How kestrels live in Scotland


This 2019 video from Scotland says about itself:

The life of the common kestrel (film)

An amazing film following the full breeding season of a pair of kestrels in north Glasgow. Showing mating, eggs hatching and chicks being fed at several stages.

Music by Bensound.

Jurassic dinosaurs footprints discovery in Scotland


This June 2018 CBS TV video is called Isle of Skye a hotbed of dinosaur discoveries.

From PLOS:

Dinosaur stomping ground in Scotland reveals thriving middle Jurassic ecosystem

Dozens of footprints expand the list of dinosaurs known to have lived in the region

March 11, 2020

During the Middle Jurassic Period, the Isle of Skye in Scotland was home to a thriving community of dinosaurs that stomped across the ancient coastline, according to a study published March 11, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Paige dePolo and Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and colleagues.

The Middle Jurassic Period is a time of major evolutionary diversification in many dinosaur groups, but dinosaur fossils from this time period are generally rare. The Isle of Skye in Scotland is an exception, yielding body and trace fossils of diverse Middle Jurassic ecosystems, serving as a valuable location for paleontological science as well as tourism.

In this paper, dePolo and colleagues describe two recently discovered fossil sites preserving around 50 dinosaur footprints on ancient coastal mudflats. These include the first record on the Isle of Skye of a track type called Deltapodus, most likely created by a stegosaurian (plate-backed) dinosaur. These are the oldest Deltapodus tracks known, and the first strong evidence that stegosaurian dinosaurs were part of the island’s Middle Jurassic fauna. Additionally, three-toed footprints represent multiple sizes of early carnivorous theropods and a series of other large tracks are tentatively identified as some of the oldest evidence of large-bodied herbivorous ornithopod dinosaurs.

All tracks considered, these two sites expand the known diversity of what was apparently a thriving ecosystem of Middle Jurassic dinosaurs in Scotland, including at least one type of dinosaur (stegosaurs) not previously known from the region. These findings reflect the importance of footprints as a source of information supplemental to body fossils. Furthermore, the authors stress the importance of revisiting previously explored sites; these new sites were found in an area that has long been popular for fossil prospecting, but the trackways were only recently revealed by storm activity.

Lead author dePolo says: “These new tracksites help us get a better sense of the variety of dinosaurs that lived near the coast of Skye during the Middle Jurassic than what we can glean from the island’s body fossil record. In particular, Deltapodus tracks give good evidence that stegosaurs lived on Skye at this time.”

Author Brusatte adds: “These new tracksites give us a much clearer picture of the dinosaurs that lived in Scotland 170 million years ago. We knew there were giant long-necked sauropods and jeep-sized carnivores, but we can now add plate-backed stegosaurs to that roster, and maybe even primitive cousins of the duck-billed dinosaurs too. These discoveries are making Skye one of the best places in the world for understanding dinosaur evolution in the Middle Jurassic.”

Donald Trump’s Scottish golf course scandal


This 31 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

How much do Trump’s golf trips cost? According to a new study, President Trump has cost the American taxpayers $102 million already with his 175 presidential golf trips. Before entering the White House, Trump claimed he wouldn’t have much time to play golf, but that has not been the case throughout the Trump administration. This Trump news today, confirms what many already worried about Trump‘s golf trips. … President Donald Trump is also making money off his golf trips because many of the golf courses he plays on are Trump golf courses at Trump properties.

The U.S. government reportedly forked over more than $77,000 to Trump’s Turnberry golf course in Scotland ahead of the president’s recent stay there.

Donald Trump’s Turnberry staff ‘left with wages under legal minimum on 10 days of shifts’. An employee has told how management at the US president’s Scottish golf resort withhold overtime pay and make them work like “robots”: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Investigate Trump’s purchase of his Ayrshire golf course, SNP urged

Green MSP Patrick Harvie called on the Scottish government to seek an unexplained-wealth order for the buyout of the Turnberry resort

THE Scottish government has been pressed to use its powers to investigate US president Donald Trump’s purchase of an Ayrshire golf course.

At First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood today, Green MSP Patrick Harvie called for the SNP administration to seek an unexplained-wealth order (UWO) for the buyout of the Turnberry resort.

