Friday, September 21, 2012


Today is World Rhino Day.  Please take action to save our Rhinos.

You can also join World Rhino Day on Facebook!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Very funny and clever BIrdwatcher Video!!

We birdwatchers are indeed a rare breed although not quite yet 'fairly extinct; ;-)

Save the Sage Grouse

Please help Bird Explorers save the Sage Grouse by signing the following petition.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Levaillant, Klaas and Narina: A Tale of Two Cuckoos and a Trogon

Above all, I thought particularly, that those parts of the globe which were unexplored, might give new information, and rectify the former errors; looking on that man as supremely happy, who should have the courage to trace them to their source. The interior parts of Africa appeared, for that purpose, a Peru.—It was virgin land. Ingrossed with these ideas, I persuaded myself, that the ardour of zeal might supply genius. Enthusiasm whispered, I was the being for whom this privilege was reserved; I listened to the pleasing seduction, from which moment I became devoted; neither the ties of love or friendship were able to shake my purpose.—I communicated my projects to no one; but inexorable and blind to every obstacle, left Paris the 17th of July, 1780.
—Le Vaillant, from the preface of the English edition (London, 1790)
Setting: Southern Africa, Cape Region, 1780s

Meet the main characters:
François Le Vaillant, the Intrepid Explorer
François Le Vaillant was born in Paramaribo, the capital of Dutch Guiana (Surinam), the son of the French consul. When his father returned to Europe, in 1763, he studied natural history at Metz. He was sent by the Dutch East India Company to the Cape Province of South Africa in 1781, and collected specimens there until 1784. He made three journeys, one around Cape Town and Saldanha Bay, one eastwards from the Cape and the third north of the Orange River and into Great Namaqualand.[1]

On his return he published Voyage dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique (1790, 2 vols.), and Second voyage dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique (1796, 3 vols.), both of which were translated into several languages. He also published Histoire naturelle des oiseaux d'Afrique (1796–1808, 6 vols.) with drawings by Jacques Barraband, Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis (1801–06), Histoire naturelle des cotingas et des todiers (1804) and Histoire naturelle des calaos (1804). Levaillant’s illustrations often influenced scientific names given by, among others, Vieillot, Stephens and Wilkes.[2]

Klaas, the Intrepid Guide

Klass, the guide of Le Vaillant, was from the KhoiKhoi Peoples.

In quitting the Cape, Klaas had been recommended to me, by Mr. Boers, as a man whose courage and fidelity might be depended on; he ordered him never to abandon me, promising a recompense if I returned safe to the Cape, and gave a satisfactory account of his conduct; he faithfully obeyed these orders, never quitting me in the hour of danger. . . . Klaas was now my equal, my brother, the confidant of my hopes and fears; more than once has he calmed my agitated mind, and re-animated my drooping courage. . . . I did not forget to draw a faithful resemblance of this worthy Hottentot, from which the annexed plate was engraved. [Vol. 1, pp. 250, 252-53]

The Khoikhoi ("people people" or "real people") or Khoi, in standardised Khoekhoe/Nama orthography spelled Khoekhoe, are a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen (or San, as the Khoikhoi called them). They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD.[1] When European immigrants colonized the area in 1652, the Khoikhoi were practising extensive pastoral agriculture in the Cape region, with large herds of Nguni cattle. The European immigrants labeled them Hottentots, in imitation of the sound of the Khoekhoe language,[2] but this term is today considered derogatory by some.[3]

Narina, the Intrepid Mistress
Narina was the young Khoikhoi (Jeune Gonaquoise) and Mistress of Le Vaillant.

Le Vaillant would express his feelings for Klaas and Narina, through his naming of the Klaas's Cuckoo and the Narina Trogon. Klaas and Narina are the only two black Africans to have their names immortalised in the common and scientific names of birds.  Later, the Le Vaillant's Cuckoo would be named in honour of Le Vaillant himself along with several other bird species.  Today Le Vaillant is regarded of the Father of African Ornithology.

While their intriguing story played out in 1790s, none of them could have ever guessed the relevance they would have to modern day birders, and that all 3 of their names would live in perpetuity in the modern world through 2 handsome cuckoos and a beautiful trogon.  But such is the drama and history behind the exploration of the bird world.

