Sunday, December 14th, 2014
Dippers are rare in the Netherlands. Since this summer two of them are wandering along the Geul in the south of Limburg province. Just across the border there are more dippers and they nest annually. The dippers benefit from the water in the river Geul becoming cleaner and ARK Natuurontwikkeling contributes to that.
Dippers are dependent on fast-flowing streams and rivers. The brown and white birds look for food underwater. They have a special membrane in the eyes that works as a diving mask. It helps them to see underwater.
This video is about hen harriers in Scotland.
From Wildlife Extra:
Glimmer of hope for England’s hen harriers
On the United Utilities Bowland Estate in Lancashire, one pair is currently raising chicks, while a female has been spotted sitting on eggs in a second nest nearby.
Bowland used to be the English stronghold for hen harriers and the upland bird of prey is even the symbol of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However, the current nests represent the first breeding attempts in the area since 2011.
Last year, England’s hen harriers suffered their worst breeding season for decades, failing to produce a single chick anywhere in the whole country for the first time in several decades.
The RSPB in partnership with Natural England and United Utilities have monitored and protected hen harriers in Bowland for more than three decades. Both nests are being watched by dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as CCTV around the clock.
The RSPB’s hen harrier monitoring and protection work in Bowland forms part of Skydancer, a four-year RSPB project aimed at protecting and conserving nesting hen harriers in the English uplands. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (with a grant of £317,700) and United Utilities, with additional support from the Forestry Commission.
Jude Lane, the RSPB’s Bowland Project Officer, says: “After two years of bitter disappointment, I am delighted and relieved that hen harriers have returned to nest in Bowland. However, the species is still in serious trouble and at risk from extinction as a breeding bird in England.”
The plight of the English hen harrier stems from the fact that hen harriers sometimes eat red grouse, which brings them into conflict with the driven grouse shooting industry. This particular type of shooting requires large numbers of grouse, so some game managers feel they must illegally kill or disturb harriers to protect their stock.
A legal method that could reduce the number of grouse chicks lost to hen harriers is a management technique known as diversionary feeding. This involves providing hen harriers with an alternative food source during the period when the adults are feeding their chicks. The RSPB and the local shooting tenant are currently using the method in Bowland, under licence from Natural England.
Jude continues: “Diversionary feeding is a simple, inexpensive and effective technique. Previous trials have shown it can reduce the number of grouse eaten by hen harriers by up to 86 per cent.”
For more information about the project, visit www.rspb.org.uk/skydancer.
This video from Britain says about itself:
16 October 2012
See here for a detailed article in Frontline journal posted on October 16th 2012 a week after the public meeting recorded in this video. The truth about the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 in which 96 football fans were crushed to death was first written about in the Militant newspaper back when the disaster first happened. But the mainstream newspapers and other media who were hand-in-glove with the police and the government did their best to not only cover up for those responsible for the deaths of the football fans, but waged a vicious slander campaign blaming the Liverpool fans including the dead who were the victims of profit-driven overcrowding.
The police, the mainstream media and the Tory government under Margaret Thatcher were complicit in the cover-up over the causes of the deaths 23 years ago on 15th April 1989 of the 96 football fans in the Hillsborough stadium in England. The deaths were due to bad policing, lack of proper stewarding and safety arrangements due to a policy of cramming in as many fans as possible in one small area to bring in as much profit as possible at the expense of the safety of the fans. The deaths were entirely preventable.
There was a near-disaster involving a crush with fortunately no deaths the previous year involving the same fixtures which should have been a warning signal to the police and football club stadium management about the dangerous levels of overcrowding which were quite obvious to anyone who was a football fan who could feel themselves swept off their feet anytime the crowd surged forward at peak moments of interest like goal scoring.
Working class fans were herded in with no concern for comfort or safety to milk them for as much profit as possible, much as cattle is often treated. The attitudes of the police, the government, the media and the profiteering classes towards the working class dehumanised them. They thought of them as animals and some even publicly referred to them as animals. This attitude was very much the case during the 1984-85 miners strike 4 years earlier “with Thatcher’s use of South Yorkshire and other police forces as a well-fed, well-paid, beefed-up government militia that treated working class people as scum, rampaging like uniformed thugs in the pit villages.”
Liverpudlians were also hated by Maggie Thatcher‘s Tory government because working class people there had made significant political gains with 50 to 60 thousand strong demonstrations and general strikes and militant action leading to £60 million in government funding for jobs, housing and services. Thatcher travelled to meet S. Yorkshire police chiefs the day after the disaster. A propaganda campaign smearing the victims of the disaster followed which was taken up by the mainstream press, particularly the Sun which Liverpudlians still boycott to this day.
