Red-breasted goose and Bewick’s swans

Today started with singing song thrushes and robins.

Off to Schouwen island (or peninsula, now that causeways link it to other landmasses) in Zealand province.

At the northern end of the Brouwersdam, ten brent geese, herring gulls, and a great black-backed gull.

A bit further, a lone sanderling on a small sandy beach.

Male and female common goldeneyes swimming. More on this species is here.

Many oystercatchers.

A male common scoter.

A red-throated diver.

At the usual seal spot swims a grey seal. Turnstones on the rocks.

In Scharendijke harbour, a great crested grebe and a little grebe swimming.

We continue to the south coast of Schouwen.

In a wetland, mallard, wigeon and shoveler ducks. Many curlews.

On the other side of the road, hundreds of barnacle geese. Also white-fronted geese, and shelducks.

Grey lag geese flying overhead.

A bit further, a few Egyptian geese on a field.

On a meadow a bit further, a special bird. A lone red-breasted goose (see also here) between hundreds of brent and barnacle geese.

In a wetland, thirteen avocets look for food.

Tufted ducks.

Hundreds of curlews and bar-tailed godwits, sometimes flying.

Teal. Male and female pintail ducks.

Two red-breasted mergansers (see also here) flying overhead.

On the dike, common polypody growing.

A bit further, two Bewick’s swans feeding on a field.

Still further, near Zonnemaire village, a group of scores of swans feeding on a field wet from the rain of previous days. Most are whooper swans, but there are some Bewick’s swans as well. Some swans are young, with grey feathers. Also, there are a few grey lag geese and scores of black-headed gulls on the field.

See also these photos.


Greek demonstration against anti-refugee fence

This video says about itself:

Plans for Greece to boost security against illegal immigrants by building a fence along its border with Turkey have been dismissed by the EU.

By Tom Mellen:

Greeks rally against border fence plan

Sunday 16 January 2011

by Tom Mellen

Over 1,000 people marched through Athens on Saturday to protest against plans to build an eight-mile barrier at the Turkish border to keep refugees out.

Trade unionists, leftwingers and human rights activists joined immigrants from war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan, denouncing the proposed barrier as part of European Union plans to build “Fortress Europe.”

They marched from central Athens to the St Panteleimon area, where many refugees have been attacked in recent years.

When the peaceful Movement Against Racism and Fascist Threat rally arrived at the neighbourhood’s main square a few hundred members of far-right group Chrysi Avgi, or Golden Dawn, started stoning marchers and police.

Some ultra-left protesters also hurled stones, while rightwingers swung flagpoles at officers in a bid to break through police lines.

Riot police fired tear gas and arrested three people.

Chrysi Avgi, for many years a marginal organisation, has exploited St Panteleimon residents’ worries about strained public services in the area and has organised patrols that routinely intimidate and harass immigrant families.

The group got 5.3 per cent of the vote in last November’s local elections, which saw leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos elected to the city council.

Chrysi Avgi garnered 8.4 per cent in St Panteleimon.

Resident Nicholaos Sofos said: “The quality of life has dropped here in Greece. There are so many who come from these places, from Pakistan and Afghanistan. They arrive in such big numbers that no-one can control the situation.”

Migrants at the march attacked Greece’s fence scheme as well as its glacial asylum application procedures, which have been condemned by the UN refugee agency.

Alhadj Sow, from Senegal, said: “I have been here for three years. Every day just with the red temporary residence card. I cannot do anything to change it and I cannot go back.”

A ship carrying around 260 asylum-seekers sank west of the island of Corfu on Saturday night. Twenty-two passengers are still missing.

Coast guards said strong winds prevented rescue boats from taking to the water straight away and that a helicopter search had failed to find anyone.

Belgium has been sentenced by the European Court for Human Rights for sending back to Athens an asylum seeker who had entered the EU from Greece. The court ruled that Greece did not comply with minimum standards on the treatment of asylum seekers: here.

CANBERRA, Jan 18: A group of up to 30 Afghan detainees at the Curtin detention center in Western Australia on Tuesday launched a hunger strike. The move came one day after Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced that the federal government has signed a landmark deal with Afghanistan, which would see those Afghans whose asylum claims have failed be sent home: here.

Greece faced mounting pressure to end its mistreatment of refugees today as hundreds of migrants entered the third day of a hunger strike to highlight “inhumane conditions” endured by undocumented asylum-seekers in the country: here.