Sand martins returning to British quarry sites

This is a video about a sand martin colony in Sweden.

From BirdLife:

Sand Martins return to CEMEX quarry homes

By Rebecca Langer, Wed, 09/04/2014 – 07:52


As spring arrives Sand Martins are making their way from sub Saharan Africa to the UK in their annual migratory journey. Thanks to efforts beginning last year in the 2013 Sand Martin Awareness campaign, this year they will be returning to CEMEX quarry sites that have been specially prepared for their arrival.

In 2013 approximately 200 birds made the journey to the Berkswell quarry where they found ideal nesting conditions. After their long migration, Sand Martins love finding steep-faced sandy banks where they can dig nest holes, sometimes up to 1m deep, which help protect them from predators. The quarries are also home to many insects which provide the necessary nourishment the Sand Martins look forward to after their tiring trip.

This year, CEMEX is striving to build on last year’s campaign and provide an even more hospitable habitat for their returning guests. For 2014, the plan is for all quarries to have a specially prepared sand bank sensitively located such that day to day operations won’t disturb them.

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Norwegian murderer Breivik’s victims remembered by Swedish artist

This 2012 video is called One year on: Norway remembers Anders Behring Breivik’s victims.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Wounded landscape: how Norway is remembering its 2011 Utøya massacre

Artist Jonas Dahlberg has been chosen to create three memorials, one of which cuts a 3.5m slit in the landscape, to remember the victims of Anders Behring Breivik

Cameron Robertson

Thursday 6 March 2014 11.28 GMT

A Swedish artist has been selected to create official memorials at the sites of the 2011 Norwegian massacres carried out by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik.

The competition, called Memorial Sites After 22 July, was won by Jonas Dahlberg, who will create three artworks at a cost of 27m Norwegian kroner (£2.7m) to the government in Oslo.

This video is about Zoetrope, a Jonas Dahlberg sculpture.

The most striking memorial is called Memory Wound. The 43-year-old artist has sliced a three-and-a-half-metre-wide slit into the Sørbråten peninsula, which faces the island of Utøya where Breivik killed 69 people. It marks a “symbolic wound” in the landscape.

One hundred cubic metres of the stone cut from Sørbråten will be transferred to the governmental quarter in Oslo, where another memorial will mark the spot where a car bomb was detonated by Breivik that resulted in eight deaths.

A temporary pathway in the capital, between Grubbegata and Deichmanske library, will also be made by Dahlberg, who will later take trees from Sørbråten to create a permanent amphitheatre in the government quarter called Time and Movement.

Breivik, now serving a 21-year prison sentence, told an Oslo court in 2012 that his victims – many of whom were teenagers attending the Labour party’s annual summer camp – were facilitating the “Islamisation of Norway”.

The jury for the competition, who reached a unanimous decision, included representatives of the Labour party and victim support groups. Dahlberg beat 300 other entries, including former Turner prize winner Jeremy Deller. Two memorials will be unveiled on 22 July 2015 – the fourth anniversary of the attacks – with the amphitheatre to come at a later date.

“It is a big responsibility and in many ways the most important work I have done,” Dahlberg told the Guardian. “I was already honoured to be considered when I was invited to be in the competition, so to have won now is a bit hard to grasp.”

The Swedish artist, who lives and works in Stockholm, said he hoped the memorial would provide a state of reflection through its “poetic rupture”. He said: “It should be difficult to see the inherent beauty of the setting, without also experiencing a sense of loss. It is this sense of loss that will physically activate the site.”

The headland of the Sørbråten memorial will be engraved with names of all the victims; visitors will be able to read them but not reach to touch them. “People will find their own way through the landscape around the cut,” said Dahlberg, “looking down at the channel and at the victims’ names from high up, or looking out to Utøya, establishing their own private ways of seeing and remembering.”

Mari Aaby West of the Norwegian Labour party youth league and John Hestnes, of the national support group for victims of the 22 July attacks, had passed on positive feedback from victims’ families who had viewed the designs, said Dahlberg, who did not speak directly to the relatives.