Fans were taken for granted by the owners of the stadium. Less tickets were available for them than the other teams. Less turnstiles were open at the Liverpool end despite the fact that there were more Liverpool fans than the other team. Instead of opening up more turnstiles and letting fans go into the side terraces the fans were habitually crammed into one end of the stadium. When the kick-off time neared on the day of the 15th April 1989 there were still many Liverpool fans coming in and there was obvious overcrowding but stewards and police did not open up the side terraces nor did they delay the kick off but to hurry things up the police opened a gate which led fans down a steep tunnel and back up to the extremely overcrowded middle terraces. Once the crush started police failed to take adequate emergency measures to save lives. Fans trying to tear down fencing to escape the crush (a sensible measure in an emergency) were prevented from doing so by police who had this prejudiced mentality that the fans were vandalous thugs trying to let people in when in fact they were trying to get out. (In other football stadiums police have done the sensible thing and actually torn down fencing to prevent a crush. Not so at Hillsborough where S Yorkshire police were poisoned by their training into thinking that fans were thugs or animals to be controlled rather than people to be protected from danger.)
When fans ran onto the pitch to escape the crush in the terraces they were batoned by police. Police caused the delaying of emergency medical treatment of fans when they tried to deter ambulances from going onto the pitches by telling ambulance staff that the fans were rioting at a moment when immediate treatment was vital. 41 people died due to being denied medical treatment in time. This does not even include the figures of people whose lives were shortened by their injuries or trauma and those with permanent physical or mental damage.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Postal workers ‘will strike’ if told to deliver free Sun copies as Hillsborough anger continues
The paper still provokes anger in Skelmersdale over its coverage of the tragedy
Postal workers in Lancashire are threatening to strike if they are told to deliver free copies of the Sun next week in protest against its coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy.
Union members at the Royal Mail depot in Skelmersdale, near Liverpool, have vowed to walk out if “any copies of the Sun cross the gates”.
In a statement given to the Liverpool Class Action website, they called the newspaper “s***e”.
The newspaper is delivering 22 million free World Cup editions around the country on Thursday and Friday.
The Sun is still reviled in parts of Merseyside and among Liverpool fans for its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.
Skelmersdale has a strong association with Liverpool and workers advocating the postal strike are understood to support the long-running “Don’t Buy the Sun” campaign.
The Sun sparked outrage after the April 1989 tragedy where 96 people will killed and hundreds more injured.
Under a banner headline which read “The Truth”, the paper claimed the fatal crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground was caused by drunken Liverpool fans.
The story claimed that some stole from the pockets of the dead and urinated on police officers trying to rescue them.
Inquiries have since concluded that Liverpool fans were not responsible for the disaster and police had released misleading statements in the wake of the tragedy.
Sally Hopkins, a spokesperson for Royal Mail, said the Sun had already chosen not to include Liverpool in the mailing.
She added: “Any individual concerns will be handled sensitively with fairness, dignity and fully respecting the views of individuals.
“Local CWU representatives and delivery office managers will work together to agree sensible and amicable solutions.”
A spokesman for the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) said an official strike had not been called and the action was being taken by a group of staff.
“It’s not a strike at the moment but a divisional officer is meeting with Royal Mail to discuss it,” she added.
“Some staff members were at the Hillsborough disaster and had family there and they feel very strongly about it.”
Ed Miliband apologises for endorsing the Sun‘s World Cup issue. Labour party says leader ‘understands the anger that the people of Merseyside feel’ after criticism from councillors and MPs: here.
Labour leader Ed Miliband was forced to apologise yesterday after posing with a copy of the Sun newspaper in the year of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster: here.
Ed Miliband’s apology to “those who feel offended” by his decision to pose with Rupert Murdoch’s poisonous rag The Sun cannot disguise the stupidity of the stunt: here.
The history of soccer is a sad voyage from beauty to duty. When the sport became an industry, the beauty that blossoms from the joy of play got torn out by its very roots. In this fin-de-siècle world, professional soccer condemns all that is useless, and useless means not profitable. Nobody earns a thing from that crazy feeling that for a moment turns a man into a child playing with a balloon, like a cat with a ball of yarn; a ballet dancer who romps with a ball as light as a balloon or a ball of yarn, playing without even knowing he’s playing, with no purpose or clock or referee: here.
This video from Britain says about itself:
An August Bank Holiday Lark Trailer
24 February 2014
Set in the idyllic summer of 1914 rural Lancashire, everyone in the community is excited about Wakes week; a rest from field and mill and a celebration of the Rushbearing Festival with singing, courting, drinking and dancing. The looming war barely registers … but it will.
By Susan Darlington in England:
Theatre: An August Bank Holiday Lark
Thursday 17th April 2014
A new play movingly evokes the loss of community and tradition in WWI, says SUSAN DARLINGTON
An August Bank Holiday Lark
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
It’s unlikely that Michael Gove will approve of An August Bank Holiday Lark.
Commissioned to commemorate the centenary of WWI, Northern Broadside’s latest play certainly doesn’t celebrate it as a “just war.”
Rather, Deborah McAndrew’s gentle tale depicts the kind of village life creaking under the weight of holidays to Blackpool and votes for women even before the arrival of Kitchener‘s recruitment drive.
In the Pennine mill village where the play is set in 1914, the greatest worry is finding eight Morris men for the annual rush-cart festival and securing trim for the squire’s hat after an incident involving the neighbour’s chickens.
