About petrel41

Blogging on animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women's issues, arts, and much more

Little grebe and its chick, video

This video shows an adult little grebe and its chick.

Christ Grootzwagers made this video at the Bodemven lake in Huis ter Heide, Utrecht province, the Netherlands.

Russian warplane in Israeli airspace, NOT shot down

This video says about Turkey says about itself:

Prominent Kurdish Lawyer Assassinated in Southeast Turkey

28 November 2015

The president of the bar association in southeastern Diyarbakir province has been shot dead by unidentified gunmen while giving a public speech.
A campaigner for Kurdish rights, Tahir Elci had been criticized for challenging Turkey’s official stance of calling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a terrorist organization. A curfew has been put in place.

This 29 November 2011 video is about the funeral of Tahir Elci, where ten thousands of people came. See also here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

A Russian plane has penetrated Israeli airspace. According to the defense minister in Israel that was a mistake and the pilot turned back immediately when he was told that he flew over Israel. This is reported by various Israeli media.

Russia and Israel have recently opened a line of communication to “prevent misunderstandings”, said Minister Ya’alon. “Russia is not going to attack us, so we do not have to shoot automatically when such a mistake is being made,” he said.

Did you hear that, President Erdogan of Turkey? THERE ARE OTHER SOLUTIONS THAN YOUR VIOLENT WAY IN CASES LIKE THIS! Maybe you know already: Turkish warplanes have violated the airspace of its NATO ally Greece thousands of times. This, fortunately, did not lead to any planes being shot down, and escalation towards bloody war.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras wrote on Twitter about this to his Turkish colleague:

We’re spending billions on weapons. You—to violate our airspace, we—to intercept you. … Tsipras said the two countries should focus on saving refugees, not on weapons.

Or, maybe again, you, President Erdogan, are unable to hear there are other solutions than violence, as the thick walls of your new, taxpayer-paid palace completely shut out the real world outside.

Though there are many very bad sides to the government of Netanyahu in Israel (and of Putin in Russia), at least in this case they have not sunk to the bloody level of the Erdogan regime in Turkey (and its Grey Wolves neo-nazi proxies in the Syrian war).

Putin accuses US of colluding in downing of Russian plane: here.

French President Hollande proposes anti-ISIS alliance in Syria to Russia: here.

Britain: Cameron hopes to be able to hold a vote on intervention next week. But to do so with an expectation of winning, he has to be sure that he has the backing of at least 30 Labour MPs, who would be voting in defiance of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s stated opposition to military involvement: here.

The decision of the German government to participate in the war in Syria marks a new stage in the resurgence of German militarism. A bloody adventure is being prepared behind the backs of the population: here.

Not one Muslim I know thinks war in Syria is justified. Promises come in thick and fast, as unreliable as all those made before – on Iraq, Libya and the ‘war on terror’: here.

YOU Make a Difference Award, thank you Michelle!

YOU Make a Difference Award

Michelle of the blog M’chelsMusings has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some Blog for the YOU Make a Difference Award.

Thank you so much for this kind gesture!

The maker of this award writes about it:

so your job should you accept it; is to find a blog or blogs- and pass on the awards to them. Let them know that They have made a Difference in your world-somehow. As I said I don’t have everyone here…there would be a lot more in the True Blue awards if I did! ;)

I hope you accept them and pass them. I’d love to see who you’ve awarded, please then copy this blog entry into your awarding! Thank you very much, for being you, blue, red, green and one I’m making for all of you, later!

Michelle lists no further ‘rules’ for her award, like about the number of nominations, etc.

So, now I nominate these nominees for the award:

1. Cathy Lynn Brooks

2. The Shameful Sheep

3. Hot Rod Cowgirl

4. powerletsspreadtheword

5. Առլեն Շահվերդյան. հեղինակային բլոգ-կայք

6. JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

7. Transplanted Tatar

8. Eyes on Europe & Middle East News

9. perfectlyfadeddelusions

10. Luc Dewaele, fotograaf

Saving endangered Mexican plants

This video says about itself:

The creation of the Baja California chapter of the California Native Plant Society

4 February 2015

A talk at the 2015 Conservation Conference by César García Valderrama.

By Michael Way, of Kew Gardens in London, England:

Saving the endemic and endangered flora of Baja California, Mexico

23 November 2015

Michael Way describes the importance of an integrated plant conservation strategy for the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.

For many visitors, the Baja California peninsula and the Sea of Cortés are renowned for their rich marine wildlife, providing the chance to encounter sea lions and the grey whales that breed in these warm waters each winter. So how do the terrestrial habitats compare? Actually the 1,200km length of the Baja California peninsula is remarkably varied in geology, climate, and landform, and may support as many as 4,000 native plant taxa, many of which are still the focus of botanical exploration.

This research is vital because some of the ecosystems of the region are under continuing threat: for example the development of housing and vineyards in the north of the peninsula, and expansion of coastal resorts in the south, could affect the habitat of species not yet fully evaluated for conservation. As part of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, Kew cooperates with local botanists to urgently safeguard seed from these endemic and threatened plants.

Why is the plant diversity of Baja California so precious?

The starting point is an array of igneous rocks which forms a spine along the length of the peninsula, and these formations are complemented by a range of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks that provide a diversity of soil conditions and opportunities for specialised plants. Interestingly, at the shoreline it appears that the extensive shell deposits left from shellfish harvesting by indigenous communities have added a strong calcareous influence, as well as contributing to local flora diversity.

