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Sunday 10 June 2018

Rose-coloured Starling on Bryher

This Rose-coloured Starling showed well in the garden next to Stinking Porth on Bryher today

  Most of today I spent on Bryher and twitched the Rose-coloured Starling at Stinking Porth which has been there for the last four days. I immediately found it flying over the porth with a flock of 30 Starling. For the next hour it commuted with the nearby garden and Gweal Hill, always in company with the other Starlings. Two days ago, 2 Rose-coloured Starling were seen on Bryher with the Green Farm individual last seen on the 6th.

The heathaze didn't help while taking photos of this Rose-coloured Starling in the garden

There were a family of Great Tit near to the pool

There were also 15 Painted Lady on Bryher

And 100s of Silver Y moths

Lots of Common Blue Can anyone ID the fly?

Just as the boat pulled out from Bryher, Will Wagstaff put the news out that the Red Kite, that he found on St Mary's four days ago, was on Tresco. A few minutes later I got this record shot from the boat near to New Grimsby. This is only my 8th Red Kite for Scilly!

Back on St Mary's I had this Wheatear at Giants Castle

Female Linnet

Male Stonchat

Coots bred on Porth Hellick

On the 4th I observed 6 Collard Dove come in off the sea at Porth Hellick Down. They circled and then strongly flew higher NNE until I lost them

On the same day as the doves, while listening to a Cuckoo, at the same timethis individual flew past

For the third year running, the Otillo took place on Scilly. This was taken on Bryher after they had swam from St Mary's! Congratulations to all teams participating in this epic challenge.

The Guardian censors criticisms of May and Netanyahu 

Free Speech on Israel

Mike Cushman condemns the suppression of Steve Bell’s cartoon of Netanyahu’s meeting with May as only the latest censoring of drawings of the Israeli PM in a bonfire of morality.
The Guardian, which regards itself as Britain’s leading progressive newspaper, has censored a cartoon drawing attention to the sycophantic nature of Theresa May’s relationship to Benjamin Netanyahu.

The cartoon drawn by Steve Bell, widely regarded as Britain’s outstanding political cartoonist, is based on a press agency photo of May’s meeting with Netanyahu at 10 Downing Street.
Theresa May and Benjamin Netanyahu at Downing Street on June 6, 2018

Theresa May and Benjamin Netanyahu at Downing Street on June 6, 2018 (Photo: Getty Images)

Bell replaced the fireplace with a drawing of murdered Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar.
The Steve Bell cartoon censored for ‘antisemitism’ You tell the truth or criticise Israel it's called 'antisemitism!!' 

There has been no clear statement from the Guardian as to why this sharp but fair condemnation of the insouciance of the two prime ministers is antisemitic. This has resulted in speculation that placing Razan in the fireplace (the focal centre of the press photo) has been interpreted as an insensitive allusion to the Nazi crematoria.

Scarfe's 2013 cartoon
Scarfe’s 2013 cartoon

This action by Guardian editor Katherine Viner has been treated with widespread derision and anger on social media. It is reminiscent of the manufactured outrage over Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon of Netanyahu building the Apartheid wall on the bodies of Palestinians.

Cartoon published on May 15, 2018, by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung after Israel's Eurovision win
Cartoon published on May 15, 2018, by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung after Israel’s Eurovision win

