English birds today


This video says about itself:

Red Kites in Slow Motion – The Slow Mo Guys

In this video, Gav gives us a look at a group of the birds of prey known as Red Kites as they swoop for bacon scraps outside a cafe.

This was shot at 2500fps (100 times slower than real-time).

Robert John Martin, from Surrey in England, reports on Twitter today:

Staines Moor 14:00 – 16:30 Red Kite 2; Little Egret 2; Hobby 2; Common Buzzard 1; Common Tern 3.

English folk singer Ewan MacColl remembered


This music video from England says about itself:

Ewan MacCollDirty Old Town

The original and best with Peggy Seeger (MacColl’s wife)

Photographs of Salford in 1950s and 60s – the original ‘Dirty Old Town’ where MacColl grew up.

By Karl Dallas in England:

Monday 18th May 2015

Ewan MacColl: His Life, His Words, His Music Peel Hall University of Salford 3/5

SALFORD is the “dirty old town” where James Miller — the folksinger better known as Ewan MacColl — was born in January 1915 and it was the scene of this joint celebratory event by the University of Salford and the Working Class Movement Library.

In a packed hall, four readers and a solo singer took the audience through his life and work, in which extracts from his somewhat sanitised autobiography were interspersed with just a few songs.

It was a rather prosaic event, with no drama and precious little of the great man of the theatre’s histrionic impact upon British culture. One could’t help wondering what the Theatre Workshop founder might have made of it.

Of course, MacColl was such a polymath that anyone would be hard put to it to cover his life adequately. “There are quite large bits of his life that we have had to leave out,” the show’s producer Royston Futter said in his introduction. “The first run-through of all the material we wanted to present would have had you struggling to catch the last bus, despite our afternoon start.”

There were the expected songs — Dirty Old Town, Tim Evans, Manchester Rambler, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, — and songs from the radio ballads — Freeborn Man, Hot Asphalt, Shoals of Herring, Come Me Little Son — and his elegiac 1986 farewell The Joy of Living, recorded in only three years before his death. But this was a programme of readings interspersed with the songs, rather than songs with interpretive prose.

What did come across was Ewan’s love of the landscape, echoed in the words of that lovely, final song:
“Take me to some high place of heather, rock and ling,
Scatter my dust and ashes, feed me to the wind,
So that I will be part of all you see, the air you are breathing.
I’ll be part of the curlew‘s cry and the soaring hawk,
The blue milk wort and the sundew hung with diamonds,
I’ll be riding the gentle wind that blows through your hair,
Reminding you how we shared
In the joy of living.”

This great poet of industrial Salford was also at one with the countryside around his dirty old birth town.

This music video says about itself:

Joy Of Living – Ewan MacColl

This is one of MacColl’s last songs and his farewell to the world. In it, a dying hiker says goodbye to all he holds dear: the hills, his wife and his children (Black And White – The Definitive Collection, trk#20, 1993, Green Linnet Records, Nashville, Tennessee); and (Black And White – The Definitive Collection, trk#18, 2000, Cooking Vinyl Records, London, UK).

Nazi violence in British election campaign


This May 2014 video is called UK: Nazi salutes as EDL march through Newcastle.

By Luke James in Britain:

Ukip‘ thugs ambush Labour party activists

Monday 27th April 2015

POLICE were hunting thugs yesterday who allegedly carried Ukip placards as they attacked Labour Party activists in South Thanet, Kent, at the weekend.

Officers are investigating claims that a Labour campaigner had a rosette ripped from his chest during the gang’s violent rampage on Saturday afternoon.

It was one of three alleged attacks carried out by the 10-strong mob linked to the English Defence League (EDL).

They also reportedly targeted Stand Up to Ukip and Tory volunteers campaigning in the constituency, which is being contested by Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Eye witnesses reported that the men carried Ukip posters and chanted: “Ukip, Ukip” as they ran riot on Broadstairs seafront.

A Ukip spokesman told the Star that they “misappropriated” the party’s campaign material and condemned their “thuggery.”

The men are believed to be part of the white supremacist South East Alliance, which split from the EDL.

