Sea eagles back on Orkney islands after 142 years

This February 2013 video from Sweden is called White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).

From Raptor Politics in Britain:

White-tailed eagles nest in Orkney after 142-year absence

A pair of sea eagles are currently nesting on RSPB Scotland’s Hoy nature reserve. It is the first time these birds have attempted to breed in Orkney since 1873. The news suggests Orkney may become the next stop on the sea eagles’ celebrated recolonisation of Scotland. Alan Leitch, RSPB Scotland’s Sites Manager in Orkney, said, “This is a great moment for Hoy and Orkney. Sea eagles are utterly magnificent birds, with a wing span of up to 2.4 m or 8 feet. To see them over the hills of Hoy is a forceful reminder of the sheer beauty of nature.” “Too often with wildlife, once it’s gone it’s gone. It is a privilege to welcome these birds back to a landscape they inhabited for thousands of years.”

Sea eagles have a long history in Orkney. The Bronze Age burial tomb at Isbister, South Ronaldsay (the ‘Tomb of the Eagles’) famously contains their bones, while a Pictish symbol stone found at the Knowe of Burrian, Harray, features a beautifully carved bird.

Sea eagles became extinct across the UK in the early 19th century due to combination of widespread habitat loss and human persecution, with the last bird shot in Shetland in 1918.

Following successful reintroductions since the 1970s on Rum, Wester Ross and more recently in Fife, sea eagles are now reclaiming their former ranges. Success for the pair in Hoy, which have returned to Orkney of their own accord, would represent a significant expansion in breeding range for the birds in Scotland.

The nearest sea eagle territories to Orkney are in the north-west of Scotland, although the origins of the pair currently nesting in Hoy are not yet known. Either or both birds could have hatched in the wild in Scotland, or even in Scandinavia.

Alan Leitch continued, “As Hoy’s first breeding sea eagles in nearly 150 years, we expect this young pair will attract a lot of attention over the next few weeks or months.

“The birds are nesting on the Dwarfie Hamars. To give them the best chance of success, anyone keen to see the birds should keep their distance and ideally keep dogs under close control in the vicinity. The roadside car park for the Dwarfie Stone is a good place to watch from but lingering too long at the Dwarfie Stone itself could alarm the birds.”

“Nesting sea eagles are specially protected by law, so if you see any signs of disturbance please pass your concerns onto the police straightaway.”

The sea eagle is a globally threatened species: there are only around 10,000 pairs in the world, a third of which live in Norway. The re-introduction of sea eagles to their former haunts aims to expand their range and help ensure their survival.

Also known as white-tailed eagles, they are the UK’s largest bird of prey. The birds take around five years to mature enough to breed, but can live into their 30s, generally forming long-term and monogamous bonds with their mates.

The pair currently nesting in Hoy have frequented the area for the last three springs and summers. Both are young birds, thought to be four to five years old, and this is their first known nesting attempt. Although they are inexperienced parents and may not be successful in raising chicks this summer, RSPB Scotland staff are optimistic that the birds will persevere over the coming years to make Hoy their home.

The local RSPB Scotland team are happy to answer questions about the sea eagles, and can be contacted on 01856 850176 or at (office closed Monday 6 April).

April 17th, 2015

King eider duck in Cornwall

This is a video about a king eider duck among common eider ducks in Sweden.


Sunday 8th March 2015 Cornwall Bird Sightings

Falmouth – KING EIDER (1[st] w[inter] dr[a]k[e]) still at*Maenporth from coast path south of beach at 0815hrs

Rare sea slug, crustacean discoveries in the Netherlands

This video says about itself:

Nudibranch (Archidoris pseudoargus) laying eggs

20 April 2014

Scuba diving outside Kullaberg, southern Sweden. At the wreck Franz we found several nudibranchs mating and some were laying eggs.

Translated from the Dutch marine biologists of Stichting ANEMOON:

On February 7, 2015 the rare sea slug Archidoris pseudoargus was seen in the northwestern Oosterschelde estuary. In the past 30 years, this slug had been found in the waters of Zeeland province only five times previously. What makes the observation even more special is that for the first time in the Netherlands also Doridicola agilis, a parasitic copepod, was found in the gills of a Archidoris pseudoargus slug.

White-tailed eagles nesting again

This video from Sweden is called White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).

Dutch conservationists Natuurmonumenten report today that a white-tailed eagle couple has built a nest on the Vogeleiland (Bird island) in the Zwarte Meer lake.

In 2010, white-tailed eagles tried to nest there as well, but a storm destroyed the nest.

