Scottish peace activists commemorate World War I dead


This video from Britain says about itself:

No Glory: The Real History Of World War 1

11 April 2014

Historian Neil Faulkner on the First World War and how political leaders like David Cameron and Michael Gove are trying to rehabillitate as a “just and noble” cause, with the intention of justifying today’s wars.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Glasgow vigil marks WWI centenary

Friday 1st August 2014

GLASGOW peace activists will defy Tory cheerleading today with a vigil marking a century since the disastrous outbreak of World War I.

PM David Cameron has notoriously described the planned ceremonies as “like the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

But Alternative World War I Commemoration Committee chairwoman Isobel Lindsay branded the government’s celebratory tone as “deplorable” in light of the more than one million soldiers killed from Commonwealth nations alone.

“On August 4 Glasgow cathedral will host Commonwealth leaders in commemorating the start of a disastrous war that laid the grounds for the second world war and many of the current problems in the Middle East,” she said.

“This was a failure of statesmanship that sacrificed young lives — not for ‘the war to end wars’ but for a brutal struggle that wasted massive resources and created further violence and instability.”

A six-hour vigil outside Glasgow Cathedral is set to start at 10am.

Scottish ravens renovate their nest, video


This video from Scotland says about itself:

Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve

Ravens nest early, and are usually sitting on eggs by late February or mid-March at the latest. The onset of laying tends to be related to distance north and/or an increase in altitude. As the Grey Mare’s Tail Ravens nest at 650 metres altitude they usually start laying around the middle of March; so late for Ravens but still very early compared to most British bird species.

This footage was shot on March 10th 2014 as our pair of Ravens completed their annual nest renovation, and just days away from the female laying her first egg.

All footage was filmed and edited by the Grey Mare’s Tail Ranger Service.

More videos about this ravens’ nest are here.

Scottish rainbow flags during Commonwealth Games


This video from the USA says about itself:

Lawmaker Proposes LGBT Rainbow Flag Ban in Louisiana

19 July 2013

Andy Naquin, a Republican City-Parish Councilman in Lafayette, Louisiana has proposed a bill that would ban the LGBT rainbow flag.

By Peter Lazenby:

Scotland shows true colours-with solidarity rainbow flag

Wednesday 23rd July 2014

Gesture highlights Commonwealth persecution of LGBT people

THE rainbow flag is be flown on buildings across Scotland in solidarity with persecuted LGBT people in Commonwealth countries.

Trade union offices in Glasgow will fly the flag for the duration of the Commonwealth games, which start today.

The Scottish government will also fly the rainbow flag outside St Andrew’s House for the first time in its history, alongside those of the Commonwealth and Scotland.

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said: “By flying the rainbow flag, the international symbol of LGBT equality, we aim to recognise the human rights of LGBT people and celebrate the distance that Scotland has come in promoting equality.”

He said the campaign offers a message of hope to LGBT people and a rejection of the anti-homosexuality laws that still exist in 80 per cent of Commonwealth nations.

Forty-two out of 53 Commonwealth countries criminalise homosexuality and LGBT people are at risk of death, imprisonment, harassment and degrading treatment.

“This is simply unacceptable and it is right that we should use our Commonwealth Games to raise awareness and promote a more positive vision of the future for a persecuted minority,” added Mr Smith.

Several councils have also pledged to fly the rainbow flag throughout the campaign.

The public is also being encouraged to support the campaign by sharing images using the hashtag #gamespride on social media site Twitter.

Commonwealth Games cabinet secretary Shona Robison said: “It’s important we reinforce our strong support for and commitment to progressing equality and human rights issues.”

See also here.

Nelson Mandela remembered in Scotland


This video is called Nelson Mandela‘s first TV interview in 1961 by ITN reporter Brian Widlake.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Mandela‘s granddaughter thanks Glaswegian supporters

Saturday 19th July 2014

NELSON Mandela’s granddaughter had a simple message for Glaswegians yesterday as Scotland marked the late statesman’s birthday — thank you.

Tukwini Mandela last night led a Mandela Day remembrance ceremony on Glasgow’s Nelson Mandela Place, pointedly renamed in 1988 to the annoyance of South African consulate staff who worked there.

Ms Mandela told reporters that it was a bittersweet anniversary.

But she was grateful to the people of Glasgow: “I know that Glasgow was one of the first cities that awarded my grandfather the keys to the city.

“It galvanised a lot of the European cities to pay attention to what was going on in South Africa,” she said.

The icon of black liberation spent nearly three decades as a political prisoner under South Africa’s white supremacist regime before international solidarity campaigns forced his release.

Glasgow’s decision to grant “the freedom of the city” in 1981 brought vilification in the Establishment press, portraying the gesture as consorting with a terrorist.

But Dundee and Aberdeen soon followed suit and by 1990 the Establishment press was hailing his release as the end of a repressive era.

‘Israel supported Mandela, ANC in 1960s, but stopped doing so in 1970s': here.

Golden eagles in southern Scotland


This video from Canada says about itself:

16 August 2011

Birds of prey expert John Campbell teaches his nephew to put an identifying band on a golden eagle chick. Close up and personal views of the nest, its reluctant inhabitant, and the birds’ food sources. Spectacular views of Southern Alberta. The banding is part of a program to protect the species. The band goes on fairly tightly because the birds’ legs don’t grow further in diameter as the bird grows.

From Wildlife Extra:

Golden eagles could return to southern Scotland

Improvements to habitats in the south of Scotland could lead the area to become a stronghold for golden eagles.

A study carried out by the Scottish Natural Heritage showed that the area could potentially support up to 16 pairs, almost four times the present number.

