Pygmy owl in the Netherlands


11 February 2008.

The video here is called Owl Tribute.

An Eurasian pygmy owl, Glaucidium passerinum, is now in the Leenderbos forest in the south of the Netherlands.

Photos are here. It caught a long-tailed field mouse.

The species had not been seen in the Netherlands for a long time.

Poetry night in Amsterdam


This is a Martijn den Bakker poetry slam video.

24 January 2008, there was a poetry night in the Figurantenbar in Amsterdam, for the first time there.

The first poet on stage was Bram Waard, with love poems.

Then, Hans Jaspers, with poems about love, and about religion.

Then, Rick Elenbaas. His poems included one about Werther, by Goethe.

After a pause, there were four songs by singer, songwriter, and guitarist Monique Mijnals from Amsterdam. Some of her songs were in her native Surinamese (Sranan Tongo) language; some in English. Her first song, in Sranan Tongo, was about her sister who had died.

Then, poems by yours truly. Subjects included the war in Iraq, love, and a lady beetle.

Then, Simon Mulder, with sonnets reminiscent of the nineteenth century in style.

Finally, Yiri T. Kohl. His last poem was about the aeroplane disaster in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam in 1992.

The jury decided to give Yiri T. Kohl the third prize. The second prize was for Rick Elenbaas. And the first prize was for yours truly.

Robin and blue tit


This morning, 9 December 2011, a robin feeding at the house-shaped feeder near the village window.

Later, a blue tit above the feeder on a branch.

Still later, a robin under the feeder on the ground. The same robin as earlier, looking for food which it had dropped?

Near the bus stop to the south, jackdaws, wood pigeons, two magpies, and a jay.

Asian leopard and snow leopard discoveries


Recent camera trap images from the rocky terrain of Afghanistan’s central highlands have revealed a surprise: a Persian leopard, an apex predator long thought to have disappeared from the region. Read the full story here.

Five snow leopards photographed in Tajikistan valley: here.

Candid Camera Study in Afghanistan Gives Hope for Snow Leopards: here.

And in Siberia, snow leopards have been photographed for the first time.

A rare Himalayan snow leopard has been captured on cameras installed at the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand: here.

ScienceShot: What the Snow Leopard Ate: here.

United States government sacrifices women’s rights to religious Right


By Kate Randall in the USA:

Obama administration blocks access to emergency contraception for young women

9 December 2011

The Obama administration’s secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) has overruled a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendation that would have allowed emergency contraceptives to be sold over the counter with no age restrictions. The move is an affront to women’s reproductive rights and an attack on the health of young women.

It is an action without precedent and the first time that HHS has used its statutory authority to override a government agency recommendation. Obama personally defended the decision in remarks at a White House press conference on Thursday.

The decision, denounced by women’s health advocates and medical professionals, highlights the Obama administration’s pandering to the religious right, anti-abortion activists, and the Catholic Church.

See also here. And here.

Portuguese support for Cory’s shearwaters


The Portuguese Society for the studies of birds, SPEA/ BirdLife in Portugal, launched its campaign “Travel with the Bird of the Year” in order to raise funds which will be used to determine priority areas for conservation. Those areas will be based on the flight of the Bird of the Year 2011, the Cory’s Shearwater: here.

Do Seabirds Differ from Other Migrants in Their Travel Arrangements? On Route Strategies of Cory’s Shearwater during Its Trans-Equatorial Journey: here.

Sociable and intelligent, the Iberian Azure-winged Magpie co-operates in raising chicks and defending the colony against predators: here.