The young female of the present couple has a ring, showing she was born at the eyrie in Oostvaardersplassen national park. The male is older; it is not known where he was born.

USA: 10 Places to See Bald Eagles this Winter: here

Islamophobic violence in the Netherlands

This video says about itself:

1 January 2015

A mosque was the target of a Molotov cocktail and graffiti attack in Uppsala on Thursday, in what is the third assault on a Muslim place of worship in Sweden in one week.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Hotline registers increasing violence against Muslims

Today, 17:46

The Islamophobia hotline registered in three days thirty reports of Muslims being attacked, threatened or insulted. The number is rising rapidly. The hotline has three days ago opened a Facebook page for Muslims to provide an outlet and to record what is happening.

Most reports are about insults and intimidation. Beer is said to have been thrown at a woman with a headscarf. The owner of an Islamic clothing store in The Hague says that she received death threats.


The hotline calls on people to report all these cases to the police. Muslims are generally reluctant in that.

Actor Ahmed Akkabi twitters that his sister has been threatened with death and then was stalked. “I’m furious,” he writes. She works in an Islamic clothing shop in The Hague.

The hotline calls on the police to register reports of Islamophobia separately. That does not happen now. The National Police has therefore no idea about numbers. Although the police are planning to start soon with the registration of such incidents and declarations.

Actress Anita Ekberg, RIP

This video shows a scene from the film La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini, with Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni at the Trevi fountain in Rome.

From the BBC:

11 January 2015 Last updated at 12:57 GMT

La Dolce Vita star Anita Ekberg dies

Anita Ekberg, star of La Dolce Vita, has died aged 83.

A former Miss Sweden, she was branded a “sex goddess” for her performance in Federico Fellini’s 1960 movie.

The moment where she wades through Rome’s Trevi Fountain in a strapless dress is considered one of cinema’s most iconic scenes.

Ekberg died in Rome on Sunday morning, her lawyer confirmed. She had been in hospital since Christmas following a series of illnesses.

The actress had been in a wheelchair for several years after being knocked down by one of her pet Great Danes, breaking a hip.

Born in Malmo, Sweden, in 1931, Ekberg was the sixth of eight children.

She said her father, a harbour master and a strict Protestant, was “the apple of my eye”, although she later fell out with all but one of her siblings.

After winning the Miss Sweden title at the age of 20, she travelled to America where she took part in the Miss Universe contest.

Although she didn’t win and spoke very little English, she was immediately signed to a contract by Universal Pictures.

The studio sent her to work in Italy, where she played Henry Fonda’s unfaithful wife in King Vidor‘s War and Peace (1956).

It was in Rome that she met director Frederico Fellini, who cast her in La Dolce Vita as Sylvia Rank – “the most wonderful woman created since the beginning of time” – an actress pursued by news photographers.

The famous scene in the Trevi Fountain saw Ekberg and her co-star Marcello Mastroianni wading through the chilled waters in sensual abandon.

The sight of the water caressing her impossibly voluptuous body was shocking for audiences in the 1950s.

The Vatican condemned it, but the famously sharp-tongued actress was unrepentant.

“I’m very proud of my breasts, as every woman should be,” she once said.

“It’s not cellular obesity, it’s womanliness.”

The fountain scene was shot on a chilly March morning in central Rome.

“I was freezing,” said Ekberg. “They had to lift me out of the water because I couldn’t feel my legs anymore.”

Her co-star, Marcello Mastroianni, found the scene even more difficult, despite the luxury of a wetsuit under his clothes. He needed his acting resolve stiffened by an entire bottle of vodka, Fellini claimed. More than once, he fell over drunk in the freezing water.

“I have seen that scene a few times. Maybe too many times,” Ekberg told Swedish radio in 2005.

“I can’t stand watching it anymore, but it was beautiful at the time.”

Considering that La Dolce Vita gave rise to the term paparazzo, it was ironic that the movie resulted in Ekberg being hounded by the press herself. …

Her lawyer Patrizia Ubaldi said that, in her last days. Ekberg was saddened by her illnesses and her advancing age.

“She had hoped to get better, something that didn’t happen,” she said.

But in an earlier interview, Ekberg had said she was not afraid of death.

“I don’t know if paradise or hell exist,” she told Sweden’s Aftonbladet, “but I’m sure hell is more groovy.”

See also here.

Water rail in Sweden, video

This video says about itself:

5 January 2015

A Water Rail filmed at close range at Råstasjön, Sweden. Filmed handheld with a Panasonic Lumix GH4, coupled with a Panasonic 45-175mm lens.