The war seems a distant threat yet it is an opportunity for top clog dancer Frank (Darren Kuppan) to prove his worthiness to wed the squire’s daughter Mary (Emily Butterfield) and a chance for young men to make a stand for “ideas.”
The poignancy of this vanishing community is beautifully captured during one of the key scenes when a rush-cart – a towering wagon piled with cut reeds and flowers – is constructed before the audience.
Accompanied by Conrad Nelson’s joyous music and exhilarating clog-dancing choreography, the festive spirit is such that when the cart is paraded around the stage with hapless jockey Herbert (Mark Thomas) waving from the top, the audience waves back.
Fast-forward a year and the community has been torn apart, with the lives of young millworkers lost in the Dardanelles and the women left behind contemplating a life without a sweetheart.
This shift in mood is powerfully signalled by Barrie Rutter as the squire. Having spent the first act being a parody of his larger than life persona, now he is a broken man symbolising the loss of life, community and tradition.
This sombre note contrasts sharply with the bantering humour earlier and, while the plot may occasionally be spread thinner than dripping, the play is superbly evocative and poignantly acted throughout.
Tours until June 14, details: www.northern-broadsides.co.uk.
This video from England says about itself:
However, this winter, 21,000 golden plovers were counted there.
This video about mute swans is called Baby swans (cygnets) hitching a ride off mum (Part 1 of 2).
And here is Part 2.
From Wildlife Extra:
Power line research to reduce risks for tens of thousands of swans and geese
September 2013. The safety tens of thousands of swans and geese in the UK could be improved by new research into collisions with power lines, which started this week with the installation of more than 150 special bird diverters in Lancashire.
Power lines are most common cause of death for swans
Flying collisions are the most commonly recorded cause of death for swans, whose size means they have poor manoeuvrability in flight. Bird diverters are special attachments to the lines that help make them stand out to birds in flight.
For the first time, a partnership between Electricity North West, Lancaster University and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), is studying the efficiency of different types of diverter, alongside agricultural, weather and landscape factors which affect birds’ flights. The study area around WWT Martin Mere in Lancashire is the winter home of 30,000 pink-footed geese and 2,500 whooper swans and has been identified as a sensitive area for collisions.
Dr Eileen Rees, Head of UK Waterbird Conservation for WWT, said: “Tens of thousands of migratory geese and swans make the UK’s wetlands their winter homes. Collisions with power lines are a major cause of death for them, so WWT is delighted to be working with Electricity North West to make Lancashire, and the UK as a whole, a safer place for them.
“Through this innovative partnership we aim to gather evidence for solutions that work in our modern landscape. As well as reducing the risk to swans and geese, the results of the study should help electricity suppliers throughout the UK provide their service with fewer unnecessary interruptions.”
Steve Cox, future network manager for Electricity North West, said: “We hope that the diverters and our subsequent research will go on to help birds and electricity customers across the UK.
“By working closely with WWT Martin Mere we discovered this was a sensitive section of the network as it was located in a known flight path and we are delighted to be able to help protect these wonderful birds.
“By limiting the chances of any collisions, the special diverters will also reduce any possible impact on customer power supplies.”
Dr Ian Hartley, a Senior Lecturer at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University and a behavioural ecology expert, said: “This is a great opportunity and we are very pleased to be working with new partners on a project of such high calibre which is going to have a large impact on the area around where the geese and swans winter. One of our Master’s students will work on the project for a year and our input will be to add knowledge on the analysis and geographic information systems aspects.”
Throughout this winter, the study will closely observe the flight behaviour of geese and swans in and around WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre. It will determine the importance of features, such as tree lines, the choice of crops and the wind direction on the birds’ choice of flight line and height.
See also here.
- Power line diverters fitted to save ‘large birds’ (arunbabyveranakunnel.wordpress.com)
- RSPB objects to fracking proposals (bbc.co.uk)
- Power restored to 1,750 in Kentwood after geese fly into power lines (mlive.com)
- Whooper Swans (justphotosby.me)
- Wings of Love (rainbowofthought.wordpress.com)
- Swan Song on Sunset Lake (southcountynews.org)
- Frack damage fear for bird reserve (lep.co.uk)
From Wildlife Extra:
February 2013. One of our readers, Dennis Bannister, recently sent us this unusual looking redshank that he spotted in North Wales.
Leucism (or Leukism)
Leucism is a very unusual condition whereby the pigmentation cells in an animal or bird fail to develop properly. This can result in unusual white patches appearing on the animal, or, more rarely, completely white creatures.
Albinism is a different condition. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that in albinism the eyes are usually pink or red, and albinism affects the entire animal, not just patches.
This occassionaly causes very excited biologists to think they have discovered a new species, when in fact leucism is the cause of the unusual markings they have seen.
Click here to see our gallery of leucistic animals and birds.
This video is about normally coloured redshanks in Lancashire, England.
- Leucistic bald eagle in the USA (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Leucistic mandarin ducks photo (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Courting Redshanks (parrotletsuk.typepad.com)
- Researchers Spot Rare Piebald Penguin Chick (natureworldnews.com)
- Albino-like Bald Eagle Spotted in Washington State (news.nationalgeographic.com)