Good whimbrel news from the USA


This 16 June 2021 video says about itself:

Discovery at Deveaux! This short film follows a team of shorebird biologists as they confirm the first census of a newly discovered Whimbrel roost in 2019. The final counts amount to nearly 20,000 individuals, representing half of the entire Atlantic Flyway population of this declining species using a single barrier island in South Carolina.

Vast flocks of Whimbrels were thought to be a thing of the past, something out of tattered ornithological journals from a century ago. Then a South Carolina wildlife biologist made a major discovery: Nearly 20,000 birds roosting nightly on a sandbar just off the coast—the largest known concentration of this rapidly declining shorebird anywhere on Earth. Read the story.

Wildness on a Whim: South Carolina poet and ornithologist Dr. J. Drew Lanham reflects on the Deveaux Bank Whimbrel roost as sign of a new kind of hope—and a new definition of wildness. Read his essay.

Journalist murdered, Saudi crown prince off the hook?


This video says about itself:

Saudi Crown Prince personally approved Khashoggi murder says US report – BBC News

A US intelligence report has concluded that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally approved the murder of the exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

He was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

The declassified intelligence report says Prince Salman approved a plan to either “capture or kill” Khashoggi, who had criticised the Saudi regime.

It’s the first time America has publicly named the crown prince, who has denied ordering the murder.

Sophie Raworth presents BBC News at Ten reporting by North America correspondent Nick Bryant.

BIDEN PROMISED TO TAKE ON SAUDI ARABIA OVER JAMAL KHASHOGGI. THE SAUDIS WON. In the nine months since he took over from Trump, Biden could have meaningfully punished Saudi Arabia and its prince over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Instead, the U.S. response to Khashoggi’s killing has been too puny to deter future abuses, experts say. Catch up with the case here. [HuffPost]

Greta Thunberg on climate crisis


This video says about itself:

Sep.30 2021– “Build back better, blah blah blah. Green economy, blah blah blah.”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg criticizes world leaders over “empty words and promises” during an international youth climate summit in Italy.

To world leaders,

“Betrayal.”

That’s how young people around the world describe our governments’ failure to cut carbon emissions. And it’s no surprise.

We are catastrophically far from the crucial goal of 1.5°C, and yet governments everywhere are still accelerating the crisis, spending billions on fossil fuels.

This is not a drill. It’s code red for the Earth. Millions will suffer as our planet is devastated — a terrifying future that will be created, or avoided, by the decisions you make. You have the power to decide.

As citizens across the planet, we urge you to face up to the climate emergency. Not next year. Not next month. Now:

  • Keep the precious goal of 1.5°C alive with immediate, drastic, annual emission reductions unlike anything the world has ever seen.
  • End all fossil fuel investments, subsidies, and new projects immediately, and stop new exploration and extraction.
  • End ‘creative’ carbon accounting by publishing total emissions for all consumption indices, supply chains, international aviation and shipping, and the burning of biomass.
  • Deliver the $100bn promised to the most vulnerable countries, with additional funds for climate disasters.
  • Enact climate policies to protect workers and the most vulnerable, and reduce all forms of inequality.

We can still do this. There is still time to avoid the worst consequences if we are prepared to change. It will take determined, visionary leadership. And it will take immense courage — but know that when you rise, billions will be right behind you.

Add my name
It can feel incredibly hard to keep hope alive in the face of inaction. But my hope lies in people — in the millions of us who are rising to save the future. It lies in our marches, in our dogged determination to keep fighting, and in our trembling voices as we speak truth to power. My hope is rooted in action and fuelled by a love for humanity and our most beautiful earth. It’s what keeps me absolutely convinced that we can do this. And we must do this. Together.
With fierce hope,

Greta from Sweden, with Vanessa from Uganda, Dominika from Poland, Mitzi from the Philippines, youth activists across the world, and the whole team at Avaaz

More information:

AMAZON RAINFOREST BIRDS ARE SHRINKING AS TEMPERATURES RISE Birds in the Amazon rainforest have gotten physically smaller over the last four decades, and scientists believe that a warming planet may be the reason. While birds’ bodies have gotten smaller over time, their wings have gotten longer. The researchers believe this may be an adaptation to hotter temperatures. [HuffPost]

SUPREME COURT DELIVERS BIG BLOW TO CLIMATE CRISIS The Supreme Court just made it much harder for the U.S. government to respond to climate change. Thursday’s 6-3 decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, preemptively strikes down any regulations the Biden administration might consider issuing under a provision of the Clean Air Act to limit carbon emissions at power plants. Justice Elena Kagan delivered a scathing dissent, writing the court “does not have a clue about how to address climate change.” [HuffPost]

CLIMATE SUMMIT IS BARELY OVER AND BIDEN IS OUT HERE SELLING FOSSIL FUELS In the presidential debate in March 2020, President Joe Biden promised to “take on the fossil fuel industry.” But environmental advocates say Biden is breaking that pledge now as the administration prepares to hold the largest offshore oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history on Nov. 17. [HuffPost]

Studying curlew in England


This 1 October 2021 video from England says about itself:

Harry Ewing, PhD student at the University of East Anglia and BTO, shares his research into Curlew in Breckland, tells us how the COVID-19 pandemic affected his work and thanks BTO major donors for supporting an extra field season to gather more data on this declining species.