They are said to have attacked a dozen Labour activists who had travelled from Hackney to help the campaign of their party’s South Thanet candidate Will Scobie.

The group were canvassing at around 2.30pm in the high street when they were ambushed by men who leapt out of a car, according to a local Labour spokesman.

“The men squared up to our activists, ripped up their campaign literature, tore off their rosettes and then drove off chanting: ‘Ukip’,” he said.

Kent Police confirmed they were investigating the incident. A statement said: “It is alleged that a rosette was torn from the clothes of a 46-year-old man who was canvassing in the area. Enquiries are ongoing to locate the suspect.”

Mr Scobie last night appealed for anyone with information to help the police investigation.

“This was an appalling incident and very frightening for the people involved,” he said.

“The individuals in question were clearly sympathetic to Farage’s party and while we are of course not suggesting this had anything to do with Ukip’s campaign in the seat, it is just the latest example of the negativity Farage has bought to the area.”

Among them was Gary Field, a former EDL organiser with assault convictions who was photographed at the rally by the Mail on Sunday.

A Ukip spokesman told the Star: “This has been happening quite a lot in that people misappropriate our stuff.

“We utterly denounce any thuggery by anybody towards any political party.”

Mr Field was also identified by eyewitnesses as one of the gang who attacked Stand up to Ukip activists.

Norman Thomas, who runs community magazine Thanet Watch, was selling magazines nearby when Mr Field and his followers struck.

He told the Star: “Suddenly from out of nowhere came 10 or so people with St George’s flags and Ukip placards.

“They attacked the Stand Up to Ukip people, ripping up their posters and throwing them all along the sea front.”

The gang screamed: “Commie scum” at the three women and one man as they pursued them into a nearby pub, according to the local resident.

Warblers warbling in England


This video from Britain is called Getting to grips with warblers 2: Blackcap Vs Garden Warbler.

From the Fairburn Ings blog in England:

A week of warbling warblers: Recent sightings

19 Apr 2015 11:38 AM

We had Wader Wednesday last week, but I’m going to name the whole of this week Warbler Week because we’ve had so many! Willow warblers, grasshopper warblers, chiffchaff, blackcap, sedge warblers, Cetti’s warblers and whitethroat all… well… warbling to their heart’s content.

Mike Leigh will make Peterloo massacre film


This video says about itself:

9 September 2012

A short video about the Peterloo Massacre. (Song starts at 0:32)

I’ve added the lyrics as annotations because a few people from outside the local area have expressed difficulty understanding parts.

For more information you could or visit the amazing People’s History Museum in Manchester or if that’s too much of a journey for you then you could just read the Wikipedia article, though I’d still recommend trying to make an effort to visit the museum,

I do not own the rights to the music or any of the pictures in this video, it has been created for educational purposes and is therefore protected under fair use.

Historical figures in the video:

1:22, 3:04 and 4:51 – Henry Hunt (British radical, advocator of free trade and Parliamentary reform; organiser of the meeting. He was imprisoned for thirty months for ‘inciting a riot’).

1:56, 2:38 and 3:47 – William Hulton (Chairman of magistrates who gave the order for the Yeomanry to charge the crowd).

2:00 – Thomas de Trafford (commander of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry)

2:05 – Hugh Hornby Birley (local factory owner, captain of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry and leader of the charge).

2:14 and 4:55 – Samuel Bamford (British radical, leader of the Middleton contingent of the march. He was imprisoned for a year for ‘inciting a riot’).

4:26 – John Bright (Quaker, radical and Liberal politician. He was one of the leaders of the Anti-Corn Law League and a strong critic of British protectionism and foreign policy).

4:27 – Richard Cobden (Manufacturer, radical and Liberal politician. He was one of the leaders of the Anti-Corn Law League and a strong critic of British protectionism and foreign policy. He has been referred to as “the greatest classical-liberal thinker on international affairs”)

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Mike Leigh to make movie of Peterloo massacre

Veteran British director to return to 19th century for a film based on the 1819 Peterloo massacre in Manchester

Catherine Shoard

Friday 17 April 2015 09.45 BST

The director Mike Leigh’s next film will be Peterloo, a drama about the infamous 1819 massacre in Manchester, which killed an estimated 18 protesters and injured up to 700.