A report published last year by global activist group Avaaz outlines “serious financial misconduct” among Mr Trump’s “inner circle” during the period of his purchase of the course, with his former campaign manager also pleading guilty to money laundering.

UWOs, brought into force two years ago, allow Scottish ministers to instruct investigation of the finances of someone from outside the European Economic Area in a position of power that makes them liable to bribery or corruption.

Ministers would apply to the Court of Session for such an order to be put in place.

If the individual or their family cannot show a legitimate source for their riches, authorities can apply to seize the property.

Mr Harvie said that UWOs were designed “precisely for these kinds of situations,” urging SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to take action.

He added: “Trump’s known sources of income do not explain where the money came from in these huge cash transactions.

“There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that his lawfully obtained income was insufficient.

“Trump is a politically exposed person in terms of the law, and there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that he, or people he is connected with, have been involved in serious crime.

“Scotland cannot be a country where anyone with the money can buy whatever land and property they want, no questions asked.”

The First Minister made clear that she was “no defender” of Mr Trump, adding that any matter of criminality surrounding the purchase of the golf courses was a matter for Police Scotland and the Crown Office.

Ms Sturgeon also pledged to look into the “serious” issue raised by Mr Harvie and get back to him in full.

The Morning Star understands that the original Avaaz report, which also urged the Scottish government to seek a UWO, was passed by ministers to the Crown Office in May 2019.

Red deer has mud bath, video


This 9 October 2019 video is about a male red deer having a mud bath.

Rudi Baetslé in the Netherlands made this video.

Red deer living on the Isle of Rum, on the west coast of Scotland, have been giving birth earlier and earlier since the 1980s, at a rate of about three days per decade. This change is known to be in part due to the immediate effect of warmer temperatures on the deer’s behaviour or physiology. However new results publishing on November 5 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology now show that genetic change due to natural selection is also contributing to the change: red deer are evolving: here.

Blue tits nesting earlier in spring


This December 2018 video is about blue tits singing.

From the University of Edinburgh in Scotland:

Warmer nights prompt forest birds to lay eggs earlier in spring

October 16, 2019

Summary: Rising night-time temperatures are causing woodland birds to build nests and lay eggs earlier in springtime, research shows.

As climate change continues to cause temperatures to rise, the breeding patterns of birds such as blue tits are being altered as evenings in spring get warmer, researchers say.

Previous research has shown that warmer springs have led birds to begin breeding earlier. However, until now, scientists had not identified the key factors that cause this behaviour.

With increasing spring warming, chicks may begin hatching after periods when caterpillars — their main food source — are most plentiful, scientists say.

Warmer temperatures are causing the peak in caterpillar numbers to occur earlier in the year, and birds like blue tits are responding too, but often not fast enough, the team says.

A team of biologists from the University of Edinburgh analysed data from 40 Scottish sites over a five-year period.

They found that birds decide when to reproduce based on night-time temperatures in springtime. Their findings suggest that colder temperatures may act as a constraint that delays the processes of building nests and laying eggs.

Blue tits were also found to lay eggs sooner if birch trees come into leaf earlier. This is some of the first evidence that birds use trees as a cue for timing breeding. Blue tits may use birch trees as a signal because they come into leaf earlier than other species, the team says.

Using data gained from two national citizen science projects, researchers found that night-time temperature and birch leafing have very similar effects on the breeding behaviour of woodland birds across the UK.

Dr Jack Shutt, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: “Working out what information birds use to time breeding is key to us accurately predicting how this may change under future conditions, and what effect this will have on them.”

In birds, timing of arrival in a breeding area influences who ends up breeding and who does not. This aspect of behaviour, well-known in migratory birds, has now been studied for the first time in a non-migratory species, the blue tit. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany found that arrival time in the breeding area was an individual-specific and fitness-relevant trait for this resident bird species, as early-arriving individuals were more likely to breed in that year. The study suggests that it might be worthwhile to consider migration on different scales, not only as movements over thousands of kilometres to wintering grounds, but also more generally as movements between breeding and non-breeding sites: here.