Le Vaillant's Cuckoo
Clamator levaillantii
Monze, Zambia

Klaas's Cucko
Chrysococcyx klaas
Dadaaab Kenya
Narina Trogon
Apaloderma narina
-John and Elizabeth Gould Print

Friday, March 16, 2012

Meet Australia's Kookaburras

Australia has two Kookaburra Species:

The Laughing Kookaburra made famous in poems, stories and song which in found in Southern and Eastern Australia.

The Blue-winged Kookaburra which is common throughout Australia's north-country. Here is the female, which can be told by the ruddy-barred tail.

Both species have very raucous calls which sound like bawdy laughter.

The good folks at Xeno Canto have some good sound tracks:

 Laughing Kookaburra:

Blue-winged Kookaburra

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Norway: A Shining Beacon in the Midst of Adversity

In the last week, Norway has suffered an episode of violence unknown since the Second World War. In this adversity Norway has remained a shining beacon to world. On a procession of roses that was presided over by the Crown Prince Haakon Magnus, Crown Princess Mette-Merit and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, some of the most moving speeches of recent history were given.

The article is a tribute to all who lost their lives and were injured and to show solidarity with the brave and progressive people of Norway in their hour of need.

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his wife Ingrid joined the vast crowed taking part in the rally

Crown Prince Haakon, Corwn Princess Mette-Marit, and Princess Martha Louise pay their emotional respects during the rose procession

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, his wife Ingrid, Princess Martha Louise, Prince Haakon and his wife Princess Mette-Marit, former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and the chairman of the Labour Youth Movement, Eskil Pedersen

Speech of Jens Stoltenberg to the Procession:

English Translation:
Dear all assembled,

What a sight!
I now stand face to face with the people’s will.
You are the will of the people.
Thousands upon thousands of Norwegians in Oslo and all over the country are doing the same this evening.
Taking to the streets, squares - the public sphere with the same defiant message:
We are broken, but we will not give up.
With torches and roses, we give the world a message.
We will not let the fear break us.
And we will not let the fear silence us.
What a sea of humanity I see before me here today, and the warmth I feel from people across the country makes me confident in my case.
Norway is the evidence.
Evil can kill a human, but can never defeat a people.
This evening, the Norwegian people write history.
With the strongest of all the world's weapons, free speech and democracy, the goals we head for Norway after 22 July 2011.
There is a Norway before and after 22 July.
But which Norway, we decide ourselves.
Norway will again be recognizable.
Our response has grown in strength through the incomprehensible hours, days and nights we have behind us, and the power is confirmed tonight.
More transparency, more democracy. Strength to strength.
This is us. This is Norway.
We shall take our security back.
After the attacks in Oslo and Utøya, we have been united in shock, despair and sorrow.
So it still is, but not only so.
Slowly, the first of us start to get ready to face a life again. Others will need more time.
It is important that we respect differences. All ways of grieving are just as normal.
Still it is important to take care of each other.
Showing care.
Talk to those who are hit hardest.
Be fellows.
We are gathered here have a message for you who have lost one of your loved ones:
We are here for you.
In addition, we will direct our attention to Norway after 22 July 2011.
We should beware of drawing too many firm conclusions, as we are a country in mourning, but some promises we can give each other early in the evening.

In the first place.

Out of all the evil we see paradoxically enough the germ of something valuable.
What we see this evening what may be the biggest march that the Norwegian people have undertaken since World War II.
A march for democracy, unity and tolerance.
People all over the country are at this moment shoulder to shoulder.
We can learn from it. Doing more of it.
Each one of us can make democracy stronger. We see it here.
To the young I would say this.
The massacre on Utøya is also an attack on the dream of young people's to contribute to a better world.
Their dream was brutally crushed.
Your dreams can become reality.
You can carry forward the spirit of the evening. You can make a difference.
Do it!
My request is simple.
Engage! Care!
Come into organizations. Participate in debates.
Use your vote.
Free elections are the jewel in the crown of democracy.
By participating, you are a giving a resounding yes to democracy.
To end.
I am infinitely grateful to live in a country where people at a critical time will take to the streets with flowers and lights to strike a beat for democracy.
And to honor and remember those we have lost.
It shows that the Nordahl Grieg was right:
"We are so few in this country, every fallen are brothers and friends"
We will take this with us when we are embarking on efforts to shape Norway after 22 July 2011.
Our fathers and mothers promised each other "No more 9 April "
We say" No more 22 July. "

Norwegian Original:

Kjære alle sammen,

For et syn!

