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Tue, 28 Feb 2017
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The Vanishing: Europe's farmland birds down 55% in the last 3 decades

© Glyn Sellors
Grey Partridge
The Head of Conservation for BirdLife Europe & Central Asia explains how intensive agriculture has made farmland birds one of the most threatened bird groups in Europe.

Once upon a time, they were all around us - sights and sounds as familiar as the dusky skies their flocks danced in or the wind whistling through the fields. They were the tiny flashes of colour caught by the corner of your eye as you strolled in the countryside. They were the chirps, chatter, coos and caws making music in the hedgerows and the long meadow grasses. But that was before we destroyed their homes. Now, our common farmland birds are not so common.

It's an increasingly rare sight to see a Corn bunting perched on a farm fence before taking off in fluttering flight with its legs dangling, or graceful Yellow wagtail running through wet pastures on its slender black legs. The distinctive orange face and chestnut tail of the once abundant Grey partridge is now glimpsed all too infrequently. When was the last time you admired the splendid crest of a Northern Lapwing or heard the tew it of its display call? How many today would even recognise this once iconic cry? And what of the Barn Owls, Godwits, Corncrakes and Curlews? Or the Redshanks, Whinchats, Twites and Yellowhammers? For the bird lover, the farm has become the tragic symbol of paradise lost.


Man killed by shark off Reunion Island

Former professional shark-spotter Alexandre Naussance, 26, is killed in an area where water sports are banned.

A man who ignored warnings not to surf off the coast of Reunion Island has died after being bitten on the leg by a shark.

Alexandre Naussance, 26, who was once employed as a shark spotter by a surfing association, was attacked while bodyboarding off the northeast coast of the French territory in the Indian Ocean.

He was pulled out of the water by fishermen but pronounced dead after the animal bit through a major artery in his leg.

"This accident happened even though swimming and other water sports are forbidden in this area," the local government office said in a statement.

Cloud Precipitation

Northern California braces for more flooding; Don Pedro spillway opens for first time in 20 years

© Nic Coury/Monterey County Weekly via AP
A man walks through floodwaters Monday in Salinas. Forecasters issued flash flood warnings Monday throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California.
Water came gushing down the spillway at Don Pedro Dam in Stanislaus County Monday afternoon, further proof — if any were needed — that this is a rainy season for the record books in much of California.

It was only the second time the spillway had been used, and the first time in 20 years, as officials sought to keep the Don Pedro Reservoir from overflowing.

Residents along the Tuolumne River were not forced to evacuate, but "we are strongly encouraging people to seek shelter and move to higher ground," Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said at a news conference. "Our No. 1 priority is the safety and security of the people here in Stanislaus County."

The Don Pedro release came as much of the state's northern half was being hit with a colossal drenching — one expected to drop as much as 9 inches of rain in areas from Santa Cruz County along the coast to the Feather River Basin, far inland. People living along waterways braced for flash floods and evacuations.

It came with memories still fresh of the crisis that developed just over a week ago at Oroville Dam, some 180 miles to the north. Both spillways were damaged, and fears of catastrophic flooding prompted the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

Cloud Precipitation

Widespread flooding hits Indonesia's capital Jakarta

© Reuters
A woman wades through floodwaters in a flood-hit area in Jatinegara district, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Torrential rains in the Indonesian capital have overwhelmed drains and flooded roads and thousands of homes.

The disaster mitigation agency says more than 50 areas are flooded in Jakarta with waters up to 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) high in East Jakarta.

It said the city's drains couldn't accommodate the runoff and rivers also overflowed.

Floods in 2013 forced killed more than two dozen people in Jakarta and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

The city, which has about 30 million people in its greater metropolitan area, says it has reduced the number of flood prone areas since then by dredging rivers and other measures.

Cloud Precipitation

National Guard re-evacuation of Oroville Dam, general denies but eight inches of rain falling

Oroville Dam
Some National Guard on station near Oroville Dam were asked by citizen journalists what they were doing in the area and the response was that "they were there to help with the re-evacuation", this was quickly corrected by a major general within an hour. Winter storm warnings for all northern California with forecast of 8 inches as Southern California slammed with Cat 2 hurricane force winds.



