Good Irish whale news

Humpback whale breaching off Baltimore, south west Ireland, 01/12/12.(c) Simon Duggan

From Wildlife Extra:

Flurry of large whale activity off south west Ireland

Humpback and Fin whales in West Cork – Courtesy of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG)

December 2012. Over the last 2-3 weeks, there has been a lot of large whale activity off south and south west Ireland. Humpback whales have been active, but Fin whales have been present in larger numbers than their show off cousins. 6 Humpbacks have been identified from previous visits.

The whales have been particularly showing off West Cork, but this large whale activity is not limited to West Cork as there are currently Fin whales off both the Waterford and West Wexford coastline.

Humpback ID

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) have been sent a lot of images of both dorsal fins and tail-flukes in the past few weeks, which enables them to state with confidence that this recent activity comprises a minimum of 6 humpback whales. They are HBIRL1, 3, 4, 6, 10 & 21. All of these Humpbacks have been previously recorded in Irish waters by the IWDG Cetacean Sighting scheme, and two of these (#3 & #10) have been biopsied.


IWDG are really happy to see the return of HBIRL1, who is their longest recorded humpback, having been first recorded back in Sept 1999 by Eoin O’ Mahoney off the Kinsale Gas platforms. It is wonderful to know that 13 years on, this individual is alive and well and returning to Ireland’s Whale Sanctuary. Also included is #HBIRL3, known to many in West Cork as “Boomerang”, a male, who is without question the most frequently recorded humpback whale in Irish waters, if not in any European waters.

The IWDG’s cetacean recording schemes enables them to build a larger picture and to give these sightings some context. For instance of these 6 Humpback whales, 4 of them were recorded in the same West Cork waters near Galley Head during Dec 2008, and have not been recorded since. Now five years later, they are back together in the same area. This raises important questions as to possible “associations” between these whales and whether they are somehow related, or what the level of kinship is between them.

Respect the whales

Humpback whales are one of the slower rorqual species, and as such are prone to disturbance from too many boats spending too long and approaching too close. IWDG reminds people taking their private boats out to watch these whales that your actions on the water can potentially impact on the whales and their behaviour. It may even tip the scales from habitat being “favourable” to unfavourable, which could push the whales out of the area, into other areas with less traffic.

Go to the website of the IWDG to see more about these sightings and whales in Ireland.


Blog of the Year 2012 award, thanks Russell!

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

Oh Russell, you are so kind, to grace Dear Kitty. Some blog with the “Blog of the Year 2012″  Award.

It is the sixth time, the sixth star, for this award for this blog. The maximum number of stars for the “Blog of the Year 2012″  Award.

We really appreciate Russell thinking of us. If you have not met Russell yet, then please check out his truly interesting blog, here. Its header says: YESCuba: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba. Globalize Solidarity: Another World is Possible.

After Russell, some other bloggers have been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for this award. Don’t worry, later posts on this blog will mention you 🙂

The “Blog of the Year” award is a little different from some other awards, because you accumulate stars.

Here are the ‘rules’ for this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

4 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience [I cannot join that group as I am not on Facebook].

5 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

6 stars image

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs, and even if they have already been given the award by someone else, then you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!


I want to give this award to so many blog friends that I don’t know where to start. I will very probably forget many deserving blogs. Please keep passing it on and keep the star shine going for blog years and years to come.

Here are my nominees, in no particular order:

1. clotildajamcracker

2. Mazzarella Photo

3. Herrn Bilders Blog

4. johncoyote

5. Our Amazing New Zealand Adventure

6. My Strange Family

7. weird & cool stuff seen while out & about

8. euzicasa

9. MADD Suspicions

10. LoVs ‘n’ Mua

11. VisualRiver’s Blog

12. conorcullen

13. Beauty and the Best

14. Light touch

15. One Lop Too Many

16. The Trail

17. outdoorpictures

18. vetsbeyondreason

19. Mieles del Rudron, Burgos

20. kiwissoar

21. Chicks With Ticks…

22. SHAJ

23. Tea with a Pirate

24. grishmanphotography

25. My Travels & Photography 

26. Ma Cuisine et Vous

27. Kate Anthony Photography

28. The North Edge



31. 2BAware

32. MOTION Photography

33. everywhere all the time


35. Michelle At Play ~ Play Is My Kind Of Work


37. Public Affairs at the Woodland Trust

38. KY-7-黒井

39. Thachna Balakrishnan

40. Mike Powell

41. Asha’s Blog

42. Jali Wanders

43. mybeautfulthings

44. Simon Bates Photography



47. My Botanical Garden

48. a physical perspective

49. zentcreativeblog

50. margosnotebook


52. Light Friday

53. Virginia Duran

Windows kill birds, photography exhibition

This video, about a red-eyed vireo in North America, is called Bird flies into window, knocked out and comes back to life.