The peninsula extends across ten degrees of latitude, (comparable to the distance from London to Madrid), and spans temperate and tropical climates with contrasting temperature and rainfall regimes. Either side of the US border, the Californian Floristic Province (with Mediterranean climate, and winter rainfall) encompasses one forest type and several shrub communities. The mid zone of the peninsula, centred on the massive Vizcaino Desert, has a Sonoran desert climate. Further south, the Cape receives summer rain storms more typical of the tropics. In combination, 13 ecological regions have been delimited (Rebman & Roberts, 2012) and it is possible that the adjacent cool and stable Pacific Ocean may have facilitated speciation by extending the growth and flowering season for native plants (Vanderplank & Excurra, 2015).

How much progress has been made so far in protecting the flora?

As development has expanded in recent decades, so has the determination of local biologists to preserve and protect key wildlife habitats for future generations to value and enjoy. Some fifteen areas have been given formal protection by Federal government (Excurra in Rebman & Roberts, 2012). These cover over 50% of the land area of the peninsula and islands, and will protect wildlife from some of the most extreme future land-use changes. I fear that the presence of introduced goats and other non-natives on off-shore islands will need an urgent response if the threats are to be confronted. There are encouraging initiatives such as the establishment of the NGO ‘Native Plants of the Californias’ to inform and educate the next generation.

We cannot afford to delay action, and we have therefore been expanding our plant conservation efforts on the peninsula with our partners at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Since January 2014, our fieldwork has accelerated with support of the Marisla Foundation: I am pleased that by working closely with local botanists at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), and with advice from collaborators from San Diego Natural History Museum, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Botanical Research Institute of Texas, we have already secured 200 collections of seed from the peninsula for long term conservation at UNAM and the Millennium Seed Bank.

The islands of the Sea of Cortes: a fragile paradise

I had the chance in October to join a trip to one of the best preserved islands in the Gulf of California, Isla Espiritu Santo, and to see for myself a wonderful diversity of native plants set in the most dramatic landscapes. On landing at Bonanza beach by a local ‘panga’ boat, we climbed the dunes where Dr Jon Rebman drew our attention to a curious plant Proboscidea althaeifolia in the Martiniaceae family that produces ‘devils claw’ fruits. These have evolved to attach to the lower leg of large animals and thus disperse its seed. Visitors to the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst may have seen massive models of an African ‘devils claw’ species that disperses seed in a similar manner.

Further exploration beyond the coastal mangrove thickets and amongst wind-sculpted rock formations on the sister island of Partida revealed a diversity of cacti: for example, Stenocereus gummosus which produces edible ‘pitahaya’ fruits and the majestic organ pipe cactus Stenocereus thurberi.

What more needs to be done?

Although I am alarmed that many habitats continue to be lost and fragmented on the mainland, my short visit to Isla Espiritu Santo demonstrated the importance of achieving World Heritage Site protection of these fragile environments in 2005. The efforts of the protected area managers combined with the high standards of the eco-tourism operators appear to be effective at present, but continued investment will be needed to control non-native species and to manage appropriate use of the islands in the face of increasing recreational pressure.

On the peninsula and islands, we will continue to target habitats at greatest risk of change, including vernal pools and coastal dunes, and will work alongside NGOs and University collaborators to share botanical information and achieve greatest combined impact of our work. I am pleased that our seed collecting effort will also complement the ‘California Endangered Plant Rescue programme’ which Kew is supporting in the USA through the Center for Plant Conservation.

Through these projects, we can also help mitigate the longer term threats from global climate change and invasive species, specifically by building expertise and ex situ collections that could be part of a targeted response. I am already planning my next visit to this precious region.

I’d like to thank Kew’s partners and my colleagues Dr Tiziana Ulian and Dr Wolfgang Stuppy for their important roles in this project, as well as the Marisla Foundation for providing funding.

New Suriname bird book, ruff not yet included

This video says about itself:

22 January 2013

Small birds in Suriname, Amazonia. This is a collection of footage of “small” birds in our part of Suriname (South America). 99% of the footage has been made in our own yard. I excluded the hummingbirds, parrots/parakeets, birds of prey, and pterodactylae, because I want to make separate videos about them.

Very recently, a new book, Field Guide to the Birds of Suriname, was published. Its publisher writes about it:

Suriname, located on the Atlantic coast of northeastern South America, is a relatively small country compared to most other South American countries. It nevertheless has a rich avifauna. By the end of 2014, 746 species (including 760 subspecies) were known to occur in Suriname. Most of the land area of Suriname is still covered with tropical rainforest and the country should be a must-visit for birdwatchers. Suriname is even mentioned as being the best country to spot certain neotropical species. Surprisingly, few birders visit Suriname. The main reason given is the lack of a handy pocket guide that can easily be carried in a backpack.

The Field Guide to the Birds of Suriname (with its 107 color plates) tries to fill this gap. In addition to species accounts, data on topography, climate, geology, geomorphology, biogeography, avifauna composition, conservation, and hotspots for bird watching are given. So, why delay your trip to this beautiful and friendly country any longer.

An electronic version of part of the book is here.

Arie Spaans, one of the authors, was interviewed this morning on Dutch radio.

He confessed the book was not completely up to date. As the book was already being printed, a ruff, usually an Eurasian bird not present in the Americas, landed on a ship near the coast of Suriname. Too late to be included.

This video is about ruff mating season in Europe.