World War I Russian submarine discovery off Sweden


This 27 July 2015 video is called Footage Shows Foreign Submarine Found In Swedish Waters.

From AFP news agency:

Sweden says submarine wreck probably Tsarist-era Russian vessel

Submarine likely to be Som-class submarine, nicknamed Catfish, which sank after collision with Swedish vessel in 1916

Tuesday 28 July 2015 17.37 BST

The wreck of a submarine found off Sweden’s coast was probably a Tsarist-era Russian vessel that collided with a ship about a century ago, the country’s military has announced.

“We are most likely talking about the Russian Som-class submarine – nicknamed Catfish – which sank after a collision with a Swedish vessel in 1916 during the first world war and before the Russian Revolution,” the Swedish armed forces said.

Speculation had been swirling about the origins of the vessel after Swedish divers announced on Monday that a submarine had been found about 1.5 nautical miles off the coast of central Sweden.

The announcement came nine months after a high-profile hunt for a mystery submarine in Swedish waters, which some suspected was a modern Russian vessel.

The Swedish military said pictures of the wreck taken by the divers confirmed its own analysis and that it did not think a full technical analysis was necessary. Experts identified it as an imperial Russian navy sub that sank with an 18-member crew in May 1916 after a collision with a Swedish vessel.

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter said it was a submarine built for the imperial Russian navy in Vladivostok in 1904 and integrated into the naval fleet in the Baltic Sea in 1915.

“Judging by the pictures, it is the Som,” Konstanin Bogdanov, head of a state-backed team of wreck divers in Russia, told AFP, referring to what appears to be Cyrillic lettering on the submarine’s outer shell.

He said his team would be happy to study the find together with the Swedish divers. “We are ready to conduct a joint expedition,” he said, adding that if the wreck is confirmed as the Catfish it would be important to also “immortalise the memory” of those who perished.

Stefan Hogeborn, a diver with the Ocean X Team that made the discovery, said the mini-sub was completely intact with no visible damage to the hull and the hatches were closed. “It is unclear how old the submarine is and how long it has been laying at the sea floor, but the Cyrillic letters on the hull indicate that it is Russian,” he said in a statement on Monday.

In October, Sweden’s navy launched a massive hunt for a foreign submarine, suspected to be Russian, in the Stockholm archipelago. The military subsequently confirmed that “a mini-submarine” had violated its territorial waters, but was never able to establish the vessel’s nationality.

Last year’s hunt for the mystery vessel came at a time of particularly high tensions between Russia and the West over the conflict in Ukraine.

Great snipes’ great migration, study


This great snipe video was ‘Filmed on the night in Lapponia Sweden in June 2010′.

From Biology Letters:

Great flights by great snipes: long and fast non-stop migration over benign habitats

Raymond H. G. Klaassen, Thomas Alerstam, Peter Carlsson, James W. Fox, Åke Lindström

25 May 2011

Abstract

Migratory land birds perform extreme endurance flights when crossing ecological barriers, such as deserts, oceans and ice-caps. When travelling over benign areas, birds are expected to migrate by shorter flight steps, since carrying the heavy fuel loads needed for long non-stop flights comes at considerable cost. Here, we show that great snipes Gallinago media made long and fast non-stop flights (4300–6800 km in 48–96 h), not only over deserts and seas but also over wide areas of suitable habitats, which represents a previously unknown migration strategy among land birds.

Furthermore, the great snipes achieved very high ground speeds (15–27 m s−1), which was not an effect of strong tailwind support, and we know of no other animal that travels this rapidly over such a long distance. Our results demonstrate that some migratory birds are prepared to accept extreme costs of strenuous exercise and large fuel loads, even when stopover sites are available along the route and there is little tailwind assistance. A strategy of storing a lot of energy before departure, even if migration is over benign habitats, may be advantageous owing to differential conditions of fuel deposition, predation or infection risk along the migration route.

Good Irish little tern news


This is a little tern video from Sweden.

From the Kilcoole Little Tern Conservation Project in Ireland:

Friday, 22 May 2015

Egg-citing news for Kilcoole!

After a week of hopeful waiting and scanning the shingle with our telescopes, our patience was rewarded yesterday. Just before dark, we spotted a Little Tern sitting among the stones while all the other Terns had gone to roost. She was sitting on two eggs, so we are delighted to announce our first Little Tern nest for the 2015 season!

Last year’s Terns began laying on the 25th of May due to very bad weather the week before. This year, the first nest was laid on the 21st of May, four days earlier. However, even four days earlier, the Terns began nesting later than expected. Perhaps this is due to last week’s gale winds and heavy rain.

We have not come across a second nest since last night, but judging by the courting activity and the large number of Terns, we are expecting lots more! Our largest colony count this week was in and around 200 Terns. Hopefully many of these will choose to stay and nest in Kilcoole.

Susan and Paddy

Little terns on Texel, the Netherlands: here. On Vlieland, the Netherlands: here.

