Irish bird news


This video from the USA is called American Wigeon.

From a Rare Bird Network Twitter message about Ireland:

County Donegal: AMERICAN WIGEON 1 drake today at Inishowen Peninsula. At Culdaff Estuary (10:55am).

Belfast Islamophobe is not welcome in Wales


This video is called Islamophobia and Antisemitism: Same message, different minority.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Preacher of hate flees Welsh tour

Tuesday 7th October 2014

A notorious hate preacher who has labelled Islam “satanic” was run out of Wales at the weekend by anti-racist activists.

Belfast-based Pastor James McConnell had been due to address supporters at a leisure centre in Pontypridd on Sunday as part of a speaking tour.

But he called off the Welsh leg of his hate tour after Unite Against Fascism (UAF) discovered the event was taking place and called a protest outside.

It took just half a dozen committed anti-racist campaigners to make him think twice.

UAF Wales spokesman Jeffrey Hurford said: “We wanted to show that his racism and Islamophobia is not welcome in Wales.

Especially at this time, importing religious hatred is an irresponsible crime.”

Northern Irish police investigates ‘Arabic’ European Union flag


European Union flag

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Ulster resident calls police over ‘Arabic emblem’ that turns out to be EU flag

Police confirm that they investigated misguided complaint against flag flown to mark Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph

Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent

Monday 29 September 2014 20.04 BST

A resident of Rory McIlroy’s hometown in Northern Ireland complained to the police about an EU flag erected to mark Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph because they thought it was an Arabic emblem, it has emerged.

And let us suppose it would have been a real Arabic flag. Would that have been an indicator of crime which police need to investigate?

The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed on Monday evening that they had to investigate a complaint against the yellow stars and blue background of the EU banner in Holywood, County Down.

The man who put up the EU flag, to celebrate Europe defeating the United States at Gleneagles, revealed on Facebook earlier on Monday that two police officers turned up at his door in the town now synonymous with McIlroy.

He posted on Facebook: “Right in shock here. Had a Ryder Cup party yesterday and just had the police round … as apparently it’s caused offence.

“Apparently person who complained thought it was an Arabic flag.”

The PSNI said its officers had become involved following the complaint.

A PSNI spokesman said: “Police in Holywood attended an address in the Woodlands area yesterday following the report from a member of the public that a flag they believed to be offensive had been erected. Police attended and no offence was detected.”

The EU flag-waving golf fan at the centre of the investigation did not want to be named but described the complaint as crazy. He said he told the PSNI at his house that the flag was flying in honour of the European golf team and particularly Ulster golfing stars McIlory and Graeme McDowell.

Local councillor for the non-sectarian Alliance party and former North Down mayor Andrew Muir said the complaint should be placed in the category of “you couldn’t make it up” stories.

Muir said: “It’s rather depressing that we would be focused upon flags. People are entitled to fly whatever legal flag they want from their house and in Northern Ireland we need to be able to celebrate our success and the European flag is an open, inclusive symbol of Europe coming together.”

The flying of flags is a contentious issue in Northern Ireland, none more so than in Belfast. For the last two years there have been Ulster loyalist protests at the gates of Belfast City Hall because the local council voted to restrict the flying of the union flag.

Until the end of 2012 Belfast city council flew the union flag atop the dome of City Hall 365 days per year. Nationalist and republican councillors tried to ban the flying of the flag entirely but a compromise was hit upon whereby the red, white and blue would be flown on 18 designated days including the Queen’s two birthdays.

Protests in the months just after the flag policy changed resulted in riots and dozens of arrests.

Humpback whales near Ireland


This video is called Humpback Whale Shows AMAZING Appreciation After Being Freed From Nets.

On 26 September 2014 at 9:00, there were at least five, maybe six, humpback whales near Clogher Head, Slea Head Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland.

Details are here.

Shrew and vole research on Texel island


This video says about itself:

Alien Invader: Greater White-toothed Shrew in Ireland

10 May 2009

This is the Greater White-toothed Shrew, an invasive alien species to Ireland.

It was first recorded in this country when skulls of this beast were found in regurgitated Barn Owl pellets in County Tipperary in the winter of 2007/2008. It is a native of the European Continent and North Africa. It has not yet been proven how this species came to be here, though it may have first arrived in 2001.

The arrival of this shrew is only the third accidental mammalian introduction event to Ireland in the last 60 years: Bank Voles from Germany came into Kerry in heavy equipment imported into the country by Siemens when they built the Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric power station on the River Shannon in the 1930s, though their presence was not noticed until August 1964; in 1951 commercial farming of American Mink began in Ireland and escaped animals managed to establish themselves in the wild. Both have used water-courses to spread across the country, and while the vole appears to have been a harmless introduction, the mink is a nuisance for fisheries and can be a problem for rare ground nesting waterbirds and people who keep poultry.

This toothy little fella was trapped for filming for a wildlife programme on invasive species in Ireland (broadcast on TG4 in late 2008). He was placed in this terrarium for filming purposes on the edge of the County Tipperary wood where he was trapped, and I slotted in beside the cameraman to take these shots, which admittedly are not great. The shrew was released immediately afterwards and no harm came to it.

Ecomare museum on Texel in the Netherlands reports today about small mammals research in the Krimbos woodland in the north of the island.

The greater white-toothed shrew was found there.

So were three vole species: tundra vole; bank vole; and field vole.

See also here.