Sunday 31 December 2023

Let there be light in 2024........

.....and banish the darkness of 2023.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness" 

"Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  
Martin Luther King jnr.

Realising that this post is rather negative I have decided that my new year's resolution is to be more positive. It may not always feel like things are getting better but there are plenty of good happenings that have made our world a far better place during 2023.
1. A baby beaver was spotted in London for the first time in 400 years during summer 2023, just 18 months after an initiative began to reintroduce them to the capital.
2. The demilitarised zone between North and South Korea has emerged as an unlikely wildlife sanctuary. It is now home to 6,200 species, including 38% of the endangered birds and animals on the Korean peninsula, such as golden eagles, musk deer, and mountain goats.
3. A 20 year project in Uganda has now resulted in their mountain gorilla population being brought back from the brink of extinction.
4. Deforestation across the 9 Amazonian countries is down 55.8% on the same period a year ago - a turn around in a region we call "the lungs of the Earth".
5. There have been huge breakthroughs in treating cancer, and two new drugs developed in 2023 have been shown to slow down the pace of Alzheimer's.
6. The hole in the ozone layer is on track to be healed over by 2040, according to a UN-backed assessment. The hole was discovered in 1985, but since then countries have phased out 99% of ozone depleting chemicals under the Montreal Protocol.
This is just a handful of the many positive events and happenings that have taken place during 2023
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Peace & Goodwill

Seasonal greetings to all

"Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples."
Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Saturday 2 December 2023

The Short-eared Owl

An influx of Short-eared owls - Asio flammeus along the eastern coastline of Britain has sparked huge interest amongst bird-watchers across the UK eager to see these special visitors.  In recent weeks a large number of these owls have been increasingly spotted from as far north as Aberdeen down to Northumberland, along the banks of the Humber estuary, and further south into Norfolk. It is quite normal for several to arrive here every Autumn but not in such large numbers. It is thought that a shortage of food in several regions of Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland is responsible for the owls travelling further afield, and British voles appear to be on their menu.  Apparently there are plenty of voles around this year. 
The Short-eared Owl is unusual as it prefers to be out and about in the daytime. It is easily spotted during the winter months when the birds are joined by other migrants over moorlands and salt mashes. Short-eared Owls rarely display their "ear" tufts, unlike the Long-eared Owls. Their eye colour is a piercing yellow and framed by sooty dark feathers. They have a pale trailing edge to their wing, visible in flight, and a distinct contrast between their dark head and pale belly. 
Also unlike other owls Short-ears nest on the ground in scrapped-out hollows which they line with dried grasses and downy feathers.  
Should you spot them - lucky you.
images courtesy RSPB