There are 171 great egret nests.
There are 171 great egret nests.
Erika of the blog Author Erika Kind has been so generous to nominate Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.
Thank you so much, my dear blogging friend!
Here are the rules:
• First of all, give the link and name of the blogger who nominated you, in your post.
• Secondly, tell 7 facts about yourself.
• Lastly, nominate 15 bloggers for the award.
Here are seven things about myself:
1. Where did most visits to my blog come from so far today?
2. Where did most visits to my blog come from this month?
3. Why do I, when asked to tell seven things about myself in an award nomination blog post, often have statistics of my blog?
Because the national flags of the various countries where visits come from make the blog post colourful. And because these statistics are always different from earlier statistics.
4. Which blog posts and pages brought most visits to my blog today?
|Home page / Archives||63|
5. Which blog posts and pages brought most visits to my blog this month?
|Home page / Archives||1,834|
6. Which search engine search terms brought most people to my blog this quarter?
|gender inequality statistics||8|
|snake in mauritius||7|
7. Which referrers brought most visits to my blog this month?
My fifteen nominees are:
7. Luc Dewaele
13. Oscar Relentos
This 2009 video from Britain is called Clare Pollard, Thinking of England (Poetry).
By Clare Pollard in Britain:
In Dark Times: Some Thoughts on Political Poetry
Thursday 23rd April 2015
Last week I was at the Betsey Trotwood for the launch of Campaign in Poetry, Emma Press’ political anthology. I was pleased to have two poems included, and it was an interesting event with some blisteringly great moments – Kayo Chingonyi’s Legerdemain and Luke Kennard’s Poor Door made me particularly envious. Both are online, so do read them immediately (‘We built a stack of gambling chips in your neighbourhood…’)
If I have a ‘subject’ it’s human relationships, and as I’ve moved beyond my early love poetry, more and more I want to look at wider relationships – control, fear, guilt, responsibility – which has meant I’m increasingly interested in the political.
But political poetry is a risky business. It is easily reduced to parody: the performance poet’s rant about bedroom tax (rhyming soulless with ‘control us’). The grim, slightly misogynist ‘satire’ about X Factor Culture. The middle-class poet’s plaint about diminishing songbirds to an audience of the converted.
I’ve tried all kinds of strategies to sneak politics into my work: irony, imagery, allegory, storytelling (ballads are very political, simply by presenting working class stories). Then there’s translation, which can be used to make subtle political points – I’ve just written a blog about Ezra Pound’s Cathay for the RLF, a book which spoke very interestingly about war and jingoism via ancient Chinese texts.
I’ve also let politics creep into the edges of my confessional poems. Look, Clare! Look! started from the position that being a young white person backpacking around the world makes you very privileged and very complicit with a certain global balance of power.
Having a baby has been a gift, because there is so much politics swirling around the whole caboodle – it is very easy to write personal poems that are almost unavoidably about hierarchy and gender and institutions.
Still, though, I’ve attracted my share of criticism. Probably fairly, as with politics it’s very hard to judge tone. Be too subtle and irony can go unnoticed, be too explicit and readers can feel preached to. It can be difficult to get the right angle on your material.
Mainly though, critics say they don’t like poetry that ‘tells them what to think’ – a statement that needs unpacking, as it has caused a dangerous allergy to assertion in much contemporary poetry (and can easily lead to a lot of poetry that seems rather smug about having nothing to say at all).
Actually, it isn’t assertions we should be afraid of. The great political poems are full of strongly felt statements:
The difference is that these are not spooned-up truisms, intending (as propaganda does) to short-circuit thought. Rather, these assertions are so startling that they make us think. (Really, we ask – is it true we must ‘love one another or die’? Even Auden carried on asking himself this, later changing it to ‘love one another and die’ in a 1955 anthology).
A great political poem can (and even should) have a point of view – we shouldn’t be afraid to articulate our hope or anger or the injustice we witness in the world. But poetry needs to invite, or even compel, the reader to think as well- a poem should feel like the opening up of a debate not the closing down of it.
From Kei Miller’s The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion to France’s Leviston’s Disinformation to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, a lot of the most interesting books of the last year have been explicitly political, and this anthology also suggests an upswell of poets taking on the challenge. I almost felt cheerful in the Betsey last week, until I remembered about David Cameron.
This piece was originally published on Clare’s blog.
This is a great cormorant video.
