English racist anti-Muslim women violence

This video from England says about itself:

Maz Saleem at Cambridge Stand Up to Racism

7 November 2015

Campaigner Maz Saleem talks about her experiences after her father was murdered by far-right racist terrorists.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Spate of attacks on Muslim women prompts protest

Thursday 13th July 2017

CAMPAIGNERS will hold a demonstration in Cambridge today in response to a spate of “cowardly” attacks on Muslim women in the city.

The past week has seen an escalation in targeted attacks on hijab-wearing women including an incident where a mother was abused while collecting her children from Mayfield School. When onlookers came to her aid they were also attacked.

In a separate nearby incident a Muslim woman had an egg thrown at her from a passing car.

Campaigners said that the attacks have led to the victims feeling “insecure, fearful and reluctant to leave the house.”

In response, campaign group Stand Up to Racism is co-ordinating a Solidarity Walking School Bus in which parents, children and supporters will show their solidarity with the victims by walking together along the route where the school run attack took place.

The group aims to show that “anti-racists are the vast majority and that we won’t let the weak but nasty racist minority divide us.”

Local Labour MP Daniel Zeichner said: “Racism and Islamophobia has no place in our society.

“Any attack on a person because of the colour of their skin or religious belief is an attack on us all.”

Protest organiser Zareen Taj, who is also a parent-governor at Mayfield School, said: “The local community based around the school immediately rallied around to show their solidarity with the women faced with these cowardly attacks.

“By organising a Solidarity Walking School Bus we aim both to support them, but also to show that racists are a tiny minority, and are not welcome here.”

The rally will leave Mayfield Primary School on Warwick Road at 3.15pm today.

Rally against Islamophobia in Cambridge, England

This video says about itself:

Confused Islamophobes Target American Sikhs: The Daily Show

26 April 2016

Hasan Minhaj sits down with designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia to find out how Islamophobia is affecting America’s (non-Muslim) Sikh population.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Activists rally round Muslims after hate attack on mosque

Monday 12th June 2017

DEMONSTRATORS staged a display of solidarity with Muslims at the weekend after a hate crime targeting a mosque.

The Cambridge collective of Stand Up to Racism organised the rally after after strips of bacon were left on four cars outside the Omar Faruque mosque and cultural centre in the city on Thursday.

The gathering on Saturday at the city’s Guildhall was initially planned to celebrate the result of the general election, which Cambridge Stand Up to Racism co-ordinator Richard Rose described as a victory for grassroots activism.

The result was also a slap in the face for the Tories’ anti-immigration dog-whistle politics and austerity, he added.

After the attack on the city’s mosque, Stand Up to Racism appealed to people to show their support for the Muslim community and celebrate multiculturalism.

Cambridge’s Labour MP Daniel Zeichner — an honorary member of the city’s Stand Up to Racism committee — was re-elected with a thumping 13,000 majority in the marginal seat, seeing off a challenge by Lib Dem candidate Julian Huppert.

Mr Rose said: “Cambridge Stand Up to Racism deplores the recent incident at Omar Faruque mosque, where bacon was left on cars of fasting Muslims.

“This offensive act in no way reflects the feelings of the vast majority of Cambridge residents, who are proud of our diverse, multicultural city.

“The divisive scapegoating politics fuelled by Theresa May was firmly rejected in Cambridge, as elsewhere.

“We are determined not to allow a small number of racists to divide us.”

Celebrate International Bat Night in English church, 28 August

This 29 September video from the USA says about itself:

Bats: Guardians of the Night

Visit Bat Conservation International to learn more about these amazing species and what we can do to protect them.

From Wildlife Extra:

Unique opportunity to celebrate International Bat Night

On Friday 28 August, to mark International Bat Night, The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) is offering wildlife enthusiasts, their families and friends the opportunity to stay overnight in a 13th century church inhabited by a colony of Natterer’s bats.

Guests are invited to sleep in the aisle of the church and sample “champing” (church camping) whilst learning more about the mysterious creatures overhead from bat experts on site.

The event will take place at The Church of St John the Baptist in Parson’s Drove, Cambridgeshire, a stunning Grade II* church which has been in The CCT’s care since 1974 and which is a long-time favourite of both bats and architecture enthusiasts.

