British, Florida bird migration update

This video from the USA says about itself:

Painted Buntings’ Spring Migration North From Florida

23 March 2015

Painted Buntings – the most colorful songbirds in North America are passing through the Backyard on their way north to breeding grounds around the Sea Islands of coastal Georgia and South Carolina. We had four that were permanent winter visitors but this time of year travelling migrant buntings continue to pass through on their way northward. Usually by early to mid April they are all gone. Continuing a trend of recent years there have been fewer of the spectacular mature males as in this video.

From the BTO Bird Migration Blog in Britain:

Friday, 1 April 2016

Migration getting started at last

Migration has been slow going until last weekend, but things have noticeably picked up since then with a change in wind direction. Chiffchaff, Wheatear, Sand Martin and Swallow were much more in evidence around the country and the first Reed, Sedge and Willow Warblers arrived.

Pipits were on the move as well. Spurn, Yorkshire recorded 357 Meadow Pipits on 30 March and 300+ moved through Portland, Dorset on the same day. On the west coast, 100+ were counted daily on Bardsey, Gwynedd the past week.

The highlight of the week was a big arrival of Firecrests along the south coast, with 101 counted at Dungeness, Kent on the 26 March. This local record tally was beaten just four days later with an amazing 120 Firecrests on site. A handful of other sites reached double-figures and the species was noted at many coastal watchpoints.

The south-westerly winds during the week also gave returning winter visitors a helping hand. Brent Geese were noted moving east off Portland, while Redwing and Fieldfare have also been on the move. Surprisingly few Ring Ouzels have been reported so far, but counts should pick up later this month.

There has been a distinct dearth of rarer spring migrants with only a few unconfirmed reports of Alpine Swift. Likely candidates to look for this week include Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike and potentially a rarer warbler such as Sardinian.

The forecast for the next few days shows more southerly winds which would help migrants cross the Channel and the North Sea. However, from the middle of next the week there is a potential return to cool north-westerly winds which could migration on hold again.

Paul Stancliffe and Stephen McAvoy

Save endangered animal species

This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

North Atlantic Right Whale 19 February 2014

One of the rarest of the large whales, this North Atlantic Right Whale, Eubalaena glacialis, captured on video in south Flagler Beach, FL about a mile or two off shore. The “right’ whale to hunt, they were harvested to the brink of extinction and have made a slow recovery since protected internationally in 1935. The existing population of this endangered marine mammal is estimated to be around 500. This very active whale, with its sizeable Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin escort, was filmed beginning at 3:22 pm est, Lat. 29 25 54 Long. 06 18 21 Check out the Marineland Right Whale Project.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Extinction of rarest species on the cards

Friday 8th January 2015

PETER FROST reveals his New Year’s resolution of resolutely campaigning for the protection of the world’s disappearing animal species and invites you to join in

I have never seen a passenger pigeon and neither have you. Despite the fact that this US relative of our own pigeon was once the commonest bird in the entire world.

When the Europeans arrived in North America there were more than five billion of them there.

They were hunted to destruction for cheap meat and logging destroyed their forest homes until, a century ago, the very last passenger pigeon, Martha, fell off her perch in the Cincinnati Zoo and our planet had lost yet another species.

Losing a species might be tragic but it is remarkably common. In fact, the world is losing dozens of species every day.

Between a third and a half of all species are moving toward extinction in the next fifty years — and the blame sits squarely on human shoulders.

The causes are clear. They include man-made climate change, habitat destruction, pollution and overfishing and poaching. Most of those threats are getting worse not better.

Wildlife poaching, sometimes for food, but more often for immensely valuable but dubious animal products used in eastern quack medicines, threaten some of our most iconic animals like tigers, elephants and rhinos.

This evil trade, much of it now conducted on the internet, is believed to be worth more than £7.5 billion a year.

Here are some of the species that unsustainable stupidity, greed and superstition are driving to extinction. When they are gone they are gone forever. Let’s make 2016 the year we save the species.

Here’s Frosty’s 2016 list of most threatened species.

North-Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Named simply because it was the right whale to kill. It is one of the most endangered of all large whales. Around 300 survive.

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus). May be vulnerable to extinction within the next century if warming trends in the Arctic continue at the current pace. Yet Canada will still sell you a licence to shoot a polar bear.

Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). A recent victim of climate change. With Arctic ice melting, the Pacific walrus is experiencing severe habitat loss.

Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). This large fish is the source of highest grade sushi. The species is at serious risk of extinction.

The Vaquita (Phocoena sinus). The world’s rarest marine animal, with fewer than 100 individuals left. Found in the upper Gulf of California, one in five vaquita gets caught and drowned in nets intended for another critically endangered species, the totoaba, whose swim bladders fetch £2,500 a pound when sold to expensive Chinese restaurants and as aphrodisiacs by Chinese medicine stores.

The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis). Its beautiful, spotted fur makes it a top target for poachers serving the fur fashion trade. Only 30 animals survive.

Siberian tigers (Panthera tigris altaica). These are the world’s largest cats, hunted for their use in traditional Chinese medicine on the black market or even as trophy heads and rugs. Mining, fires, poor law enforcement, forest destruction and illegal logging also continue to threaten this species. Just 400 survive in the wild.

Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus). Our most threatened of five rhino species. All rhinos are slaughtered for their highly prized horns, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. Just 35 Javan individuals survive. Other rhino species are also under threat.

Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus). This is our smallest pachyderm. The population has declined in less than 25 years due to deforestation, habitat loss and ivory poaching. Less than 3,000 survive.

Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). The largest of sea turtles. Hunting, plastic pollution, accidental catches in fishing nets, egg poaching, habitat loss and holiday coastal development that disturbs and destroys nesting beaches. There may be as few as 3,000 left.

Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Many are killed illegally for the exotic meat trade. Baby gorillas are captured and kept as pets. The deadly ebola virus may have killed 90 per cent of the wild population.

Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). Lives in the mountains that border Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Poaching, destruction of habitat, disease and charcoal production that destroys forests has left under 900 individuals struggling to survive.

The Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis). Sometimes known as the Asian unicorn, this is one of the world’s rarest mammals. Only discovered in Vietnam and Laos in 1992, they are killed for their fur, for Asian medicines and for food. Just 750 survive.

Greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus). In Madagascar numbers are down to 60 in the wild and perhaps twice that in captivity. Climate change, illegal logging, hunting and severe depletion of bamboo mean this species is on the brink of extinction.

Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). Habitats are disappearing fast due to forest clearance for oil palm plantations.

That and illegal logging, forest fires, and other agricultural development, all pose a serious threat to this species.

They are also hunted for food and even captured for the status pet market. Only 7,000 survive.

The Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides). Population is down to between one and two thousand in China’s longest river much altered by dam projects. A close cousin also once found in the river, the Baiji dolphin, has now been declared extinct.

Florida, USA musician Corey Jones killed by police

This music video from Florida in the USA is called Future Prezidents “Rudeboy Too Rude”.

This 19 October 2015 video is called Friends remember Corey Jones.

By Evan Blake in the USA:

Florida musician Corey Jones killed by plainclothes officer

22 October 2015

Corey Jones, a well-known 31-year-old musician from Boynton Beach, Florida, was shot to death by police officer Nouman Raja early Tuesday morning near the city of Palm Beach Gardens.

Raja, dressed in plainclothes and driving an unmarked vehicle, approached Jones on an Interstate 95 off-ramp as he waited for a tow truck to arrive to pick up his broken down vehicle. After a brief foot chase Raja shot and killed Jones about 30 yards from the car.

The state prosecutor has revealed that while Jones had a gun he never discharged his weapon, suggesting that Raja might have shot him while he fled. “We don’t know how many times he was shot. We don’t know whether he was shot in the back,” family attorney Benjamin Crump told CNN on Wednesday.

Jones had performed with his band, Future Prezidents, Saturday evening, and called band mate Mathew Huntsberger at around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday asking for help fixing his broken down SUV. Huntsberger told The Washington Post that the two were unable to resolve the issue, and called roadside assistance.

Huntsberger left Jones at around 2:30 a.m. while Jones waited for the tow truck. Roughly 45 minutes later, Jones was killed by Raja. “When I left him he was sitting in his car calling roadside assistance. I never would have thought that someone was going to come kill him,” Huntsberger said.

While the police have released limited details of what led to the shooting, they immediately sought to justify the killing by asserting that Jones was armed when Raja approached him, prompting the officer to shoot him an unspecified number of times, killing him instantly.