By Peter Frost in Britain:
Shoot’em first no questions asked
Friday 24th April 2015
Forty years ago walking beside a lake at Rickmansworth in north London and a long way from the sea I spotted a black heron shaped bird. The only thing similar I could find in my bird book was indeed a black heron.
A wiser and more experienced bird-watcher friend soon put me right. This rare visitor to an inland lake was a cormorant.
I knew more about cormorants in China than I did in Britain. Chinese fisher-folk used this skilful fishing bird to catch fish for them. The tame birds are fitted with a neck ring to stop them swallowing the bigger fish they catch.
Like many other birds cormorant behaviour had changed dramatically over recent decades.
This colony was later found to comprise of cormorants of a continental sub-species.
By 2012 cormorants have bred at 89 inland sites in England, although breeding at many of these sites was of a single nest or was only for a year or two.
As cormorants moved inland anglers have been pressing the government to do something about the birds.
Most anglers now believe that cormorant numbers are now out of control. Many groups, including the Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association, are lobbying the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to control fish-eating birds.
They want the law changed so that cormorants can be killed under a general licence, similar to those issued for the control of crows or wood pigeons.
The complaint is that current licences allow holders to kill only a handful of birds a year — not nearly enough when inland cormorant numbers over winter have increased from around 2,000 in the early 1980s to nearly 25,000 today.
But allowing cormorants to be culled like crows has alarmed naturalists and bird watchers.
“This would be a new departure,” said Grahame Madge of the RSPB. “It would be the first time a provision had been made to cull a species for sport.
“The population of cormorants is far lower than wood pigeons, which are almost in their millions. If it were introduced, it would be difficult to monitor how many cormorants were being killed and it could result in the population being reduced.”
The RSPB is instead calling for anglers and fisheries owners to use non-lethal tactics to protect fish stocks.
Why have the cormorants moved inland? One theory is that commercial inshore overfishing has depleted fish stocks. Some say they have been lured inland by the many trout farms that offer cormorants free dinners.
The migration inland has also affected the birds’ diet.
A adult cormorant needs around 300g (10oz) of sea fish a day. But freshwater fish are less fatty, meaning a bird will need to consume around double this amount.
The number of cormorants that can be legally killed a year has been increased from 500 to 3,000, a level that troubles the RSPB, which disputes claims the birds are responsible for a significant decline in river fish.
“If there are cormorants at a site, most naturalists would say that means there are fish there,” Madge said. “If they were eating all the fish, they would decline in numbers.
“There is no science to back up claims the situation is getting worse, but anglers want to reach for the shotgun.”
Historically, the cormorant population in Britain has been kept at a low level due to persecution by humans and through reduced breeding resulting from pesticide pollution. Today rivers and other inland waters are far less polluted.
Following protective legislation against persecution in Denmark and Holland in the 1960s, the European population increased rapidly and continental birds started to extend their wintering range into Britain and Ireland.
Research has found that the timing of breeding between the inland and coastal breeding birds is very different.
Coastal birds breed within a very narrow period, with all chicks all hatching at a similar time.
In contrast, inland cormorants have a long breeding season. The large difference in timing of breeding within an inland colony means that competition for food when chicks are large is reduced.
This video from Australia says about itself:
13 October 2013
A collection of field recorded footage of the Endangered (EPBC Act, NC Act) Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta cincta). Clips contain finches at the nest, preening, foraging (see if you can spot them gleaning lerps), drinking and calling. Filmed in Townsville region.
From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Carmichael mine may push rare bird to extinction, scientists warn Greg Hunt
Scientists say clearing the largest remaining habitat of the black-throated finch to make way for coalmines will have ‘irreversible consequences’
Friday 24 April 2015 06.43 BST
The creation of Australia’s largest mine will have “serious detrimental and irreversible consequences” for the endangered black-throated finch and may even push it to extinction, a recovery team for the species has advised Greg Hunt, the federal environment minister.
The black-throated finch recovery team, comprised of scientists from the CSIRO and James Cook University as well as representatives from Townsville council, have written to Hunt and the Queensland government to warn of the impact of the $16.5bn Carmichael mine, set to be situated in the Galilee Basin region.
The letter states that there are only two remaining habitats where significant populations of black-throated finches remain, with the largest of these areas to be cleared to make way for the network of open-cut and underground mines that will make up the 455 sq km Carmichael project. The clearing of 87 sq km of prime finch habitat will pose a “serious risk” to the future of the species, the recovery team warns, while plans to mitigate the threat are “inadequate”.