Haitian refugees whipped in Texas


This 21 September 2021 video from the USA is called Border Patrol Use Whips And Horses To Chase Asylum Seekers.

Outrage As Biden Administration Rapidly Deports Haitian Migrants From Texas Border

The Biden administration is rapidly deporting thousands of Haitian migrants who have been camped at a Texas border town seeking entry to the U.S.

More than 14,000 refugees, most of them Haitian, have been camping out for days in squalid conditions under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Some 3,300 people from the camp have already been sent to detention centers or removed on deportation flights by U.S. immigration agents, USA Today reports.

In a release Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said it was expelling most of the migrants using Title 42 ― a Trump-era policy that allows the U.S., during the coronavirus pandemic, to quickly deport people crossing the border, typically without processing them for asylum.

Video and photos showed Border Patrol agents on horseback whipping ropes at Haitian refugees on Sunday. The refugees had reportedly gone into Mexico to buy food, and were seeking to return to the camp on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande.

Immigrant rights groups expressed outrage, urging U.S. Customs and Border Protection to “stop this discrimination” and slamming the Biden administration for choosing to “shut the door” on Haitians seeking safety.

When asked Monday about the violent images of CBP agents on horseback threatening migrants, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that while she didn’t have the “full context” of what was happening in these incidents, “I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it was acceptable or appropriate.”

A DHS spokesperson said in a statement that the footage is “extremely troubling” and an investigation will be “conducted swiftly,” adding that the agency “does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody.” In a subsequent statement to reporters Monday, Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said he believed the agents were “trying to control” their animals but that officials would investigate the incident.

Advocates have condemned the Biden administration for resuming deportations to Haiti, a country mired in turmoil from the assassination of its president in July and an earthquake in August that killed more than 2,000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

Read more here.

U.S. SET TO ADMIT LOWEST NUMBER OF REFUGEES EVER Despite Biden’s pledge to overhaul immigration and welcome refugees to the U.S., 2021 is on pace for a record low in refugee admissions, with 7,637 admissions as of Aug. 31. The refugee cap was set as up to 62,500 after pushback by advocates, but the U.S. is unlikely to meet that number by the Oct. 31 fiscal year deadline. [HuffPost]

Bittern, buzzard, bearded reedlings


Bittern area, September 2021

This photo shows the view from a hide in the Rottige Meente nature reserve in Friesland province in the Netherlands. In September, we saw a bittern there. All three photos in this blog post are cellphone photos.

A few days later, a buzzard, hundreds of lapwings and a marsh harrier from that hide.

Nearly all days, bearded reedlings. And dragonflies.

Rottige Meente, September 2021

And gadwall ducks. Sometimes also mallards and shovelers.

Rottige Meente water, September 2021

Brown thrasher in Georgia, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Brown Thrasher Poses For Cam In Savannah, Georgia – Aug. 27, 2021

Brown Thrashers are secretive, and hard to spot in their favorite spots under dense vegetation, but they can make a lot of noise as they rummage through the leaf litter. Here, the Savannah Osprey cam zooms in on a perching thrasher before it has a chance to depart from a branch.

British Afghan war veteran on disastrous war


This 24 August 2021 video from Britain is called Former British Soldier DESTROYS Official Afghanistan Narrative.

The full 55-minute interview with this veteran, Joe Glenton, is here.

AFGHAN REFUGEES LIVE IN LIMBO ON U.S. MILITARY BASES Nearly 50,000 Afghan refugees are living on military bases in the U.S., and many say they don’t have supplies for the winter and don’t know how much longer they will have to wait for permanent homes. The conditions are an example of what critics say is the Biden administration’s lack of preparedness when it comes to Afghan refugees. [HuffPost]

310-million-year-old horseshoe crab brain discovery


The brain (white at center) of an extinct horseshoe crab called Euproops danae was fossilized in a clay mineral called kaolinite. The whole crab stretches only about 10 millimeters. R. Bicknell

By Rebecca Dzombak:

August 20, 2021 at 8:00 am

How fossilization preserved a 310-million-year-old horseshoe crab’s brain

A newly analyzed specimen is a ‘one-in-a-million’ find, researchers say

Paleontologists can spend years carefully splitting rocks in search of the perfect fossil. But with a 310-million-year-old horseshoe crab brain, nature did the work, breaking the fossil in just the right way to reveal the ancient arthropod’s central nervous system.

Of all soft tissues, brains are notoriously difficult to preserve in any form (SN: 10/31/16). Stumbling across such a detailed specimen purely by chance was “a one-in-a-million find, if not rarer,” says evolutionary paleontologist Russell Bicknell of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia.

The fossilized brain is remarkably similar to the brains of modern horseshoe crabs, giving clues to the arthropods’ evolution, Bicknell and colleagues report July 26 in Geology. And the brain’s peculiar mode of preservation could point paleontologists toward new places to look for hard-to-find fossils of soft tissues.