Euro Birdwatch 2010

This is a video from the film Travelling Birds.

The Dutch ornithology organization BirdLife in the Netherlands reports about Euro Birdwatch 2010 in the Netherlands.

Among the rare species counted today were 18 Lapland buntings, 13 red kites, 1 Cetti’s warbler, 1 cuckoo. Also, in the interior, 28 dunlin, a species normally only seen along the coast.

The top ten of species during the migration of this day:

1. Starling 50.196
2. Lapwing 33.353
3. Song thrush 18.982
4. Black-headed gull 17.582
5. Chaffinch 15.504
6. Meadow pipit 9.989
7. Barn swallow 6.471
8. Gray lag goose 5.968
9. Golden plover 4.383
10. Wood pigeon 3.689

A more complete report for the Netherlands on 2 October 2011 is here.

December 2010: Ninety nine per cent of West Country farms are now home to [barn] swallows. That’s the finding of this year’s RSPB run Volunteer & Farmer Alliance (V&FA), a unique survey that twins keen birdwatchers with landowners to find out more about birds on the region’s farms: here.

Black kites are a raptor variety that lives on multiple continents, and like several other varieties of bird (including the crafty bowerbirds), they’re avid decorators. For whatever reason, these black kites are terribly fond of white plastic, and the birds use these bits of our refuse to decorate their nests. Scientists who studied these birds in Spain report in Science this week that there is a meaning—and a strict honesty—to the decoration scheme: here.


Statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III discovered

This video says about itself:

During the reign of Amenhotep III, Egypt was the center for culture and learning in the ancient world. Egypt had reached dizzying heights, but it stood on the brink of a devastating fall. Amenhotep III’s son and successor, Amenophis IV, took the throne by storm, changed his name to Akhenaten and announced that the old gods of Egypt were dead. He moved his entire court and thousands of followers to the new capital city of Armana. By his side was Queen Nefertiti. Obsessed by his new religion, he lost sight of the empire. When Nefertiti died, his world fell apart. Akhenaten’s successor, Tutankhamun, was only 10 years old when he took the throne. By the time he was 19, all traces of Akhenaten and Nefertiti had been erased. With his death came the end of the great dynasty of the empire builders.

From the blog of archaeologist Zahi Hawass in Egypt:

New statue of Amenhotep III uncovered!

The upper part of a double limestone statue of king Amenhotep III (1410-1372 BC) was unearthed at Kom El-Hittan in the west bank of Luxor. Kom el-Hittan is the site of the temple of Amenhotep III, which was once the largest temple on Luxor’s west bank. The temple originally had two entrances: one on the eastern side where the Colossi of Memnon reside, and one at the northern side, where the double statue was located. The statue was found during a routine excavation carried out by an Egyptian team of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosny reported that the statue depicts Amenhotep III seated on a throne accompanied by the Theban god, Amun. The king wears the double crown of Egypt, which is decorated with a uraeus.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the SCA, remarked that the statue is one of the best new finds in the area because of its expert craftsmanship, which reflect the skills of the ancient Egyptian artisans. Dr. Hawass pointed out that King Amenhotep III is well known thanks to the overwhelming amount of statuary, which feature him in groupings with different deities, such as Amun-Re, Re-Horakhti, Bastet and Sobek. The latter statue is now a masterpiece of the Luxor museum.

Since this new find is the third of such double statues to be discovered at the site of Kom el-Hittan, it is possible that a large cache for King Amenhotep III’s statuary may have been buried in the area.

See also here.

Update February 2012: here.

Sarkozy’s racism continues

This video from the USA says about itself:

In 1984 American Romanies demonstrated in Washington to protest the exclusion of our representation … on the US Holocaust Memorial Council. President Reagan made our first appointment in 1987, but in 2002 it was taken away by the Bush administration. Once again Romanies have been denied recognition of their history in the Holocaust.

From Al Jazeera:

France to take Roma fingerprints

Despite criticism over its Roma deportations, France is moving to prevent those who leave the country from returning.

Yasmine Ryan

Last Modified: 02 Oct 2010 15:27 GMT

French authorities will soon take the fingerprints of Roma and other migrants, in an attempt to discourage them from coming back to France after being expelled.

Martine Rodier, head of the ministry of immigration and integration, made the announcement on Friday, two days after the French government had been cautioned by the European Commission for its deportations of European citizens from Bulgaria and Romania.

The immigration law being debated in the National Assembly is part of a wave of anti-democratic measures by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is responding to rising social discontent with appeals to the neo-fascist vote: here.

Deportations of Roma challenged in Danish court: here.

Mass bird migration in the Netherlands

This video from the USA is called Newark Museum official – Skies Alive: Bird Migration in the Garden State.

Translated from Natuurmonumenten in the Netherlands:

Last Monday at around 11:01 a.m., a spectacular arrival of migratory birds from Scandinavia began in the Zwanenwater.

In the Zwanenwater, a dune area near Callantsoog, migratory birds are caught every year for scientific research. This year began quietly, in the early morning there were few birds.

After 11 hours, however, thousands of birds came from the sea. Song thrushes, robins, siskins, bramblings [see also here and here] and many other species landed in the rain in the dunes. There, in total, on Monday 77 birds and on Tuesday more than 100 birds were provided with a ring of the Arnhem bird migration station.


These birds generally depart in the evening from the southern tip of Norway to the North Sea to fly to southern Europe. Today, however, the rain forced them to land earlier. Their ultimate goal is the Mediterranean, where they will remain throughout the winter.

Redwing migration to the Netherlands has started: here.

On Vlieland today, a Western Bonelli’s Warbler.