Jeg står nå ansikt til ansikt med folkeviljen.

Dere er folkeviljen.

Tusener på tusener av nordmenn, i Oslo og over hele landet, gjør det samme i kveld.

Erobrer gatene, torgene – det offentlige rom med samme trassige budskap:

Vi er sønderknust, men vi gir oss ikke.

Med fakler og roser gir vi verden beskjed.

Vi lar ikke frykten knekke oss.

Og vi lar ikke frykten for frykt kneble oss.


Det folkehavet jeg ser foran meg her i dag, og den varmen jeg kjenner fra mennesker over hele landet gjør meg sikker i min sak.

Norge består prøven.

Ondskap kan drepe et menneske, men aldri beseire et folk.

I kveld skriver det norske folk historie.

Med det sterkeste av alle verdens våpen, det frie ord og demokrati, staker vi ut kursen for Norge etter 22. juli 2011.


Det blir et Norge før og et etter 22. juli.

Men hvilket Norge bestemmer vi selv.

Norge skal være til å kjenne igjen.

Vårt svar har vokst i styrke gjennom de ubegripelige timene, dagene og nettene vi har bak oss, og det bekreftes med kraft i kveld.

Mer åpenhet, mer demokrati. Fasthet og styrke.

Det er oss. Det er Norge.

Vi skal ta tryggheten tilbake!


Etter angrepene i Oslo og på Utøya har vi vært forent i sjokk, fortvilelse og sorg.

Slik vil det fortsatt være, men ikke bare slik.

Sakte vil de første av oss begynne å bli klare til å møte en hverdag igjen. Andre vil trenge mer tid.

Det er viktig at vi respekterer ulikhetene. Alle måter å sørge på er like normale.


Fortsatt gjelder det å ta vare på hverandre.

Vise omsorg.

Snakke med dem som er rammet hardest.

Være medmennesker.

Vi som er samlet her har en beskjed til dere som har mistet en av deres kjæreste:

Vi er her for dere.


I tillegg skal vi rette blikket mot Norge etter 22. juli 2011.

Vi skal vokte oss for å trekke for mange, og for bastante konklusjoner mens vi er et land i sorg, men noen løfter kan vi gi hverandre allerede i kveld.

For det første.

Ut av alt det vonde øyner vi paradoksalt nok spiren til noe verdifullt.

Det vi ser i kveld kan være den største og den viktigste marsjen det norske folk har lagt ut på siden den 2. verdenskrig.

En marsj for demokrati, samhold og toleranse.


Folk over hele landet står i dette øyeblikk skulder ved skulder.

Vi kan lære av det. Gjøre mer av det.

Hver og en av oss kan gjøre demokratiets vev litt sterkere. Det ser vi her.


For det andre.

Til de unge vil jeg si dette.

Massakren på Utøya er også et angrep på unge menneskers drøm om å bidra til en bedre verden.

Deres drømmer ble brutalt knust.

Dine drømmer kan bli virkelighet.

Du kan føre videre ånden fra i kveld. Du kan gjøre en forskjell.

Gjør det!

Min oppfordring er enkel.

Engasjer dere. Bry dere.

Meld dere inn i en organisasjon. Delta i debatter.

Bruk stemmeretten.

Frie valg er juvelen i demokratiets krone.

Ved å delta sier du et rungende ja til demokrati.


Til slutt.

Jeg er uendelig takknemlig over å leve i et land der folk i en kritisk tid tar til gatene med blomster og lys for å slå ring om demokratiet.

Og for å hedre og minnes dem vi har mistet.