An expert bat-handler will lead the evening with a presentation about the fascinating animals and everyone will have a chance to try out the bat detectors.

After sunset, the bats will appear from under the church roof and guests can help The CCT count them as they emerge for their night’s feeding.

The unique break was inspired by The CCT’s hugely successful champing holiday breaks, which give people the chance to stay overnight in some of the UK’s most beautiful churches.

Camp beds will be provided in the aisles of the church so guests can get some rest before rising at 4.30am to enjoy the spectacle of the bats swarming back to the church. A hearty breakfast will be provided at 8.30am.

The bat survey will be crucial in helping ecologists on site understand more about these mysterious creatures. For more information about the event please visit The CCT website here.

This event is suitable for children over eight. Families with younger children are welcome to join in without champing at the evening-only event. Tea, coffee and squash included in the ticket price and all children will receive a free bat toy!

Bat Champing Packages cost from £45 (£25 for under 16s) including breakfast, bat talks, bat detectors and bed in an aisle of a stunning 13th century church

Bat Watching Evening tickets are available for £5 (£2 for children)

Swift couple reunited in English nestbox

This video from England says about itself:

Special first moments of Swift arrival from migration – BirdLife nestbox

20 May 2015

This is the exciting moment the second swift arrived at the BirdLife nestbox, after the pair spent 9 months separated on their huge migrations to Africa! The pair exhibit some very interesting bond-affirmation behaviours. Imagine you had spent 9 months apart from your partner!

Video captured by Shaun Hurrell by filming the live feed screen which is in the BirdLife staff room. The swifts can’t hear the background noises, but they do get disturbed midway through by someone walking past the nestbox outside.

From BirdLife:

Special first moments captured on video when second swift returns from migration

By Shaun Hurrell, Sat, 23/05/2015 – 15:57

How would you behave when reunited with a loved one after spending 9 months apart? (and after spending 9 months without sitting down!)

For the BirdLife swifts, spending so long apart on their migrations to Africa is a yearly occurrence. But this is the first time the very first moments of being reunited have been captured on camera – from a nestbox on the side of the BirdLife offices in Cambridge, UK.

Swift, Apus apus, mate for life and tend to return to the same nextboxes year after year. However, the incredible little birds spend almost thier entire lives flying – they even sleep on the wing – and pairs take separate migration routes.

Recorded by BirdLife staff during their lunch, the footage above most likely shows a pair re-affirming their bonds in preparation for nesting.

According to local experts, the ‘wing flapping’ behaviour exibited in the video is a way of stopping aggression when the two meet again or when a bird attracts a new partner. However, courtship and encouraging a new prospective partner to use a nestbox are usually rather more drawn-out affairs than the behaviours displayed here, thus it is very likely that this is last year’s pair meeting up again and re-affirming their bond. Ahhhh 🙂

Spending only 3 months in Europe to breed, these swifts in Cambridge are ‘on loan’ from our central and southern African colleagues. Swifts have one of the longest migrations of any bird in the region of 22,000 km.

Every year, BirdLife staff wait with excited anticipation for the sound of screeching swifts around the BirdLife offices. But with knowledge of challenges migratory birds face in the Mediterranean and the huge threat of illegal killing, this is always a worry.

Swifts are already struggling because of the lack of traditional roofing eaves and spaces for them to nest, so installing a swift box on your house in Europe is one of the best things you can do to help the species.

Thanks to Dick Newell from Action for Swifts for installing the nestbox and camera at Bird Life’s offices in Cambridge, and to Edward Mayer and Mark Smyth from Swift Conservation for their advice.

The arrival of migratory birds signals a change in seasons, when life is in full swing. Use this cue to get out and enjoy nature, and at the same time give something back. Follow our advice and make simple changes to make your garden, balcony, or school bird-friendly with Spring Alive this year.

Spring Alive is a movement started by a BirdLife, organised by OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) to encourage children and adults to take action for the migratory birds they learn about. This season, Spring Alive has provided easy-to-use information and directions to help you to help birds.

And once you have done it – share it – show and tell us about your achievements on the Spring Alive facebook and flickr pages!