Representations of Netanyahu provoke trouble for cartoonists in other countries as well. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung sacked its long-standing cartoonist Dieter Hanitzsc after he contrasted Israel’s Eurovision victory with Netanyahu’s bellicose record.
It appears that all criticism of Israel’s leaders is to be regarded as antisemitic when scrutinised by cartoonists no more ruthlessly than any domestic politician. This is not combatting antisemitism it is rampant censorship to conceal any reference to Israeli criminal actions. The decision to spike Bell’s fireplace is truly a bonfire of morality.
It is painful to remember that before she became editor Viner showed much more courage. She co-edited Rachel Corrie’s diaries with Alan Rickman for the powerful stage production My Name is Rachel Corrie. It seems, sadly, that in this case great power comes with the shirking of great responsibility.
Steve Bell’s message to Guardian staff
Steve Bell coped this message to Katherine Viner to all Guardian staff:
Dear Kath
I thought I’d write to you after I’d cooled down a bit, and in time for today’s morning conference (which I regret I won’t be able to attend). I took the liberty of sending the cartoon out on a global yesterday evening. I didn’t want to tweet it as this should still be an internal matter. However I do think that an unfortunate precedent has been set here.
I cannot for the life of me begin to understand criticism of the cartoon that begins by dragging in ‘wood-burning stoves’, ‘ovens’, ‘holocaust’, or any other nazi-related nonsense. That was the last thing on my mind when I drew it, I had no intention of conflating the issues of the mass murder of European Jews and Gaza. It’s a fireplace, in front of which VIP visitors to Downing Street are always pictured (see page 12 of today’s Times), and the figure of Razan al-Najjar is burning in the grate. It’s a widely known photograph of her, becoming iconic across the Arab world and the burning is of course symbolic. She’s dead, she was shot and killed by the IDF while doing her job as a medic.
I’m sorry you didn’t think it appropriate to talk to me yesterday, and I fear Katherine Butler bore the brunt of my outrage, for which I apologise to her, but forgive me for suspecting that the reason that you did not get in touch was because you did not really have an argument. The cartoon is sensitive, not tasteless, not disrespectful, and certainly contains no anti-Semitic tropes. It should have been published as it stands, but if you are still obdurate that it should remain unpublished, then I feel a duty to my subject to try and salvage something from this fiasco, and will resubmit it to you later this morning in a form that may get around some of the criticisms (to my mind wholly unjustified) that were made last night.
I do hope you can find your way to publishing it. I don’t believe that I have any divine right to have my worked published come what may, and am always prepared to take heed of substantive criticism.
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Sunday 3 June 2018

Melodious Warbler at Porth Hellick

I found this 1st summer/female Rose-coloured Starling at Green Farm this afternoon but could easily be the bird that Ritchie and Tony had briefly at Porthloo, six days ago.

  Another Sunday and another good day! Mid day, while watching a Swift in the ESE breeze over Giants Castle, Bobby 'Dazzler' Dawson let me know that he had a snatch of a song in the pine belt at the Porth Hellick side of the down which he thought might of been a sylvia warbler but didn't have time to wait around. Shortly afterwards, I found myself at the pine belt and could hear faintly a sylvia warbler further up the slope. It didn't quite sound like a sylvia warbler to me and thought maybe a Marsh Warbler and quickly recorded it and then put the news out so everyone could hopefully see it, although I had not seen myself yet. An adult Hobby passed by but by the time a few of the others had arrived, it had shut up and we never heard again. I left them to it and said I'm goin to go and search for a Rose-coloured Starling! I had the Hobby again later over Porth Hellick being mobbed by 20~House Martin followed by a Kestrel.

And here's that Marsh Warbler, I mean Melodious Warbler singing at the Porth Hellick pine belt

 And as I couldn't get the recording to work on my blog last week, here's the Great Reed Warbler croaking at Porth Hellick Beach last Sunday

And as I didn't put this recording on my blog when Mark Anderson and I found this CIRL BUNTING two years ago at Trenowth. As some birders were saying it was trash at the time because it was not seen again or they didn't see it maybe? So, for those who didn't believe us, although we both saw it, here it is singing!! Thanks to Magnus Robb and James Lidster

Much rarer than anything else today was this first COMMON HEATH MOTH for Scilly that Bobby 'Dazzler' Dawson found and took this photo at Kittidown

Distant adult Hobby over Porth Hellick

   At Green Farm Lane I found a Rose-coloured Starling! As there had been good numbers of Starling in this area and an influx of RCS in the country, I had been visiting Green Farm everyday hoping to get one. It showed well for a small crowd feeding in cut hay field. After an hour it proved to be more mobile and went missing. It wasn't until early evening after tea that Scott Reid relocated it back in the original field and here it gave us better and closer views near to the lane.

It's always good to see these stunning starlings and I expect more to turn up in the next week

Male House Sparrow

A Starling that has just taken a bath

  We both moved onto Porth Hellick to try for the Marsh Warbler. Ritchie and Robin joined us and as we waked up on the north side of the pine belt, we heard the warbler very briefly. We moved to the otherside, where Scott managed to see it very briefly before flying back into cover and identified it as a Melodious Warbler!! Bloody ell!! How can anyone make the mistake of mixing up a Marsh from a Melodious Warbler song because they sound completely different from one another? Well I did!

  On St Martins, early this evening, Viv Jackson had a Bee-eater over Middle Town towards lower Town

 Highlights in the last few days of May included, Ritchie and Tony finding a Rose-coloured Starling at Porthloo, 29th. Just as the fog had cleared, Darren Mason observed an Alpine Swift over Annet towards St Agnes, 31st and the first day of June there was a very unusual record of a female Red-footed Falcon following a cruse boat for 30 minutes off Scilly!!

From the album Trouble, out January 28, 2014 on Merge Records.