Slender-billed curlew, extinct or alive? New research


This video says about itself:

Slender-billed curlew compared to whimbrel and curlew

25 June 2009

The only known video footage and sound-recording of Slender-billed Curlew! The recordings were made at Merja Zerga, Morocco. The video is by Andy Butler, January 1994. The call was recorded by Adam Gretton, January 1999 with subsequent edits, to remove background noise, by J P Gautier and J P Richard at the laboratoire d’Ethologie de Rennes, as publis[h]ed in Oiseax d’Afrique 1 by Claude Chappuis, and by Magnus Robb.

For comparison, footage and calls of Whimbrel and Eurasian Curlew follow. Does anyone have any footage of the orientalis or sushkini subspecies of Eurasian Curlew or the alboaxillaris subspecies of Whimbrel?

For more information about the race to find the Slender-billed Curlew visit www.slenderbilledcurlew.net.

The Slender-billed Curlew call can also be downloaded from this website and makes the ultimate mobile phone ringtone! The more people who become familiar with this call, the higher the likelihood that they will be alert to hearing such a call in the field. It is the distinctive Slender-billed Curlew call described as Eurasian curlew-like immediately followed by 6-7 very short notes “ti-ti-ti…” becoming progressively higher in pitch and reminiscent of certain larger raptors.

The Eurasian curlew-like part of the call is softer, sweeter, faster and higher in pitch, consisting of four identical cour-lee calls with 0.25 seconds pause in between, second syallable distinctly higher in pitch than first. The tittering part of the call is higher pitched than the distinctive ‘bi, bi, bi, bi, bi, bi, bi’ of the Whimbrel. It was given by a single Slender-billed Curlew flying into a feeding area with a small group of Eurasian Curlews (Gretton 1991). This call was not heard during the previous year and as this individual had been shot and wounded in early December 1989 it is possible that the call is atypical.’

With thanks to Paul Doherty of Bird Images DVD Guides www.birdvideodvd.com for making this possible.

From BirdLife:

18 Apr 2017

Chasing ghosts: how technology is helping track the bird that mysteriously disappeared

The Slender-billed Curlew hasn’t been seen since 1995, and could very well be extinct. But before we write it off for sure, we need to scour its vast, inhospitable breeding range for straggling populations. A groundbreaking new technique, which studies tiny atoms left in the feathers of long-dead specimens, is telling us where we should look first.

How do you look for a Critically Endangered species’ final few nesting sites, when you were never really sure where they bred in the first place?

That’s the magnitude of the task facing conservationists who are attempting to chase the tail feathers of the world’s final remaining Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris population. That is of course, if any such population even still exists at all.

In an attempt to narrow the search for this lost species, a new paper published by BirdLife’s journal, Bird Conservation International, involving staff from, or linked to, the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), has used data gleaned from tiny atoms, harvested from the feathers of deceased specimens, to pinpoint where in the vast Siberian wilderness we should begin our search.

How do you look for a possibly extinct species, when you didn’t even know where it bred when it was plentiful?

We didn’t always need to resort to such elaborate measures to catch a glimpse of this medium-sized wader. At the beginning of the 19th century, it was a somewhat common bird that wintered all across the Middle East, North Africa and central and eastern Europe.

But even in these bountiful times, the species’ breeding habits were poorly understood. We knew they retreated to remote Central Asia in spring, but not much more beyond that. To date, the only fully-documented Slender-billed Curlew nests are a handful that were discovered in the 1910s and 1920s, near the town of Tara in Omsk, Siberia.

Also poorly understood are the exact reasons for its rapid decline, although we can make a few educated guesses. Widespread hunting across its wintering grounds in the late 19th and early 20th Century had a noticable impact, and the extensive drainage of wetlands across the Mediterranean and North Africa only served to put further pressure on this migratory species. However, the threats the species faces across its breeding grounds, wherever they may be, are largely unknown.

Either way, eventually things got so dire that the Slender-billed Curlew stopped appearing at its wintering grounds altogether. The last fully-verified sighting was in Morocco in February 1995, and although there have since been claimed sightings in places as far apart as France and Ukraine, the species’ visual similarity to more common birds such as Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus means they are difficult to verify.

Great knot video


This video is about the Siberian bird species great knot.

Siberian accentor video


This is a Siberian accentor video. These North Asian birds are rare vagrants in Europe. Once, last year, one was spotted in the Netherlands.

Dusky thrush video


This is a dusky thrush video. Very rarely, these Siberian birds come to the Netherlands.

Ice library built in Siberia


This video says about itself:

5 February 2017

‘The Ice Library of Wonders’, which consists of 420 “books” on a 200 ton ice sculpture on the coast of Lake Baikal, in Baikalsk, Russia, was unveiled on Sunday.

The walls of the structure are formed from ice blocks, with etchings of more than 1,000 short phrases forming a labyrinth. People from all over the world submitted their dreams online to be carved into the ice, in various languages including English, Chinese, Korean, and Russian.

The library on Baikal is expected to stand until April, and then it’s going to melt.

3-year-old lost Siberian boy survives forest bears, wolves


Hurray! Little Tserin has been found alive! They discovered him earlier this morning after a search in the taiga some 3 kilometres from the village of Khut. Picture: Sholban Kara-ool

From The Siberian Times:

Miraculous survival of 3-year-old ‘Mowgli‘ boy lost in taiga for 72 hours

By The Siberian Times reporter

21 September 2016

Local hero Tserin Dopchut survived ALONE in temperatures nudging zero in forest alive with wolves, bears and dangerous rivers.

The young boy survived by eating his own supply of chocolate, and his good sense in finding a dry makeshift bed under a larch tree. His rescue was personally announced by the head of Tuva Republic, Sholban Kara-Ool, who blogged: ‘Hurray! Little Tserin has been found alive!

‘They discovered him earlier this morning after a search in the taiga some 3 kilometres from the village of Khut.’

A huge search had been launched for the boy who disappeared after playing with dogs near his family home in the forests of Piy-Khemsky district. He may have followed a young puppy into the woodland despite the watchful eye of his great-grandmother – who was in charge of him when he was lost.

More than 100 people including Russian Emergency Ministry‘s rescuers, police, volunteers, as well as close and distant family members joined the frantic hunt. A helicopter overflew a search area of some 120 square km.

Regional emergencies’ chief Ayas Saryglar said: ‘Of course, the situation was very dangerous. The River Mynas is fast and cold. If a small child fell in, it would be certain death.

‘There are wolves and bears in the forest. The bears are now fattening for the winter. They can attack anything that moves. In addition, it is warm during the day, but at night there are even frosts. If we consider that the kid disappeared during the day, he was not properly dressed – only a shirt and shoes, no coat.’

Regional head Sholban Kara-Ool explained: ‘He recognised his uncle’s voice calling his name, and called back. Once his uncle hugged him, the little boy asked if his toy car was okay. He said that he had some chocolate which he ate during the first day.

‘Then he found a dry place under a larch tree and slept there between the roots. The whole village is throwing a party to celebrate his survival. He was given the second name of Mowgli.

‘It is now predicted he will become a rescuer himself, because he showed incredible stamina for his age by surviving for so long alone in these cold woods.’

Searches had gone on day and night. His home village Khut has a population of around 400. There are 63 houses, and locals all joined together to hunt for the missing child.

Doctors say he has suffered no serious damage from his ordeal.

His father serves in the army, and most of his family were gathering in the last hay in the fields when he vanished.

Frozen cave lion cubs discovery in Siberia


This video says about itself:

Extinct cave lions, almost perfectly preserved, discovered in Siberia

27 October 2015

The bodies of two extinct cave lion cubs from at least 10,000 years ago have been recovered in Russia’s Sakha Republic, almost perfectly preserved in permafrost, The Siberian Times reports.

From the Siberian Times in Russia:

WORLD EXCLUSIVE – Meet this extinct cave lion, at least 10,000 years old

By Anastasia Koryakina

26 October 2015

‘Sensational’ find of two cubs, the best preserved ever seen in the world, announced today.

The unprecedented discovery of the ancient predator was made this summer in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia. The cave lions were almost perfectly preserved in permafrost and could be much older.

The Siberian Times is proud to be working with the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia which will introduce the cubs properly at a presentation to the Russian and international media in late November.

Along with the two lions, paleontologists will also show other Pleistocene animals preserved by ice in this vast region, the largest and coldest in the Russian Federation. Among these will be the famous woolly mammoth Yuka, the ‘Oimyakon‘ mammoth, the carcass of a Kolyma woolly rhinoceros, and Yukagir bison and horses.

The cave lions – Panthera spelaea (Goldfuss) – lived during Middle and Late Pleistocene times on the Eurasian continent, from the British Isles to Chukotka in the extreme east of Russia, and they also roamed Alaska and northwestern Canada. The extinct creatures were close relatives of modern Afro-Asiatic lions.

Finds of their remains are rare: today’s announcement about the existence of the pair is coupled with the confident claim that they are the best preserved ever unearthed in the world.

Full details will be given at the presentation in November, including the first results of research into the lions.

Previously, only fragments of carcasses, parts of skeletons and individual bones had been found. Until now, in Yakutia, only skulls, some teeth and bones were unearthed which has prevented scientists having more than an approximate image of the extinct creature.

Like other ancient animals, the cave lion became extinct: research on the two cubs could help to explain why they died out around 10,000 years ago, since the animal had few predators, was smaller than herbivores, and was not prone to getting bogged down in swamps, as did woolly mammoths and rhinos. One theory is a decline in deer and cave bears, their prey, caused their demise.

‘The find is sensational, no doubt,’ said a source close to the discovery. It is known the remains are free of dangerous infections such as anthrax following initial microbiological analysis, but no other significant details or pictures will be released before the presentation.

See also here. And here.