“As the officer exited his vehicle, he was suddenly confronted by an armed subject. As a result of the confrontation, the officer discharged his firearm, resulting in the death of the subject,” the police department said in a statement Tuesday.

The police have justified the fact that Raja was dressed in plainclothes and driving an unmarked vehicle by claiming that he was involved in a burglary detail. They assert that Raja believed he was investigating an abandoned vehicle.

Police have not stated whether Raja identified himself as a police officer when he approached Jones, if Raja was carrying his badge, and what if any words were exchanged between the two men before the shooting. Raja’s car was not outfitted with a dash camera, and officers with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department are not required to wear body cameras. The Jones family has demanded that police release video footage from nearby businesses and freeway cameras.

Raja has a recent history of serious misconduct while on the job. In 2011, he was given a written reprimand after chasing a car with expired tags through a crowd of people who were forced to jump out of the way for safety. In 2012, he received another written reprimand for three separate incidents. In one of the incidents he failed to file confiscated morphine that was later found in his vehicle.

Jones’s cousin Frank Hearst rejected the notion that he may have threatened the officer telling the Post, “They’re saying Corey approached him armed, which is a total lie. That don’t make sense.” Hearst noted that family members are outraged that the police are withholding crucial details of the shooting, including how many shots were fired and what weapon Jones allegedly was carrying when he was killed.

Many of Jones’ family members are active clergy members in the Palm Beach region, and Jones himself was a well-known and liked drummer for the Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach. The family held a prayer vigil at the church Wednesday and plans to hold his funeral this Saturday.

Family members have described him as a gentle, church-going man who would not even kill fish he caught, choosing instead to release them back into the wild. Breante Allen, one of Jones’ cousins said that he had told her of a recent gun purchase, which he bought for security reasons. Jones worked primarily as a property manager, and often collected rent from tenants at all hours of the night, Allen told the Miami Herald.

She also said that he bought the weapon in response to the nine people shot to death at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. Allen told the Herald, “That’s what triggered him. He asked, ‘What if someone tried to do that to my church? My family?’”

The Jones family is meeting today with the Palm Beach County state attorney while a protest rally is being held at the Palm Beach Gardens police station.

Despite the nationwide protests against police violence that have taken place over the past year the rate of police killings has increased. According to one count, the shooting of Jones was the 948th police killing so far this year.

THE MYSTERY | Why Did A Cop Shoot Robert Chambers In The Head?

Restoring Florida oyster reef communities

This video about Florida in the USA says about itself:

Oyster Reef Communities | Water as Habitat

16 okt. 2015

How are freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee impacting oyster reefs?

Dr. Jessica Lunt, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Marine Station, shows how her oyster sampling fieldwork looks at what lives on these reefs to better manage restoration efforts in the St. Lucie Estuary.

Baby turtle leaves nest, video

This 18 October 2015 video from Florida in the USA is called Sea Turtle Hatchling Leaves the Nest.

Florida Islamophobe’s crusade against Arabic numerals

This video says about itself:

3 September 2013

Hank unravels the fascinating yarn of how the world came to use so-called Arabic numerals — from the scholarship of ancient Hindu mathematicians, to Muslim scientist Al-Khwarizmi, to the merchants of medieval Italy.

By Tom Boggioni in the USA:

Conservative Florida mom vows to stop her children from learning about Islam and Arabic numerals

06 Oct 2015 at 14:29 ET

A Florida mom posted a rambling 15 minute video to her Facebook account complaining that her son’s high school world history class textbook spends an entire chapter on Muslims and advances in the Islamic world, including the “origin of Ay-rabic numerals.”

According to the post by Christian Kayla Normandin, she had previously promised to share a video detailing objections she has with the history book being used in her son’s class. …

Touching upon developments in education, astronomy, architecture, art, agriculture, science and mathematics in the Islamic world, Normandin drew attention to the development of the Arabic numeric system — the most common numeric system used in the world today.

“It even has the origin of ‘Ay-rabic’ numerals,” she read from the book …

Following her review of the chapter, Normandin asserted, “We need to stand up against this, y’all. Our children don’t need to be taught this. It’s not teaching them facts. It’s not teaching them truth. It’s basically telling them that this is going to be the way of life.”

She went on to state that she will go as far as she needs to go to get the textbook pulled, saying, “My children aren’t going to learn this.”