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.
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.
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.
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.
This Parus major was catching insects in the WWT wetland in London a couple of years back. Fewer insects mean fewer birds.
This male Phoenicurus phoenicurus was in the pine trees in the forest near our home. According to the IUCN, this species may be subject to habitat degradation from pollution effects on forests in Europe.
This female Sylvia atricapilla has been a recent visitor to our garden. I hope she can find a male to produce some offspring. The species on the whole is apparently doing fine but because the male’s song is so beautiful they are sometimes trapped. They are also hunted around the Mediterranean.
These Apus apus were seen and heard in Slovakia, a couple of years ago. We have them here in Algeria too, but the flocks are always mixed in with Pallid Swift. As long as there are any swifts in the sky, it’s a proper one. However, according to the IUCN the ‘species is negatively impacted by building renovation, re-roofing or demolition which leads to a loss of nest sites.’ On top of that, swifts feed on insects so plummeting insect populations are bound to have an impact on the birds.