Dinosaur of the week: Rook

rookThis Corvus frugilegus and I met a couple of years ago in Scotland, on a beach near St. Andrews. These highly intelligent birds face the threads of losing habitat because of extensive agriculture, of losing food because of mercury coating on seeds and the use of pesticides, and of losing their life because stupid humans shoot them (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22705983/0).

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Algeria – Kristel

During the Christmas holiday, we thought we’d follow what every Algerian tells you to do on a day off – go to the beach. So, we went to the beach near Kristel which had been recommended by a student.

The beach was rocky, not sandy, but the weather was nice and we were almost alone apart from some anglers.Kristel beachIn the background, on the left is the plateau where we usually go for our afternoon strolls. In the middle is smog-covered Oran and some ships and on the right is the hill with the Fort Santa Cruz (more about which in a soonish to follow post).

I find it extraordinary that people here tell me all the time how much they love the beach and when you get there, it looks like this: rubbishPlastic bags, bottles, bits of fishing nets and fishing lines, plus other stuff. We have now bought some gloves, so next time we’ll go anywhere it’s a beach/forest clean!

Even more remarkable under these conditions was the presence of some birds. We saw Common Sandpiper, Little Egret, Black Wheatear, Sandwich Tern and lots of gulls. The tide was low which gave us a chance to admire the rock pools, too. rock pool

Dinosaur of the week: Eurasian Nuthatch

nuthatch

Sitta europaea is lovely to look at. The species is doing alright, but since they live in old forests local populations are under threat from logging, e.g. in Poland.

This one was on a bird feeder in Slovakia. Remember to feed birds seeds and nuts. Feeding bread is a really bad idea as it damages the birds’ digestive system.