White-winged black terns in the Netherlands


This video is called White-winged Terns (Chlidonias leucopterus) in Belarus 2013.

The Dutch SOVON ornithologists report that this year quite some white-winged black terns have been seen in the Netherlands.

This species used to be considered a rare vagrant in western Europe. However, in 2007 over 1000 white-winged black terns passed the Netherlands on their spring migration to their nesting grounds, in Poland and still further to the east. And four couples stayed to nest in the Netherlands.

What will happen this year? It is still too early to say.

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Anti-Polish xenophobic crime in Northern Ireland


This is a video about Combat 18, a British neo-nazi terrorist organisation responsible for much violence in Northern Ireland.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Poland’s envoy concerned by attacks on Polish families in east Belfast

Jerome Mullan to hold talks with Police Service of Northern Ireland over rise in assaults and hate crimes

Henry McDonald

Monday 5 May 2014 20.07 BST

Poland‘s diplomatic representative to Northern Ireland has expressed concern over a spike in xenophobic attacks on Polish families in Belfast.

The Polish consul is to hold talks with the Police Service of Northern Ireland on Tuesday over the rise in assaults and hate crimes directed at the Polish population in the city. Three homes where Polish families lived were attacked in east Belfast over the weekend with windows smashed and graffiti sprayed on hoardings with the words “locals only”.

The PSNI has blamed the Ulster Volunteer Force for orchestrating the attacks which have also been directed at Africans and Romanians in recent months.

According to police figures there has been a 40% in increase in race and hate crimes in the region but mainly focused on greater Belfast.

In response the PSNI has set up Operation Orion, a new police unit that will target those behind hate crimes.

Jerome Mullan, the Polish consul, condemned those responsible for the attacks.

“The families are frightened and they don’t understand why this has happened to them I’m concerned about where we are going and we have to get it stopped,” he said.

“It is very sad when you have these continued attacks taking place, they’ve been going on for far too long now.”

Polish community worker Eva Grossman said: “Yet again Northern Ireland is gaining the reputation as the hate crime capital of Europe.”

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Saving birds in Europe


This video from Lithuania is called Globally threatened Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) in Nemunas Delta in 2012. It says about itself:

4 June 2013

Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) is the only globally threatened passerine bird found in mainland Europe.

Lithuania is among eight countries worldwide with suitable breeding habitats for this rare species. From 2011 it is breeding only in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. In 2012 63-64 singing males were found in Lithuania.

Aquatic Warbler is a habitat specialist occurring mainly in open sedge fen mires and marshy habitats. Today it is facing extinction due to an increasingly abandoned farmland or transformation of meadows into a grazing land. Therefore its conservation is closely linked to sustainable farming practices.

Video recording made with special permission from Lithuanian Environment Protection Agency.

For more info about Aquatic Warbler conservation in Lithuania and Latvia visit www.meldine.lt/en.

From BirdLife:

BirdLife Partners are LIFE masters!

By Elodie Cantaloube, Mon, 28/04/2014 – 15:34

Each year, the European Commission evaluates all completed projects funded through the LIFE programme and this year, 4 out of the 11 Best LIFE Nature projects receiving the award have been implemented by BirdLife partners. Tomorrow, an award ceremony will be held in Brussels where the leading BirdLife Partners, OTOP (Poland), the RSPB (UK), BirdLife Finland, HOS (Greece) and SPEA (Portugal) will receive an award.

Iván Ramírez, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Europe stresses “It is an extremely important recognition for our partnership, 2013 was a difficult year for conservation, but even more for our BirdLife Partners that fought the financial crisis without weakening their conservation objectives. These four awards are just another example of their incredible work.”

OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) joined forces in the “Aquatic Warbler” project aiming to improve the conservation status of the Aquatic Warbler, at the edge of global extinction.

Europe hosts 99% of the global population of the Vulnerable Aquatic Warbler and Poland is a critical habitat for their survival, being its second-largest population stronghold. During the past century, this species experienced a steep decline due to the drainage of its territories for agriculture. The Aquatic Warbler LIFE project, spanning from 2005 to 2011, sought to stabilise populations at key sites (totally 4,200 ha) in Poland and Germany through the enlargement of suitable habitats and improvements to their condition. The project resulted in increasing populations of the bird species and the re-occupation of restored habitats. New management and enforcement plans are now in place and the future of the species is secured thanks to the project “Facilitating Aquatic Warbler habitat management through sustainable systems of biomass use.”