Michelangelo bronze sculpture discovery in England

This video from Cambridge University in England says about itself:

Michelangelo bronzes discovered

2 February 2015

It was thought that no bronzes by Michelangelo had survived – now experts believe they have found not one, but two – with a tiny detail in a 500-year-old drawing providing vital evidence. – See more here.

They are naked, beautiful, muscular and ride triumphantly on two ferocious panthers. And now the secret of who created these magnificent metre-high bronze male nudes could well be solved. A team of international experts led by the University of Cambridge and Fitzwilliam Museum has gathered compelling evidence that argues that these masterpieces, which have spent over a century in relative obscurity, are early works by Michelangelo, made just after he completed the marble David and as he was about to embark on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

If the attribution is correct, they are the only surviving Michelangelo bronzes in the world.

A new article presents evidence that Michelangelo inserted his self-portrait into a sketch of his close friend, Vittoria Colonna, which is currently in the collection of the British Museum in London, England. This self-caricature of Michelangelo may serve as a tool for analyzing the artist’s probable bodily dimensions and even his state of health at the time. In the portrait of Michelangelo’s friend, a small figure can be seen standing in the area immediately in front of her abdomen and between the lines that form part of her dress. The caricature is leaning forward at an acute angle, as if he himself were drawing the portrait. The caricature may have been a signature of sorts: here.

Good British birds news in 2014

This video from England says about itself:

Some Special moments at RSPB Fowlmere in May 2014

A lovely long visit yesterday summed up some of the treasures and gems of RSPB Fowlmere in Cambridgeshire.

May is always a busy month but yesterday everything came together to show what this brilliant reserve has to offer.

This film is just a snapshot of what we saw yesterday, moments that included kingfishers, Brown Hares, Kestrels, Corn Buntings, yellowhammers and muntjac deer, damselflies and butterflies, sedge warblers and much more in addition to what you see in this video.

Quite simply RSPB Fowlmere is up there with many of the more well mentioned reserves around the country, it’s a little gem that if you take the time to explore and savour you will be rewarded.

From Martin Harper’s blog in Britain:

Good news from RSPB reserves in 2014

12 October 2014 10:19 PM

Through work and play, I have managed to visit about 25 of the RSPB‘s 210 reserves over the past year or so. And, with our AGM coming up in a couple of weeks, it seems timely to report on how they have fared this year. My instinct was this has been a good year: whereever I went, wildlife seemed to be flourishing and the spring and summer weather had been kind. But as our head of reserves ecology, Jo Gilbert, said to me the other day, the weather might have been good but you need the right management in place for good things to happen.

And good things have been happening. Here Malcolm Ausden from Jo’s team offers some highlights…

Stilts & the Spanish Connection

Following recent breeding in the UK by Little Bitterns, Great White Egrets and Spoonbills, 2014 was a spectacular year in the UK for another wetland species – Black-winged Stilt. Two large influxes of stilts occurred in Britain this spring, with the majority of birds turning up on shallow, fresh or brackish lagoons (these are a rare habitat in the UK) on RSPB reserves. Larger numbers of stilts usually occur in Northwest Europe when their main breeding areas in Spain are dry in spring. Single pairs of stilts then settled to nest at Cliffe Pools RSPB Reserve in Kent, and at Medmerry RSPB Reserve in West Sussex, with a third pair dropping an egg (which appears to have been quickly predated) at Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB Reserve in Cambridgeshire. The pairs at Cliffe and Medmerry received 24-hour protection, and both hatched chicks, with the Medmerry pair going on to fledge three young. This is only the third time that Black-winged Stilts are known to have fledged young in this country, the last time being 27 years ago. An additional pair of stilts also bred successfully at another site in the UK this year. At Medmerry, the stilts nested on an area designed to prevent flooding of land and property upstream.

We have been taking into account the requirements of bird species that have the potential to establish (or re-establish) regular breeding populations in Britain, in our design of new wetland habitat on RSPB Reserves. For example, at our exciting coastal wetland re-creation project at Wallasea Island Wild Coast in Essex, we are aiming to provide suitable conditions for breeding Spoonbills. [I shall say more about Wallasea after my visit in early November].

