English bird news today

This video from England says about itself:

A Visit to RSPB Old Moor on 24 November 2014

On a cold day in November we had a walk around the RSPB Reserve Old Moor.

The cast in order of appearance are:

great spotted woodpecker
tufted duck

Of course many of the cast appear more than once.

From the Barnsley Birders in England on Twitter today:

Old Moor [nature reserve] – Bearded Tit heard at 08.50, Cetti’s Warbler 7, Little Owl 1, Little Egret 6, Water Rail 4, Goosander 39, Peregrine, Cormorant 55

Sperm whale strandings in England

This video is called Secret Life of the Sperm Whale.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

The mystery beaching of a Moby Dick

Friday 29th January 2016

PETER FROST reports on the spate of whale strandings on England’s east coast beaches

SEVENTEEN sperm whales have been stranded on beaches around the North Sea in the last few weeks — five of them on Norfolk and Lincolnshire beaches and the rest in the Netherlands and Germany.

The corpse of a 50ft young adult male sperm whale came ashore at Hunstanton in Norfolk during the night of Friday January 22.

Local rescuers tried to try to save the Hunstanton whale. Coastguards, volunteer divers and the local lifeboat crew, along with staff from the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, all failed to push the whale — injured from thrashing in the shallows — back into deeper water.

Hunstanton lifeboat spokesman Geoff Needham told us: “It was a sad end for such a magnificent creature. This large animal was unable to make for deeper water. As the tide was dropping away, nothing more could be done.”

The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) used to be called the cachalot. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was a cachalot.

It is the largest of the toothed whales and the largest toothed predator on the globe. It has the largest brain of any animal on Earth, more than five times heavier than a human’s. Sperm whales can live for more than 60 years.

Mature males average 52ft in length but some may reach 67ft, with the head representing up to one-third of the animal’s length.

The sperm whale feeds primarily on squid. It can dive up to 7,382ft for prey and is the second deepest-diving mammal. Only Cuvier’s beaked whale dives deeper.

Females give birth every four to 20 years and care for the calves for more than a decade. A mature sperm whale has few natural predators. It has a distinctive clicking voice used for both echolocation and communication.

The Hunstanton whale was one of a pod of at least six sperm whales which had been observed alive but distressed in shallow waters in the Wash on Friday.

Later three more sperm whales from the pod were found washed up on beaches at Skegness. Thousands of spectators flocked to the beaches to view the whales before the area was closed to the public.

Two of the massive 50ft whales were found on a Skegness beach towards Gibraltar Point at around 8.30pm on Saturday and the third was discovered on Sunday morning at the end of Lagoon Walk.

Richard Johnson of UK Coastguard told us: “We believe that the three whales at Skegness died at sea and then washed ashore.”

On Monday a fifth dead whale was found at Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, on the site of a former bombing range with no public access.

The dead whales are believed to have been part of a group spotted in the Wash on Friday and these are believed to be part of a pod of which 17 have been stranded and died in the Netherlands and Germany earlier this month.

These wandering pods are often made up mainly of adolescent males. They normally feed in the deep waters between Norway and Scotland.

Five whales died after they washed ashore on Texel Island, one of the Frisian islands of the north Netherlands coast two weeks ago. Six more have stranded in Germany in recent weeks.

Sperm whales are deep sea animals and do not belong in the shallow waters of the North Sea. Various theories have been put forward as to why the magnificent mammals were stranded. Were they misled by underwater signals from submarines and military shipping? Or is it another strange result of the changes in the huge ocean currents brought about by climate change?

It is believed that large numbers of squid, the main food of the sperm whales, have been moving through into the North Sea and the whales may have been following them.

Dr Peter Evans, director of the Sea Watch Foundation, said the whales probably swam south through the North Sea looking for food but became disorientated in shallow waters.

“Whales feed on squid and what’s probably happened is that squid came in and the whales fed upon them but ran out of food,” he said.

Examination of the stomachs of the stranded whales showed they had not eaten recently. As whales do not drink but get their fluid intake from food, starvation can quickly lead to dehydration and disorientation.

