Songbird migration in Texas, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Migratory Connectivity Project: Songbirds Return

19 June 2015

Did you know the coast of Texas is the most important spot for migratory birds in the U.S. and Canada? Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center staff journey to this small island annually to study songbirds returning from their tropical wintering grounds and share this experience with local schoolchildren. Understanding these species and teaching the next generation about them is critical to their survival.

Texas barn owlets, fledging soon?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Texas Barn Owls Flap Around on the Porch and Pounce on Prey. June 23, 2015

In this clip we see the oldest owlet head out on to the porch, the second oldest attempts to branch for the first time, but doesn’t quite make it. When the oldest owlet returns a session of pouncing, flapping and prey stealing commences.

It is not unusual for owlets to play by pouncing repeatedly on inanimate objects, or in this case dead prey.

Watch the Barn Owls live here.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology about this:

Oldest Owlet Branches!

The oldest nestling in the Barn Owl box made its first foray outside the opening early in the morning on June 20, about 52 days after hatching. While its siblings looked on seemingly in amazement, the oldest owlet flapped and pranced before returning to the box for the day, and has explored the ledge several times since (watch video).

No other owlets have ventured out yet, but they’re getting braver every day. Even after fledging, the owlets will likely continue to be around the nest box for a few weeks, and will continue to be fed by their parents for another 3-5 weeks. Tune in as the young owls stretch their wings and begin their next adventure!

Millions of painted ladies expected in Britain


This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Transformation of a Painted Lady Butterfly – The Butterly Life Cycle

29 July 2013

Watch the amazing transformation of caterpillar larvae to butterfly, as captured and documented by Scot Brinkley in affiliation with the EmilyAnn Theatre & Garden’s Butterfly Day – 2013.

From Wildlife Extra:

Large number of Painted Lady expected in UK

The UK is braced for a once in a decade occasion as an influx of Painted Ladies are expected to arrive in the UK at any moment after unusually high numbers of the orange and black butterflies have been amassing in southern Europe.

The butterfly is a common immigrant that migrates in varying numbers from the continent to the UK each summer, where its caterpillars feed on thistles. But around once every 10 years the UK experiences a Painted Lady ‘summer’ when millions of the butterflies arrive en masse.

The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK with the butterflies spreading into the most northerly parts of Scotland. Since then the UK has experienced five years with below average numbers but scientists are hopeful that 2015 could be very different.

Painted Ladies are experiencing their best year on the continent since 2009. The offspring of these butterflies could be UK bound imminently. Butterfly Conservation reported that some butterflies arrived during mid-May, but a spell of poor weather temporarily halted the immigration.

Recent warm sunny conditions have seen Painted Lady numbers soar once again with reports of large numbers of the butterflies seen at south coast sites – suggesting a large scale immigration may once again be about to take place.

Butterfly Conservation is asking for the public to record sightings of the butterfly to help chart the progress of any potential immigration during the summer.

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation Head of Recording explained: “The Painted Lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world. Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour these small fragile-seeming creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year, even though none of the individual butterflies has ever made the trip before.”

The Painted Lady undertakes a phenomenal 9,000 mile round trip from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle each year – almost double the length of the famous migrations of the Monarch butterfly in North America.

Research using citizen science sightings from the 2009 migration revealed that the whole journey is not undertaken by individual butterflies but in a series of steps by up to six successive generations.

Radar studies revealed that after successfully breeding in the UK in 2009 more than 26 million Painted Ladies returned south in the autumn, many flying high in the sky out of the sight of human observers.

Painted Lady sightings can be recorded via Butterfly Conservation’s Migrant Watch scheme.

This video from England is called Painted Lady butterflies filmed at Butterfly Conservation’s Head Office in Lulworth, Dorset.

Texas police violence against teenagers for swimming


This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

COPS CRASH POOL PARTY(ORIGINAL)

6 June 2015

A fight between a mom and a girl broke out and when the cops showed up everyone ran, including the people who didn’t do anything. So the cops just started putting everyone on the ground and in handcuffs for no reason. This kind of force is uncalled for especially on children and innocent bystanders.

-EDIT- : To some people saying that the cop pulled out his taser on the kid, it was not a taser, it was a gun.

From Kim Bellware in the USA:

Cop Suspended After Video Emerges Of Brutal Arrests At Teen Pool Party

06/07/2015 5:59 pm EDT

A Texas police officer has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation after video surfaced showing one cop pulling a gun on a crowd of teens at a pool party while others handcuffed teenage partygoers.

Police on Friday evening were called to the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, roughly 40 miles north of Dallas. McKinney police said in a statement they were responding to a disturbance “involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave,” and that some of them were fighting.

A roughly 7-minute clip of the incident was published on YouTube Saturday and shows officers running after teens, with one aggressively handcuffing a black male teen while pinning a black girl to the ground by her head as she cried for her mother.

Texas police violence

The officer was identified as patrol supervisor Cpl. Eric Casebolt.

“There was a fight, the cops showed up and started putting people on the ground for no reason,” Brandon Brooks, who shot the YouTube video, told The Huffington Post in a message.

A group of teens were at the pool for an end-of-school party, Miles Jai Thomas, one of the teens who attended, told HuffPost. Then a security guard showed up and put out all the black teenagers, Thomas said.

“He started making up rules to keep us out,” he said.

Before officers arrived on the scene, a white woman had started making racist comments, telling black partygoers to get used to the bars outside the pool because that’s all they were going to see. When one of the white teens at the party talked back to the adult, the woman began cursing and yelling at her as well, Thomas said.

Teens at the pool party told BuzzFeed News the police were called after a fight broke out. Some adults made racist comments and told the teens to return to “Section 8 [public] housing,” BuzzFeed reported.