“There has never been a feature film about the Peterloo massacre,” Leigh told Screen International. “Apart from the universal political significance of this historic event, the story has a particular personal resonance for me, as a native of Manchester and Salford.”

The massacre occurred when government troops – including local yeomanry – charged a crowd of around 60,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Field in Manchester to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

The rally was organised by the Manchester Patriotic Union, who commissioned radical orator Henry Hunt to speak. But he was arrested shortly before the rally begun, and cavalry drew their sabres to try to disperse the gathered crowds, leading to confusion and loss of life.

The massacre – christened Peterloo as a nod to the Battle of Waterloo, which occurred four years before – preceded further government crackdowns. But the outcry sparked was one of the key contributing factors to the establishment of the Manchester Guardian.

Leigh’s previous film, a biopic of the artist JMW Turner, was a much-acclaimed return to period drama. It took four Oscar nominations and made more than $10m (£6.65m) in the UK and $3m in the US.

Peterloo will be shot in 2017, with Leigh reuniting with cinematographer Dick Pope, producer Georgina Lowe and executive producer Gail Egan. Leigh is currently in rehearsals for an English National Opera production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Barrel jellyfish coming back to Dorset, England


This video says about itself:

Swimming with a giant Barrel Jellyfish

23 June 2014

This Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma pullmo) was filmed in the Percuil Estuary, near St Mawes, Cornwall. Large numbers of these, the UK’s largest jellyfish species have been seen this year around our coast. They are totally harmless and feed on plankton. They do have stinging cells but they are not able to get through human skin. They can grow to 80cm wide and weigh up to 30 kilos!

From the Dorset Echo in England today:

Warmer weather sees return of the barrel jellyfish to Dorset shores

by Tara Cox, Reporter

APRIL has seen the return of the barrel jellyfish in Dorset due to warmer weather – and experts warn there could be more sightings to come.

Barrel jellyfish, which can grow up to one metre wide, have been spotted in Weymouth Bay and Lyme Bay in recent weeks.

And the Dorset Wildlife Trust claim that during the spring and summer, we could expect to see up to eight different species of jellyfish along the Dorset coast.

Last year, more and more sightings of the sea creatures were reported after members of the public spotted them both in the ocean and washed up on beaches in Weymouth, Portland and West Dorset.

Barrel jellyfish can grow up to one metre wide.

These particular jellyfish do not sting, but the trust is advising members of the public not to touch any jellyfish they find washed up and to report them to the trust to identify and record.

Emma Rance, DWT marine conservation officer, said: “These oceanic drifters can change in shape, colour and size when they are beached.

“We would encourage people to look but not touch and keep their animals away from the jellyfish, because many jellyfish can still sting when dead.

“It’s very likely that we’re going to get more reports of jellyfish due to warmer weather. Barrel jellyfish feed on zooplankton – tiny animals floating in the water – which have increased due to longer days with more sunlight.”

The trust also said that the leatherback turtle and oceanic sunfish feed on jellyfish, so there could also be a possibility of seeing both of these species in Dorset.

Steve Trewhella, a professional wildlife photographer and environmental campaigner, said he was surprised to hear of jellyfish sightings on Portland and Chesil Beach as early as this in the year.

Broadwindsor resident and freelance writer Sophia Moseley spotted a barrel jellyfish on Lyme Regis beach near the iconic Cobb last Friday.

She said: “I took my two children down to the beach for fish and chips and was quite surprised to see it so early in the year.

“The jellyfish was 20 inches in diameter. It’s a worry that they are populating our seashore but there isn’t much we can do about it.”

Sophia tweeted a picture of the jellyfish to the Dorset Wildlife Trust, and said she would encourage others to do the same.

People who see a jellyfish are encouraged to take a photo and report it to the DWT via their Facebook page at facebook.com/dorsetwildlife.

Alternatively, any sighting photos can be tweeted to @DorsetWildlife.