Birds of Handa island, Scotland


This 7 July 2019 video says about itself:

Birding on Handa Island, Scotland 4K

Bird species in the video: 1. Northern Wheatear 0:39 2. Arctic Skua (dark morph) 0:42 3. Arctic Skua (light morph) 1:11 4. Great Skua 1:34 5. Northern Fulmar 3:27 6. Atlantic Puffin 5:14 7. Razorbill 6:55 8. Black-legged Kittiwake 7:52 9. Guillemot 8:39 10. Rock Pipit 13:29 11. Skylark 17:30 12. Red-throated Diver 18:14

Loch Ness monster, an eel, no plesiosaur?


This 5 September 2019 video about Scotland says about itself:

Could the Loch Ness Monster Actually Be a Giant Eel?

One team of researchers just released their verdict on the existence of the Loch Ness monster. Geneticist Neil Gemmell told reporters, “There is absolutely no evidence of any reptilian sequences in our samples.” In other words, “I think we can be pretty sure that there is probably not a giant scaly reptile swimming around in Loch Ness.” However, Gemmell’s team did find a lot of eel DNA in the lake. Could Nessie be a giant eel? “Maybe”, said Gemmell.

Scottish basking sharks studied


This 6 August 2019 Dutch video, with English spoken, is about basking sharks in Scotland. Scientists tag these sharks electronically for studying them.

Industrial fishing behind plummeting shark numbers. A team of researchers has discovered that sharks are much rarer in habitats nearer large human populations and fish markets. The team also found that the average body size of sharks and other marine predators fell dramatically in these areas, where sharks are caught and killed intensively for their meat and fins: here.

How puffins catch their food


This 2009 video says about itself:

Puffins | National Geographic

In Iceland’s remote Westman Islands, warming weather is threatening a beloved mascot: the Atlantic puffin.

From the University of Liverpool in England:

How puffins catch food outside the breeding season

July 17, 2019

Little is known about how seabirds catch their food outside the breeding season but using modern technology, researchers at the University of Liverpool and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology have gained new insight into their feeding habits.

Seabirds, including puffins, are often elusive and spend much of their lives at sea, feeding exclusively there. The period outside of the summer breeding season is particularly mysterious as the birds spend their time far away from land.

Using depth recorders, researchers compared the feeding behaviour of puffins with two closely related species, guillemots and razorbills, to find out how deep and how long they dive for during the non-breeding period.

They fitted data logger to seabirds breeding on the Isle of May National Nature Reserve in south-east Scotland. These birds were then recaptured the following breeding season, when they returned to land again after months away at sea.

Puffins are excellent divers and, in a similar way to penguins, use their wings to “fly” underwater to catch their prey.

Yet the study found that despite this great diving ability, both common guillemots and razorbills can dive for even deeper and longer than puffins can and continue to do so outside the breeding season. As well as these important species differences, the study also found that the diving of all three species changed over the course of the year.

Lead author of the study, Ruth Dunn, a PhD student in the University’s School of Environmental Sciences, said: “Whilst we already knew that these birds are able to dive to great depths during the breeding season, in this study we found that after they left the breeding colony they didn’t dive as deeply as expected, often reaching depths of less than 15 meters, possibly because they were catching different prey.

“Despite these shallow dives, birds were very busy, particularly in in mid-winter when they were working harder than in the autumn and spring.”

Researchers also found that some birds were busier than others. Immediately after leaving the breeding colony, guillemot and razorbill fathers both dived more than their female partners.

This is because male parents accompany their chicks to sea and continue to feed it for several weeks after the breeding season has ended. Male birds therefore had to dive more frequently in order to catch enough fish to not only feed themselves, but to also meet the nutritional demands of their growing chicks.

In contrast with the other species, puffin chicks go to sea on their own. Therefore, the adults dive at a similar intensity throughout the post-breeding period, because there is not another hungry seabird beak to feed.

Francis Daunt of CEH, a co-author on the study, said “These insights into the winter feeding behaviour of puffins are extremely valuable since this species has shown marked declines in recent years, linked to higher mortality rates of adult birds in certain winters. These data show that the middle of winter is when birds are working hardest, which suggests that over-winter survival may be closely linked to the ability to find sufficient food.”