Caspian tern in Portugal, video


This video is about a Caspian tern in Alvor, Algarve province, Portugal.

Portuguese birdwatching festival


This video is about birdwatching in southern Portugal.

From BirdLife:

2013 Sagres Birdwatching Festival celebrates bird migration

Thu, Sep 19, 2013

The Sagres Peninsula, which is the only place in Portugal where the autumn migration of soaring birds can be observed, will host the fourth edition of the Birdwatching Festival from 4th to 6th October 2013.

The event is the biggest in Portugal devoted to birds and will include a range of activities with the aim to complement birdwatching with the enjoyment of nature, meeting the needs of both children and adults. The festival is organised by SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal) and the association Almargem, and is part of the rural development project “Um Outro Algarve” (Another Algarve).

Although birds will be the event’s main attraction, this year there will also be fieldtrips and mini-courses on topics such as astronomy, mushrooms, nocturnal butterflies or sharks. “This diversification of activities aims to make the most of, and familiarise people with, the region’s natural heritage, focusing on the development of nature tourism”, states Nuno Barros, Marine Program Assistant at SPEA.

During the festival it will also be possible to take part in dolphin watching activities, or even to go horse riding accompanied by pack donkeys. Local businesses are offering special prices on accommodation, tourist activities and restaurants.

Sagres, in the municipality of Vila do Bispo, is one of the most important areas for birdlife in Portugal. The area is home to unique species in the region of Algarve: from August to November, it becomes the main migratory corridor in the country for storks, eagles, vultures, hawks and falcons, and almost all the species of soaring birds found in Portugal can be seen here, as well as a number of rarities.

The programme and the registration procedure can be found at the official website of the 4th Sagres Birdwatching Festival.

For more information: please contact Nuno Barros, Marine Program Assistant at SPEA.

Recently, the independent record label Second Language released the third volume of its compilation, Music & Migration III. The CD celebrates migratory birds and it includes exclusive contributions from international artists, such as Chris Watson, Mark Fry and Colleen. The third volume follows the success of previous releases in 2010 and 2011 and is dedicated to BirdLife International on its 20th Anniversary and particularly celebrates its global work for migratory birds. Read more here.

Bird migration in Zeeland, the Netherlands: here.

USA: The growing popularity of birding received several shots of affirmation over the past week, highlighted by national media reports of a birding landmark, and the launching of a new young birders club in Northeast Ohio: here.

Liebster Award, thank you Barbara!


Liebster Award

Barbara of the blog Common Sense in an uncommon world has been so kind to award Dear Kitty. Some blog the Liebster Award! Thank you so much Barbara, and all the best for you and your blog!

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:

Section 1. Add the award logo to your blog.

Section 2. Answer the eleven questions.

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

Barbara’s eleven questions for her nominees are:

1. What is your idea of the coolest pen name? At the moment, my Internet pen name is petrel41. Petrel because of the beautiful snow petrel which I was privileged to see near Antarctica. And 41 because of a number in a street where I used to live, but don’t live any more.

2. If you were King/Queen… I would abdicate and abolish the monarchy. I don’t believe in monarchies.

3. What was the coolest decade for being a teen? 1960s. All sorts of new music rising … standards of living rising for many people, not just for a minority of billionaires, like now.

4. If you made the laws, how would you stop child abuse? Child abuse and how to stop it are really complex issues. One cannot stop it by better laws only. The questions then would still remain: will these laws be put into practice? And: will the child abuse become known soon; or will it be like with British child abuser Sim Jimmy Savile, who died and got a luxurious tombstone with an inscription in golden letters? Only removed later when the truth came out?

Briefly, too briefly: quite some people think of typical child abusers as mysterious unknown people, lurking in bushes, waiting for children unknown to them. That is not true. The great majority of child abusers know their victims; and are often in some position of authority over the children. That often makes it harder for children, or their parents, to denounce the culprits. Sir Jimmy Savile was a “celebrity” with a “good” reputation; and with links to government and other establishment people. If a child rapist is a priest, then there is the idea that denouncing that rapist would be against the church, against God Himself. So, the truth about little Marietje Kessels only comes out now, over a century after she was raped and murdered. If people would be encouraged to think about authority less uncritically, then cases of child abuse might go down.

