Great spotted cuckoo in Wales

This is a great spotted cuckoo video. They are south European birds; rare on the British isles.

From Pembrokeshire Birds in Wales:

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Great Spotted Cuckoo – update


GS Cuckoo showing well on Golf Course near Penally Station, working it’s way back west.
(Mark Hipkin et al)

Posted by Richard Dobbins

Avian brood parasites lay eggs in the nests of other birds, which raise the unrelated chicks and typically suffer partial or complete loss of their own brood. However, carrion crows Corvus corone corone can benefit from parasitism by the great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius. Parasitized nests have lower rates of predation-induced failure due to production of a repellent secretion by cuckoo chicks, but among nests that are successful, those with cuckoo chicks fledge fewer crows. The outcome of these counterbalancing effects fluctuates between parasitism and mutualism each season, depending on the intensity of predation pressure: here.

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Gannet camera video

This video says about itself:

Fly with a gannet

This footage was obtained from a GPS/video tag attached to a Grassholm island gannet as part of a seabird monitoring project being undertaken jointly by the RSPB and University of Exeter.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Gannet cam’ video: Researchers capture stunning footage of UK’s largest seabird

Cameras show bird passing ship, dramatic sea dive, skimming over waves and landing in colony

John Hall

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Miniature cameras attached to the bodies of the UK’s largest seabird have captured stunning footage of them flying high above the Welsh coast.

Researchers working at Pembrokeshire‘s RSPB Grassholm nature reserve attached the cameras to a number of nesting gannets, with the results showing a bird flying high above the coastline while ships pass below. The footage also shows the bird landing in the bustling colony, skimming low over the water and spectacularly plunging into the sea at speed during a feeding dive.

The film was taken by a team led by Steve Votier, from the University of Exeter, and Mark Bolton from the RSPB.

Dr Votier has been carrying out research on the gannets on the tiny island of Grassholm off the Pembrokeshire coast for the last eight years.

The island, just nine hectares in size, is home to the fourth largest northern gannet colony in the world – with just under 40,000 pairs breeding there.

Dr Votier said the footage was obtained using a state-of-the-art miniature camera developed by the RSPB conservation science team.

“Seabirds spend most of their time at sea away from their nesting sites, making them difficult to study,” he said.

“This camera really helps shed light on their behaviour away from the colony. For example, it allows us to more accurately investigate their reliance on discards from trawlers and how they interact with other birds while far from land.”

Dr Bolton, principal conservation scientist at the RSPB, helped develop the devices.

He said: “The lightweight camera works alongside a GPS unit that allows us to accurately track birds’ flight patterns and measure how long they are flying, feeding or resting.

“This information can answer both scientific and conservation questions and could contribute to the designation of marine conservation zones in Wales.”

This technique has already shed new light on ways that gannets make use of waste from fishing boats.

It was found that male gannets tended to feed more at trawlers than females and this difference may have conservation implications when a ban on discarding is implemented under reforms to the EU common fisheries policy.

Dr Votier believes that in the long term the work will be hugely beneficial.

Gannets are long-lived seabirds and there is still much to learn about their life away from the breeding colony,” he said.

“The application of technology to study the private lives of gannets has been influential to our research in the short term, but the goal is to continue this work in the long term to help provide a sustainable future for gannets and other marine life.”

Ramsey Island and Grassholm site manager Greg Morgan said: “Dr Votier’s research has contributed greatly to our knowledge of our Grassholm gannets over the years and this is hopefully the first step in the next exciting chapter.”

New Borneo wasp discovery, named after naturalist Wallace

The newly discovered wasp, photo: Natural History Museum

From the International Business Times:

New Wasp Genus Discovered, ‘Wallaceaphytis’ Named After Evolution Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace [PHOTO]

By Zoe Mintz

November 07 2013 10:34 AM

Named Wallaceaphytis after Alfred Russel Wallace, one of the “forgotten heroes” behind the theory of evolution by natural selection, the insect was collected in 2012 during a trip to the Danum Valley. A description of the unusually large parasitoid wasp is described in a new paper in the Journal of Natural History.

“Wallaceaphytis is so unusual that one of my volunteers called me over to the microscope saying, ‘This looks really strange’,” Andrew Polaszek, head of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division at the Natural History Museum in London, who was part of the team that found the insect, told the BBC. “Not only is it a new species but also a completely new genus. And we found it in Wallace’s old stomping ground.”

