Parakeets and greenfinches in the botanical garden


Today, it is winter.

In the city, much of yesterday’s snow has succumbed to freezing, thawing, cars, bicycles or pedestrians.

Still, especially in gardens and on trees, still snow. And treacherous icy spots on roads.

Blackbird male, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

In the botanical garden, a male blackbird looks for food between the snow.

One of the biggest and oldest trees in the botanical garden is a Taxus baccata L. Its name in English is European yew tree.

The L. behind the Latin name means this is a special tree species. The L. stands for Carolus Linnaeus, the famous eighteenth century Swedish naturalist. Linnaeus designed the scientific names system for living organisms still in use now. But Linnaeus named only a small minority of species known today. The European yew tree is one species of that special minority.

Linnaeus visited this botanical garden in the eighteenth century. Did he see this tree, then a lot smaller, and did it inspire him to give its species a name?

I don’t know the exact age of this specimen, I don’t know whether it already was there in the eighteenth century. But I can certainly see it is old, and much taller than average yew trees.

Ring-necked parakeet female, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

The big yew tree has many red berries. They attract many birds. Blackbirds. Song thrushes. Ring-necked parakeets (see the female on the two photos).

Ring-necked parakeet female, yew tree, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

A collared pigeon.

There is ice on the canal. The ice is still thin. A passing passenger boat breaks it, pushing it aside. No need of an icebreaker for that yet.

The small pond near the source of the brook is frozen. So is the big carp pond, where the brook flows into. The brook itself is not frozen, it streams.

A group of six great cormorants flying overhead.

Greenfinches, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

In the rose garden, two greenfinches.

In the smaller yew trees in the garden of the old university library, not so many birds today.

My first anniversary on WordPress


Internet cartoon

One year ago, on 8 December 2011, I made my first blog posts on WordPress.

I had to take away my blog in a hurry from Blogsome, which finished.

On my first day on WordPress, I had eight visits.

That is a bit more now.

Here is a list of the most popular posts ever since I changed to WordPress (those seen more than eighty times).