5. How would you end poverty if you had the power? UK-based charity Oxfam says the world’s 100 richest people earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty four times over. So, according to these Oxfam figures, if these 100 people would give up 25% of their yearly income, then they still would have plenty of money left to buy private warship yachts, private planes, private Hawaiian islands, etc.

6. When did you realize you wanted to write? Already as a pre-teen, I wrote stories and poems.

7. What is your favorite dessert? Fruit salad.

8. Who was the greatest influence in your life? My mother; with her subscriptions to bird and wildlife magazines, and much more.

9. What was your favorite subject in school? Biology.

10. If you could live anywhere on earth, where would that be and why? There are many beautiful places. I spent wonderful spring days around Tavira in the Algarve in Portugal. I saw fantastic migratory birds and nesting swallows. I saw medieval architecture and poetry as well. On the other hand, the weather there in mid summer might be too hot.

11. Do you like winning these awards? Yes!

My eleven nominees are:

1. usmanhashmi

2. The Panama Adventure

3. margosnotebook

4. Ruth E Hendricks Photography

5. Miss Ayo Délé

6. Flowers, Trees, & Other Such Gifts of Nature

7. Oil Pastels by Mary

8. Sunlight in winter

9. roy thoman

10. La Photographie de Mode

11. Life For a Forest

My eleven questions for my nominees are:

1. If you are a WordPress blogger: did you blog somewhere else before you started your WordPress blog?

2. If yes to question #1, what are the main differences between your previous blog site and WordPress?

3. Do you think you are using all WordPress features which might be useful?

4. Do you know how many “likes” your blog got so far? If so, how? This is an important question for me, as some bloggers know, and I don’t have any idea how many “likes” my blog got so far :)

5, Do you use the Get Polling Polldaddy feature?

6. If so, is it working well on your site? I tried Polldaddy, but somehow it did not work well on my site :)

7. What is your favourite animal species?

8. What is your favourite plant species?

9. Did you ever make a blog post which you expected would get few visitors, but which on the contrary got many views?

10. Did you ever make a blog post which you expected would get many visitors, but which on the contrary got few views?

11. What is your favourite song?

Roman age Portuguese Jewish archaeological discovery


This video says about itself:

The ancient city of Conimbriga is the largest Roman settlement in Portugal, as well as the best preserved, and well worth visiting.

From the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena in Germany:

Oldest Jewish Archaeological Evidence on the Iberian Peninsula

25 May 2012 Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Sensational Discovery by Archaeologists of Jena University at a Portuguese Excavation Site

Archaeologists of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) found one of the oldest archaeological evidence so far of Jewish culture on the Iberian Peninsula at an excavation site in the south of Portugal, close to the city of Silves (Algarve). On a marble plate, measuring 40 by 60 centimetres, the name “Yehiel” can be read, followed by further letters which have not yet been deciphered. The Jena archaeologists believe that the new discovery might be a tomb slab. Antlers, which were found very close to the tomb slab in the rubble gave a clue to the age determination. “The organic material of the antlers could be dated by radiocarbon analysis with certainty to about 390 AD,” excavation leader Dr. Dennis Graen of the Jena University explains. “Therefore we have a so-called ‘terminus ante quem’ for the inscription, as it must have been created before it got mixed in with the rubble with the antlers.”

The earliest archaeological evidence of Jewish inhabitants in the region of modern-day Portugal has so far also been a tomb slab with a Latin inscription and an image of a menorah – a seven-armed chandelier – from 482 AD. The earliest Hebrew inscriptions known until now date from the 6th or 7th Century AD.

