Chalkhill blue butterflies in Britain, video

This video from Surrey Hills nature reserve in England says about itself:

17 February 2016

Male Chalkhill Blue butterflies look beautiful but have some unusual feeding habits.

English birds news update

This is a black-necked grebe video from the Czech republic.

From Staines reservoir in Surrey, England, on Twitter today:

Whimbrel 1, Sanderling 1, Dunlin 1, Redshank 1, Ringed Plover 15, L[ittle] R[inged] P[lover] 2, Black-necked Grebe 1

English birds today

This video says about itself:

Red Kites in Slow Motion – The Slow Mo Guys

In this video, Gav gives us a look at a group of the birds of prey known as Red Kites as they swoop for bacon scraps outside a cafe.

This was shot at 2500fps (100 times slower than real-time).

Robert John Martin, from Surrey in England, reports on Twitter today:

Staines Moor 14:00 – 16:30 Red Kite 2; Little Egret 2; Hobby 2; Common Buzzard 1; Common Tern 3.

Death of bullied British soldier, new inquest

Private Cheryl James was found dead from a single gunshot wound in November 1995. Photograph: PA

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Deepcut barracks: fresh inquest ordered into soldier’s death

High court quashes 1995 open verdict into death of Private Cheryl James, one of four soldiers who died amid bullying claims

Friday 18 July 2014 11.09 BST

High court judges have ordered a fresh inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James, who died at Deepcut barracks.

Her family applied for a fresh investigation with the consent of the attorney general.

Pte James, 18, was found dead from a single gunshot wound in November 1995. An inquest recorded an open verdict.

She was one of four soldiers who died at the Surrey barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse.

Privates Sean Benton, James Collinson and Geoff Gray also died from gunshot wounds.

Mr Justice Mitting and Judge Peter Thornton QC both agreed that there was “an insufficiency of inquiry” at the 1995 inquest and quashed its open verdict.

Judge Thornton said “the discovery of new facts or evidence” made “a fresh investigation including a fresh inquest necessary or desirable in the interests of justice”.

Pte James was undergoing initial training at Deepcut when she was found dead with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose.

Her parents, Des and Doreen James, applied through human rights campaign group Liberty for a new inquest after the Human Rights Act was used to secure access to documents held by the authorities about the teenager’s death.

Mr and Mrs James said they were delighted to have a fresh inquest but added that “a meaningful inquiry into Cheryl’s death is almost 20 years late”.

They said in a statement: “When young people die in violent circumstances, a rigorous and transparent investigation should be automatic. Something went dreadfully wrong at Deepcut yet until now no one has bothered to look at how and why our daughter died.

“We can only hope that Cheryl’s legacy helps change the current ineffective and discredited military justice system.”

Liberty solicitor Emma Norton, who represented the couple, said: “Cheryl’s family refused to let her death be swept under the carpet but they’ve had to fight at every stage for answers in the face of a state that thought it could ignore the basic human rights of its troops.

“Cheryl was preparing for a life of service and deserved so much better – her family can now hope to finally get some answers.”

See also here.

A 20-year-old Muslim Marine recruit, Raheel Siddiqui, jumped three stories to his death on March 18, 2016 after suffering repeated abuse by officers at the Parris Island base in South Carolina. Siddiqui’s death is one of dozens of cases of officer abuse that have emerged at Parris Island alone. Across the country, officers of the various branches of the US armed forces systematically abuse young recruits, the overwhelming majority of whom, like Siddiqui, come from working-class families: here.

Endangered animals helped by woman with incurable disease

Lisa Milella

From the Daily Mirror in Britain:

Vet told she is going to die draws up bucket list to save endangered animals

June 15, 2014 13:45

By Sarah Arnold

Vet Lisa Milella launched a mission to help some of the world’s most endangered animals after being told she has motor neurone disease

When vet Lisa Milella was told she would soon die that triggered an amazing mission to help save some of the world’s most endangered animals.

Selfless Lisa, 40, was stunned when she was diagnosed with incurable motor neurone disease in August 2013, the Sunday People reports.

But instead of wallowing in self-pity, she created a brave bucket list to help bears, orangutans, leopards and tigers all over the globe.

Lisa, one of the world’s few specialist animal dental surgeons, feared something was wrong when she could not work one of her machines and her legs nearly turned to jelly for no reason.

In August she received the devastating news and was told the average life expectancy for motor neurone sufferers is just two to five years.

She said: “Being told I was terminally ill felt like someone sucked all of the air out of me.

“That first night I lay wide awake in bed, numb, wondering what the future held. I started crying when I wondered what would happen to my three pets: a one-eyed, three-legged Siamese cat I rescued called Clive, Hugo an Abyssinian cat and a little rescue mongrel called Emily.”

The day after her diagnosis, Lisa closed her successful veterinary practice in Byfleet, Surrey, and her ambitious bucket list was born.

She said: “This really was now or never. I’ve never wasted any time in my life and I wasn’t about start.”

Lisa’s ticked off the first wish on her list in December by sledging with huskies in Norway with the added bonus that she saw the northern lights.

In January she fulfilled her second ambition by flying to Borneo with her practice nurse to oversee the life-saving surgery of overweight, diabetic Pingky, an orangutan raised in chains and fed on sweets and fizzy drinks.

It took ten men to carry Pingky to the operating table.

Lisa said: “As soon as we opened her mouth immediately there was a stench and 12 of her teeth were terribly decayed – just like a human who’d eaten too many sweets and didn’t brush their teeth.

“We had go to her in the nick of time.”

Six of Pingky’s teeth had to be extracted and the rest were filled in a five hour procedure. Lisa could not physically pull the teeth but instructed the team. “As she was carried out, I looked out of the window and saw the jungle and I realised what life is all about.

Three days after saving Pingky, she revisited International Animal Rescue in Java which rescues slow loris from the black market pet trade – number three on her list.

Lisa said; “I chose 20 most desperate cases so they could be released back into the wild. During the back-to-back operations over five days I trained a team of vets and nurses, so they could continue the work.”

Fourth on Lisa’s list was her 40th birthday party in February surrounded by all the friends she’d made through her love of animals.

A month ago Lisa flew out to Machu Picchu in Peru, number five, to see llamas and alpacas on the Inca trail and visit the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. “When I reached the temples my overwhelming thought was ‘this is amazing, why didn’t I do it when I was fit and well?’”

From there Lisa ticked off number six by the Galapagos Islands to marvel at the dazzling array of wildlife. She said: “It was a magical place. The seals even opened their mouths wide for me as if they wanted me to check their teeth!”

Animal lover Lisa had wanted to be a vet since she was five and when she completed her training, in 2005, Paul Cassar, of International Animal Rescue, phoned her.

He wanted advice on how to repair dancing bears’ teeth, smashed by their previous owners.

Lisa went to Agra in India to help. Her first patient, a 180kg bear called Anthony, had to be revived with CPR after a gruelling four hour operation to remove an agonising mouth tumour.

She and Paul operated on more than 100 former dancing bears. Last week she returned there to help Paul for the last time, seven on her list. Lisa was unable to perform surgery but taught a team to work with Paul in the years to come.

In India she also fulfilled numbers eight and nine on her list – to operate on a wild rescued leopard and a tiger who both suffered from toothache.

Lisa said: “Operations like this are more tense as one swipe could break your neck. You are constantly vigilant for signs he might stir, like the blink of an eye or a twitch.”

Now Lisa hopes to be able to fulfil number 10 on her bucket list – to persuade 100 strangers to raise £100 each for International Animal Rescue.

Silver-studded blue butterfly recovers after nature reserve fire

From British daily The Independent:

Against all odds, rare butterfly rises from ashes of burnt nature reserve

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Monday, 14 July 2008

One of Britain’s most precious nature reserves has made a remarkable comeback from a fire which devastated it two years ago today.

Thursley Common, near Godalming in Surrey, was thought to have lost much of its specialised heathland wildlife in the blaze which swept across its 400 acres, home to scarce birds such as Dartford warblers, nightjars and woodlarks, and a stronghold of the very rare silver-studded blue butterfly.

But the iconic silver-studded blue is again thriving at Thursley, the site’s owners, Natural England, have found, and the reserve, one of the best remaining examples of lowland heath, is recovering strongly.

In 2006, nearly 120 firefighters battled to save the common after it went up in tinder-dry conditions – arson was suspected – and at the time it was feared the fire could lead to irreversible wildlife losses. But monitoring results show that the efforts of firefighters, conservationists and local volunteers were not in vain. Simon Nobes of Natural England, the senior reserve manager for Thursley, worked with firefighters to save the silver-studded blue colonies, which have become confined to just a handful of sites in England and Wales. “On our survey last week we found 126 butterflies at one location, an increase of more than 100 since after the fire,” he said.

See also here.

It is to be hoped for the butterflies and other wildlife at Thursley Common that, if there should be a fire there again, it will be fought by firefighting professionals; not by privatized mercenaries, as the British government seems to prefer.

£88,000 project to boost Wood White butterfly in Herefordshire: here.

Dunsdon National Nature Reserve expansion a boost for butterflies: here.

Purple emperor butterfly: here. And here.

April 2009. UK Butterfly numbers have fallen to a new low, according to data from the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme: here.

British dinosaur ate fish

This video from Britain is called Baryonyx: the discovery of an amazing fish-eating dinosaur | Natural History Museum.

From the BBC:

British dino’s ‘crocodile skull’

By Anna-Marie Lever
Science and nature reporter, BBC News

Engineering techniques have shown an unusual British dinosaur Baryonyx walkeri fed on fish, despite it looking like a meat-eater.

The dino’s skull bent and stretched in the same way as the skull of today’s fish-eating crocodiles, even though it had clear differences in structure.

The early Cretaceous dinosaur was found in Surrey and lived at a time when the area was warmer and had lagoons.

The research is published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

“While Baryonyx and fish-eating crocodiles have similar elongate jaws, conical teeth and a ‘nose’ with a bulbous tip of teeth, there are differences in their structure,” lead author Dr Emily Rayfield, from the University of Bristol, UK, told the BBC News website.

She explained: “Baryonyx has a narrow, domed skull, whilst crocodiles have a flat or tubular snout.”

However, through a combination of techniques, Dr Rayfield and her colleagues have shown that, “both skulls functioned the same way”.

See also here. And here.

Enhanced by Zemanta