Det viser at Nordahl Grieg hadde rett:

”Vi er så få her til lands, hver fallen er bror og venn”


Dette skal vi ta med oss når vi tar fatt på arbeidet med å forme Norge etter 22. juli 2011.

Våre fedre og mødre lovet hverandre ”Aldri mer 9. april”

Vi sier ”Aldri mer 22. juli”.

Speech of Crown Prince Haakon to the Procession:

English Translation:
Tonight the streets are filled with love.

We have chosen to respond to cruelty with closeness.

We have chosen to meet hatred with unity.

We have chosen to show what we stand for.

Norway is a country in mourning. We think of all those who have suffered losses and those missing.

On all who made a heroic effort to save lives and restore our peace of mind. And our leaders who have been put on the difficult place in recent days.

Those who were in Utøya and inside the Ministries were targets of terror, but it affects us all.

Clear and terrible. We have seen how much impact an individual's actions can have.

It also shows that it matters what attitudes each of us, what we choose to build our lives on. And how we choose to use it best for each other and the community we live in.

After 22 July, we never again allow ourselves to think that our views and opinions are irrelevant. We must face every day, prepared to fight for the free and open society we are so fond of.

Dear young people: You are our courage and our hope. It is you who will shape and determine which Norway we will have in the years ahead. Each one of you is priceless. But we have lost so many.

The Norway that we will have, no one will take from us.

In the evening, the streets are filled with love.

We are faced with a choice. We can not do what was undone.

But we can choose what this will do to us as a society and as individuals.

We can decide that no one should have to stand alone.

We can choose to stand together.

It's up to each one of us now. It is up to you and it's up to me.

Together we have a job to do. It's a job to be done around the dinner tables, in cafeterias, in organizations, the volunteers, the men and women, rural and urban.

We will have a Norway where we live together in communion with the freedom to think, where we see differences as opportunities, for freedom is stronger than fear.

In the evening, the streets are filled with love.

Original Norwegian:
I kveld er gatene fylt av kjærlighet.

Vi har valgt å besvare grusomhet med nærhet.

Vi har valgt å møte hat med samhold.

Vi har valgt å vise hva vi står for.

Norge er et land i sorg. Vi tenker på alle som har lidd tap. Som savner.

På alle som gjorde en heroisk innsats for å redde liv og gjenopprette tryggheten vår. Og på lederne våre som har blitt satt på vanskelige prøver de siste dagene.

De som oppholdt seg på Utøya og i Regjeringskvartalet var mål for terroren, men den rammer oss alle.

Tydelig og forferdelig har vi sett hvor store konsekvenser enkeltmenneskers handlinger kan få.

Det viser samtidig at det betyr noe hvilke holdninger hver enkelt av oss har, hva vi velger å bygge livene våre på. Og hvordan vi velger å bruke det til beste for hverandre og samfunnet vi lever i.

Etter 22. juli kan vi aldri igjen tillate oss å tenke at våre meninger og holdninger er uten betydning. Vi må møte hver dag, rustet til kamp for det frie og åpne samfunnet vi er så glad i.

Kjære unge: Dere er vårt korrektiv, vårt mot og vårt håp. Det er dere som skal forme og bestemme hvilket Norge vi skal ha i årene framover. Hver og en av dere er umistelige. Men vi har mistet mange.

Det Norge vi vil ha skal ingen ta fra oss.

I kveld er gatene fylt av kjærlighet.

Vi står overfor et valg. Vi kan ikke gjøre det som skjedde ugjort.

Men vi kan velge hva dette skal gjøre med oss som samfunn og som enkeltmennesker.
Vi kan velge at ingen skal måtte stå alene

Vi kan velge å stå sammen.

Det er opp til hver enkelt av oss nå. Det er opp til deg og det er opp til meg.

Sammen har vi en jobb å gjøre. Det er en jobb som må gjøres rundt middagsbordet, i kantina, i organisasjonslivet, i det frivillige, av menn og av kvinner, i distriktene og i byen.

Vi vil ha et Norge hvor vi lever sammen i fellesskap med frihet til å mene og ytre oss, hvor vi ser forskjeller som muligheter, hvor friheten er sterkere enn frykten.