Adani, the Indian mining firm that will operate the mine, is required to find more than 28,000 hectares of habitat outside the mining site for the finches, as part of an “offset” strategy to compensate for habitat loss.
However, the recovery team states this will not work because “any prospective offset that consists of suitable habitat will already be supporting black-throated finches and so cannot provide habitat for displaced birds”. “If it is not currently occupied by black-throated finches it is unlikely that it provides quality habitat and it cannot be converted to suitable habitat in a reasonable time frame. This is assuming that suitable habitat could be created from unsuitable habitat, and there is no evidence that this can be achieved.
“Any offset strategy will result in a net loss of habitat for the black-throated finch.” Concerns over the impact of mining upon the black-throated finch have previously been dismissed by federal MP and businessman Clive Palmer, who has plans for a separate Galilee Basin mine and pointed out that the birds “have wings and can fly” from danger.
Dr April Reside, an ecology scientist at James Cook University and member of the recovery team, said there’s been a 59% decline in black-throated finch numbers over the last decade and that there could be fewer than 1,000 of the birds left. “The Carmichael mine area is the best remaining habitat we know of, so the digging up of this site could mean the extinction of this finch,” she told Guardian Australia.
“These finches are very mobile and capable of flying long distances. If there were habitat capable of hosting them, they’d already be there. I’ve seen Adani say that with offsets there could be a net benefit to the finch, which is beyond ludicrous. We need to make sure the decision-makers know the facts.”
Reside said the endangered black-throated finch, described by the Department of Environment as 12cm in length and “gregarious”, is an “extraordinary” bird that deserves protection.
Adani has funded surveys of the black throated finch at the mine site and found nine instances of the birds in flocks of up of 30 individuals. The potential habitat of the finch covers around two-thirds of the project’s area, which is 160km north of the town of Clermont in central Queensland and will extract 60m tonnes of coal at capacity. Adani is required to identify offset habitat for the finches at least three months before mining commences, with the plan to be signed off by Hunt, who has already approved the mine itself. However, alternative habitat has yet to be outlined by the company.
This video says about itself:
The “Wapping dispute” or “Battle of Wapping” was, along with the miners’ strike of 1984-5, a significant turning point in the history of the trade union movement and of UK industrial relations. It started on 24 January 1986 when some 6,000 newspaper workers went on strike after protracted negotiation with their employers, News International (parent of Times Newspapers and News Group Newspapers, and chaired by Rupert Murdoch). News International had built and clandestinely equipped a new printing plant for all its titles in Wapping, and when the print unions announced a strike it activated this new plant with the assistance of the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union (EETPU).
The plant was nicknamed “Fortress Wapping” when the sacked print workers effectively besieged it, mounting round-the-clock pickets and blockades in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to thwart the move. In 2005, News International announced the intention to move the print works to regional presses based in Broxbourne (the world’s largest printing plant, opened March 2008), Liverpool and Glasgow. The editorial staff were to remain, however, and there was talk of redeveloping the sizeable plot that makes up the printing works.
By Solomon Hughes in Britain:
Special branch ‘political police’ spied on Wapping leaders
Friday 24th April 2015
Reports unearthed by SOLOMON HUGHES show “anti-violence” officers kept secret files on union chiefs and MPs who dared to support striking printers
Former undercover officer turned whistleblower Peter Francis says he collected data for files on MPs including Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and the late Bernie Grant.
This month Professor Keith Ewing and his fellow researchers revealed in the Morning Star (M Star April 12) how their research in the archives showed an incredible level of Special Branch spying on one minor trade unionist.
Special Branch pestered Bert Edwards, a regional secretary in a car makers’ union — including spying on his kids and warning employers off giving him a job — from the 1930s to the ’50s. If the secret police spies could pursue Edwards, a good man with a small role, then logically they must be spying on many more activists.
I can take some of the same story into the ’80s.
In 1986 Rupert Murdoch locked out 6,000 printworkers by moving all of News International’s press operations to a new, fortified printing plant and newspaper offices in London’s docklands. Demonstrations and pickets by printers and their supporters took place outside the plant for around a year before the dispute died out.
In 2005 I asked for “Special Branch files relating to the Wapping dispute between the Print Unions and News International.”