Kokemäenjoki – From Ancient to the Present Estuary, Kokemäenjoki Wetland Chain”, a BirdLife Finland project aiming to restore natural sites on the River Kokemäenjoki.

The purpose of the Kokemäenjoki project, started in 2006 by BirdLife Finland, was to restore five valuable natural sites on the River Kokemäenjoki, including eight Natura 2000 areas. Mowing and excavation were used to prevent overgrowth and preserve the wetlands that were at risk of becoming marshy and overgrown, causing the loss of valuable species. The area was also managed by cultivating and furrowing the reed roots, imitating the effects of being trampled by cattle, which has proven to be very effective at other similar sites. Birdwatching towers and information boards were put up and a number of nature trails were laid to increase awareness of the incredible natural value of the area. Finally, management and land use plans were developed to ensure future sustainable use of the site for both conservation and recreational activities.

BirdLife Greek and Portuguese Partners complete the project “Concrete Conservation Actions for the Mediterranean Shag and Audouin’s gull in Greece”.

This project, run by HOS (BirdLife in Greece) and SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal), focused on improving the conservation status and breeding performance of Audouin’s Gull and Mediterranean Shag, which inhabit the Aegean Sea and Ionian Sea areas of Greece. The project actions addressed the most relevant threats for the conservation of these two species, namely, rat predation, gull competition and commercial fishing activities that cause accidental birdcatch. Specific actions at project sites included the complete removal of all rats from five Natura 2000 sites, the modification of fishing gear and/or fishing regulations to reduce seabird bycatch and the pilot implementation of control measures to reduce Yellow-legged gull populations, a competitor for food and nesting sites. As a parallel result, 41 marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) were identified and will be included in the Greek Natura 2000 network, securing their protection as a necessary step to avoid habitat loss and degradation. The project was of utmost importance for seabird and marine conservation in the Eastern Mediterranean; it improved critical habitats, allowed for better seabird breeding sites and created a model that could be easily repeated by neighboring countries.

SPEA and RSPB receive a second award for the project “Safe Islands for Seabirds”.The Azores islands used to be the home of millions of breeding seabirds, but today most of these colonies have decreased drastically as a result of introduced predators and invasive exotic plant species. Started in 2009 and focusing on Corvo (the smallest of all Azorean islands) and Vila Franca islet, this project worked towards the conservation of seabird colonies in the Azores, through habitat restoration and control and eradication of invasive alien species. It also built the first “pest-proof fence” in Europe, following successful experiences carried out in other remote areas such as the Hawaiian islands and New Zealand. As part of a wider restoration plan, several tests evaluating the chances of making Corvo an alien-free island were also implemented. The future of the pest-free fenced zone will be secured thanks to a management protocol signed into place by SPEA and the local authorities.

For more information, please contact Elodie Cantaloube, Media and Communications Officer at BirdLife Europe.

Scientists confirm worst fears: new EU Policy on Agriculture is bad for nature: here.

Massacre of Poles ‘celebrated’ in ‘new’ Ukraine


This video says about itself:

Polish president egged during visit to Ukraine massacre site

15 July 2013

Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski has been egged during a visit to the site of a 1943 massacre of Poles in Ukraine.

The attack followed a move by the Polish parliament to recognise the massacre by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as “ethnic cleansing bearing the hallmarks of genocide”.

The move upset Ukrainian nationalists who view the UPA as heroes and freedom fighters.

By Sonja Bach in Germany:

Ukrainian nationalists commemorate massacre of Yanova Dolina

2 May 2014

On April 24 Ukrainian nationalists, mostly members of the fascist Right Sector and Svoboda party, commemorated the perpetrators of the massacre of Yanova Dolina.

Seventy-one years ago, 600 Poles were murdered by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in what is now Bazaltovoye. The massacre marked the beginning of ethnic cleansing in what is now western Ukraine, where tens of thousands of Poles were killed within a few months. Today the political successor of the UPA celebrates this mass murder as one of the “greatest victories over the Polish-German occupation.”

From April 1943 until their defeat at the hands of the Red Army in late 1944, the UPA carried out numerous massacres of the Polish population in western Ukraine. Together with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) led by Stepan Bandera, the UPA sought to exploit the retreat of the German army to increase its influence in the provinces of Volhynia (today the region around Lusk) and Eastern Galicia (today the region around Lviv). The aim was to create a bourgeois Ukrainian state, independent from both the Soviet Union and Poland.

