Blackcaps, real ‘angry birds’

This video is about a singing blackcap.

From Wildlife Extra:

Angry birds’ spotted in gardens

Feisty winter visitors arriving in greater numbers than ever before

January 2013. Thousands of Blackcaps, migrant warblers from central Europe, are ruffling feathers in British and Irish gardens. Latest sightings gathered through the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden Blackcap Survey are exploring the behaviour of these increasingly spotted ‘angry birds’.

This January, householders are helping the BTO to find out about real ‘angry birds’ in gardens – Blackcaps. Incoming reports, submitted through the charity’s Garden Blackcap Survey, show how this species is often a volatile guest, seeing off blue tits, Goldfinches and other similar-sized birds from garden feeding stations.

What birds will face down the blackcaps?

So far, the only birds to have weathered the frosty reception that is dished out by Blackcaps with much success have been Robins and House sparrows. Robins are known for their feistiness and so it is unsurprising that they are unwilling to give an inch without a fight. House Sparrows, on the other hand, flock together and are generally faithful to a local patch, and so are well placed to out-compete this new kid on the block.

Large increase in blackcap numbers

Behind these fascinating observations is important science. Food provided in British and Irish gardens is thought to be altering the migratory habits of Blackcaps that breed in central Europe. Normally these birds would spend the winter around the Mediterranean but our garden offerings, coupled with our warming winter climate, are enabling an alternative migration route to our shores to grow in strength. Over the past few decades, numbers coming to feeders have increased by several hundred per cent.

Join the blackcap survey

Despite the importance of feeders in changing the travelling habits of these birds, no data have yet been collected to investigate the behaviour of Blackcaps in winter gardens. This January the BTO is calling upon householders hosting one or more Blackcaps to choose a day on which to study their behaviour through the Garden Blackcap Survey.

Dr Tim Harrison, Garden Blackcap Survey coordinator, commented: “Blackcaps are elegant garden visitors but they often bring with them considerable attitude! Some are so protective of garden morsels that they defend them even when they are not eating themselves. This may seem pretty unfair to other garden birds but perhaps underlines the importance of garden feeders to the survival of Blackcaps.”

He added: “Numbers of Blackcaps in gardens are increasing rapidly and reached a record high for the month of December in 2012. With so many of these eye-catching birds currently around, now is a great time for us to find out more about their behaviour. Please take a few minutes this January to let the BTO know what the Blackcaps in your garden are up to through our Garden Blackcap Survey.”

To take part in the Garden Blackcap Survey, visit or telephone 01842-750050 for a paper recording form.


Sir Jimmy Savile abused little children

Jimmy Savile shakes hands with Pope John Paul II

From Reuters:

Jimmy Savile Police Report: He Abused Hundreds Of People Over Six Decades; Youngest Victim Was 8

01/11/2013 1:47 pm EST

* Late BBC star suspected of 214 crimes including rape

* Savile given knighthood by Queen Elizabeth and Pope

* Abuse started in 1955 and continued until 2009

* Police looking into “informal network” of abusers (Recasts, adds details, quotes throughout)

By Michael Holden

LONDON, Jan 11 – The late British TV presenter Jimmy Savile, honoured by both the queen and the pope, sexually assaulted hundreds of people, mainly children, at BBC premises and hospitals over six decades of unparalleled abuse, a police-led report said on Friday.

Savile, one of Britain’s biggest TV stars in the 1970s and 1980s, abused youngsters at 13 hospitals where he did voluntary work as a porter and fundraiser, and even at a hospice treating terminally ill patients.

The youngest victim was an 8-year-old boy, and the last of the 214 offences of which he is suspected took place just two years before his death in 2011 at the age of 84.

“He groomed a nation,” said Commander Peter Spindler, who led the police investigation and said the scale of his crimes were without precedence.

A one-time professional wrestler, Savile became famous as a pioneering DJ in the 1960s before becoming a regular fixture on TV hosting prime-time pop and children’s shows until the 1990s.

He also ran about 200 marathons for charity, raising tens of millions of pounds (dollars) for hospitals, leading some to give him keys to rooms where victims now allege they were abused.

While many colleagues and viewers thought the cigar-chomping Savile was weird, with his long blonde hair, penchant for garish outfits and flashy jewellery, he was considered a “national treasure”, honoured not just by the queen but also by the late Pope John Paul II who made him a papal knight in 1990.

However, Friday’s report said he took advantage of his fame to commit predatory offences across Britain, including 34 rapes or serious sexual assaults. Of his alledged victims, 73 percent were under 18 and 82 percent were female. The oldest was 47.

In all, 450 people have given information about him and detectives said more victims were likely to come forward. However, the report, issued jointly by London police and the NSPCC children’s charity, said some would never feel able to break their silence.

“He hid in plain sight, behind a veil of eccentricity double-bluffing those who challenged him, from vulnerable children right up to and including a prime minister of the time,” said Peter Watt from the NSPCC.

He said Savile had “cunningly” built his life’s work around getting access to children to abuse.

