This video shows an adult little grebe and its chick.
This video says about Turkey says about itself:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
This video, recorded in Paris, France says about itself:
France: Massive ‘shoe protest’ held in Paris against banning of climate march
29 November 2015
Thousands of pairs of shoes were placed on the ground as part of an installation at Place de la République in Paris on Sunday in protest against the banning of the Global March for Climate that was due to be held in the capital later that day. The rally was outlawed by French authorities as part of a ban on pubic gatherings enforced in light of the Paris attacks of Friday, November 13.
If shoes cannot walk in a pro-environment demonstration, then they can at least stand still as silent witnesses.
However, human beings also as silent witnesses, standing still in a human chain? The police state has other ideas.
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:
At the Place de la République in central Paris, police fired tear gas grenades at a large group of climate activists. Despite the ban on public demonstrations around two hundred environmental activists gathered in the square to form a human chain. …
Tomorrow in the French capital begins the global climate conference COP21, in the presence of many heads of state and government. …
As an alternative to the gathering at the Place de la République, there are now thousands of pairs of shoes.
Rather ironic that the acronym for this conference is COP.
French police arrest activists for flouting ban on organising protests during climate talks next week: here.
Greenpeace France director Jean-François Julliard said that, to his knowledge, all the ecologists under house arrest were pacifist activists who had never committed any violent acts nor been charged with anything. “We have the feeling that [the government] wants to stifle criticism from the militants, but they are going about it in the worst possible way, this is repression,” he said on BFM television.
Meanwhile, the French government has NOT banned markets, football matches, etc. Events where thousands of people gather as well. And, in the case of football matches, with a higher risk of violence than at pro-environment demonstrations. However: events where, contrary to pro-climate marches, rich people can make lots of money. It looks suspiciously like the French authorities are not really concerned about ‘security’ or violence; but more about letting ExxonMobil, Shell, Volkswagen and other polluting corporations lobby in the smoke-filled backrooms of the COP21 conference, without countervailing power in pro-climate marches.
UPDATE: there were thousands of ‘illegal’ demonstrators; about 100 were arrested.
Paris climate change talks: Worldwide protests as leaders prepare for start of COP21 summit. Thousands of demonstrators across the world from Sydney to London have staged one of the largest ever days of protest: here.
World Bank: Climate change could push 100 million into extreme poverty: here.
This video says about itself:
28 November 2015
Turkey: Erdogan Son Buys Oil From ISIS Friends & Mastermind Behind Downing Russian Jet
Updating you regarding the ongoing spat between Turkey and Russia as Turkey warns Russia not to play with fire in the dispute of downing a Russian military jet over Syrian territory.
By Ben Chacko in Britain:
Turkey is playing a dangerous game – we should have no part of it
Saturday 28th November 2015
“EVEN if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack.
“It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still, it was shot down.”
Vladimir Putin? No, those were the words of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 27 2012, after the Syrian military shot down a Turkish warplane flying over Syrian airspace.
From The Week in Britain, 27 November 2015, about NATO allies Greece and Turkey:
In 2014, the Greek military reports that 2,244 intrusions [by Turkish warplanes into Greek airspace] were made and by October of this year, military authorities claimed 1,443 airspace violations by Turkish planes.
Fortunately, in none of these thousands of cases this led to shooting down an airplane.
The Ben Chacko article continues:
How “clear” it was to the Syrian army that Turkey’s incursion was not aggressive is, well, unclear. Because while this week’s shoot-down of a Russian jet has captured the headlines — rightly, as the most dangerous confrontation between Nato and Russia since the cold war — Turkey has intervened repeatedly in Syria’s civil war.
Whether the plane was shot down after briefly overflying the border, as Turkey asserts, or never left Syrian territory as Russia claims is a moot point.
Turkey clearly planned the act. No pilot would dare take it upon themselves to attack the military of a UN security council member, and one bristling with nuclear missiles.
Barack Obama suggests this group is “moderate” and if Russia concentrated on attacking Isis its planes wouldn’t get shot down.
These “moderates” murdered an ejecting pilot as he parachuted to earth and bragged about it.
They then destroyed a Russian helicopter searching for survivors. We now know that the group that did this was led by a member of the Grey Wolves, a fascist paramilitary organisation with a decades-long history of terrorism and racially motivated murder.
They regularly co-operate with more familiar jihadi fanatics, such as the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front.
Those who say that these forces are in Syria to fight Isis are lying, even if rival extremist groups do occasionally come to blows. They are fighting the Syrian government alongside Isis. The Grey Wolves’ focus is on battling the Kurds.
