Dinosaur of the week: Black Wheatear

black wheatearThis Oenanthe leucura was spotted on a beach near Oran in Algeria. The species is native in the Maghreb region and classified ‘Least Concern’, but possibly extinct in France and Gibraltar.

Many thanks to the people on birdforum.net for their help with the ID.

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WorldBookProject – What’s coming and what’s missing

wbp  On the picture are some of the titles which I hope to read in the coming weeks. On my e-reader, I have started with Cameroon, and Brazil, Haiti, Vatican, Antarctica and Kazakhstan are ready to go.

I’m still looking for suggestions for the following places:

Central African Republic, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bisseau, Honduras, Maldives, Mauritania, Monaco, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Panama, Moldova, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Timor Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, French Guyana, French Polynesia, Kurdistan, Mayotte, Netherland Antilles, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Island, Reunion.

Please leave a comment if you know of a good book by an author from one of these places. Thanks!

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

WorldBookProject – Barbados, Burma and Iraq

It’s been quite a while since I last blogged about my reading adventures. Learning French was/is a priority and on top of that, there’s of course work and a different daily routine. I also have “only” about 100 territories left to read, for some of which it’s really tricky to find anything, e.g. Monaco and San Marino. If you’ve got any suggestions, please leave a comment.

150 Barbados: Karen LordRedemption in Indigo

A few years ago, I read another book by Lord which I really enjoyed so I was glad to find her debut novel. It didn’t disappoint! Laugh-out-loud funny and occasionally terribly sad, I was intrigued by everything: the main female character, the cultural aspects, the magic, the way things connected with each other. Looking forward to reading more by her.

151 Burma: Nu Nu YiSmile as they Bow

Here, I’m sitting on the fence. The characters were certainly exciting, especially since there seems to be so little representation of LGBT+ in mainstream publishing and translation. However, I found it difficult to connect to the story because it was so loud. The descriptions of dancing and singing crowds at the festivals were just too realistic, whereas I prefer quiet.

152 Iraq: Alia MamdouhMothballs

This again was a book which left me in two minds. I think, in my late teens or early twenties I’d have liked the story and in particular the narrator. Here and now, for the most part it left me shrugging my shoulders. What’s more, the change in narration from ‘I’ to ‘you’ was quite confusing for me. But I think if a reader likes this kind of challenge they would experience a unique insight into a girl’s life in mid-20th century Baghdad.

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.