While Charles Darwin set out to the Galapagos Islands to observe natural selection, Wallace went to the islands of south and east Asia, including Borneo. He describes thousands of new insect species he collected from the Indonesian island between 1854-56, including the Rajah Brooke’s birdwing butterfly, which is now a protected species and the national butterfly of Malaysia.

“The beauty and brilliancy of this insect are indescribable,” wrote Wallace in his book The Malay Archipelago.”On taking it out of my net and opening the glorious wings, my heart began to beat violently, the blood rushed to my head, and I felt much more like fainting than I have done when in apprehension of immediate death.”

The Wallaceaphytis is a parasitoid wasp that lays eggs inside other insects and spiders. While these kinds of wasps are typically less than a fifth of a millimeter in length,  this new wasp is just under a millimeter, making it “a bit of a whopper,” according to the Natural History Museum.

DNA confirmed that it wasn’t related to a known species. Entomologists have identified about 130,000 species, but Polaszek predicts there are thousands yet to be discovered. “I’m going to stick out my neck and say the true number is closer to a million species in total,” Polaszek told NBC News.

Polaszek said his team plans to return to Borneo to collect more insects in a different area of the island. “There’s still this remarkable hidden biodiversity in Borneo as well as right under our noses here in England,” he said.

Blaming rape victims in the USA

This video, from Wales, says about itself:

Is it possible that a woman who drinks, dances and flirts, ALL in a short skirt, is doing it for her own enjoyment? Rape. Sexual assault. Let’s STOP blaming the victim.

For more information and support visit or call the helpline on 0808 80 10 800.

If a woman gets raped in the United Arab Emirates, then she may get arrested. If a woman gets raped in Afghanistan, then she may be jailed. If a girl gets raped in the Maldives, then authorities may have her whipped. If a woman soldier gets raped in the United States armed forces, then she may be persecuted. In Somalia, police may rape a woman, and then jail her.

The problem is more widespread.

By Rebecca Leber in the USA:

Until Last Week, The Official Policy Of One Virginia City Was To Assume All Rape Victims Were Lying

August 13, 2013 at 11:18 am

Until last week, Norfolk, Virginia police classified sexual assault claims to be “unfounded” — or not valid — by default. According to the Virginian-Pilot, a 22-year-old woman’s case prompted Norfolk police chief Mike Goldsmith to update the policy so that officers must now assume rape victims are telling the truth.

The woman reported the attack immediately to police, only to be told, “If we find out that you’re lying, this will be a felony charge.” Before giving her a medical examination, officers subjected the woman to interrogations during which they said things like, “You’re telling us a different story than you told … the other detectives,” and “This only happened hours ago. Why can’t you remember?” Having had enough, the woman cut off the interview.

The police eventually arrested and charged the attacker for multiple other sexual assaults and felonies, and Goldsmith apologized for mishandling the woman’s initial allegations. Now that Goldsmith has updated the policy for handling sexual assault cases, the department will also undergo training for post-traumatic stress disorder and rape trauma.

Many other areas have this same problem. In light of a Baltimore investigation on the city’s high number of unfounded cases, the Police Executive Research Forum noted, “Unwarranted ‘unfounding’ of cases can result in offenders remaining free — and in victims losing trust in the justice system.” This classification also leads to lower reports of rape, because “unfounded” cases are not included in crime stats.

For law enforcement to assume that rape victims are usually lying is a gross misunderstanding of the number of false rape accusations. Only two to eight percent of reported rapes are false reports, and even fewer ever include a specific false accusation. In fact, the real problem is that most rapes go unreported.

Nearly one in four young men in Scotland still blame rape victims for drinking or dressing “provocatively,” alarming new research found today: here.

Hazel dormouse video

This video is about hazel dormice and their habitat in Limburg province in the Netherlands.

It is by the Dutch Mammal Society.

November 2013: The hazel or common dormouse is an important ‘bio indicator’, preferring to live in rich, well, managed native woodland with a mix of species for seasonal food. Yet its range has decreased by half over the last century; once widespread in England and Wales, it is now found mainly in southern England, parts of Wales and a handful of isolated northern populations: here