Together with Isis they are part of what Turkey’s intelligence chief and key Erdogan ally Hakan Fidan calls the “Islamic revolution” in Syria.
Last month Fidan was reported as saying that Isis ought to be allowed to set up a consulate in Istanbul and Turkey should work openly with the organisation against Syria’s secular government and the Russian forces defending it.
The Anadolu News Agency quickly denounced the story as a fabrication. Whatever the truth, if Fidan did say those things he was only articulating what his government has been doing for years.
The Turkish border has been the key crossing point for foreign jihadis, many from Britain and France, to flood into Syria on their murderous mission. The alleged consulate suggestion would merely formalise this arrangement.
In September 2014, a Turkish train delivering armoured vehicles and weaponry was filmed entering Syria.
In May this year Reuters recorded testimony from Turkish intelligence agents who said convoys supposedly carrying “humanitarian aid” into Syria were full of weapons for rebel fighters and that many of these weapons had ended up in Isis hands.
The daily newspaper Cumhuriyet published photographs of aid consignments being searched by inspectors near the Syrian border. Under a layer of antibiotics the boxes were stuffed with mortar shells.
The prosecutors who ordered the searches were subsequently arrested. Turkish security officials who carried out the searches were also arrested, charged with espionage. The newspaper was put under investigation for “terrorism.”
If Saudi Arabia is Isis’s main source of donors and provides the terror group with its extremist ideology (right down to a penal code that involves mutilations, beheadings and stonings) then Turkey has been its principal facilitator in terms of access to Syria and is its main customer for oil sales.
Reports that top-level Isis militants are treated in secret Turkish hospitals (possibly linked to Erdogan’s own family), Reuters interviews with Turkish officials recording the military assistance given to Isis, reams of evidence submitted by Kurdish forces and an extensive study by Columbia University’s Institute of Human Rights allow no room for doubt.
So when Putin says Isis is backed up by “the armed forces of an entire state,” he isn’t far wrong. And the truth about Turkey’s role illustrates the deeply duplicitous debate going on in this country over intervention in the Syrian war.
The missile the Turkmen rebels used to blow up the Russian helicopter was supplied by the United States.
That same US which admitted there were no “moderate” rebels in Syria in September but resurrected the concept after Russia entered the war.
It is not a question of “when” Nato intervenes in Syria. Nato powers have intervened from the beginning, but on Isis’s side.
Liberal commentators have belched out clouds of misinformation about what is going on in the country, claiming the West supports the non-existent “moderates.”
They have parroted the Nato line that Russia is not targeting Isis. “Russia’s military involvement in Syria has overwhelmingly focused on targeting Western-supported anti-Assad rebels — not Isis,” a Guardian editorial intoned again earlier this week.
But sharper-eyed columnists such as the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn and Robert Fisk have exposed the untruth of these statements, which anyway make no sense.
“Russia is not trying to defeat Isis, but to shore up the Assad regime,” goes the liberal cry. But it would be impossible to shore up the Assad regime without fighting its most powerful opponent by far, which is Isis.
Despite all the talk about targeting Isis, politicians and pundits repeatedly talk of arming other rebel groups, of “bringing Assad to the negotiating table.” …
There’s no point in getting dewy-eyed about it — Russia is not backing Assad for humanitarian reasons, but because he is a regional ally and it fears the spread of Isis and its extremist Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi terror across the region and beyond.
But as the atrocity in Paris showed, so should we fear its spread. And we should stop making excuses for the Erdogan regime and call it out on the butchery it is letting loose.
Nowhere is the contrast clearer than over the Kurdish forces fighting Isis — the heroes on the lips of Western politicians struggling against the odds. Indeed, since the continued obsession with regime change in Syria among Western politicians precludes any mention of the Syrian army, the Kurds are often presented in Parliament and on our TV screens as the only ground force fighting Isis.
The People’s Protection Units of northern Syria are indeed heroes, and not merely struggling against Isis but doing so in the teeth of Turkish opposition. They have been bombed by Turkey and warned against liberating Isis-occupied towns along the Turkish border on pain of massive retaliation from Ankara.
Now Erdogan has shown he is not only reckless enough to unleash and arm a legion of genocidal terrorists on his own border to destabilise a regional rival, but he is so rash he does not hesitate to risk armed conflict with a nuclear power.
And this is a Nato member. The Tories and their Blairite imitators constantly harp on about how Nato membership is essential to our security. But the events in Syria this week show the opposite is the case. Turkey is fighting its own regional war and Britain risks being dragged in on the side of the most murderous terrorist organisation on the planet. The very organisation we say we are trying to crush.
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.
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.