Shallow earthquake shakes Panama with magnitude of 4.7

A strongly felt earthquake has swayed skyscrapers in Panama's capital and caused the evacuation of some buildings.

The U.S. Geological Survey gives a preliminary magnitude of 4.7 for Monday afternoon's quake.

The shaking set off car alarms and local news media said the local subway system was halted.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The 2:35 p.m. (1935 GMT) quake was centered 6 miles (10 kilometers) deep about 51 miles (83 kilometers) south-southeast of Panama City in the Gulf of Panama.

Source: AP

Cloud Lightning

42,000 lightning strikes recorded around Bulahdelah, Australia

© Kane Smillie
The Great Lakes and surrounds were treated to a spectacular light show during the weekend's storms. In a 50km radius from Bulahdelah Weatherzone reported there were 42,000 lightning strikes including cloud to cloud lightning strikes and cloud to ground strikes.

There were 5000 cloud to ground lightning strikes. A Weatherzone spokesperson said this amount of lightning was "quite intense" for one area.
The spokesperson said the majority of the lightning hit between Bulahdelah and Forster, with the storm heading in a southwesterly direction.They added 26mm of rain fell in Forster during yesterday's (Sunday, February 19) storm.


Whistleblowers exposing corrupt climate science can no longer be silenced

© AP Photo/John McConnico
Whistleblowers at the U.S. government's official keeper of the global warming stats, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), claim their agency doctored temperature data to hide the fact that global temperatures plateaued almost 20 years ago.

Can the whistleblowers be believed in this claim, originally made in 2015? And in the further claim that NOAA then rushed this doctored data into print in time for the UN's Paris global warming summit of world leaders, to dupe any doubters that the planet was in fact overheated?

Of course the whistleblowers can be believed, and not just because NOAA repeatedly stonewalled inquiries, even failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. No one paying attention can have any doubt that the governmental global warming enterprise has been a fraud. It's been lies from the start, starting with the very mandate of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which astonishingly ruled out factors like the sun as being worthy of investigation.

Among those astonished was the Danish delegation to the IPCC. It discovered at one of the IPCC's early meetings a quarter-century ago that its scientists could not present their study, newly published in the prestigious journal Science, showing a remarkable correlation between global warming and solar activity. To their further astonishment, to squelch dissent the IPCC cabal set out to destroy the reputation of its chief author, falsely accusing him of fabricating data.

Whistleblowers now know they will no longer be silenced.

Comment: See also: Whistleblower: No more global warming, NOAA scientists falsified temperature data


Source of loud boom that shook houses a mystery in Dayton, Ohio

Residents across the north Dayton, Englewood, Clayton and Trotwood areas reported a loud boom this evening that shook their houses.

"We just heard a huge explosion, like a sonic boom," said one caller in the 8300 block of East Westbrook Road, near Seybold Road. "It happened very close by. It jarred the house. It sounds like a house explosion."

The Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center and Englewood police said they received reports around 6:25 p.m. about the loud boom.

Many residents took to social media, questioning the source of the boom on Facebook pages.

Englewood officers and Montgomery County sheriff's deputies responded to the area but were not able to find anything that may have caused the boom.

Better Earth

Over '1 million Magellanic penguins' descend on Punta Tombo, Argentina in spectacular scene

© brendug / Instagram
Over 1 million of the flightless birds are reported to have landed onshore in Argentina
Over one million penguins arrived on Punta Tombo, Argentina in what is thought to be a record number, resulting in stunning displays of wildlife along the shoreline. Often seen in parts of southern Argentina and Chile, the numerous small inlets of Punta Tombo in Argentina's southeast region make a perfect breeding ground for the Magellanic penguins due to the large quantities of sardines and anchovies found close to shore.

Measuring about 45cm (17in) tall and weighing around 4kg (9lbs), the Magellanic penguin sports a large white crescent of feathers on their breast, and have distinctive pink coloring on their faces. Tens of thousands of tourists flock to the peninsula each year to catch a glimpse of the flightless birds but this year is extra special as locals say more than one million of the birds have arrived - a record number - according to AP. While not yet an endangered species, a number of Magellanic penguins die annually when they become tangled in the nets of commercial fisheries.