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Blogging on animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women's issues, arts, and much more

New mushroom species discovery in the Netherlands


This video is about the Scleroderma polyrhizum fungus.

The Heiderijk site in the Netherlands reports that this autumn, a fungus species, new for the Netherlands, was discovered.

Between Molenhoek and Groesbeek, Scleroderma polyrhizum, the star earthball, was found.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, film review


This video from the USA is called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Final Trailer.

By Maria Duarte in Britain:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (12A)

Directed by Francis Lawrence

4/5

THE BRUTAL Hunger Games are over and now the revolution against the totalitarian Capitol takes centrestage in this intelligent and thought-provoking third instalment of this franchise.

It’s fascinating to see the reluctant Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) being forced to embrace her destiny of becoming the leader and poster girl of the rebellion — the Mockingjay — in this virtually faithful adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s novel.

It picks up exactly where Catching Fire left off and in the process very cleverly explores the spin, manipulations and propaganda of war. It is compelling to watch how the rebellious Katniss is made camera-ready to star in propaganda videos to rally the rebels in other districts.

The transformation is carried out under the watchful eyes of the mysterious leader of District 13, President Coin (Julianne Moore), along with former Head Gamemaker and now one of the masterminds of the rebellion Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his final role).

They are aided by Katniss’s determination to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) who is being tortured and possibly brainwashed by President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Lawrence is statuesque and awe-inspiring as Katniss as she obliterates her young counterparts on the screen. Her emotional transformation is extraordinary and moving.

Under Francis Lawrence’s skilled direction, this is a much darker and more menacing sequel in which the politics are even more riveting than the games themselves. Unfortunately we will have to wait till next year for what should be a nail-biting conclusion.

Snow bunting, firecrests in Wales


This video is about snow buntings wintering in Norfolk, England.

RSPB Conwy nature reserve in Wales reports on Twitter that today, they have seen a snow bunting there.

This video is called BTO Bird ID – Goldcrest & Firecrest.

They have seen two firecrests as well.

Varied thrush invasion in California


This is a varied thrush video from the USA.

From KPCC in the USA:

‘Invasion’ of rare varied thrush birds in Southern California

Sanden Totten

November 20 2014

A rare and striking bird is showing up in large numbers in Southern California.

It’s called the varied thrush (Ixoreus naevius) and it has deep yellow and black stripes with patches of white on its underside. Normally, this species lives in the Pacific Northwest and travels no further south than San Francisco. For some reason, this year is different.

“It’s turning up in all these parks and just flying overhead and people are seeing it in all these weird places,” said Dan Cooper, an L.A. based biologist and birder watcher. In addition to it’s eye catching color, the varied thrush also has a distinct bird call that sounds almost like a tea kettle whistling.

Dan Cooper’s been carrying his binoculars with him in hopes of spotting the bird during this unusual “invasion,” as he called to it. Kimball Garrett, the ornithology collections manager at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, said in previous years bird watchers would be lucky to see one or two varied thrush around L.A. This year he says there are dozens.

Garrett isn’t sure what’s driving them south. It might be due to a lack of food in their native region, or perhaps a varied thrush baby boom is forcing the population to spread out. Either way, the thrush isn’t expected to upset the ecosystem of native birds. And for birders, it’s a great chance to see a neat bird without traveling north.