Sunday, 30 August 2009

Cheering-up bird 6- Brown Pelican

Photograph by Gary M. Stolz/USFWS

Pelicans always seem to have a strange, slightly bashful expression to them- like a small, shy child. That, combined with their awkward gait on land makes them even more endearing than a seabird should be...

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Christian the Lion

It was a great privilege to watch the story of "Christian"-the lion on the Eden channel this evening. He was a Lion-cub bought in Harrod's pet department in the 1960s, when such things were legal, and reared in London by two Australians, before eventually being released in the wild in Kenya. Christian's former owners- John Rendell and Ace Bourke - visited him in the wild twice.

Unfortunately, the programme is not available for download from the Eden website, however, wikipedia has some more information on him here-

Some of the footage from the documentary is also in this video on you tube -

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Quote of the Week- The wonderful laws of nature- Michael Faraday

I'm posting this week's quote a little early, in honour of its author- Michael Faraday, who died on this day in 1867.

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature." - Michael Faraday (22/9/1791- 25/8/1867)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Cheering-up bird 5- Bird of Paradise

Cheering up bird number 5 is a bird of paradise

So many birds of paradise look truly ridiculous, as well as magnificent.
This image comes from the royalty-free image site and is acredited to "chirio", 2007.

Another of my personal favourite species is the Raggiana Bird of Paradise,which can be seen here - . The male of this species compounds his outlandish appearance by hanging upside down from branches whilst throwing his feathers above his head in a display to impress females.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Quote of the Week- Importance of applicability- the Buddha

"An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea. "- The Buddha

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Autumn colours...

In place of a cheering-up bird this week, I would like to draw your attention to these wonderful pictures of Autumn by Victor Eredel-

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Oldest known wild golden eagle dies

-A Golden Eagle- image from with thanks to the photographer- Watson NPS.

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported the death of the oldest known wild golden eagle in Britain off the coast of Scotland.

The bird was one of around 440 breeding pairs of golden eagles in the UK and its body was found on the Isle of Jura by a member of the public. The animal was tagged some 22 years ago, when it was still a chick and was six years older than the previous oldest known wild golden eagle.

On average, Golden Eagles have wingspans of over 2 m (7 ft) and are up to 1 m (or 3 ft) in length. They occupy large territories and feed upon rodents such as rabbits and marmots, as well as reptiles, birds, fish, carrion and sometimes even insects.

The telegraph’s article can be accessed here: , which has an impressive, royalty-free wildlife image library can be accessed here

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Quote of the Week - A Lagendijk- science creates order

“Only science creates order in the inevitable increase of disorder”
Prof A. Lagendijk, University of Amsterdam.

Website Live

I am happy to say that my website-

is now live- at last!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Ostrich feathers

Aerial view of ostrich feathers- taken from a wooden platform above a live ostrich, The Biblical Zoo, Jerusalem
(c) Victoria Neblik, 2008.

Science News 12th August

It has been a very eventful week in terms of science and wildlife news.
This is a round-up of the best of today's science news from the internet...
(I first published this summary online at:- squidoo- )

"Yahoo is running a press release from ITN on suggestions that have been made by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs that a plant responsible for herbal "highs" should be banned due to the dangerous chemicals it contains and the risk of paranoia and panic attacks

The Times newspaper expands on this story, noting that "the marijuana-type high that users get from [this plant- ] "Spice" comes from a synthetic cannabinoid four or five times as potent as THC, the main psyschoactive substance in cannabis."
Yahoo is also reporting that Somerset and Norfolk are being deluged by swarms of ladybirds

and a notice advising about a spectacular meteor shower anticipated for tonight. The sight, which is due to the annual Perseid meteor shower is reaching its peak is expected to be visible in the UK, with the best views will in the northwest of Scotland , the north of England and the Midlands.

Meanwhile, the news section of Wikipedia's homepage today announces good news for
the critically endangered Slender-billed Vulture with the
the first successful captive breeding of the bird announced in India. The population of the Slender Billed Vulture, as well as those of the two other vulture species were devastated across the Asian continent by the use of Volterol (also known as "diclofenac")- a pain medicine used in cattle that is deadly to vultures. Birds died in vast numbers after feasting on the carcases of cows that had been treated with the medicine.
The success was due to joint efforts between the RSPB and the Zoological Society of London and the two chicks that hatched and are being independently cared for in Haryana and West Bengal.
The news was also published by the BBC's website at

Finally, The Sun newspaper, which never shies away from a chance to show appealing animal photos, is building on the story, published just about everywhere yesterday of an elephant falling into a hole by reprinting the image, along with a series of 7 similar pictures

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


(copyright, V. Neblik, 2009)

Friday, 7 August 2009

Quote of the Week- Making mistakes- Frank Wilczek

"If you don't make mistakes, you're not working on hard enough problems. And that's a big mistake" - Frank Wilczek. Nobel Prize winner in physics, 2004

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Cheering-up Sloth

Today I am departing from my periodic "cheering up bird" formula to direct you to this wonderful baby sloth picture. As always, this is more about the "awh" factor than scientific progress, but I think more than worthy of the detour...

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Quote of the Week- Problem solving- Albert Einstein

“The world we have made today, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level at which we created them”- Albert Einstein.

Twycross Zoo- monkey-birth.

There seems to be so much bad news about wildlife, destruction of the earth etc., that it was great to hear that in mid June, Twycross Zoo succeeded in breeding a very endearing Red Titi monkey -