The Metropolitan Police gave me the 215-page file, which includes regular — often daily — reports of the picketing and demonstrations by Special Branch officers.
It shows how the police “anti-terror” squad monitored Labour MPs and trade union leaders. The papers very strongly suggest Special Branch had files on trade union leaders, and that they may have had files on MPs including John Prescott.
A typical “special report” covers the TUC-Labour Party “Joint May Day” March and Rally near the Wapping plant.
The Special Branch report describes the numbers of marchers and variety of political organisations involved.
It includes full reports of speeches by Ron Mates, then-MP John Prescott and trade unionists like Jim Knapp of the National Union of Railwaymen and Ken Cameron of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
The Special Branch undercover cops write that: “John Prescott MP spoke as both shadow spokesman on employment and as a representative of the National Union of Seamen. He pointed out that the NUS had given the miners total backing during their strike, and could always be relied on to show such solidarity. He then castigated government trade union legislation and said that everyone present must work and vote for the return of a Labour government at the next general election if the balance was to be redressed.”
The other speeches are reported in a similar level of detail, including the fact that “Ron Mates MP castigated Rupert Murdoch and suggested that such a man, being a United States citizen, should be deported.
He called upon all trade unionists to halt distribution of News International publications, and prevent movement of newsprint and ink. He said that in his opinion SOGAT, NGA [the print unions] were making too many concessions to News International in their negotiations.”
The report has an appendix B listing those who “were speakers at the rally,” with their names checked against a column marked “SB(R).”
This means their names are being checked against the Special Branch registry, the place where individual files were kept.
This little bit of admin shows the union leaders definitely had files, but is a bit more ambiguous about the MPs. Jim Knapp of the National Union of Railwaymen, Ken Cameron of the FBU and Ben Rubner of the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union all have redacted text (blacked out text) under the SB(R) column, showing they had file numbers — and hence files. The two MPs are listed as “MP” in the SB(R) column, which may or may not have meant they have files.
In a report of an another demo, Special Branch note Tony Benn talking about the “butchery practiced by the police,” and the presence of Tony Banks MP.
A March 17 “Special Branch threat assessment” report shows that Special Branch took a very political view of the MPs, accusing them of encouraging violence. It talks about an “increasingly held view that the cause is lost” for the Wapping strikers.
It added: “It is this sense of ‘hopelessness’ which drives many of the strikers present to vent their frustration against the police and the sparks of violent confrontation so generated are then fanned by factions of the left who may be relied upon to exploit such conflagrations for their cynical propaganda purposes in which they receive much able, and valuable, assistance from members of Parliament and other prominent political figures of a similar persuasion, some of whom are known regularly to attend the Saturday pickets in the role of ‘observers’.”
The government like to maintain that the Special Branch dealt with “political violence” and “subversion”. The latter is a handily vague concept. But in reality Special Branch often acted as political police, spying on perfectly legal forms of protest and trade union activity — and even on MPs.
It tried to cover all kinds of “illegitimate” activity under the blanket of “national security.” It is important to note that they were not fighting crime, but political challenges to the Establishment.
Indeed there is a strong evidence they actually covered up crime. While some Special Branch officers spied on MPs at Wapping, other Special Branch officers helped quash regular police inquiries into then-MP Cyril Smith’s sexual abuse of young lads.
In a bizarre twist, while the Metropolitan Police did release these Wapping files to me in 2005, they have since refused all requests from other people for copies of the files, for “national security” reasons. They were not secret in 2005, but they are in 2015.
This video from Japan says about itself:
Fukushima Update -150 Dolphins Dead After Beaching Themselves in Japan
11 April 2015
Beached dolphins in Japan were found covering a six-mile stretch of beach in the Ibaraki region Friday morning. Nearly 150 of the cetacean mammals had beached themselves in the Ibaraki Prefecture along the eastern coast of the main island of Honshu. Less than one third of the dolphins were rescued.
This video says these beached animals were melon-headed whales.
By Royce Christyn:
Dead Dolphins In Fukushima Stranding Found With White Radiated Lungs
1 week ago
Japanese scientists are saying they have never seen anything like what they discovered after autopsying a massive group of dolphins that ended up dead after being discovered stranded on a beach near the site of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Their lungs were white, which, according to scientists is an indication of loss of blood flow to the organs which is an indication of radiation poisoning.
The translated article comes from EneNews.