Scientists have removed the Hunstanton whale’s lower jaw bone and teeth, and taken samples of blood and blubber from its carcass for analysis. This will enable them to establish the age of the whale and its physical condition before its death.

Examining dead whales can be an exciting, if not dangerous, procedure. The huge corpses deteriorate quickly and gases and noxious fluids build up under pressure in the body sealed with thick blubber. They often explode and those explosions are often caused by autopsy chainsaw incisions. This happened with one of the Skegness whales.

From the early 18th century through the late 20th, the sperm whale was heavily hunted by whalers. The head of the whale contains a liquid wax called spermaceti, from which the whale derives its name.

Spermaceti was used in lubricants, oil lamps and candles. Ambergris, a waste product from the sperm whale’s digestive system, is still used as a fixative in perfumes. Regurgitated lumps of ambergris are sometimes found on British beaches and are extremely valuable.

Today the species is protected by a whaling moratorium, and is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

The total population of sperm whales in the world is thought to be in the hundreds of thousands. Japan still hunts the species and has killed more than 50 sperm whales since 2000.

Currently, entanglement in fishing nets and collisions with ships represent the greatest threats to the sperm whale population. Other threats include ingestion of marine debris, ocean noise and chemical pollution and, as we have seen this weekend, stranding in unfamiliar shallow waters.

Every year 600 strandings of cetaceans — whales, dolphins and porpoises — occur in the UK, mostly in the north of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland. Only about five or six a year are sperm whales. On Christmas Eve 2011, a sperm whale washed-up at Old Hunstanton Beach. Thousands flocked to see it, just as they have with the recent strandings.

Sperm whales beached in England

This video from England says aboiut itself:

Three dead sperm whales wash up near Skegness

24 January 2016

Dead sperm whales believed to have been from the same pod as animal that died after being beached in Norfolk.

See also here.

10-year-old makes spelling mistake, police considers him ‘terrorist’

This video from England says about itself:

20 January 2016

Relative speaks out after a Muslim boy aged 10 was probed for ‘terrorist house’ spelling error during school.

In David Cameron‘s Britain today, journalism, even BBC journalism, may be considered ‘terrorism’.

In the USA, 18-month-old baby girls may get on a no fly list as supposed ‘terrorists’. Police may arrest a Muslim teenage inventor as a ‘terrorist’ for inventing a clock. In the Netherlands, police may consider a Muslim teenager to be a ‘terrorist’ for being homeless.

Now, police in David Cameron‘s England have discovered a new ‘proof’ of terrorism: making a spelling mistake.

From the BBC:

Muslim boy, 10, probed for ‘terrorist house’ spelling error

By Rahila Bano, BBC Asian Network

20 January 2016

A 10-year-old Muslim boy who mistakenly wrote that he lived in a “terrorist house” during an English lesson at school has been investigated by police.

The pupil, who attends a primary school in Lancashire, meant to say he lived in a “terraced house”.

The boy was interviewed by Lancashire Police at his home the next day and the family laptop was examined.

Teachers have been legally obliged to report any suspected extremist behaviour to police since July.

The boy’s family said they were left shocked by the 7 December incident and want both the school and police to apologise.

‘He’s now scared’

In order to protect the boy’s identity, the BBC is not naming his cousin, who said she initially thought it was all a “joke”.

“You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child,” she said. “If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling.

“They shouldn’t be putting a child through this.

“He’s now scared of writing, using his imagination.”

The 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act places a statutory duty on schools and colleges to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

Critics argue teachers are overreacting for fear of breaking the law, rather than using their common sense.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest umbrella group for Islamic associations, said he was aware of dozens of cases similar to that of the schoolboy.

“There are huge concerns that individuals going about their daily life are being seen through the lens of security and are being seen as potential terrorists rather than students,” he said.

“This is a natural consequence of the extension of the ‘Prevent Duty’ to schools.”

The Home Office does not publish data for the number of referrals made to Channel, the de-radicalisation programme.

However, in the year to the end of October, 1,355 people aged under 18 were referred to it, compared with 466 in the previous 12 months.