At the moment there are thought to be no more than one or two pairs in Galloway and no more than three in the Scottish Borders.

Prof Des Thompson of SNH, who led the research, told the BBC “We would now like to see on-the-ground, practical work to improve the habitat for golden eagles in the south of Scotland.

“With habitat improvements, we could see connections with the small reintroduced population in Ireland. This would help both groups of eagles and could even help bolster the population in the north of England.”

Duncan Orr-Ewing, RSPB Scotland Head of Species and Land Management, said: “These magnificent birds should be given every opportunity to recover and reoccupy lost range, and must be protected in practice from the effects of human persecution, which remains a significant threat to this species, and in particular to this perilously small and isolated population.”

The total number of golden eagles in Scotland is 440 pairs, with most of the birds found in the Highlands and Islands.

100th young osprey fledges in Loch Garten, Scotland


This video from Scotland is called RSPB Loch Garten Osprey Highlights 2013.

From Wildlife Extra:

Osprey 100 takes off from Loch Garten

The 100th osprey to fledge from Loch Garten Osprey Centre in the Scottish Highlands has taken to the air after days of vigorous flapping to strengthen her flight muscles.

Millicent, the name RSPB staff gave the fledgling, didn’t venture very far for her first flight said Richard Thaxton, RSPB Scotland Osprey Centre Manager.

“She just circled around the nest before alighting in the adjacent dead tree just a matter of metres away. It was huge relief to see both her first take off and first landing completed successfully.”

Millicent’s two siblings, Seasca and Druie are expected to follow suit in the coming days. The young ospreys will spend the next month in or around the nest area until they depart on an annual migration to wintering grounds in Africa.

Ospreys first returned to breed in Scotland 60 years ago following extinction due to egg collectors and other forms of persecution. The first pair to return nested at the nature reserve and the site has been used by ospreys ever since.

Richard said: “It was a magical moment to see Millicent airborne for the first time. It happens every year of course but this time it was particularly special, as she is the 100th chick to fledge from the nest since the birds first returned in the late 1950s.

“It is a magnificent milestone in the huge conservation success story for Scotland. It was a proud moment for all involved in the project, both past & present.”

Keen osprey watchers can keep up to date with all the action in the nest via a live webcam and regular blog updates from Osprey Centre staff.

New Scottish wildcat sanctuary


This video says about itself:

14 October 2010

Two Scottish wildcat kittens have been filmed by a BBC crew.

The notoriously shy animals were filmed at night in the highlands of Scotland.

One of the kittens had an unusual black coat, suggesting that it could have been an incredibly rare dark or “melanistic” genetic form.

From Wildlife Extra:

Scottish wildcat sanctuary created on west coast

A Scottish wildcat sanctuary has been created on the Ardnamurchan and Sunart peninsula on Scotland’s west coast in a bid to save the endangered species, which experts believe could number as few as 35.

The species is threatened from hybridising with domestic cats and to help alleviate this threat all domestic and feral cats in the area have been neutered during the last five years.

This is thought to be the first time feral cats have been managed in such a large mainland area anywhere in the world.

“Cats of any kind are notoriously difficult to survey,” said the project scientific adviser, Dr Paul O’Donoghue, of the University of Chester.

“However over the last six months we’ve really saturated the area with live traps, cameras, vets and ecologists, and had lots of people from the local community out looking as well.”

“The only feral cats seen have already been neutered, which means the population should collapse naturally within the next couple of years.”

This is thought to be the first time feral cats have been managed in such a large mainland area anywhere in the world.

The wildcats of Ardnamurchan, which could number fewer than 10, will be trapped and DNA tested to check they are pure breds. If they are, they will be left to thrive and monitored. However if DNA proves the population turns out to be made up of hybrids pure wildcats could be brought to Ardnamurchan from areas of Scotland.

Dr O’Donoghue said: “Our goal is to establish populations of genetically-pure wildcats. We are determined not to settle for second best or to settle for a bunch of tabbies that bear a resemblance to wildcats.

Protecting anything less than the pure Scottish wildcat will condemn the species to extinction. The behaviour of feral cats and pure wildcats is very different. Scotland’s ecology needs the true wildcat and, outside of a wildlife park enclosure, this is the only place in the UK where they are safe from hybridisation.”

Good Scottish puffin news


This video is about puffins in Iceland.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Scotland’s threatened puffins have successful breeding season

After years of poor summers, birds have had good season and pufflings are ready to take wing, say experts

Alexandra Topping

Sunday 13 July 2014 15.35 BST

After several poor summers for Scotland‘s puffins, the “clowns of the sea” are gearing up to leave the country after a good breeding season, experts have said.

Changes to habitat and food brought on by climate change have created difficult conditions for breeding puffins in recent years, but early indications show that Scotland has enjoyed a positive breeding season, according to the Scottish Seabird Centre.

With pufflings now hatched and ready to take wing, visitors to Scotland have only a few weeks left before the birds – who come to Scottish islands including May, Craigleith, Fidre and Shetland – leave Britain’s northern shores in August, said the chief executive, Tom Brock.

The brightly beaked birds – which stay with the same breeding partner for life and return year upon year to the same nests – arrive in Scotland from mid-March to breed. After mating the female puffin lays one egg which is incubated by both the male and female. Pufflings are strong enough to leave the burrow after four or five weeks, and will take flight with the rest of their colony in August.

“It looks like it has been a good breeding season for puffins,” said Brock. “They have had lots of problems in the last few years with climate change, lack of food and winter storms but early indications are that it’s going to be a good breeding season for them.”