Saving the birds of Portugal’s Berlengas archipelago


This video is about the Berlengas islands in Portugal.

By BirdLife Europe, Fri, 09/01/2015 – 17:08:

New project to repair and protect the Berlengas archipelago’s rich ecosystem

Only 30 people live in the Berlengas archipelago off the Portuguese coast, yet there is a lot of activity to report from these small islands. Included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), Berlengas is known to be home for several species of marine birds and for hosting a diverse ecosystem. Unfortunately, the beautiful archipelago and its surrounding waters have suffered during the recent economic conditions; despite the efforts of national authorities to conserve the fragile ecosystem, the area is rapidly deteriorating.

In June 2014, the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA, BirdLife Partner), joined  a partnership with the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forestry, the Municipality of Peniche and the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Together, they planned an integrated combination of sustainable development, responsible tourism and conservation of natural resources at the Reserva Natural das Berlengas, aiming to become a model of good management of a Protected Area. The resulting Life + Berlenga Project was launched that same month with an initial investment of €1,380.000, 50% of which came from European Commission funds. The project aims to restore the natural resources of the archipelago and, at the same time, to benefit the local communities whose livelihoods depend on tourists visiting the island.

The project will include plans for sustainable exploitation of natural resources, action to avoid incidental seabird bycatch in fishing gears, control of mammalian species introduced by humans and control of invasive plants which threaten the most iconic bird species, such as the Common Guillemot.

There will also be a strong advertising campaign using the latest technologies to promote Berlengas as a top European tourist destination.

The Berlengas archipelago receives more than 200,000 visitors a year, notably because of the rich biodiversity it hosts, which makes the islands a natural paradise to be treasured.

Go Birding in Portugal: Living Bird editor Tim Gallagher gives a recap of his recent birding trip to southwest Europe.

African 20th century liberation movements, film review


This video says about itself:

Concerning Violence – Official Trailer

A film by Goran Hugo Olsson, 2014, Sweden/U.S.A./Denmark/Finland.

By John Green in Britain:

Friday 28th November 2014

Gordon Hugo Olsson’s film on the anti-imperialist liberation movements globally in the ’60s and ’70s fails to connect with contemporary concerns, says JOHN GREEN

Concerning Violence (15)

Directed by Goran Hugo Olsson

3/5

DURING the cold war, radical Swedish filmmakers set out to capture footage from the anti-imperialist liberation movements in Africa first hand.

With their 16mm footage he discovered in the Swedish Television archives, Goran Hugo Olsson draws on his experience in Concerning Violence to create a visual narrative of the continent.

He bases his documentary on the ideas of Frantz Fanon and his explosive book about colonialism The Wretched of the Earth, written over 50 years ago.

While Fanon’s ideas at the time were iconoclastic and became immensely influential among liberation movements worldwide, this film — despite the best of intentions — hardly does them justice.

It begins ominously with a long and monotonously spoken introduction by academic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak from Columbia University, who reads from a script.

If you haven’t already nodded off, a series of clips follows using unique archival footage from the archives. They include a night-time raid with the MPLA in Angola, interviews with Frelimo guerilla fighters in Mozambique, as well as with Thomas Sankara, Amilcar Cabral and other African revolutionaries.

These are contrasted with self-revealing interviews with dyed–in-the-wool colonialists including General Spinola, former Portuguese colonial warrior and later short-term president of Portugal.

While we well know that colonial attitudes and the horrific exploitation of Africa still continue today and that imperial countries are still waging brutal wars against struggling nations, the assembled footage feels ancient and no longer really relevant to the present.

Between clips of those anti-colonial struggles we are presented with large text bullet points or slogans taken from Fanon’s book, also read out like a Power Point presentation for dummies.

The filmmakers argue that Fanon’s work is still a major tool for understanding and illuminating the neo-colonialism happening now as well as the violence and reactions against it, but that claim is very open to question.

While it is salutary to be reminded of those anti-colonial struggles during the late 1960s and ’70s — and the sacrifices involved that gave the world so much hope and inspiration — it is also sobering to realise what became of them, demonstrating that a struggle is never finished. That’s something I’m sure Fanon would have agreed with.

Cory’s shearwaters’ honeymoon on the Internet


This is a Cory’s shearwater video.

From BirdLife:

Watch the honeymoon of Cory’s Shearwaters from The Azores as it happens

By Alessia Calderalo, Mon, 20/10/2014 – 14:49

All of us have at some time wondered how a baby feels to be slowly discovering the world. But do we ever wonder how it is for animals? Do we ever ask ourselves how little chicks find the courage to fly away from their nests? Thanks to the project Lua de mel no Corvo (Honeymoon in Corvo) by BirdLife Portuguese Partner Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA), we now have the chance to find out!

A key element of the project is an online live video accessible to anyone, showing the progress of Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea breeding pairs in the Azorean island of Corvo, from nest construction to raising the chicks. The Azores archipelago has the world’s largest breeding population of Cory’s Shearwater and this initiative aims to raise awareness of the responsibility of The Azores for the conservation of this emblematic bird.

It was a world first in 2011 when we had the chance to accompany a couple of Cory’s Shearwater as they honeymooned and raised their chick. Sadly, on that occasion, the chick was eaten by a domestic cat. The progress of this first pair was followed by more than 27,000 people in 70 different countries, a record that we hope to break this year as we follow a new couple and their chick, hatched in July.

Since the launch of this second edition, the project website has already received over 12,000 visits by people eager to follow the first flapping of the couple’s chick. During the first days of its life, the chick was guarded by its parents, but later the pair only visited it regularly to feed it. Soon, the chick will leave the nest for its first migration to the Brazilian and South African coasts, where it will spend the winter, only returning in six or seven years for its first breeding season.

