French invasion of Mali, its real deathly face

French soldier in Mali with skull mask

This photo of a French Foreign Legion soldier, part of the invasion of Mali, shows the real face of that war.

That war is not “against Al Qaeda terrorism” (supported by the French government in Libya, and still in Syria). It is not for women’s rights, human rights or secularism.

It is in support of a military dictatorship.

It brings death, mainly to Malian civilians.

This war is a neo-colonial war.

The French top brass did not like the deathly honesty of the Foreign Legion soldier’s mask. It undermined war propaganda.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award, thanks Arlen!


After all the bloggers who were so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for awards, now another award.

Thank so very much Arlen Shahverdyan,  for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award!

Arlen’s beautiful blog, in Armenian and English, is about wildlife, visual arts, poetry and other subjects.

The rules are to thank and link back to the blogger which has nominated you, then post the award logo to your blog, write a post on the nomination and nominate 15 other very inspiring bloggers. Notify them; and tell 7 things about yourself.

Seven things about myself:

1. I have two pages on my blog, About; and Frequently Asked Questions.

2. I may make more pages when I will have time, like an Awards page.

3.  741 people follow this blog now. 730 by; 11 by Email.

4. I have 1,315 tags at my blog now. And growing fast …

5. I have forty categories at my blog; that probably won’t change much.

6. In my category Animals, all sub-categories included, there are 6,366 blog posts,.

7. This morning, on the snow on the doormat on the balcony, a bird’s footprints. Maybe a blackbird, judging from the size.

Here come my fifteen nominees:


2. The Accidental Birder

3. rabirius

4. Reshu Malhotra

5. Geoff shoots the world

6. notesfromcamelidcountry

7. Googsy Photography

8. Ichthyosaurs: a day in the life…

9. See Norway – Se Norge

10. Serenity

11. My Finnish Life

12. Scott Marshall Photography (Scotland)

13. Mike Powell

14. traveleum

15. Nicola Anthony

Australian birds threatened by global warming

This video is called AUSTRALIA’s WILD PARROTS & COCKATOOS – PBS SPECIAL – Part 1 of 2.

And this is Part 2.

From Wildlife Extra:

Australian heat wave could lead to mass die-offs of birds

Heat waves can be deadly for birds

January 2013. As the heat wave in Australia continues, many birds may no longer be able to take the heat and large numbers could die as a result, researchers at the Universities of Cape Town and Pretoria warn.

“Heat waves in 2009 and 2010, which did not reach the intensity of the current record-breaking heat wave, led to large die-offs of birds in parts of Australia” says Prof. Andrew McKechnie. Over the last few days, people are beginning to report finding dead birds in their backyards on Twitter. Conditions are likely worsening as the heat wave wears on.

An international research team, led by researchers at the Percy FitzPatrick Instutute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, are investigating how heat waves affect the physiology and behaviour of birds. They are on high alert for reports of impacts of the current Australian heat wave as such events will be valuable for predicting how climate change will affect birds.

Birds lose condition above 35 ºC

A recent study by the team in Southern Africa’s Kalahari revealed that on days when temperatures exceeded 35 ºC, a temperature far below those currently being experienced across much of Australia, wild birds began to lose body condition. “At higher temperatures, the demands of keeping cool meant that the bird’s ability to forage was compromised and their feeding rate declined as temperatures increased” says Dr. Rowan Martin of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute. These effects could accumulate over a number of days with long-term consequences for populations.

Another study by the team, in collaboration with the University of New Mexico, suggests that at higher temperatures impacts could be more immediate. At temperatures of 45 ºC, and without access to water, the time for hydration levels to drop below thresholds critical for survival could be as short as 4 hours for a 5g bird, or 5.5 hours for a 25 g bird.

Many Australians are putting out extra water for wild birds and other animals which could prove critical to their survival. Ensuring such water dishes are placed in the shade may help further.

Rare roseate terns disturbed

This video from Britain is called Taking a look at Terns 2: Roseate, Sandwich and Little Tern.

From Wildlife Extra:

Brothers guilty of reckless disturbance of Northumberland wildlife sanctuary

Roseate tern nesting site disturbed

January 2103. Two brothers from Amble caused illegal disturbance to a rare seabird colony in Northumberland, a court has ruled. Derwick and Leslie Ramsay were found guilty at South East Northumberland Magistrates Court of the reckless disturbance of roseate terns on the bird sanctuary Coquet Island in July 2012.

The pair were prosecuted under the 1981 Country And Wildlife Act, which forbids the intentional and or reckless killing, injuring and disturbance of wild birds. The offence carries a maximum sentence of a £5,000 fine and/or six months in prison.

Caught on CCTV

Derwick Ramsay, together with four other men who were not prosecuted, landed boats on the island on 20 July allegedly to collect whelks. They were warned about the presence of breeding roseate terns by RSPB staff but this was ignored. On 22 July, Derwick returned with his brother Leslie, who was recorded on CCTV disturbing the birds. On returning to Amble marina Derwick and Leslie, together with four other men, were arrested and their boats were seized by Northumbria Police.