Year after year, billions of birds die because they have flown against windows, cars, or airplanes.

Dutch photographer André van Soest has photographed some of those dead birds. To honour their beauty; and to get people to pay attention to this problem.

There is an exhibition of André van Soest’s bird photos now, in Almere town.

It is in Stad & Natuur, Kemphaanstraat 1.

BirdLife in the Netherlands (and similar organizations in other countries) sells window stickers. These help birds to notice windows, saving their lives.

Every backyard birder has heard the resounding thud of a bird striking a window, and even with the best preventative measures to help birds see and avoid the glass, impacts are inevitable. But when a bird strikes a window, what can be done to help it recover? Here.

Do You Know What To Do When Birds Collide With A Window? Here.

Stop Birds Attacking Windows. Tips for Stopping Birds From Attacking Their Reflections: here.

Every backyard birder has heard the resounding thud of a bird hitting a window, and even with the best preventative measures to help birds see and avoid the glass, impacts are inevitable. But when a bird strikes a window, what can be done to help it recover? Here.

Bahrain dictatorship’s Washington allies

This video says about itself:

Mohammed Al-Maskati, President of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, outlines the current human rights situation in Bahrain were the regime is killing and torturing the opposition. In the video he calls on concrete action by people of good will around the world.

From the blog of Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director for Middle East North Africa issues at Amnesty International USA:

This Weekend in Bahrain: Will US Officials Stand Up for Freedom?

Posted: 12/06/2012 6:06 pm

In the island nation of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, a man by the name of Nabeel Rajab is sitting in jail for the “crime” of peaceful protest. But the government that has imprisoned him is a U.S. military ally, and the Obama Administration has done little to push for his release. When U.S. officials arrive in Bahrain this weekend for a global conference, will they finally change course?

Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and this fact has everything to do with his three year prison sentence. That’s why Amnesty International members worldwide are calling for his freedom, as part of our global “Write for Rights” campaign.

Like Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region, Bahrain’s ruling al Khalifa family has imprisoned many people who have dared to criticize the government. And while the U.S. government has issued mild statements of concern along the way, the Obama Administration has fundamentally failed to hold its repressive military ally accountable.

Bahrain didn’t have to be this way. After a massive crackdown on protests in 2011, the King of Bahrain signaled a desire to back away from the tactics his government had employed. He created an independent commission, put a prominent human rights lawyer in charge, and essentially allowed an honest investigation of his own government.

It was a rare occurrence for any government, and the commission issued a public report (PDF) whose conclusions were not kind. But one year later, despite promising to change course, the government of Bahrain has stuck to its old ways. Amnesty International’s latest report (PDF) documents exactly how Bahrain has escalated its repression:

Despite these terrible developments, the Obama administration has continued to prioritize its military relationship with Bahrain over support for basic freedom. Bahrain is host to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, and the U.S. naval base there is a major focus of the U.S.-Bahrain conversation. Perhaps that is one reason why the U.S. government’s statements on Bahrain have been far milder than criticisms of human rights violations in a country like Iran.

Instead of condemning the Bahraini government’s human rights violations, U.S. diplomats have offered somewhat cautious expressions of concern. These have included calls for Bahraini officials and opposition voices to engage in dialogue. But how can dialogue be possible when a government keeps some of its most prominent critics in prison?

This weekend, U.S. officials will have an important opportunity to change direction. Representatives from some 30 nations will gather in Bahrain’s capital for the Manama Dialogue, a regional conference on security issues. For the U.S. government, this is a significant moment. While Bahraini prisoners of conscience languish in jail cells, will U.S. and Bahraini officials continue with business as usual? Or will there be consequences for the relationship when a U.S. military ally represses its citizens?

While in Bahrain, Obama administration representatives should publicly condemn the repressive actions of Bahrain’s government. This should include a blunt call to end the countrywide ban on protests and a call for the reversal of the decision to strip 31 Bahraini opposition voices of their citizenship. U.S. officials should also push to meet directly with nonviolent Bahraini critics who have been imprisoned by the monarchy.

Meanwhile, the rest of us should be paying close attention as well. When it comes to U.S. military allies, successive U.S. administrations have demonstrated that they are most likely to push for human rights when the American public makes it difficult for them to look the other way. If the message out of Bahrain this weekend is more of the same, it will take an engaged American public to achieve something different.

Follow Sunjeev Bery on Twitter: