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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Velvet Scoter at Trench Pool

1st winter male Velvet Scoter in me backyard was the my forth for Shropshire!  

  I returned from Palestine on the 26th and the following morning I had a look at a distant 1st winter male Scaup at Prisorlee Lake and then twitched for a male GREEN-WINGED TEAL that was found while I was away at Venus Pool by Jim Almond. The teal was my third for Shropshire and it stayed at far side opposite the main middle hide in the 45 minutes that I was there. No sign of the Pink-footed Goose, but also while I was away, an amazing record of 6 Tundra Bean Geese were discovered at Chelmarsh! All were still present today except for the pink-foot.

Took this photo of the Scaup at Prisorlee lake from the car

The male GREEN-WINGED TEAL was always distant. The first GWT for Salop that I managed to see was also at Venus Pool in '96 found by Pete Nickless. 

   The next day Dave Troman discovered a Velvet Scoter at Trench Pool! However, with my phone lost somewhere in Palestine and I was very busy throughout the day, I didn't know anything about the scoter until it was dark. First thing this morning, a minute drive from the house, just as the sun was rising, I relocated it in the gull roost. Very happy that I got this mega at all places, Trench Pool after the Long-tailed Duck, two year ago at the same site, I had to take my daughter to collage and then returned to spend some time with the scoter. It was trying to feed close to the bank on the NE side, but many times was flushed by dog walkers and flew around to settle down near the center. This is my forth for Salop and if it wasn't for the individual that wintered in both Staffs and Salop over two years ago, then it would of been over twenty years ago that one was recorded in the county when I had a single at Newtonmere in April! Before that, there was an immature that overwintered at the sailing lake, Venus, 1990-91.
  I couldn't work out why so many large gulls were coming in from the north as they normally come from the WSW. With them was an adult Yellow-legged Gull. It was later when I saw the main man, Dave Troman, and he told me that a tip had opened at Hortonwood. That's a few minutes away as the crow flies. Trench Pool could pull in some good gulls this winter as it did two winters ago when I had a single Little, Iceland and Glaucous and a few Yellow-legged and 2 Caspian Gull, all in over a week!

  I also met Pete Nickless at the pool and he showed me pics of a ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD taken at Whixall Moss last Thursday, 25th!! It was taken by a non-birder and was only identified later. Everyone needs this one for Salop! With a Great Grey Shrike and a male Hen Harrier at Whixall today, I might give it try or shall I go to Chelmarsh first thing in the morning to catch the 2nd winter RING-BILLED GULL that Tom Lowe found this evening!! Salop is goin through one hell of a purple patch at the moment!!

Adult Yellow-legged Gull

Many times the scoter was flushed by dog walkers only to return again. Hopefully it will settle down and overwinter on the small pool. Great find by Dave Troman's. I think you can see his house just behind the dog walker while just to the right out of the photo is where me parents live. In fact, is that me mom walking on the bank!?

What I observed in Palestine, it's not if but when Israel take over? 

A protest I took part in with the Palestinians at Beli'n. Note the Israeli solders waiting for us at the top of the slope.  

  I'm sure that most of you saw the exchange fire between the two countries in 2014, where you would of seen Gaza targeted and Hamas fireing rockets into Israel. Gaza was badly damaged and lives were lost on both sides with 1000's in Gaza. It all started on 8th July when Israel hit Gaza. The stated aim of the Israeli operation was to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, which increased after an Israeli crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank was launched following the 12 June kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by two Hamas members.[31][32][33] Conversely, Hamas's goal was to bring international pressure to bear to lift Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, end Israel's offensive, obtain a third party to monitor and guarantee compliance with a ceasefire,[34] release Palestinian prisoners and overcome its political isolation.[35] Some claim Israel was the first, on 13 June, to break the ceasefire agreement with Hamas that had been in place since November 2012.[36] However, Israel argues its air raids on Gaza are responses to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. In the Western world, Hamas are looked at as terrorist and I can't understand why? The US government saw that it was no problem with Israel killing Palestinians in their 1000's.
  When you read below what I observed in the West Bank, you will understand that Israel are the real terrorist. Just like the USA and our government!

  While driving around the West Bank, everywhere you looked there was an Israeli settlement perched on top of hills or in the valleys. A number of settlements have Israeli military basses in them. The settlements can hold between 1000-400 000 people and are all fenced off to protect them from Palestinians. However, it's the Israeli's living at the settlements who attack the Palestinians and as a result Internationalist are drafted in to protect the locals from being attacked. Speaking to Robert, an Internationalist from Norway, he told me that there were five of them in one village protecting the folks who live there from attacks. In this one particular village, the inhabitants have already been forced out from threats and attacks and returned when Robert and his team arrived to protect them. This is happening all around a lot of settlements and while in the old city of Hebron, Israeli's have forced Palestinians out of their homes and moved in. Any Palestinian that got trapped had to stay and now they go through checkpoints if they want to move around in the area. At these checkpoints, many of them have been killed. Just a week ago, a sixteen year old girl was shot at one of the checkpoints I went through!

This is the checkpoint where the 16 year old girl was shot and killed

  As I stated before, the corrupt UN look after the refugee camps in the West Bank but don't do anything to stop the Israeli government from bulldozing Palestinian homes. They could stop the whole process of more homeless people arriving at the camps before it's even started. It's bullshit!
  Groups of Israeli civilians walked past me and Palestinians and many of the Israeli's, young and old, had sub-machine guns over their shoulders! They live side by side and Palestinians are constantly attacked psychically and verbally. Cages were set up to stop the Palestinians from being hit by missiles or raw sewage. As I observed, the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) watch every move you make from checkpoints or high up in towers. I was only there for a few hours and it felt like I was in a prison. The Palestinians are living in hell!

Israeli's walk up and down freely on Palestinian land and many of them hold sub-machine guns! 

Cages to protect the Palestinians from being hit with missiles from the Israeli's

The Israeli and Palestinians live side by side and make it living hell for the locals. I took this photo on Palestinian land and the large building in front of me is also on Palestinian land but occupied by Israeli's

This used to be a Palestinian school. Now it's home for the intruders

On the occupied land the Israeli flag is everywhere to show you how much ground they have stolan from the Palestinians

  There are so many children, from 8-16, taken away to Israeli prisons where they are tortured or stay there for many years. I put a video on here in the past of an IOF taking pot shots at Palestinian children playing football and he hits one in the leg! Shortly afterwards he is congratulated by his mates.

  The IOF have total control of land, sea and air and you could hear fighter jets flying over most of the time. The Palestinian Police have control of the cities. However, that's not true as the IOF can come in, without warning, and take or kill whoever they want. This happened the day before I arrived next to hostel I stayed in at Ramallah. I also was in one of the coffe clubs sitting next a window with two bullet holes still in it from the second Intifada in 2000.

  Outside the city, you knew when you were on an Israeli built road as they were new and in very good shape. The roads built by Palestinians were old, crumbling with pot holes. The way I see it is that you've got all these settlements all over the West Bank with half a million Israeli's living in them. I observed more settlements being built and surly it's only a matter of time that the Israeli government will stop the Palestinians from using these connecting roads to the cities and towns and it's only used by Israeli's. I looked at all the settlements surrounding me and then I looked at the road that I'm on that's controlled by the IOF. For any road offence they can take away your licence or even your car if they want.
  It don't matter what road you were on, the Palestinians drive so fast that we all couldn't wait to get off the vehicle we were in. Also the Israeli's also are very fast as I observed from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to get to the West Bank.

Israeli police controlling the roads of Palestine

  I went to a protest in Beli'n and the IOF were lined up across the road to stop you goin anycloser to the 'wall' which was half a mile away. If you get anywhere near the 'wall' the IOF are on your back immediately. The apartheid wall was built to stop suicide bombers from getting into Israel. When they built the wall, they encroached even further on to Palestinian land and built settlements on both sides of the wall. So, you build a wall to stop Palestinians from killing Israeli's and then you continue to erect homes inside the wall. I can't get my head around that one.

A very brave Israeli holding high the Palestinian flag

Give it a few months and more Israeli's will be moving in

Israeli settlement deep in the heart of the country, Palestine

The apartheid wall to keep the Palestinians out from killing Israeli's. However, Israel continue to bulldoze their country and build 1000's of homes on it! 

    Here is an example of a settlement that was built in 1978 and now holds over 18,000.

Ariel is an Israeli settlement and city in the central West Bank, part of the Israeli-occupied territories, approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of the Green Line and 34 kilometres (21 mi) west of the Jordan border. Ariel was first established in 1978 and its population was 18,717 in 2015, composed of veteran and young Israelis, English-speaking immigrants, and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, with an additional influx of 10,000 students. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit, and Ma'ale Adumim.

Israeli settlements are Jewish[1][2] Israeli civilian communities[i] built on lands occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.[3]Such settlements currently exist in the West BankEast Jerusalem, and in the Golan Heights. Settlements previously existed in the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip until Israel evacuated the Sinai settlements following the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace agreement and from the Gaza Strip in 2005 under Israel's unilateral disengagement plan. Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, and all 21 in the Gaza Strip and 4 in the West Bank in 2005,[4] but continues to both expand its settlements and settle new areas in the West Bank,[5][6][7][8][9] despite pressure to desist from the international community. According to the Israeli investigative reporter Uri Blau, settlements are massively funded by private tax-exempt U.S. NGOs, to the tune of $220 million for 2009-2013 alone, suggesting that the U.S. is indirectly subsidizing their creation.[10]
The international community considers the settlements in occupied territory to be illegal,[11] and the United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.[12][13] Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and communities in the Golan Heights, the latter of which has been annexed by Israel, are also considered settlements by the international community, which does not recognise Israel's annexations of these territories.[14] The International Court of Justice also says these settlements are illegal in a 2004 advisory opinion.[15][16][17] In April 2012, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, in response to moves by Israel to legalise Israeli outposts, reiterated that all settlement activity is illegal, and "runs contrary to Israel's obligations under the Road Map and repeated Quartet calls for the parties to refrain from provocations."[18] Similar criticism was advanced by the EU and the US.[19][20] Israel disputes the position of the international community and the legal arguments that were used to declare the settlements illegal

  The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. Consider!? It's illegal to occupy another countries land. So why isn't anything being done about it?

  Maybe this is one of the reasons. Our PMs husband, Philip May, has shares in both tax avoiding Amazon and Starbucks. Of  the latter, every time you buy a drink, a penny is taken away and goes to the Israeli army! How can that be? Maybe it's because Starbucks is owned by the zionist, Howard Schultz 

  I could give you so many other reasons why. When I introduced myself to a Palestinian, who had lived in Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp in Jericho all his life, he asked me where I was from?
  'All this blood and tears is all your fault!' I knew this already and he was so right.

Schwarzenegger & De Niro Help Raise Record $38 Million For IDF in One Night!

Last night, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised a record $38 million at its annual Western Region Gala in Beverly Hills. Celebrity guests in attendance included Julie Bowen, Gerard Butler, Robert De Niro, Joanna Krupa and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What makes DeNiro smile? Beautiful IDF women, apparently (Photo Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld/AJR Photography)
Gerard Butler knows a good thing (Photo Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld/AJR Photography)
This is pretty scarey stuff! Pro Israeli and zionist raised 38 million for the IOF! 
Roger Waters is losing millions for telling the truth of Israeli's occupation over Palestine

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Jericho Refugee Camp, Palestine

I made a visit to Aqbat Jaber Refugee Camp, Jericho, West Bank. It is one of the sixty camps in Palestine and this camp holds over 6400 refugees. The sign says 'This project is a gift from the American people to the people of Palestine' Somehow I don't think the American Government was involved in it as it supports Israel and not Palestine!

  A few days ago, I cycled the 3km south from the hostel, Auberg-Inn, to a refugee camp, Aqbat Jaber, on the outskirts of Jericho, eastern West Bank. With me was a Dutch girl who works in a refugee camp back in her home country. Here, the inhabitants first came to the camp from central Palestine after there homes were destroyed by the Israeli's in 1948. More arrived in the six day war in 1967 and today Palestinians are still arriving as homes continue to be bulldozed by the Israeli Government.

  Walking around the camp and you could see that in some areas it was run down. The smell was very intense and you had to cover your nose. What it did remind me of was being back in Peru and Nepal. Litter everywhere, buildings empty or in some cases, burnt down, very dirty and that smell that you just couldn't get away from. Homes were in the process of being built. Outside the camp, the Palestine that I've observed so far has been in good shape. In fact, this camp is what I and others that I've spoken to who are visiting the country, were expecting the West Bank to look like.

  We visited the only hostel inside and spoke to the owner about the camp as he's been there all his life.  As we already knew the reason why the Palestinians were still turning up and that's because their homes are being flattered to make way for Israeli settlements. I asked 'If the camp is being run by the UN, to stop the refugees continuing to arrive here or any other camp in the first place, then why wont the UN intervene and demand that the Israeli Government to stop breaking international law by bulldozing 1000's of homes? He totally agreed with me and told us that the UN is corrupt! We both knew that the UN was corrupt already.

  Water is a scarce here and creates a major problem in this desert area. The Israeli's take advantage of this problem and it is now the main supplier of water as well as electricity to the camp.  The unemployment rate is 28% and is affected by the unacceptability of the Israeli labour market. Residents of the camp, work in agriculture land in the Jorden Valley or in the many increasing Israeli settlements.

The hostel is on the left

For a population of 6400 refugees, the camp only has two schools and centres include, one food distribution, one women's program, three health, one children's and one community-based rehabilitation centre.  All photos above were taken by Marieke Smit

The day before we visited the Monastery of Temptation which is located in a cliff face over looking Jericho and the Jorden Valley just up road from the hostel. It was built in the 6th century, CE above the cave apparently jesus hung out for forty days and nights.

A Greek monk over looking Jericho from the monastery.

If you do visit Jericho then I recommend this hostel, Auberg-Inn

And this is the view from Area D Hostel where I stayed in Ramallah Both hostels were clean, very welcome and friendly

  I didn't see much of the wildlife in the area as I would of liked to as I was here to find out for myself what was goin on in Palestine as you cannot count on the media. I did manage to get half a day in the desert and saw some cracking birds as well as a Spiny-footed Lizard and the most poisoners scorpion, Deathstalker. Both I found by turning rocks over.

This very obliging Blackstart was below the monastery

Up to 8 Tristrams's Starling were also in the area and saw larger flocks later on

Red-vained Darter were all over the shop by the hostel

White-crowned Wheatear

Mourning Wheatear

Desert lark

Sand Partridge


This Spur-winged Plover was next to the refugee camp

Spanish Sparrow

Southern Grey Shrike

Graceful Warbler

Crested Lark

Hoopoe in the hostel garden

Brown-necked Raven

What is the chances of this happening!? The first song that came on my random of over 3000 songs on my spotify when I first got to Jericho was the great Joe Strummer, 'Get down Moses' where he says in the song 'The gates of Jericho!'