“I think a bunch of white parents were angry that a bunch of black kids who don’t live in the neighborhood were in the pool,” Brooks said.

In the video, some partygoers are seen sitting in the grass and pleading “sir, we just came here for a birthday party, please.” Another officer is heard thanking a group of teens for returning a flashlight the officer dropped.

On Sunday, the department issued a statement saying the video “raised concerns” and that an officer has been suspended.

The police department held a press conference Sunday afternoon to announce the investigation. Some residents attended the event to speak out against what they say is inequality in their town.

“Why the police who yelled at the kids to go home — how did they know those kids didn’t live there?” asked Lashadion Anthony, a barber and realtor in McKinney who attended with his son, a toddler.

“We live here, we pay taxes, we’re law-abiding citizens. Why should be treated differently than anyone else?” he said.

“They didn’t stop any of the people who aren’t of African-American descent,” Anthony added, saying that police “have to be able to handle people in a better manner than this.”

“We’re just asking for justice,” he said, noting that when his son is older, he should be able to visit public pools without fear of prejudice.

Neither the McKinney Police Department nor management at the Craig Ranch Community Association responded to requests for comment.

This post has been updated to reflect the police press conference and comments from McKinney residents and identify the suspended officer.

Teen Speaks Out About What Happened When Cops Broke Up A Texas Pool Party: here.

MCKINNEY POLICE OFFICER RESIGNS AFTER POOL PARTY INCIDENT Greg Conley, the police chief of the McKinney police force, announced Eric Casebolt’s resignation following the officer’s drawing of a gun on teenagers at a pool party. “Conley strongly condemned Casebolt’s actions during the incident and said that the officer, who had been with the department since 2005, was ‘out of control.'” [Sam Levine, HuffPost]

911 caller in Texas pool party incident was convicted of torturing animals. Sean Toon, who called police to complain about group of black teenagers trying to enter a party on Friday, was jailed for violent behaviour and animal torture: here.

On Friday, June 5, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and their ostensible watchdog, the LAPD’s Inspector General, have both determined that the two cops who shot and killed Ezell Ford, an unarmed, mentally ill black youth, last August were justified: here.

Michael Slager, Cop Who Fatally Shot Walter Scott In South Carolina, Indicted For Murder: here.

Gigantic shark from the dinosaur age discovered


This 2011 video says about itself:

Effects of Climate Change on Cretaceous Sharks

From PLOS ONE:

A Gigantic Shark from the Lower Cretaceous Duck Creek Formation of Texas

Joseph A. Frederickson, Scott N. Schaefer, Janessa A. Doucette-Frederickson

Published: June 3, 2015

Abstract

Three large lamniform shark vertebrae are described from the Lower Cretaceous of Texas. We interpret these fossils as belonging to a single individual with a calculated total body length of 6.3 m. This large individual compares favorably to another shark specimen from the roughly contemporaneous Kiowa Shale of Kansas.

Neither specimen was recovered with associated teeth, making confident identification of the species impossible. However, both formations share a similar shark fauna, with Leptostyrax macrorhiza being the largest of the common lamniform sharks. Regardless of its actual identification, this new specimen provides further evidence that large-bodied lamniform sharks had evolved prior to the Late Cretaceous.

Stop sexism at universities


This video from the USA says about itself:

Sexism is Alive and Well at the University of Texas!

4 June 2014

The UT Austin Nursing School has a new dress code, and it sucks. Not cool, Longhorns.

From the Athena’s Angels site at Leiden university in the Netherlands:

4 women in academia

Many people assume that men and women have equal opportunities to be successful in an academic career. Yet women continue to be approached and treated differently than men, in ways that impact on their scientific career prospects. This website is designed to elucidate the specific challenges women have to overcome to realize their scientific ambitions, and where possible eliminate these.

Four female full professors have united under the name Athena’s Angels, to defend the interests of women academics. The mission of Athena’s Angels is to offer men and women truly equal opportunities to advance in their scientific career. What is needed to achieve this?

Know the facts   –   Report maltreatment   –   Ask for advice   –   Recognize sexism   –   Join forces 

Pallas Athena

The Greek goddess Pallas Athena is the feisty goddess of wisdom. The owl is her symbol. It is true: she was born, fully armed, from the head of her father Zeus, and can be pretty male-identified at times. The first women in academia did sometimes show this trait. But we are happy to carry out our missions under Athena’s aegis.

Barn owl defends her young against snake


This video from the USA says about itself:

Barn Owl Attacks Snake Entering Nest Box. May 6, 2015

Watch this incredible footage of Dottie the female Texas Barn Owl defending her young against a Texas Rat Snake that attempted to enter the nest box.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA about this:

Earlier this month, we witnessed a reminder that the Texas Barn Owls aren’t the only ones hunting for food during the night. Despite extensive predator guards installed around the owls’ box, a Texas rat snake gained access to the rafters. Our cameras captured the ensuing showdown as the snake approached the nest box entrance. Despite the midnight darkness, Dottie (the female owl) evicted the snake from the box, then, moments later, gathered her nestlings back to safety beneath her. Watch video [above].

It’s not just other predators that make raising a family of Barn Owls tough. The breeding ecology of Barn Owls can be boom-or-bust. They can be prolific breeders, often laying six or more eggs during a single breeding attempt, but if there’s not enough prey to support all of the nestlings, many can perish. One 16-year study in Utah found that, on average, only 63 percent of eggs hatched and 87 percent of hatchlings survived to fledging. This year, only 5 of 6 eggs hatched in the Texas Barn Owl nest and the youngest owlet (hatched nearly 11 days after the oldest) did not survive. The four remaining owlets appear healthy and well, and we are hopeful that they will survive to fledge. Watch cam.