The UPA served as a military executive organ of the OUN. It was founded in the spring of 1943 and recruited primarily from Nazi collaborators who were previously active in the SS. The leadership and organization of the massacre of the Poles fell to Dmytro Klyachkivsky, the first commander of the UPA.

Klyachkivsky’s battle cry was, “We should undertake the great action of the liquidation of the Polish element. As the German armies withdraw, we should take advantage of this convenient moment for liquidating the entire male population from the age of 16 up to 60 years. We cannot lose this fight, and it is necessary at all costs to weaken Polish forces. Villages and settlements situated next to the large forests should disappear from the face of the earth.” (Tadeusz Piotrowski, Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn: Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Poles During World War II, p. 180)

In reality the UPA liquidated not just men but the entire population. The massacres began in Yanova Dolina in Volhynia.

The village was constructed in the late 1920s for the workers of a nearby basalt quarry. The population grew rapidly after the opening of the quarry in 1929. In 1939 the population of Yanova Dolina totaled over 2,000 people, 97 percent of whom were Polish.

From 1921 to 1939 Volhynia was part of the Second Republic of Poland. After the invasion of the Red Army in 1939 the region became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The massacre of Yanova Dolina took place on the night of April 22, 1943. UPA soldiers led by Ivan Łytwyńczuk invaded the village and brutally murdered the remaining 600 Poles in the manner of the atrocities carried out by the Nazis. Then the assailants burnt the village to the ground. In the months following, between 40,000 and 60,000 Poles died at the hands of the UPA in Volhynia alone. In Eastern Galicia the total of victims was over 30,000.

Today, two memorials commemorate the massacre of Yanova Dolina. One is dedicated to the Polish victims, while the other boasts of the “blow for freedom struck by the UPA against the Polish-German occupation”. The latter was the scene of the celebration by Svoboda a week ago. This action speaks volumes about the character of the transitional government in Kiev. The regime came to power February 22 as the result of a coup d’état with the help of the paramilitary thugs of the Right Sector and with the support of the West. Three ministries are occupied by leading members of Svoboda.

Both the Polish and German media have failed to report the memorial march for the mass murderers of 1943. Berlin works closely with the Kiev government and helped organize the coup in February. The same applies to Warsaw. Although almost all of the victims of the massacre were Poles the Polish government regards it politically inopportune to protest against the glorification of the killers.

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First hummingbird hawk-moth of spring


This is a hummingbird hawk-moth video from Poland.

The Dutch Butterfly Foundation reports on Twitter that yesterday, 5 March 2014, the first hummingbird hawk-moth of this spring was seen in Breda.

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Little bitterns in Bahrain


This video says about itself:

LITTLE BITTERN eating fish. Sir David Attenborough‘s opinion

6 June 2013

This is a clip from “RHYTHMS OF NATURE IN THE BARYCZ VALLEY” movie.

This film tells the story about nature in the Barycz River valley and enormous Milicz ponds. This area is located in the south-western part of Poland (in the middle of Europe). I and my wife made it for 2 years.

Sir David Attenborough, a world-famous BBC nature documentary film maker, after watching the film “Rhythms of Nature in the Barycz Valley” wrote:

“I have viewed Rhythms of Nature with great pleasure.

A lovely place, beautifully filmed”.

From Birds of Saudi Arabia blog:

15 Jan 2014

Little BitternsAlba Marsh (Bahrain)

Nicole and I ring mainly at a small marsh on the east side of Bahrain. The marsh is less than one kilometre square, possibly half this size and comprises areas of deep water and extensive phragmites reed beds. There are a few scattered tamarix bushes within the marsh and wet areas with muddy edges near the sides. Many areas are too deep to access but we have a small area were it is possible to set nets. Reed cutters come every weekend to cut reeds for their animals and this helps maintain the marsh in a suitable condition to ring as the reeds grow extremely fast and swamp the area in a very short time if not cut.

The marsh is good for typical marsh birds with herons numerous. The Indian Reef Herons and Little Egrets have yet to be caught but we have started to catch a few Little Bitterns. They are relatively common on the marsh and are seen almost every visit, particularly just after first light. Below are photographs of two male Little Bitterns we caught last weekend and photos of a female can be seen in my last post on ringing at the marsh.

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