Dinosaur of the week: Eurasian Hoopoe

eurasian hoopoe

This Upupa epops is our neighbour in Oran. ‘The species is declining throughout its range as a result of habitat destruction and over-hunting‘ (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22682655/0) but I’m glad that there seem to be a few others to keep our friend company.

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Dinosaur of the week: Black-browed Albatross

black-browed albatross

Thalassarche melanophris lives circumpolar in the southern oceans. I saw these two and their colony on West Point Island in the Falklands.

The numbers of the black-browed mollymawk are decreasing, and the species is labelled Nearly Threatened. Longline fishing kills the birds as does trawl fishing, and of course plastic intake kills too.

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).

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 Kingfisher

common kingfisherI’ve seen Alcedo atthis in Austria, Slovakia and Germany. The species is widespread, and fortunately it is labelled as ‘Least concern’. However, if you look at the entry in the Red List, that is because a lot of data is unknown (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22683027/0).

Dinosaur of the week: Common Pochard

pochardDucks are brilliant, and this Aythya ferina which I saw on the Danube in Austria last spring is no exception. The species is classified as vulnerable.

Numbers are declining because of loss of breeding habitat (marshes) and bad water quality (too much fertilizer in the water because of bad agricultural management).

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22680358/0