This morning, to the old harbour.
A bit further in the canal, a moorhen with chicks.
Two great cormorants diving.
Two speckled wood butterflies flying around each other.
Chiffchaff and robin sound.
Near the stone bridge, an assistant to a biology teacher has caught a red swamp crayfish.
As a big school of young rudd passes, she tries to catch one of the little fish for a demonstration at her educational institution. However, the fish manage to avoid the net.
In the Corversbos nature reserve, nuthatch sound.
This is a buzzard video.
A buzzard flies away from a tree, circling above the field together with another buzzard.
As we walk back to the canal under the stone bridge, a pondskater.
January 2012. The Environment Agency is using radio transmitters to locate and track a ferocious predator invading English waterways. The virile crayfish, a highly aggressive non-native crayfish, is slowly invading waterways in East London. This unwanted visitor preys on native wildlife and spreads crayfish plague, a disease deadly to native white clawed crayfish: here.
How different species of invasive crayfish interact with each other and affect their local environment has been uncovered for the first time by scientists at Queen Mary University of London: here.
Sixty thousand Japanese citizens marched in central Tokyo today to press their government to ditch nuclear energy in favour of renewables in light of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster: here.
The 60,000-strong rally was the largest since the March 11 earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown: here.
Japan’s citizens are not happy about nuclear power. And they’re taking to the streets to make their voices heard: here.
Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Update for September 20th-22nd, 2011: here.
Nuclear contamination found beyond Japan no-go zone: here.
Third Fukushima nuclear plant worker dies: here.
Fukushima ‘hot spots’ raise radiation fears: here.
Japanese Government Nixed Idea of Obama Visiting, Apologizing for, Hiroshima: here.
Britain: Coalition ministers were accused of jumping the gun today by pushing through a new generation of nuclear power stations without learning the lessons of the Japanese Fukushima disaster.
Angry villagers living near a recently built nuclear power plant in southern India blocked a main road to demand its closure on Thursday, saying they don’t believe the facility is safe.
This video from Denmark says about itself:
This is the sound of the moth “Acherontia atropos”.
The sound is rare in the world of moths, and it is the only moth in Denmark which makes a sound.
Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:
It was instantly recognizable by the terrifying markings on the thorax, the death’s-head hawkmoth on the beach at De Koog. It was sitting literally on beach post #19. Ernst Loendersloot photographed the large moth there last Sunday. According to butterfly expert Cees Maas it was the first sighting of this lepidopteran on the island this year.
Death’s-head hawkmoths are quite rare in the Netherlands.
Hyles gallii, bedstraw hawkmoth, in the Netherlands: here.
September 2011: Conservationists have released hundreds of caterpillars in a bid to boost the numbers of one of the UK’s rarest moths. About 2,000 barberry carpet moth larvae have been introduced to the organically managed Cholderton Estate on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border: here.
October 2011: What is thought to be the first Yorkshire breeding colony of the yellow belle moth has been discovered on the green roof of the Reserve Base at Natural England’s Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve: here.
Fossil moth reveals colorful hue: Paleontologists deduce how ridges on the creature’s wings reflected light: here.
From New Scientist:
Huge Australian bushfires ignited rare plant growth
11:27 19 September 2011 by Wendy Zukerman
Rare plants are springing up in an Australian park ravaged by bushfires – plants that had never been recorded there before the fire. The astonishing revival is providing new insights into the way ecosystems recover from fire damage.
Over 90 per cent of Kinglake National Park in Victoria was damaged by bushfires in a February 2009 disaster that also claimed 173 lives. “Very few areas were unaffected by the fire, leaving minimal refuge for flora and fauna,” says Richard Francis, a botanist at Abzeco, an ecological science consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia.
Now Francis and colleagues have completed a two-year survey of the 330,000-hectare park and found that the fires not only stimulated dormant seeds to grow but also attracted previously unknown plants to the region. More than 60 plant species never before recorded in the park have flourished since the fires, including blue-spike milkwort (Comesperma calymega) and tufted lobelia (Lobelia rhombifolia).
In addition, plants that had been under threat before the bushfires are now germinating prolifically. These include round-leaf pomaderris (Pomaderris vaccinifolia), silky golden-tip (Goodia lotifolia var. pubescens) and swamp bush-pea (Pultenaea glabra).
Francis says the seeds of these species were buried in the soil but could not grow because mature plants such as rough tree ferns (Cyathia australis) were outcompeting them. But when the fires decimated the mature flora, exposing the ground beneath to heat, smoke and more light, the underdogs were able to thrive. Seeds are thought to be stimulated by chemicals in the smoke and ultraviolet light, he says.
The new plants also attracted several bird species that had rarely, if ever, been recorded within the park. According to Karl Just, also of Abzeco, very large congregations of white-browed woodswallows (Artamus superciliosus) could be seen gliding through the sky for months after the fire. The red-capped robin (Petroica goodenovii), which normally lives in open scrub and low-density woodland, was also recorded in forested areas for the first time.
But is this a long-term change? Probably not. “It’s likely that these species will be gradually outcompeted once more,” says Francis. Already, some of the rare plants that proliferated in the first year after the fire have begun to retreat as ferns, trees and wet forest shrubs have started growing back.
“These forests were portrayed as destroyed, but they weren’t,” says David Lindenmayer, a fire ecologist at the Australian National University in Canberra. “All the plants are there in the soil seed bank and will remain so after the parent plants die.”
The NSW government is mismanaging one of the Murray-Darling’s most significant wetlands, deciding last week to open up the Millewa section of the Murray Valley National Park to more firewood collection: here.
Crawling its way along barren rocks and cliffs where nothing should be growing, Yareta could be mistaken for an alien life form or a primordial green ooze. Actually, it is a flowering plant that grows up in the high altitudes of Peru, Chile and Bolivia: here.
The caption on Twitter for this video from Yemen is:
Heart breaking video of an infant killed by snipers today in his mothers arms while passing in a car.
Yemeni soldiers killed 20 protesters in the capital Sanaa today, a day after 20 others were mown down by government forces who opened fire on thousands of demonstrators with anti-aircraft guns and automatic weapons: here.
Yemen Analysis: The Latest Deaths and the Mistakes of US Policy (Johnsen): here.
Yemen unrest: Saleh forces ‘shell Sanaa protest camp’: here.
A three-day crackdown by security forces has left 80 people dead in Yemen’s capital after demonstrators moved from Change Square toward the centre of the city on Sunday: here.
Yemeni government forces fired mortars at tens of thousands of mourners in Sanaa today, killing three and wounding at least 16: here.
Renewed violence in the Yemeni capital Sanaa killed at least nine people today as street battles broke out between forces loyal to the regime and its opponents: here.
Stop Yemen Massacre! Graphic Videos here.
Anti-government protests planned in Sanaa for later this afternoon, as Yemen’s president returns: here.
By Stefan Steinberg in Germany:
Berlin election deals blow to federal coalition government
19 September 2011
The Berlin state election held on Sunday delivered a major blow to the federal coalition government headed by Angela Merkel. The party led by Chancellor Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), took second place with an estimated 23.2 percent of the vote—a slight increase over its vote in the last state election five years ago.
Its coalition partner, however, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), was hammered by the electorate, receiving just 1.9 percent—significantly below the 5 percent threshold for entering the state parliament and far less than the 7.8 percent the party received in the 2006 Berlin state election.
The FDP is the party in Germany most closely identified with a neo-liberal agenda and the interests of the financial elite. In the week leading up to the Berlin vote, FDP leader Philipp Rösler, Merkel’s deputy chancellor, had attempted to revive his party’s flagging fortunes by appealing to nationalist sentiment directed against Greece. He had suggested that the European Union oversee a “controlled” Greek default rather than extending the bailout of the country.
This campaign seriously backfired. The FDP, which throughout the post-World War Two period has been Germany’s third party, is threatened with collapse. Its humiliation in Berlin means that it has failed to win enough support to enter state parliaments in five of the seven state elections held this year.
The strongest party in the election was the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which polled 28.6 percent (down from 30.8 percent in 2006). Its coalition partner in the Berlin Senate—the Left Party—received 11.6 percent, nearly 2 percent down from its total five years ago. Both coalition parties have been responsible for unprecedented cuts in the city’s social welfare system during their ten years in power.
Now they are no longer able to continue their so-called “red-red” coalition. SPD Mayor Klaus Wowereit must form a coalition either with the Greens or with the CDU in order to establish a majority in the Berlin parliament.
The Greens came in third with 17.6 percent, overtaking the Left Party. While this result represents an improvement over its result at the last election, it is far below what party leaders had anticipated. At the start of the election campaign the Green leadership believed they could emerge as the overall winner.
Earlier this year the Greens made significant advances in the polls as a result of growing popular discontent with the ruling parties as well as concerns over nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. In the Baden-Württemberg state election, the Green Party obtained the post of state premier for the first time in its history. The result in Berlin suggests that the party has reached its pinnacle and is now in decline.
One highly significant result was the 9 percent vote for the Pirate Party. Analyses of the vote for the party indicate that it attracted support particularly among voters under 35 and was able to draw votes from all of the main parties. The German Pirate Party, modeled after its Swedish predecessor, was formed in 2009 and campaigned principally on the issue of opposition to state interference with the Internet.
The vote for the party by a generation of youth who face increasingly precarious forms of cheap labor is an indication of broad discontent with the established political parties. At the same time, the fact that they voted for a party that has virtually no political program is a measure of the political confusion among these layers.
Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit (Social Democratic Party—SPD) is now seeking a coalition with the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) after he abruptly ended coalition negotiations with the Green Party: here.
Troy Davis Rally from paul jackson on Vimeo.
By Joseph Kishore in the USA:
Georgia parole board meets to decide fate of Troy Davis
19 September 2011
Atlanta, Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, whose pending execution has attracted worldwide opposition, is set to be killed by lethal injection on Wednesday. A Georgia parole board meeting today is his last hope of clemency.
The case of Davis exemplifies the barbarism of the US prison system in general, and the death penalty in particular. Now 42, Davis was convicted in 1991 of the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer, Mark MacPhail.
Seven out of nine non-police witnesses who accused Davis of the killing later recanted or changed their testimony. One of the remaining is a possible suspect himself. No physical evidence linking Davis to the killing was presented at the trial.
Several jurors have said that, given the new evidence, they would have come to a different decision. However, Davis has been unable to get a new trial.
In 2008, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles—which has the authority to grant pardons, not the governor as in most states—denied clemency before an earlier execution date without explanation. If the five-member board, which has three new members, decides differently this time, Davis will face life in prison.
Davis and his lawyers have gone through a tortuous process of appeals aimed at securing him a new trial. He has had four separate executions dates. In September 2008 he came within two hours of execution before a last-minute intervention by the Supreme Court.
Davis’ case has attracted international support, and a demonstration on Friday in Atlanta brought at least 1,000 people. Other demonstrations were held in 300 cities throughout the world. Over 600,000 people have signed a petition appealing for clemency.
A major factor in preventing Davis from getting a new trial has been the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton. The act, a precursor to the anti-democratic legislation passed after the 9/11 attacks, severely restricts federal courts from overturning death penalty convictions and ordering new trials.
Lawyers for Troy Davis presented evidence of his innocence Monday to the Georgia parole board, which is to decide whether the 42-year-old death row inmate is put to death by lethal injection September 21: here.
Troy Davis Denied Clemency By Georgia Pardons Board: here. And here.