Inexperienced youngsters

Another potential wetland colonist in the UK is Glossy Ibis. At Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire, the inexperienced male of a pair of young ibises built a late nest, although unfortunately his companion was unimpressed with it. This is the first Glossy Ibis nest ever recorded in Britain. The nest was built in an area that we have created as part of the Environment Agency’s Regional Habitat Creation Programme, to help offset projected future losses of coastal grazing marsh as a result of climate change.

Breeding waders

Lowland wet grassland waders have had a good breeding season in general (high numbers and good productivity), undoubtedly due to hard work by our reserve staff, but also probably helped in part by it being a good vole year. In the Netherlands, productivity of lowland wet grassland waders tends to be higher in years with good numbers of voles, presumably because predators focus their efforts on eating these instead of birds’ eggs and chicks. At Otmoor in Oxfordshire, there were 96 pairs of Lapwings (the previous highest since we acquired the site was 82), 61 pairs of Redshank (previous highest of 54), and 14 pairs of Snipe (previous highest of 13). Numbers of breeding waders were also well up at Rainham Marshes in Essex, with Lapwings up from 27 pairs in 2013 to 38 in 2014, and Redshank increasing from 18 to 31 pairs over the same time period. These are also the highest breeding numbers of both species since we acquired the site.

Importantly, Lapwings had a productive breeding season on RSPB reserves as a whole, with an average of 1.2 young fledged per pair at sites where we have installed anti-predator fencing. Lapwings are thought to need to fledged and average of between 0.6-0.8 young per pair to maintain a stable breeding population.

The effects of landscape-scale re-wetting of degraded peatlands as Dove Stone in the Peak District during the last few years, are also becoming apparent. In addition to providing carbon and water quality benefits, it has resulted in increases in breeding Dunlin (39 pairs this year compared to 15 in 2010), Golden Plover (92 pairs this year compared to 77 in 2010) and Curlew (42 pairs this year compared to 36 in 2010).

Other news

Bitterns had another fabulous year across RSPB reserves, witha total of 71 boomers on RSPB reserves. A highlight was a further increase in numbers of boomers at Ham Wall in Somerset up from an amazing 15 in 2013 to an even more amazing 20 this year (there were only 11 boomers in the whole of the UK in 1997!). Bearded Tits were also confirmed as breeding at Loch of Strathbeg in Aberdeenshire for the first time.

Corncrake numbers also recovered following a widespread decline between 2012 and 2013. At the Nene Washes (where Corncrakes are being re-introduced), there was an estimated 22 calling male Corncrakes (with 17 on the RSPB reserve itself). Twenty-one of the birds at the Nene Washes have been caught and, of these, an impressive twelve were wild-bred birds. The remaining nine were zoo-bred birds released in 2013. This is very encouraging, given the recent run of bad years, particularly following late spring flooding there in 2012. There were just 6 calling males at the Nene Washes in 2012, and seven in 2013.

Black Grouse also had a good year on RSPB reserves, with an impressive 55 lekking males at Geltsdale in Cumbria (up from 27 in 2013). Numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes also increased for a third year running on RSPB reserves, mainly due to a further increase on RSPB-managed mires on Fetlar, Shetland to 20 males in 2014. We also now have a better idea of where our phalaropes winter, thanks to the amazing results from a geolocator fitted to one of them (see here).

At Coquet Island in Northumberland (which I watch very closely whenever I am staying at my family’s hut), there was an increase in number of breeding Roseate Terns from 78 pairs in 2013 to 93 pairs this year. Coquet Island supports virtually the entire UK breeding population of Roseate Terns. Little Terns also had a better breeding season on reserves in 2014, with total numbers up slightly. At Langtone Harbour in Hampshire, 36 pairs fledged 28 young following raising of their nesting islands using shingle over the last couple of winters, to reduce the risk of the nests of these and other seabirds being flooded outduring storms. Little Terns are likely to become increasingly vulnerable to the combined effects of rising sea levels, increased coastal erosion, and pressure from human disturbance and generalist predators.

While we need to wait for the State of UK Birds report to get a fuller picture of this year’s breeding season, it is heartening that our reserves have performed well. And we have our magnificent reserves teams and their army of volunteers to thank for that.