New coral reefs film


By Sarah Simpson:

Coral Rekindling Venus

Fri Jun 8, 2012 02:39 PM ET

Art and oceans. Science and music. Solar systems and sustainability. They all join forces in a new art film showcasing coral reefs and rare marine life most threatened by climate change.

The project’s mastermind, Australian artist Lynette Wallworth, designed the film, Coral Rekindling Venus, for projection in digital planetariums, and she invited the New York City band Antony and the Johnsons to write the song that accompanies this trailer.

Both the artist and the musicians are known for their evocative lamentations about humanity’s impact on nature. Five years in the making with the help of an Emmy-winning underwater cinematographer, the ambitious film is “a call to action,” Wallworth told The Guardian.

New Hope For Corals? Here.


Marsh tit and bat share nestbox

Marsh tit sharing nestbox with bat

The Dutch Mammal Society reports something unusual about a nestbox in Crailo forest this year.

That nestbox is built for coal tits.

However, this spring marsh tits built their nest and laid eggs in the box. The first time that this species was recorded in nestboxes in that area.

In the same box, a common noctule bat rests regularly.

The animals do not seem to mind each other.

6 willow tit and marsh tit facts you need to know: here.

BBC, January 2017: Whether it’s for warmth and protection, or a shortage of suitable nest holes? Noctule bats have been seen using the same nest holes as Common starlings. This is the first time bats and birds have been recorded sharing such close quarters: here. [No, NOT the first time; see above]

English tern flies again after African injury

This video from England is called Common and Arctic terns returning to Coquet Island (whimsical).

From the RSPB in Britain:

Olympic Tern at RSPB Cliffe Pools

Last modified: 08 June 2012

As London prepares to receive visitors from across the globe for the 2012 Olympics, RSPB Cliffe Pools expects to welcome back its very own athlete of Olympic proportions. The nature reserve is an important home to wintering wildfowl and waders but also a summer breeding ground for migratory birds such as the common tern.

This sleek seabird of pure white, with a blood-red bill, black crest and swallow tail, has nested on the islands created by the flooding of the old cement works since they closed in 1970. As the world looked forward to the Seoul Olympics, back in July 1987, Roger Kiddie, a science and math teacher from Gravesend, rowed out to the tern colony at Cliffe Pools with Cliff Sharr, a local villager and renowned ornithologist on the north Kent marshes. The men spent the afternoon ringing the common tern chicks under a relentless attack from the adults. Common terns defend their nests aggressively, attacking more furiously those they recognise as repeat offenders. The chicks leave the nest almost immediately after hatching, so time was against the men.

Roger said, “Common terns spend their winter off the west coast of Africa, indeed, most of their life is spent at sea, so the chances of recapturing a ringed tern is always slight; but in the 1980’s ringing still presented the best opportunity for us to learn where these birds migrate to. We now know that common terns return each year to the colony from which they hatched, for Cliffe Pools that means an annual round trip of about 10,000 miles.”

The average lifespan of a common tern is 12 years so they rack-up a lot of sea miles, ably assisted by the Trade Winds and the unusual ability to replace worn-out flight feathers twice in a year.

In December 2011, a fisherman from Guinea Bissau, on the west coast of Africa, found a tern on his decks with an injured leg. Terns are known as sea swallows, their graceful appearance and dainty build affords them a different respect than the raucous gulls. The fisherman attended to the bird and returned it to the ocean in good health, but not before noting the details of a ring on its other leg.

How very much better this, presumably poor, African fisherman acted towards this fish-eating bird than rich European commercial fishing fat cats lobbying for killing fish-eating birds.

From this information, just received by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), we know that this tern was one of those chicks ringed by Cliff and Roger 25 years ago.

Roger has since retired, but continues to ring birds for the BTO. In the tern’s lifetime the Olympics have been to Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, and with a little more luck, it is now wheeling around the Thames Estuary looking down onto the London Olympics. In its own feat of Olympic proportions this little bird (equal in weight to a tin of sardines and with a wingspan of just one human arm’s length), has flown the same distance as from the Earth to the Moon!

Roger Kiddie said, “This has to be one of the highlights of my 40 years bird ringing experience, it is truly remarkable.”

Skylark and spoonbill

On 2 June 2012, after the young barn owls were ringed, we went to the Eempolder nature reserve not far away.

A black-tailed godwit sitting on a pole along the road.

A skylark sings, flying.

This is a video of a skylark singing while sitting.

Hares in the meadow.

A northern lapwing drives away a marsh harrier.

A bit further, a spoonbill stands on a ditch bank.

Redshanks flying and running on muddy banks.

A pied wagtail.

A male gadwall duck swimming.

Also on the Eempolder: here.