Amsterdam grey heron video

This 18 August 2013 video shows a grey heron taking a salmon at an Amsterdam, the Netherlands market and flying away.

Interesting how birds almost hunted to extinction about 1900 now adapt to city life.

Liebster Award, thanks supernova!


I would like to express my sincere thanks to supernova of Digging History blog for nominating Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Liebster Award.

Digging History is a really interesting blog about metal detecting in England and related subjects. Why not visit it?

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

Section 1. Add the award logo to your blog.

Section 2. Answer these questions.

1. What makes you happiest? Ans. Seeing birds.

2. Do you love the Ocean or the Mountains more? Ans. The ocean, if there is no oil disaster. The mountains, if there are no polluting mining corporations.

3. What has been your favourite moment of 2012? Ans. Seeing a black heron in the Gambia.

4. What is your favourite quote and why? Ans. ““The great appear great to us, only because we are on our knees: LET US RISE.”” By James Connolly. Written in 1897, but still very fitting in 2013.

5. Do you like yourself? Ans. Sometimes.

6. Do you stay up till the Stroke of Midnight on New Years Eve? Ans. Yes.

7. Something you wish to get done ASAP? Ans. Close down Guantanamo Bay torture camp.

8. What was your favorite class while still in school? Ans. Biology.

9. What musical instrument have you tried to learn to play? Ans. Flute.

10. Anything you wish you had learned earlier? Ans. Computers.

11. Do you like to do crafts or draw or even paint? Ans. I draw, but not really well.

Section 3. Pass the award on to 11 other blogs, link to them and let them know.

This is always difficult, but here are my nominations in no special order for the Liebster Award. Take a look and be inspired. Congratulations my friends! Keep on blogging, each in his or her special way.

Dutch mammal stamps

This is a video about a red squirrel in a Dutch garden.

Translated from the Dutch Waddenvereniging conservationists:


Mammal stamps of Stichting Natuurbeelden

The Stichting Natuurbeelden [Nature images foundation] and Dutch mail last Monday issued a series of stamps with close-up photographs of Dutch mammals. The entire series consists of 36 items; each month there will be three new mammals. Four stamps of the series, of January 8 (the squirrel), 25 March (the fox), 22 April (the harbour seal) and 12 August (red deer), will be sold in post offices. The complete series is available only by subscription.

Unique about the squirrel stamp is that you can scan it with the app ‘Chameleon eXplorer’ on a smart phone. Then you will see a video about a squirrel. The app is available here for iPhone and Android. The Waddenvereniging along with ten other nature organizations is part of Stichting Natuurbeelden.

English bird killer convicted

This video is called Common buzzards raising chicks in South Lakeland 2009.

From Wildlife Extra:

‘Vicious’ gamekeeper convicted of poisoning buzzards

Carbofuran poison used again

January 2013. A Lincolnshire gamekeeper has been convicted of killing two buzzards and possessing a quantity of an illegally-held poison, which the RSPB says would have been enough to destroy all the birds of prey in Lincolnshire.


71-year-old Robert William Hebblewhite, of Appleby, Scunthorpe, was fined a total £1950 after he was convicted of killing two buzzards and possessing Carbofuran, a banned poison. The buzzards were found dead on land at Blyton, where he works as a gamekeeper. Toxicology tests revealed the birds had died from Carbofuran poisoning after the poison was laced on pheasant carcasses which the buzzards tried to feed on.

‘Vicious’ methods

In court Hebblewhite heard the judge describe him as an ‘old-fashioned’ gamekeeper who resorted to ‘vicious’ methods. The judge regretted the death of the two buzzards but added that it was ‘lucky’ that no other creature or human had discovered the poisoned baits first.

Hebblewhite had pleaded guilty to possessing Carbofuran at an earlier hearing on 15 October, 2012.

The RSPB‘s Mark Thomas, who was at Lincoln Magistrates Court for the conviction, said: “The possession and use of Carbofuran is illegal, and yet birds of prey are still being killed by this poison. This conviction shows this poison is still in circulation in quantities sufficient to kill huge numbers of birds of prey. A few grains of the poison will kill a bird of prey; a jar is enough to kill all the birds of prey in a county. With yet another gamekeeper convicted of poisoning birds of prey, it is time for this illegal and indiscriminate practise to be consigned to the pages of history.”

Widespread practice

The RSPB believes it is a widespread practice to place poison on a rabbit or pheasant carcass which is then left for birds of prey to consume. Sometimes even pets are the unfortunate victim, and since 2000 the RSPB has evidence of such poison abuse incidents affecting at least 56 dogs and 22 cats.

Jeff Knott is the RSPB’s species policy officer. Commenting on the case, he said: “Reporting last year, the Environmental Audit Committee‘s review into wildlife crime recognised the significance of these poisons and called on the Government to bring in simple measures to further limit their use.”

There are currently 240 pairs of buzzard nesting in Lincolnshire, but the birds only recolonized the county in 1997. Historically, buzzards were absent from much of eastern Britain because of persecution.