Dinosaur of the week: Smew

smew

A male and female Mergellus albellus were taking a nap at Regents Park, London. The number of the birds are decreasing, among other things because of logging of mature trees along rivers and river canalisation.

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Dinosaur of the week: Southern Giant Petrel

southern giant petrel

There are about 10 000 species of modern-day dinosaurs extant and this week’s number 151 is Macronectes giganteus which I saw while crossing the Drake Passage from Antarctica to South America. The birds are endangered by fishing, both long-line and trawl.

Dinosaur of the week: Grey Heron

grey heron

I find Ardea cinerea fascinating. If you’ve ever watched one hunting you might understand why. This particular bird was finding food on the outskirts of Oxford.

On the other hand, their hunting skills are why the birds are persecuted in some areas. Another danger to them is the cutting of trees because they build their nests high up and they nest in colonies, so many birds are affected.

Algeria – Hunting Plastic

Pretty much every weekend, husband and I go plogging in our neighbouring forest. Sometimes students are tagging along, sometimes members of the public help. We once even had a soldier from the close-by military compound giving us a bin bag and saying thank you.

This is actually what most people do – watching what we do and then saying thanks. So, somehow information about us and our hobby found its way all up to the townhall where at the beginning of April we met Oran’s mayor and some notables, who are also fighting against illegal cutting down of trees.

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The mayor expressed how grateful he and the city of Oran were for our contribution to keep this little patch of green clean and our school’s managing director translated. We were then presented with a certificate of appreciation and a handmade tile, which was beautiful. Tile-making is a local tradition.

From the townhall we went to a near-by privately run museum about the fight for independence from France. There was a connection to our local forest too, because it had been a venue for executions of resistance fighters. There are apparently still trees which have bullets lodged in them.

It was a lovely morning and a great surprise. We’re both very happy that litter-picking is such an appreciated pastime and would be even happier if it wasn’t necessary. However, things being the way they are, in the afternoon we went for a plog and we’ll keep on doing so.

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