Damselflies and birds

Today, to Jagtlust nature reserve.

Alehoof and white deadnettle flowers.

A great cormorant flying past. Two buzzards circling in the air.

Barn swallows. A starling in a tree.

Large red damselfly

A love tandem of large red damselflies, sitting on leaves of a rhododendron, growing on a ditch bank in Schoonoord.

A willow tit.

Later, in Hilverbeek, a pondskater.

Wildlife discoveries on Western Australian islands

This video is called Explore the Kimberley, Western Australia.

From Wildlife Extra:

Western Australia’s coastal islands survey reveals surprising biodiversity & 27 new species of snail – Possible solution to Cane toad problem

30/04/2009 10:48:11

Survey reveals natural treasures of the Kimberley Islands

April 2009. An ambitious survey is revealing extraordinary details about the fauna, flora and ecology of the islands along the Kimberley coast in the hope they could play a key role in the conservation of the region’s native plants and animals.

Western Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) biologists are conducting a comprehensive biological survey of selected islands off the north Kimberley coast, focusing on fauna that is likely to be affected by cane toads and other mainland threats.

The survey team has completed two dry season and wet season surveys on 13 islands from Sir Graham Moore Island in the north to Augustus Island in the south, with a further survey of nine islands planned for this dry season.

Rich in frogs and snakes

DEC senior research scientist Lesley Gibson said the survey has so far revealed the presence of additional island populations of many animals, particularly snakes and frogs, and has more than doubled the species lists for most of the islands visited.

Northern quoll – Agile wallabyMerten’s water monitor

“We recorded a northern quoll on Adolphus Island, which is a significant record as this species has dramatically declined on the adjacent East Kimberley mainland,” Dr Gibson said.

The agile wallaby on Adolphus Island and Merten’s water monitor on Augustus Island were also recorded for the first time on Western Australian islands.

27 new species of snail – 1 new genus

About 63 species of land snails were also collected, with at least 27 undescribed species and one new genus found.

Dr Gibson said that while the mainland had been impacted by various threatening processes, the islands were largely protected. She added “Biodiversity on the mainland Kimberley is under threat from extensive dry season wildfires, feral animals, weeds, soil erosion and the imminent invasion of the cane toad. The islands support populations of plant and animal communities that are in relatively good condition and hence have high conservation value, but little was known before this survey about what plant and animal species occur on the islands.

Safe havens

“The survey is being conducted in the hope that intact ecosystems can be conserved and that in the future the islands could provide a safe haven for threatened species from the mainland. The survey is also contributing to the State Government’s $9 million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy by providing fundamental biodiversity information on the islands off the Kimberley coast.”

In an innovative effort to save endangered quolls from extinction, University of Sydney biological scientist Stephanie O’Donnell is feeding them poisonous cane toad sausages: here.

The tiger quoll is an adorable, carnivorous marsupial, sort of like an extra-cute Tasmanian devil with spots. Like most of the other weird marsupials, they’re only found in Australia, and they’ve been increasingly hard to find in the wild. In the Otway Ranges in southwestern Victoria, there hadn’t been a confirmed quoll sighting in more than 10 years — until last month, when a local homeowner saw one poop outside his laundry room: here.

Bush, the Iraq war, and media sycophants

This video from the USA is about the Iraq war.

From Greg Mitchell’s blog in the USA:

On 6th Anniversary of ‘Mission Accomplished‘ — How the Media Blew It

On May 1, 2003, Richard Perle advised, in a USA Today Op-Ed, “Relax, Celebrate Victory.” The same day, exactly six years ago, President Bush, dressed in a flight suit, landed on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and declared an end to major military operations in Iraq — with the now-infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner arrayed behind him in the war’s greatest photo op.

Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a “hero” and boomed, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.” He added: “Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple.”

PBS’ Gwen Ifill said Bush was “part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan.” On NBC, Brian Williams gushed, “The pictures were beautiful. It was quite something to see the first-ever American president on a — on a carrier landing.”

Bob Schieffer on CBS said: “As far as I’m concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time.” His guest, Joe Klein, responded: “Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me.”

Everyone agreed the Democrats and antiwar critics were now on the run.

When Bush’s jet landed on an aircraft carrier, American casualties stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded. Now…well, you know. Ironically, three more Americans were reported killed today for the anniversary — a bad day for 2009, to be sure.

The following (a revised version of a chapter in my 2008 book on Iraq and the media, So Wrong for So Long) looks at how one newspaper — it happens to be The New York Times — covered the Bush declaration and its immediate aftermath. One snippet: “The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.”

Robert Fisk’s World: Right to the very end in Iraq, our masters denied us the truth: here.

Commute Iraq death sentences – urges Amnesty: here.