is found in Europe, the Urals, Africa and Turkey and was introduced into Australia and New Zealand in the 1860s. It was introduced to Nelson in 1862, Christchurch, 1863, Auckland, 1865 and Otago in 1868. There were apparently fewer than 100 birds liberated: here.

August 2010: Greenfinch populations in Central England dropped by a third within a year of the emergence of a new disease, reports a newly published study. Scientists from the Garden Bird Health initiative (GBHi) discovered that trichomonosis, an emerging infectious disease of garden birds led to dramatic declines in greenfinch populations across much of England: here.

Trichomonosis first emerged in British finches in 2005 and has since caused local declines in populations of greenfinch and chaffinch, with greenfinch populations in some counties dropping by a third within a year of the disease emerging: here.

Honduras coup regime assasinations


This video is called Honduras: Which Way?

By Raul Connolly in Australia:

Honduras: Death squads escalate killings

16 January 2010

The revival of death squads in Honduras has resulted in a significant increase in the abduction, rape, torture and murder of opponents of the regime that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya last June.

Death squads tied to the regime have increased their activity in the weeks after the fraudulent November 29 elections, which were boycotted by at least 65% of the population.

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Add you name to the open letter to [Australian] foreign minster Stephen Smith demanding no support or recognition for Honduras’s illegal coup regime

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A January 1 statement by the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared and Detained of Honduras said: “This week’s kidnapping, disappearance, torture and interrogation of journalist Cesar Omar Silva by a street patrol with military training confirms the existence of a pattern of systematic violations of human rights committed by the same structure that violated the constitutional order on June 28, 2009.

“The recent, related murders of Walter Trochez and Edwin Renan Fajardo [and] the sustained kidnappings and attacks on the staff of El Libertador and Radio Globo … confirms that a death squad with a terrorist infrastructure is operating in the country with the knowledge of the Police and the Army.

“In addition, the violent deaths of other [FNRG] members carried out in a selective manner by hit men in the service of the de facto regime, and the pursuit, disappearance, torture and interrogation of independent journalists, repeats the pattern of the 1980s-1990s, which left a tragic legacy of political assassinations and hundreds of forced disappearances.”

A January 13 Argenpress.info article also said that since the June coup, 19 gay rights activists have been assassinated.

Amnesty International called on Tuesday for Honduras’s president ­elect Porfirio Lobo to order an investigation into human rights abuses as his first act as leader when he assumes office on Wednesday: here.

Mass demonstrations and a boycott by Latin American heads of state has greeted the inauguration of Porfirio Lobo as president of Honduras, as the leader ousted in last year’s coup prepared to go into exile in the Dominican Republic: here.

Former president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya arrived in the Dominican Republic on Thursday to be received by an honour guard as he thanked the country’s president for “rescuing me from 129 days of imprisonment”: here.

The following statement was released on January 26 by Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), which is part of the National Resistance Front Against the Coup (FNRG), on the protests planned for the following day against the inauguration of “president” Porfirio Lobo Sosa: here.

Two very different political meetings have highlighted how the aftermath of the coup d’etat in Honduras continues to polarise Latin American politics: here.

Honduran opposition group the National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP) has torn into the ruling National Party’s promise to set up a “truth commission” to investigate last year’s coup d’etat, branding it “pure show”: here.

Stop bird killing in Malta


From BirdLife Malta:

To Dr. Lawrence Gonzi,
Prime Minister of Malta

Mr. Prime Minister,

Do not bring renewed shame on Malta!

We urge you not to harm EU nature conservation laws for a few votes from the hunting minority.

We urge you to comply with EU law through Maltese legislation.

We urge you to ensure all hunting legislation is fully enforced.

We urge you never to allow spring shooting or trapping of Turtle Dove and Quail again.

You can sign the petition here.

If killing turtle dove or quail is legal, then it becomes easier to kill other bird species illegally.

See also here.

Help stop the slaughter of European seabirds: here.