Lancashire Police said in a statement: “This was reported to the police but was dealt with by a joint visit by a PC from the division and social services, not by anyone from Prevent.

“There were not thought to be any areas for concern and no further action was required by any agency.”

The school said it was unable to comment because it was investigating a complaint made about the incident.

English peregrine falcon video

This video from Wakefield Cathedral in England says about itself:

Wakefield Peregrines, Thursday, 7th January 2016

A little sunshine gets the male @WakeCathedral peregrine in the nest-scraping mood.

English bird news update

This video says about itself:

European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Filmed at Loch Ryan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK, on 26th November 2013 with a Canon PowerShot.

The video also shows a few brent geese.

From RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk in England, on Twitter today:

Two tundra bean geese found on South Levels this morning, as well as 2 peregrine [falcon]s & 4 golden plovers

English floods, natural and governmental disaster

This video from England says about itself:

The river Irwell in flood, passing through Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, on 26th December 2015.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 28 December 2015

Tories’ massive cuts of flood defences and Fire and Rescue Services have led to disaster!

THE Army has been called out in York, Leeds, and parts of Lancashire after flood defences failed. In the case of York the Foss flood barrier was lifted and a part of the city was sacrificed when the River Ouse and River Foss came together to produce a massive flooding of a huge area.

Hundreds of people have now been advised to quit the area with a further 1400 properties under threat from the wall of water. Elsewhere, parts of Manchester – the capital of the north, in the top three of English cities and the would be capital of Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – were under fast flowing water.

Environment minister Liz Truss admitted it was ‘right to say’ flood defences had been ‘overwhelmed’.

She should have added that the overwhelming would not have taken place without the assistance of massive government cuts and its austerity programmes that have seen the Department of the Environment decimated and the Fire and Rescue Services slashed to pieces.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, is to visit some of the flood-affected areas, to see the results of his governments savage criminal cuts. FBU EC member for Yorkshire and Humberside Ian Murray told News Line yesterday: ‘Cuts to the fire and rescue service have affected our ability to respond to these extreme conditions.

‘The cuts make it more difficult to respond to the demands of such disasters. The Environment Agency funding has been cut as well. The number of flood defence workers has been cut. As far as we are concerned they should make it a statutory duty to provide adequate funding for the fire and rescue service. That is what we are campaigning for.’

Earlier this month, the GMB, the union for staff at the Environment Agency, commented on a warning from MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee that spending on flood defences at the Environment Agency should not be cut.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said: ‘GMB members at the Environment Agency still do not know what day to day spending on maintenance of flood defences from 2016/17 onwards will be. This is apart from the scrapping of hundreds of flood defences due to cuts in spending. As things stand the number of staff who will be available to deal with flooding out of hours is due to fall. There will be a meeting in mid-January 2016 to discuss how many jobs will be cut and where.’

He slammed ‘the foolhardy stupidity of the government cutting spending on the Environment Agency. It is quite simply penny wise and pound foolish to make any cuts that affects any of the Agency’s vital functions, or cuts the jobs of those who carry them out’.

On Saturday, Lancashire bore the brunt of the flooding, along with parts of Yorkshire, areas of Greater Manchester, including Salford, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Wigan, were badly affected by flooding, with more than 300 flood-related calls to the fire service in 24 hours.

The Corbyn-led Labour Party has a duty to working people to demand that the Cameron government resign immediately because of the living hell that his government’s cuts have helped to create. The TUC trade unions need to take action to protect the homes and lives of their members and of all working people.

… The health and safety of the population depends on the Tories being kicked out and all of the cuts and closures imposed on waterway services and the Fire and Rescue Services be restored to bring back real flood prevention and a real flood defence programme.

The cash to carry out this essential task can be easily acquired through the nationalisation of the banks and the major industries, and the cancellation of the ‘mutually assured destruction’ Trident Programme, with its £40bn of costs!

Britain is a rich country, but its wealth is in the hands of its ruling class, a tiny handful of the people. Only a workers government that begins with the needs of the majority of the population, not the needs of a gang of the super rich, can put right what is wrong with the UK!