Lua de mel no Corvo is only one element in a range of projects undertaken since 2009 by SPEA, the Regional Secretariat for the Sea, the Natural Park of Corvo Island and the Agricultural Service of Flores and Corvo Island, within the programme LIFE+ Safe Islands for Seabirds, with the aim of protecting seabirds in The Azores. Safe Islands for Seabirds was considered to be one of the best of Life+ projects by the European Commission in 2013. Activities include preventing predation by cats and rats, restoring coastal habitats and raising awareness of seabirds and the threats they face.

“We know that eggs and chicks predation, mainly by cats, occurs with a high frequency, since the new hatched chick is left alone most of the time while its parents are foraging for food in the ocean. At this moment, a domestic cat sterilization program is taking place to prevent the increase of wild populations”, said Tânia Pipa, SPEA’s Project Assistant responsible for the actions in Corvo.

The project Lua de mel no Corvo is supported by Portugal Telecom, the City Council of Corvo and the Azorean Government.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to witness first hand this beautiful natural phenomenon!

For more information, please contact: Joaquim Teodósio, SPEA Azores Coordinator, or Tânia Pipa, Post-Project LIFE Safe Island for Seabirds Assistant.

Migratory birds festival in Portugal


This video is about Eurasian crag martins and red-rumped swallows in Sagres, Portugal.

From BirdLife:

Portugal’s Sagres Birdwatching Festival returns to celebrate migration of soaring birds

By Elodie Cantaloube, Mon, 22/09/2014 – 08:33

The Sagres Birdwatching Festival returns, to the delight of bird lovers and ornithologists, who gather every year to observe the beautiful spectacle of different species flying over the village of Sagres on migration to warmer climates. Thanks to a collaboration between the Vila do Bispo Municipality, the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA, BirdLife in Portugal) and the NGO Almargem, the 5th Sagres Birdwatching Festival will be held from 2nd – 5th of October 2014 in this magnificent part of the southern Portuguese region of Algarve, which is home to unique bird species and the perfect place to witness a natural phenomenon that is not easily seen elsewhere in the country.

During the Festival’s four days, many events and activities will serve to highlight the importance of respecting nature and teaching children how even the smallest of species can affect the whole ecosystem. Activities will include birding tours, mini-courses on various topics, boat trips to observe cetaceans and birds out at sea, horse and donkey rides, photography projects and educational workshops for children.

This year, the attention will be focused on the beautiful Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans, a migrant passerine that enriches local wildlife during the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Similarly, sightings of species such as storks, eagles, vultures and falcons will delight visitors, who will also be lucky enough to samplethe excellent regional food.

In the past, this event has gathered around 800 people, drawing public attention to the migration of birds both in Portugal and abroad.

According to Nuno Barros, SPEA’s Marine Programme Assistant at the Department of Marine Conservation, “Sagres Peninsula is one of the most extraordinary places in Europe for birdwatching. Most of the species are in their post-breeding period between August and November. Thousands of migratory birds gather in this place, some on their way to Africa, others as a result of their dispersal to the South.”

The dynamism brought by the festival to this area has created a strong incentive for people to come back at other times of the year; English tourists are especially keen. The beauty of the landscape in the Sagres Peninsula, together with the fascinating natural phenomena and the festive atmosphere, makes this Festival an occasion that no bird lover would want to miss!

Please visit www.birdwatchingsagres.com for more information or contact Nuno Barros, Marine Programme Assistant at SPEA/BirdLife.

Desertas petrel, newly discovered vulnerable bird species


This video is called The View From The Ground – Desertas Islands (Madeira, Portugal) HD.

From BirdLife:

Newly born, the Desertas Petrel turns into one of Europe’s conservation challenges: are we ready for it?

Fri, 25/07/2014 – 11:40

The 2014 Red List of Birds update gives birth to a new European species, the Desertas Petrel, classified as Vulnerable.

The first time I heard about the Desertas Petrel, all I wanted to do was to climb on the peak of Bugio, one of the Desertas islands part of the Madeira archipelago in Portugal, where the bird breeds, and see this funny little pal with my own eyes.

What I didn’t know while climbing up was that Bugio would offer me an unforgettable wildlife experience: the red rock of the cliffs gives way to a plateau, 342m above sea level, with no trees or shrubs, but hundreds of seabird nests.  As the birds were spending their day at sea or guarding their deep nesting burrows, we could only see them at night – at the time, we didn’t have burrowscopes that would allow us to look inside burrows during daylight.

That was back in 2003 and we believed that the petrels on Bugio were the same species as those breeding in Cape Verde, so-called “Fea’s Petrel”.

The release of the 2014 Red List of Birds update officially treats the birds of the Bugio colony as a species in its own right called Desertas Petrel. This decision is based on solid scientific data, notably genetic studies, collected over the years by many BirdLife and other globally renowned biologists, and is outlined in HBW and BirdLife’s new Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.

This year’s update involves the addition of 361 new species and the reassessment of over 4,000 bird species. It also tells us that seabirds are one of the most threatened groups of birds worldwide – and the Desertas Petrel is no exception: as soon as it was recognised as a new species, it was assessed as “Vulnerable”. If we are unable to eliminate the threats that currently affect the species, such as habitat deterioration and disturbance, its small population size could result in it becoming Critically Endangered in a relatively short period of time.

BirdLife is the Red List Authority for birds for the renowned IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which provides an authoratative overview of the species most in need of conservation action. The 2014 update will help the BirdLife Partnership redefine its conservation work on the ground and protect species like the Desertas Petrel which require urgent action.

Iván Ramírez, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Europe