I kveld er gatene fylt av kjærlighet.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cassowary Emergency Relief Update

Dear Bird Explorers Friends

We are monitoring the Cassowary Emergency Relief Operations following Cyclone Yasi in Queensland and letting all our friends and colleagues around the world know what is going on.

The Cassowary Relief Program is in full swing and the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) is now coordinating all the various governmental, private and NGO cassowary relief efforts. DERM has established a Cassowary Response Team (CRT).

Please see the update below from Deb Pople of DERM’s Wet Tropics Management Agency.

Hi everyone,

DERM staff have undertaken on-ground and “fly-over” assessments of some of the affected areas and the results are informing preparation of the response plan. The ranges behind Cardwell and Ingham are likely to have been affected, but have not yet been assessed (members of WTMA’s Scientific Advisory Committee who met yesterday are also concerned about mahogany glider habitat which has been hard hit – any observation from the area would be welcome). A further fly-over assessment of affected areas will occur tomorrow with Dr David Westcott CSIRO scientist and member of the Cassowary Recovery Team. Subject to aerial assessment, an aerial food drop at selected sites is expected to occur by the end of the week. New monitoring cameras are being purchased and GIS mapping from Cyclone Larry is being reviewed re. the location of feeding stations and cameras. Subject to access restrictions, feed stations will be progressively set up over the coming weeks. The Garner’s Beach Cassowary Facility has significant structural damage and no power but all 4 birds in care have survived and efforts are being made to make the facilityoperational as soon as possible.

DERM’s Cassowary Response Team (CRT) is being supported by a team at DERM’s head office, and information materials, media, briefings, etc from Cyclone Larry are being reviewed and updated to inform post-Yasi response. As previously stated, the views of Cassowary Recovery Team and those involved with the post-Larry response are welcome. Stakeholder engagement is being led by Cassowary Response Team and supported by WTMA. Terrain have also offered assistance within the Mission Beach community – thanks Tony. Bob Irwin, Save The Cassowary and Rainforest Rescue (let me know if you’re aware of any others) have all started campaigns to raise funds for post-cyclone cassowary conservation. A few of you have enquired about costs: the post cyclone Larry feeding program cost approximately $500,000 and ran for over 18 months. It’s not possible to calculate how much it will cost per cassowary per day to run the post Yasi programme, but DERM anticipates needing to supply approximately 1100 kg’s of fruit per week, and costs are likely to exceed several thousand dollars per week.

Andrew Millerd is speaking to Bob Irwin to discuss co-ordination of volunteer efforts, and we hope that everyone will be pulling together to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure the most effective outcomes. There is a lot of interest in cassowaries as a result of the cyclone, and if we caneffectively harness public concern it may help to leverage longer-term support for cassowary research, conservation, and habitat restoration. The speed of response from conservation groups has been amazing and will no doubt provide a vital contribution to recovery efforts.

From media reports, we’re aware that some residents in the Mission Beach area have started hand-feeding cassowaries. Please take every opportunity to discourage this. Habituation of birds to humans rarely ends well. We’ll be trying to ensure that information is disseminatedthroughout affected areas as soon as possible. We’ve also heard concerns from some of you about people speeding on the roads around Mission Beach despite the amount debris, and with cassowaries likely to be on the move this is a real concern. If you know these people, please remindthem to slow down. I think C4 has been distributing cassowary car stickers for a small donation? We’ll be happy to send some more down, just let us know.
I’ll send updates at least every few days to keep you all in the loop.

Best wishes, Deb
Deb Pople
Senior Planning Officer, Wet Tropics Management Agency

Telephone: 07 4052 0543 Facsimile: 07 4031 1364

Department of Environment and Resource Management
Level 1, Corporate Tower
15 Lake Street, Cairns QLD 4870

Also Bob Irwin, the late Steve Irwin’s father, is taking action and has established Mission Cassowary. The first priority is to establish temporary food stations and generate a driver awareness campaign to avoid a cassowary road toll in the post cyclone cleanup. They have already raised heaps of funds. They got us to broadcast the message of Mission Cassowary to all of our 4000 Bird Explorer Facebook friends.

To donate go to their website here: