Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Fresh tremors in Nepal as 5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Kathmandu

© Athit Perawongmetha
A collapsed house during a landslide after Tuesday's earthquake at Singati Village in Nepal

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake has struck in Nepal, sending tremors across Bihar and parts of northern India

Buildings shook throughout the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regions on Saturday, as the the US Geological Survey recorded a "shallow quake" about 76 km east south east of the capital Kathmandu.

Centering on Nepal, the quake is the third so far this month and lead to fresh panic among those trying to rebuild after an earthquake killed 8,000 people in April and leveled more than 250,000 homes throughout the region.

There has been no reports yet of deaths from this most recent quake, though at least 17 people are thought to have been killed in northern India.

Some 117 persons were killed, and more than 1000 were injured, when a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on May 12.

The quake shook neighbouring countries including India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.



Little Bobtail Lake wildfire in British Columbia has burned over 32,000 acres, shows no sign of extinguishing

© MODIS Rapid Response Team
The MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured this image of the Little Bobtail Lake fire in British Columbia, Canada.
The MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured this image of the Little Bobtail Lake fire in British Columbia, Canada. It is unclear how the fire started and was first spotted on Saturday, May 9. Since then the fire has grown significantly and has burned over 13,000 hectares (32,123 acres) and is zero percent con[tained]. The wildfire is located about 70 km southwest of Prince George. Eighty people have already been evacuated and close to 700 homes are in danger of being consumed should the fire spread.

Cloud Lightning

Typhoon Dolphin strikes Guam bringing high winds, power outages

© AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordallo
Charles Henry, 28, Clayton Faubion, 25, Charles Harstad, 23, and Jamal Arurag, 19, observe barreling waves behind the University of Guam Marine Lab on the island's eastern coast during a powerful Pacific typhoon on Friday, May 15, 2015. The National Weather Service said the center of Typhoon Dolphin had passed through a 50-mile-wide channel between Guam and the island of Rota
More than 1,100 people took refuge in shelters early Saturday as the center of a powerful Pacific typhoon glanced off Guam, hammering the U.S. territory with high winds, rain and huge waves.

The storm knocked out power, downed trees and canceled flights Friday as it lumbered through a channel between Guam and the tiny tropical island of Rota. It packed maximum winds of 110 mph (177 kph).

The National Weather Service said gusts were expected to gradually decrease to "non-damaging" winds by sunrise.

One injury resulted from Typhoon Dolphin, and that person was taken to a Guam hospital, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Jenna Gaminde said. She had no additional information on the injury.

There also were reports of broken power transformers, said Oyaol Ngirairikl with the Joint Information Center. Ngirairikl said more would be known about damage from the typhoon Saturday.

Weather service meteorologist Patrick Chen said earlier that the weather service lost radar, but based on satellite imagery, he said the storm's center was moving away from the Marianas Islands, which includes Guam.

Arrow Down

One third of Europe's birds under threat, says most comprehensive study yet

© David Tipling/Alamy
Turtle dove populations have fallen by 90% or more since 1980 in Europe.
One in three European birds is endangered, according to a leaked version of the most comprehensive study of Europe's wildlife and natural habitats ever produced.

The EU State of Nature report, seen by the Guardian, paints a picture of dramatic decline among once common avian species such as the skylark and turtle dove mainly as a result of agricultural pressures, and also warns that ecosystems are struggling to cope with the impact of human activity.

The report will embolden campaigners opposed to plans by the European Commission to review two key pieces of environmental legislation - the birds and habitats directives. They act as a brake on development where it threatens the natural world, but the report adds weight to the case that the laws should not be watered down.

The State of Nature report found that turtle dove populations have plunged by 90% or more since 1980 and could soon be placed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) 'red list' of threatened species. Numbers of skylark and ortolan bunting, a songbird illegally hunted and eaten whole in France, have fallen by around half.

Of 804 natural habitats assessed by the European Environment Agency for the report, 77% were deemed to be in a poor condition, with almost a third having deteriorated since a study in 2006. Just 4% were found to be improving.


4.6 earthquake rocks central New Zealand


The Upper South Island and Wellington were rattled by the quake.
A strong earthquake measuring 4.6 has hit Marlborough.

GeoNet is reporting it was located 5km south east of Seddon, south of Blenheim followed by a 3.3 located 30km east of Turangi.

The quakes hit shortly after 5.30pm.

Chris Sutherland was enjoying a pint in Paddy Barry's pub in Blenheim when he felt the jolts.

"I was sitting on a bar stool and it rocked a bit and the drinks on the table moved a little bit. Luckily my drink wasn't spilled. If it had I would have licked it off the table."

Pam Tawhara said it knocked over her cuppa and she had to hold onto her desk and computer.

"It took years off my life."

Jodi Cane from Seddon said it "felt like a train coming though our lounge, quite a shake."

Robyn Thomson said her car parked in Springlands in Blenheim rocked as a result of the jolts.

Wendy Gibson described it as a "rumbling jolt".

A St John spokesman said there were no reports of injuries or damage.

A Marlborough District Council spokeswoman said it was "no biggie" and there had been no reports of buildings damaged.

Stock Down

Bird flu pushes up price of eggs, turkey in Midwest US

© Matthias Kulka/Corbis
The bird flu virus.
Prices for eggs and turkey meat are rising in some places as an outbreak of bird flu in the Midwest claims an increasing number of chickens and turkeys. Market experts say grocery stores and wholesalers are trying to stock up on eggs, but there's no need to worry about having enough turkeys for Thanksgiving.

The cost of a carton of large eggs in the Midwest has jumped nearly 17 percent to $1.39 a dozen from $1.19 since mid-April, when the virus began appearing in Iowa's chicken flocks and farmers culled their flocks to contain any spread. Tuesday, officials reported that the virus had spread to Nebraska.

A much bigger increase has emerged in the eggs used as ingredients in processed products like cake mix and mayonnaise, which account for the majority of what Iowa produces. Those eggs have jumped 63 percent to $1.03 a dozen from 63 cents in the past three weeks, said Rick Brown, senior vice president of Urner Barry, a commodity market analysis firm.

Comment: Also see:


Rare tropical bird found in Scott State Park, Kansas

© Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
The piratic flycatcher found in Scott State Park
Chris Lituma, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture, had no idea a fleeting trip to Kansas would result in a monumental discovery. Lituma, according to a media release from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, was leading a group of students through a multi-state field study, including a stop in Scott City. Friend, and Kansas-native, Mike Hudson, had recommended Scott State Park just north of Scott City to Lituma as a good place to go birdwatching - a hobby of Lituma's for the past 11 years. Upon arrival, Lituma began helping students identify the various birds, but one bird in particular was no ordinary migrant.

"The students asked me 'hey, what's this bird?' and I briefly looked at it and assumed it was a black-headed grosbeak," said Lituma.

Students then looked up the grosbeak in a field guide to find it was not the same bird they were looking at.

"At that point, I took another look at the bird and almost immediately realized this was no grosbeak, this was something very special; something rare.

Comment: What marks out this particular odd migration is the extreme distance involved from its normal range. Other extraordinary movements by birds so far this spring are listed below:

Non-migratory citril finch from mountains of mainland Europe found near beach in Holkham,UK

Another completely lost bird: Slate-throated redstart, resident of humid highland forests, turns up on South Padre Island, Texas

Bizarre bird migration: Little Bustard makes rare visit to Finnish Lapland

Globe-trotting bird ends up in Sutton, New Hampshire

Rare bird from the Americas turns up in Somerset, UK

Great blue heron from North America turns up on the Isles of Scilly, UK

Eurasian shorebird (wader) turns up far inland near Winslow, Indiana

Sea duck that is native to Northern Europe turns up off California coast

A similar pattern of extravagantly lost birds was noticeable during the latter part of last year:

Another completely lost avian species: Couch's Kingbird flies from southern Texas to New York

Warbler that should be wintering in western Mexico turns up in Louisiana

Bean goose from Eurasia takes a wrong turn and winds up on the Oregon Coast

Four lost flamingos fly NORTH for the winter and turn up in Siberia

Wrong place, wrong time: European robin turns up thousands of miles away in China

Rare bird from Mongolia turns up in Wakefield, UK

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare bird found in Barrie, Canada

Cloud Precipitation

1 dead in Houston following floods: 10 Inches of rain in 24 hours

© Johnny Kelly
Many vehicles submerged in flood waters on Gulf Freeway near Houston
Floods have left 1 man dead and prompted over 20 emergency rescues after staggering amounts of rainfall across south east Texas.

The state has seemingly been bombarded non stop with severe weather since flash floods hit Lubbock on 04 May 2015. One man died in floods in Corsicana on 11 May 2015 after 10 inches of rain fell in 1 day.

In the Houston area yesterday around 20 people had to be rescued from the flood water, most of them from stranded vehicles. Some major roads were said to be under 5 feet (1.5 metres) of water. Particularly badly hit were the areas of Taylor Lake Village, Webster and Clear Lake.


30 waterbirds found dead on Lake Havasu, Arizona had blunt trauma


An eared grebe (black-necked grebe)
Birds found dead on Lake Havasu in late-April showed signs of "severe blunt trauma" and have been sent to the National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin for further testing, Arizona Game and Fish wildlife biologist Carrington Knox said Tuesday.

A group of more than 30 dead eared grebes were spotted just south of Cattail Cove State Park on April 28 and reported to Game and Fish. Lake Havasu wildlife manager Suzanne Ehret retrieved sample specimens of the grebes and sent them to Game and Fish in Phoenix.

Knox said initial observations of the grebes showed "severe blunt trauma," but the cause of the trauma was unknown. She said grebes aren't "the best fliers" and have been known to fly into power lines or be struck by boats. The testing of the birds is ongoing.


Woman is savaged by an angry beaver in Russia


While beaver attacks are rare, they are not unheard of. A fisherman died while trying to take a picture of a beaver in Belarus in 2013 after the animal bit through an artery in his leg, causing him to bleed to death
A woman in Russia who had her leg ripped open by an angry beaver was saved after a neighbour came running over and stabbed it in the head.

Evgenia Eliseeva, 24, was at home in her village in southwest Russia's Lipetsk region when she went outside to get a better phone signal to call her mum.

But as she started dialling she felt a terrible pain in her leg and looked down to see a large animal had bitten into her calf.

Miss Eliseeva said: 'I was in complete shock and had no idea what it was at first.

'I thought it might have been a dog that had jumped on me. It was quite dark but it seemed to be standing on its tail as it was so tall.

'Then it he got on all fours and charged at me again. Its teeth were in my leg and it was furiously shaking its head from side to side.

'I was screaming like a maniac and this man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and attacked the beaver.'

The woman's rescuer, local man Hleb Yefremov, 54, said: 'I heard the girl scream and saw this giant hairy beast attacking her.

Comment: Other beaver attacks in the recent past: Animals increasingly losing the plot: Vicious beaver attacks snorkeler off Nova Scotia's coast, Canada

Animals losing the plot: Couple attacked by beaver in Watchung Reservation, New Jersey

Beaver mauls man near Rochester: 'It was like watching a horror film'

Paddling family of three attacked by a beaver in Austria

Vicious beaver attacks and kills man in Belarus