Gambian red-billed firefinch photos


After the blog post on my last morning at the “hamerkop pond” in the Gambia, and before describing my departure from Africa, I should return to Gambian red-billed firefinches.

Red-billed firefinch male, Gambia, 4 February 2012

The birds were photographed at Brufut Woods, the Gambia, 4 February 2012.

Red-billed firefinch male, the Gambia, 4 February 2012

Such a beautiful species deserves more than just one blog post of its own.

Red-billed firefinch male with female in the background, the Gambia, 4 February 2012

Females are not as colourful as males, but are beautiful in their own way.

Red-billed firefinch female, the Gambia, 4 February 2012

The photographs were at a place where there had been a fire.

Red-billed firefinch female, Brufut Woods, the Gambia, 4 February 2012

Red-billed firefinch female, Brufut Woods, in the Gambia, 4 February 2012

British religious homophobia


This video from the USA says about itself:

In recent months a number of abuse claims have emerged in the US, leading to increasing pressure on Pope Benedict XVI to issue a public apology.

In Arizona Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is accused of siding with priests rather than those they are accused of abusing.

Al Jazeera’s John Terrett reports from the US state on a scandal that has gripped North America.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Cardinal’s anti-gay rant ‘unacceptable’

Gay rights: Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien was dismissed as a scaremonger today after a tirade against civil gay marriages in which he branded the plans a “grotesque subversion” of human rights.

The hysterical cleric said it would create a society “which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.”

But lesbian Tory MP Margot James said: “I think it is a completely unacceptable way for a prelate to talk.”

See also here. And here.

His Eminence Keith O’Brien should worry about clerical sexual abuse, aided and abetted by his church’s hierarchy, including the highest level in the Vatican; instead of about people loving each other and wanting to marry.

Catholics will be told of their ‘duty to oppose gay marriage’ at mass this weekend: here.

Did the Catholic Voices poll show a Britain opposed to gay marriage? Not really: here.

USA: ’80s sitcom star turned religious activist Kirk Cameron is not a fan of homosexuality and he isn’t shy about sharing his feelings on the subject: here.

Last bird morning in Gambia


Wednesday 15 February.

After yesterday, our last morning in the Gambia; in Kotu.

For the last time, a walk to the “hamerkop pond” not far away.

Hamerkops themselves are not present this time, but plenty of other birds are.

8:40: about twenty white-faced whistling ducks, including juveniles.

Black heron doing its umbrella trick, Gambia, February 2012

A black heron is doing its umbrella trick.

Black heron just after umbrella trick, Gambia, February 2012

Spur-winged plovers.

Great egret and cattle egret.

African jacana. Greenshank.

Wood sandpiper. Black-winged stilt.

Piapiacs on domestic pigs’ backs.

A common sandpiper.

Pied crows.

A squacco heron flying.

A green sandpiper.

A hooded vulture on the roof of a building.

Buffalo weaver nests in a tree to the right.

A ring-necked-parakeet, flying, calling. It is here in his native Africa; unlike Europe, where it was introduced.

A speckled pigeon.

A sacred ibis flying past.

Another bird flying past, a cattle egret. Sadly, it shows an environmental problem in the Gambia, as a plastic bag is attached to its legs and it probably cannot walk properly this way. There is more plastic and other litter around the pond.

A red-billed hornbill sitting on a stick.

We walk back.

On a sandbank in the estuary, a western reef heron.

A whimbrel flying and calling.

A common bulbul singing.

Two long-tailed cormorants flying past.

The bus to the airport will come soon.

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Hawfinches and woodpecker


Today, again to the cemetery.

Blue tits. Jays.

A great tit on a tree.

We hear nuthatch sounds, but don’t see birds near the hole in the tree where nuthatches nested last year.

A magpie and a wood pigeon on the same tree.

A great spotted woodpecker climbs up a tree.

A magpie flying to its nest with a twig in its bill.

A robin singing.

This is a hawfinch video.

A highlight: two hawfinches in a treetop. Will they nest here, or go further to the east, to big forests? A third hawfinch joins them. Then, they all fly away.

Just before we leave, a greenfinch singing from a high coniferous treetop.