English coastal birds news


This is a knot video from Sweden.

Another video says about itself:

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) (Scolopacidae: Snipe, Godwits, Curlews etc.)

In Australia the Whimbrel is found in coastal locations during the warmer months of the year. Birds which migrate to Australia generally originate from eastern Siberia. Here filmed on the Cairns seafront in North Queensland. Can be found in Australia with the larger Eastern Curlew.

From Debby Saunders in Dorset, England, on Twitter today:

Ferrybridge on the outgoing tide 3 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 10 Sanderling, 5 Turnstone, Bar[-tailed God]wit, 80 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover.

Rare great snipe in Spain


This is a great snipe video from northern Sweden.

From the Llobregat delta, near Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain, there is a Twitter message today: in the Remolar marsh, a great snipe.

This is a rare bird species in western Europe.

Young red-backed shrikes, new research


This video is about a red-backed shrike (and a male and a female whinchat) in Sweden.

Translated from Stichting Bargerveen in the Netherlands:

Friday, April 24th, 2015

The migratory behavior of adult red-backed shrikes has already been researched quite well, but about young shrikes we still know very little. Last year, a select group of 20 young shrikes in good condition were equipped with a data logger that records the migration route. Do these inexperienced animals immediately take the same route [as adults] or should they still learn?

Saving Cuban crocodiles


This video says about itself:

Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer)

17 October 2011

Watch the Cuban Crocodile and learn how to recognize its unique characteristics. This video captures behaviors and identifies the size, shape and distinctive markings of the Cuban Crocodile. The Cuban Crocodile can be found in the wild and at a number of zoos around the world. Our Cuban Crocodile video is an ideal study guide for students, kids and children who want to learn more about wild animals.

From Phys.org:

April 19, 2015

Kids of Cold War crocs going to Cuba on conservation mission

Cuba’s efforts to sustain the critically endangered Cuban crocodile are getting a boost from Sweden, home to a pair of reptiles that Fidel Castro gave to a Soviet cosmonaut four decades ago.

A Stockholm zoo on Sunday is sending 10 of the couple’s children to Cuba, where they will be placed in quarantine and eventually released into the Zapata Swamp, said Jonas Wahlstrom, the zookeeper who raised them.

“It’s the dream of any zoo director to be part of releasing animals into the wild,” said Wahlstrom, 62, clutching one of the stout-legged youngsters outside its enclosure at the Skansen aquarium and zoo in Stockholm. The 10 crocodiles each are about 1 ½ years old and a meter (yard) long.

The Cuban crocodile, once found across the Caribbean, is restricted today to two swamps in Cuba, where it is threatened by interbreeding with American crocodiles, habitat loss and illegal hunting.

Wahlstrom said he received his original couple during a 1981 trip to Moscow. They had ended up in the Soviet capital after Castro gave them to cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov in the 1970s as a token of friendship between the communist nations.

“He (Shatalov) brought them back to Moscow and he had them in his flat until his wife said: ‘No more!’ And then he had to give them to the zoo in Moscow,” Wahlstrom told The Associated Press.

But the zoo officials didn’t have a good space for the aquatic reptiles so they asked Wahlstrom if he could take them to Sweden.

“I had them as my hand luggage back from Moscow,” Wahlstrom said.

Zoo officials in Moscow confirmed the background of the crocodiles and their handover to Wahlstrom.

Later named Hillary and Castro—in a nod to international politics—the two crocodiles have become a star attraction at Wahlstrom’s zoo, where they have been breeding since 1984.

Wahlstrom said he’s sent hatchlings to zoos worldwide, but this is the first time he’s given any to Cuba for introduction into the wild.

Cuba’s representative to Sweden welcomed the move.

“We need this type of crocodiles,” Cuban Ambassador Francisco Florentino said as he inspected the animals before their departure Sunday.

With only about 4,000 animals remaining in the wild, the Cuban crocodile, or Crocodylus rhombifer, is red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The population is restricted to Cuba’s Zapata Swamp and the Isle of Youth.

This would be the first time that Cuban crocodiles raised abroad are introduced into the wild in Cuba, according to Natalia Rossi of the Wildlife Conservation Society. She’s been involved in other efforts to protect crocodiles in the Caribbean island nation but not the Swedish project.

However, the crocodiles first would be genetically screened to ensure that they come from a pure breed, Rossi said.

The Cuban crocodile can be distinguished from its American cousin by the way it walks and its characteristic bony ridge behind the eyes. But you cannot distinguish hybrid crocodiles from pure-bred Cuban crocodiles by their appearance, Rossi said.

Wahlstrom said he was sure his crocodiles were pure Cubans and expected them to adapt quickly to the real world.

“A crocodile is always ready for the wild,” Wahlstrom said. “They are always aggressive.”

As if to emphasize his point, the baby croc he was holding briefly writhed out of his grip and snapped at an AP journalist’s jacket.