A statement from the jury for Public Art Norway, which included West and Hestnes, said Dahlberg’s idea to make a physical incision in the landscape stood like a “symbolic wound”.

It said: “The void that is created evokes the sense of sudden loss combined with the long-term missing and remembrance of those who perished. The proposal is radical and brave, and evokes the tragic events in a physical and direct manner.”

Designs for two memorials in the government quarter are not finalised, but Dahlberg explained his temporary pathway would lie beside an existing walkway, taking pedestrians off their usual path.

“The design physically relates to the interruption that occurred in the everyday life flow of Norwegian society,” he said. “Yet it is indeed everyday life that must carry on.”

Breivik received the maximum sentence available under Norwegian law. His prison term will be reviewed every two years after he completes a decade in jail.

Britain: Legoland forced to close after far-right extremists target proposed Muslim fun day booked by radical cleric (even though it was cancelled): here.

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Scottish corn bunting news

This video says about itself:

A portrait of a Corn Bunting family (Miliaria calandra)

Canon XL2 and Sigma 50-500 mm lens. Filmed in Falkenberg, Sweden, July 2010. Foto Karl-David Arvidsson.

From Wildlife Extra:

Corn buntings saved by Scottish farmers

February 2014: Numbers of Corn buntings could increase if there is a change in farming methods in line with a trial that has been running north of the border, say RSPB Scotland. Corn buntings used to be widespread throughout Europe, but are now one of the fastest declining farmland birds with just 800 singing males left in Scotland.

Most commonly associated with cereal cultivation, corn buntings would once have bred in hay meadows too, however intensification of farming, particularly a move to earlier mowing, has made this impossible across large parts of northwest Europe.

In northeast Scotland, silage and hay cuts remain late enough for birds to make nests in these fields. In fact, over the five year study, more than half of the nests started in May and June were in hay meadows. Sadly, more than two-thirds of these were then lost during June and July mowing.

Therefore RSPB organised a trial where 19 farms across Aberdeenshire and Inverness-shire delayed their mowing until August 1. This delay made huge changes, as less than five per cent of nests in meadows were lost, and overall breeding success increased by 20 per cent.

David Taylor, of Cauldwells farm in Aberdeenshire, who took part in the trial said: “I have been managing parts of my farm to benefit wildlife since 2002. Corn buntings certainly like the late cut grass and their jangling songs can be heard most summer mornings. I have had to make a compromise in grass quality, but this is just about compensated by the payment rate. Along with the other options, this wildlife friendly farming seems to be making a difference and long may it continue.”

Allan Perkins, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: “This project was a great partnership between the RSPB and local farmers to develop an agri-environment option that delivers real benefits for birds and also works for farmers. By selecting this management option in future schemes, I’m sure that farmers in northeast Scotland will help to halt the decline of this fabulous farmland bird.”

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Rare great grey owl in the Netherlands

This video from Sweden is called Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa).

The northern hawk-owl is still present today in Zwolle, the Netherlands.

More to the south, in Zetten, today there was another rare owl species from northern Europe.

Birder Mieke van den Brandhof saw this great grey owl. Her photos are here.

Great grey owl photos from Canada: here.

Redwings and great spotted woodpecker

This is a video about a singing redwing in Sweden.

Today, to the cemetery. On a tree, a great spotted woodpecker; and a jay.

In the far end of the cemetery, nuthatch and greenfinch sounds.

As we walked back, a carrion crow in a tree. Next to it, a redwing. On a branch a bit further, two other redwings.

First, the crow flew away. Then, one redwing. Then, another redwing. Finally, the last redwing.

Another rare owl in the Netherlands

This video from Sweden says about itself:

Pygmy-Owl x2 (Glaucidium passerinum)

31 Aug 2011

The two Pygmy owls that we ringed this morning (31/8-11) and the release of them both.

In Sweden, pygmy owls are not very rare. However, in the Netherlands they are.

This afternoon, near Deventer town in Overijssel province in the Netherlands, a report about a pygmy owl in a treetop.

Meanwhile, the northern hawk-owl is still in Zwolle. It still attracts scores of birdwatchers.

This is a video from 7 December 2013 about the Zwolle owl.