Title Views
Home page / Archives 18,977
British Thatcher aide accused of child abuse 5,577
After 35 years, wounds of Vietnamese napalm girl Kim Phuc still hurt 1,772
Boy raped by priest, then castrated 1,529
Günter Grass poem on Greece and austerity, English translation 1,355
Thatcher’s Downing Street child abuse scandal 972
About 953
BBC: Pope Ratzinger ‘covered up paedophile priests scandals’. Like US Republicans 673
New African monkey species discovered 660
Dinosaur discovery in France 642
King of Spain, elephant killer, petition 506
Donald Trump’s sons butcher African elephants (?) 447
Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, photos 445
Bahraini king’s sexual harassment of Lebanese singer 409
New Zealand rare whale discovery 397
Tony Blair got rich from Iraq war 385
Scotland: giant centipede, crocodile, and other fossils brought back to life 333
Blog of the Year 2012 award, thanks dogdaz! 325
Georgian prison sexual abuse 316
Iranian cartoon for peace 312
Numbers in ancient Egypt 291
Galapagos islands: why Darwin’s finches differ in beak size 268
Thai women’s escape from Bahraini forced prostitution 250
US Republicans’ far-Right extremism 226
Photomontage from John Heartfield to the Iraq war 225
Ultra-Orthodox attack on Israeli women’s rights 222
Hurricane Sandy in America, a ‘Frankenstorm’? 216
Brigitte Bardot’s Islamophobia and anti-Semitism 203
Olympics, William Blake, suffragettes, punk, Bahrain 196
Swedish nazis attack ‘degenerate art’ 196
How do leopards really get their spots? 193
Baby rhino and elephant born 180
CIA weapons for war in Syria 179
Moroccan elephant ancestor discovered 170
Merkel’s Hitler moustache on Dutch TV 169
Nikon cancels World War II sex slavery photo exhibition 168
German nazi shop ‘almost’ named after Breivik 163
Dutch Romantic paintings and African mats 157
King Juan Carlos, resign, WWF says 155
Senegal, Gambia, Casamance’s history of slavery 155
Pompeii: ancient Roman brothel restored. Roman plants 147
Cartoon banned in Spain. Muslim-bashing ‘free speech champions’ silent 144
New civet species discovered in Sri Lanka 142
USA: beaver back in New York City after 200 years 142
Poisonous caterpillars infest Spurn Point in England 140
Britain’s Somalia war for oil, not humanitarianism 136
Israeli woman attacked by religious fanatics 134
Birds in seventeenth century painting 134
Trafigura boss Dauphin prosecuted for pollution 132
German anti war artist Käthe Kollwitz 128
Dinosaur footprints discovery at NASA space base 127
South Korean rat race child prostitution 123
Jamaica: rare birds threatened by bauxite mining 120
Sarkozy, bye bye? 116
Great white shark, megalodon, and evolution 115
Saudi princess’ cruel revenge on Egyptian woman 113
Greenpeace, Xena fight Shell Arctic drilling 108
Dutch priests raped, castrated boys, government covered up 107
JPMorgan Chase scandal in the USA 106
19-year-old Egyptian girl invents spacecraft propulsion device 106
Tour de France cycling and Swiss dinosaurs 106
Hobbit movie animals died, actors abused 103
Mosasaur discovered in Maastricht 102
Sauropod dinosaur discovery in Antarctica 102
Great blue heron nest webcam 96
Portuguese architecture and house martin nests 95
Red-tailed hawk nest webcam 95
Australian marsupial mole fossil discovery 94
British warplanes for Saudi dictatorship 93
Bahraini democrats attacked by police 92
Blog of the Year 2012 award, thanks Russell! 90
Rome: ancient Roman necropolis of Vatican open to public 89
More poison in fish than in snakes or other animals 89
From Kotu to a vultures’ dead donkey feast 89
Brufut Woods in Gambia, birds and squirrels 87
Football, Greece-Germany, with Angela Merkel 87
After Imelda Marcos, fashion lines by Rice and Rumsfeld? 86
Dutch honey buzzard research 86
Colossal squid caught near Antarctica 86
‘Priest raped, murdered Dutch little girl’, Vatican covered up 86
Afghan dead bodies as US military trophies 86
Birds and other animals of Madagascar wetlands 85
Kemp’s ridley turtle saved in the USA 84
Hurricane Sandy deaths and destruction in the USA 84
Reality Blog Award, thanks ‘R’HubBlog! 84
Haarlem poetry festival 84
Van Gogh museum on animals and art 83
‘Catholic friar’s murder of children covered up’ 82
Greek pro-poverty coalition loses, Leftists, nazis win 81
British mercenaries failed protecting US Libya consulate 81
Australian capitalist against the CIA 81
USA: Indians massacred in 1853 found 81
Medieval Islamic and later Portuguese poetry 81

London bird criminal caught


This video is called Linnet at Goldfinch Garden May 2010.

From Wildlife Extra:

London man convicted of trapping songbirds in East London

Birdwatchers help fight against wildlife crime

December 2012. Keen-eyed birdwatchers and the London Wildlife Trust acted promptly to help catch a man from Beckton, east London, in the act of illegally catching wild songbirds at Barking Riverside in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.

Several birdwatchers reported suspicious activity and evidence of trapping in early October to the London Wildlife Trust who reported the incident to the police. When suspects were seen by one of the birders at the same location on 24th October, the Trust were able to immediately contact the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife Crime Officer for Barking & Dagenham. The police responded immediately and were able to apprehend Peter Fayers at the site, in possession of mist nets and with several linnets and goldfinches held captive in small cages.

Fined & ASBO granted

Mr. Fayers, aged 56, pleaded guilty on 16th November to taking birds from the wild, and was fined £350 plus £85 costs and £35 compensation. The authorities also appealed for Mr. Fayers to be the subject of an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO). This was approved last week and is only the second such order to be granted under the Wildlife & Countryside Act in England and Wales. As a result of this order, which stands for a minimum of two years, Mr. Fayers is unable to leave his place of abode with nets, cages, poles, or any other equipment that would assist himself or another person to trap birds.

In Britain illegal songbird trapping is mainly associated with Victorian times. Nowadays, bird catching in this country is usually carried out legally by licensed ringers, who have been trained to capture and release birds for scientific purposes without causing them any harm.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “It is sad that illegal songbird trapping is still occurring in London in the twenty-first century, and distressing to see the size of the cages that the birds were being held in. However, it is pleasing to see how quickly the police responded to apprehend the culprit and ensure that there was a happier ending to this particular story.”