Red-backed fairywrens in Australia, new study


This 13 August 2014 video is called Studying Red-backed Fairywrens in Australia.

More about this study is here.

See also Seven Ways of Looking at a Fairywren: Student Research in Australia.

World’s first Ramsar wetland nature reserve celebrates 40th birthday


This video about wetlands is called Ramsar Convention.

From Wildlife Extra:

The world’s first Ramsar Site celebrates 40 years

It was on 8 May 1974, that Australia designated the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory as the world’s first Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It was negotiated through the 1960s by countries and non-governmental organisations that were concerned at the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory waterbirds. The treaty was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. It is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem, and the Convention’s member countries cover all geographic regions of the planet.

The Convention uses a broad definition of the types of wetlands covered in its mission, including lakes and rivers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands and peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans.

The Cobourg Peninsula, a remote and unspoilt wilderness area on the far northern coast of Australia, was recognised 40 years ago for its diversity of wetland habitats, threatened marine species, significant seabird colonies and value as a refuge and breeding site. It also has a fascinating Indigenous, Macassan and European history.

Now known as Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, it is jointly managed by the Arrarrkbi people and the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory. It was the first reserve in Australia to have a formal joint management arrangement established with indigenous people.

Australia currently has 65 Ramsar Sites across the continent, with an area of 8.3 million hectares, covering coral reefs, coastal lagoons, mangroves, inland rivers, mountain peat bogs and underground caves.

Britain: The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust recently launched its Wetland Manifesto at a reception at the Houses of Parliament. MPs, peers and business leaders heard how protecting our remaining wetlands can help our health, the economy and the public purse: here.

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Australian bird names, new book


This video says about itself:

April 14, 2010

Join wildlife photographer Marie Read as she documents the bird life in Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Read more about her trip in Living Bird magazine.

From CSIRO PUBLISHING:

Australian Bird Names

A Complete Guide

Ian Fraser
Jeannie Gray

Illustrations

352 pages, 245 x 170 mm

Paperback New – May 2013

ISBN: 9780643104693 – AU $ 49.95

Australian Bird Names is aimed at anyone with an interest in birds, words, or the history of Australian biology and bird-watching. It discusses common and scientific names of every Australian bird, to tease out the meanings, which may be useful, useless or downright misleading!

The authors examine every species: its often many-and-varied common names, its full scientific name, with derivation, translation and a guide to pronunciation. Stories behind the name are included, as well as relevant aspects of biology, conservation and history. Original descriptions, translated by the authors, have been sourced for many species.

As well as being a book about names this is a book about the history of ever-developing understandings of birds, about the people who contributed and, most of all, about the birds themselves.

Australian solar eclipse, Friday 10 May


From Australian Geographic:

Australian solar eclipse: Friday 10 May 2013

An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon covers a majority of the Sun, creating a ring or 'annulus' of light. (Credit: Getty)
An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon covers a majority of the Sun, creating a ring or ‘annulus’ of light. (Credit: Getty)

Aussies can catch a glimpse of a so-called annular solar eclipse this week, the only one until 2035.

ON FRIDAY MORNING, an annular solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Australia, for the last time until 2035.

An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon, in a distant part of its orbit around our planet, covers a large portion of the Sun’s area as seen from the Earth, hence a ring or ‘annulus’ is left around its edge. This is not to be confused with a total eclipse, the last of which was visible from Australia in November 2012. This annular eclipse is the first to be visible from Australia or New Zealand since 1999.

Send us your photos of Friday’s eclipse

The only sizable town that lies on the path of annularity – where a complete viewing of the eclipse is possible – is Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. The Musgrave Roadhouse, north of Laura in Queensland, is also suggested as a vantage point. Those near Newman, Western Australia are expected to see a donut-shaped annular eclipse sunrise, while other parts of Australia will see a partial solar eclipse.

From Tennant Creek the eclipse will begin at 6:55am. reach its zenith at 8:07am and end at 9:33am.

Regions of Australia outside of the main eclipse path will see a partial solar eclipse – a ‘bite’ taken out of the Sun. The maximum of the eclipse in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane can be seen at 8:52am, 8:57am and 8:58am respectively (AEDT). Note that the Sun will not be completely covered, so it is important that you do not look directly into the sun at any time during the eclipse.

The path of the annular eclipse over northern Australia and Tennant Creek. (Credit: Andy Chong/2013 Australasian Sky Guide/Powerhouse Museum)
The path of the annular eclipse over northern Australia and Tennant Creek. (Credit: Andy Chong/2013 Australasian Sky Guide/Powerhouse Museum)

How to view an annular solar eclipse

Stuart Ryder from the Australian Astronomical Observatory says that while the annular eclipse is a novelty and a great photo opportunity, it is no comparison to a total solar eclipse.

“That tiny ring of uncovered Sun wipes out the dramatic effect of a total solar eclipse,” says Stuart. “The eye simply adjusts to the fading light over an hour or so, and most people on the eclipse path would not even be aware an eclipse was happening above them if it wasn’t in the news.”

Stuart warns that because it will not be completely covered, the public should not look directly into the sun at any time during the eclipse. The safest way to view the eclipse is to use projection. This involves creating a pinhole in a piece of paper or plastic, which is then attached to a tripod and adjusted until the image of the Sun can be seen on a screen.

Watching for ring-like shadows on the ground as the sun shines through gaps in leaves is also an effective way of viewing the eclipse.

Send us your photos of Friday’s eclipse

When to see the solar eclipse at its maximum

*All times are local
Perth – 6:36am (Sun will be below the horizon, so sunrise, at 6:54am, is the best time to see it)
Darwin – 8:07am
Adelaide – 8:15am
Melbourne – 8:52am
Canberra – 8:55am
Sydney – 8:57am
Brisbane – 8:58am
Hobart – 8:59am

- Text by Samantha Wheeler

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Eclipse photos: here.

Partial solar eclipse visible in Syria on November 3rd ~ 2013: here.

The full moon will appear to get a tiny bite taken out of it as it undergoes a shallow partial eclipse today. (See lunar eclipse pictures.): here.