For three years the team of the University Jena has been excavating a Roman villa in Portugal, discovered some years ago by Jorge Correia, archaeologist of the Silves council, during an archaeological survey near the village of São Bartolomeu de Messines (Silves). The project was aiming at finding out how and what the inhabitants of the hinterland of the Roman province of Lusitania lived off. While the Portuguese coast region has been explored very well, there is very little knowledge about those regions. The new discovery poses further conundrums. “We were actually hoping for a Latin inscription when we turned round the excavated tomb slab,“ Henning Wabersich, a member of the excavation reports. After all, no inscriptions have been found so far and nothing was known about the identity of the inhabitants of the enclosure.

Only after long research the Jena archaeologists found out which language they were exactly dealing with, as the inscription was not cut with particular care. “While we were looking for experts who could help with deciphering the inscription between Jena and Jerusalem, the crucial clue came from Spain“ Dennis Graen says. “Jordi Casanovas Miró from the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona – a well-known expert for Hebrew inscriptions on the Iberian Peninsula – is sure that the Jewish name “Yehiel” can be read, – a name that is already mentioned in the Bible.“ Not only is the early date exceptional in this case, but also the place of the discovery: Never before have Jewish discoveries been made in a Roman villa, the Jena Archaelogist explains.

In the Roman Empire at that time Jews usually wrote in Latin, as they feared oppressive measures. Hebrew, as on the re-discovered marble plate, only came back into use after the decline of the Roman supremacy, respectively in the following time of migration of peoples from the 6th or 7th century AD. “We were also most surprised that we found traces of Romans – romanised Lusitanians in this case – and Jews living together in a rural area of all things,” Dennis Graen says. “We assumed that something like this would have been much more likely in a city.“

Information about the Jewish population in the region in general was mostly passed down by scriptures. “During the ecclesiastical council in the Spanish town Elvira about 300 AD rules of conduct between Jews and Christians were issued. This indicates that at this time there must have been a relatively large number of Jews on the Iberian Peninsula already”, Dennis Graen explains – but archaeological evidence had been missing so far. “We knew that there was a Jewish community in the Middle Ages not far from our excavation site in the town of Silves. It existed until the expulsion of the Jews in the year 1497.“

In the summer the Jena Archaeologists will take up their work again. Until now they have excavated 160 square metres of the villa, but after checking out the ground it already became clear that the greater part of the enclosure is still covered in soil. “We eventually want to find out more about the people who lived here,” Graen explains the venture. “And of course we want to solve the questions the Hebrew inscription has posed us.“

Bee-eaters and flamingos in Portugal


Friday 13 April.

After yesterday, today is our last morning in Tavira, Portugal.

This video is about nature in the Algarve.

Black-winged stilts and avocets in the salt pans.

Dunlins. A redshank.

Curlew sandpiper, Tavira, April 2012

Two curlew sandpipers.

A sanderling.

A zitting cisticola sings, flying.

A corn bunting sings.

On a salt pan dike, a Kentish plover.

Near the orchard, scores of bee-eaters flying.

Bee-eaters, Tavira, 13 April 2012

Some of them rest on high reed stems.

Bee-eater, Tavira, 13 April 2012

A few house martins join a group of bee-eaters on the reeds (see on the left of the photo); then, they fly away. House martin photos: here.

Bee-eaters and house martin, Tavira, 13 April 2012

A Cetti’s warbler sings.

A bit further, a Sardinian warbler sings from a bush.

A crested lark sings while flying.

Then, about seventeen grey plovers on a salt pan dike. Remarkable, as one does not see this species often in big groups. About two of the plovers are already in summer plumage.

A yellow wagtail on top of a bush.

Three white storks flying.

Flamingos flying, Tavira, 13 April 2012

Over fifty flamingos flying.

Flamingos in salt pan, Tavira, 13 April 2012

Later, the flamingos land in various salt pans.

Grey plovers and avocets, Tavira, 13 April 2012

As we walk back, the grey plovers are still on the dike. Scores of avocets, a little tern, Kentish plovers, a ringed plover and dunlins are there as well. The birds keep to the side of the dike where they are most protected against the rather strong wind of today. The photo shows only the grey plovers and avocets.

Birds in Portugal, we won’t forget you.