The only colony of breeding roseate terns in the UK

Coquet Island holds the only colony of breeding roseate terns in the UK and as a result, landing on the island is strictly prohibited. Roseate terns are a ‘red listed’ species of high conservation concern and, as a ground nesting bird, they are particularly vulnerable to human disturbance. At the time of this incident the island held 71 breeding pairs.

Alan Firth, RSPB Investigations officer, said: “Roseate terns are incredibly rare and Coquet Island is effectively the only place they breed in the whole of the UK. Any disturbance to the colony could, therefore, have a disastrous effect on the population.

“The RSPB spends a huge amount of time, money and effort every year to give roseate terns the best chance to breed. This reckless disturbance – that took place despite warnings – threatened to undermine all of the conservation efforts to protect this species.

“We would like to thank Northumbria Police and Crown Prosecution Service Prosecutor Jonathan Moore for their hard work, which helped this case result in a successful prosecution.”

Adelie penguin feeding, new research

This video shows penguin cam images of Adelie penguins hunting krill in Antarctica.

From the BBC:

21 January 2013 Last updated at 20:02

Cameras reveal penguins’ efficient hunting techniques

Intimate details of Adelie penguin feeding behaviour have been filmed by Japanese scientists.

Using video cameras and accelerometers attached to free-swimming penguins, researchers have gained a unique insight into the birds’ hunting techniques.

Adelie penguins adopted different strategies depending on whether they were hunting fish or krill.

The findings are published in the journal PNAS.

Lead scientist Dr Yuuki Watanabe from the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo, Japan, told BBC Nature: “Foraging is the most basic activity of animals, but details of foraging behaviour are poorly known, especially in marine animals.”

Although previous studies had examined Adelie penguin’s (Pygoscelis adeliae) foraging style using video apparatus or sensor technology, results were limited.

“Previously some researchers attached video cameras to marine animals to observe their foraging behaviour, but this was just a few hours.”

“In other studies, researchers attached various sensors to marine animals to record indirect signals of prey capture. This method lasted for long periods, but has never been validated in the field,” said Dr Watanabe.

To overcome these difficulties, the Japanese scientists decided to use a combination of video footage and indirect signals.

Indirect signals include acceleration of the head, temperature changes in the digestive tract or beak opening movements, all of which indicate that feeding may have occurred.

Modern technologies mean that accelerometers are small enough for the scientists to attach two accelerators to each penguin – one on the head and another on the back.

“We recorded both movies and indirect signals, successfully validating the indirect signals using video footage,” explained Dr Watanabe.

“We assumed that penguins move their heads relative to their body when they capture prey; this was confirmed by the footage.”

Using these methods the team was able to ascertain when and how the penguins were feeding.

Fast food

With the results of the combined technologies, scientists were able to draw further conclusions about the Adelie penguins’ feeding strategy.

The penguins’ foraging area is largely covered by marine ice and their primary food sources include two species of krill and Pagothenia borchgrevinki – a fish whose blood contains antifreeze proteins.

The Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is a shrimp-like crustacean that grows to approximately 6cm long. Antarctic coastal krill (E. crystallorophias) lives farther south than any other species of krill.

Krill is an important part of the Antarctic ecosystem, with around half of its biomass being consumed annually by marine predators such as penguins, squid, whales and fish.

When capturing krill, the penguins swam upward then changed direction at the point of predation, making darting movements with their head.

The team discovered that Adelie penguins can catch krill at a rate of up to two krill per second, despite krill displaying escape behaviours.

Furthermore the researchers found that the camouflage defence of the fish P. borchgrevinki didn’t work with foraging Adelie penguins.

The penguins were regularly able to capture the fish from below – the direction from which the fish is camouflaged against the backdrop of marine ice.

Dr Watanabe said: “I was surprised by how the penguins repeatedly captured P. borchgrevinki underneath the sea ice. This fish is known to be well camouflaged.”

The technology used to support the findings has a wider application for further study. Dr Watanabe commented, “Our method can be applied to many marine animals to understand the spatial and temporal variability of foraging behaviour.”

April 2013.  Elaine Heron took these images of an apparently leucistic penguin on the Antarctic Peninsula that she saw in February this year. This is not the first leucistic Adelie penguin that we have had reported to us. We also have an image of a bird that was seen and photographed in 1963 on Avian Island, off Adelaide Island on the Antarctic Peninsula in 1963, near the British Antarctic Survey Base by reader Mike Fleet: here.

To get to the Cape Royds penguin colony, home to several thousand googly-eyed Adélie penguins, you can either make the bone-chilling two-hour snowmobile drive over the sea ice from McMurdo Station, or if weather and winds permit, zip over in 10 minutes by helicopter. Either way, you’ll pass hundreds of seals sprawled slug-like on the ice; pass through the shadow of the volcano Mount Erebus, hunched and smoking; and if you’re lucky, spot an elegant snow petrel gliding by: here.