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Archive for the ‘Nature & Eco Stuff’ Category

Lazy Post no. 14 – Sammy the Seal…

April 21, 2014 1 comment

P1050889_cropOver Easter we had the very good fortune to see of all things, a seal in the Millwall Inner Dock here on the Isle of Dogs…

There was a small group watching the water around one of the rafts that the nesting birds use, where the seal carrying what appeared to be a length of plastic pipe, was doing his best to annoy the coots on the raft.

One of the people there said they’d seen the seal two weeks previously and it had the pipe with it then as well. At one point the seal disappeared below the surface and then a couple of minutes later, rose vertically out of the water clutching the pipe, looked around a few times and then sank straight back down again, still holding the pipe. I’ve never seen anything like it…

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Searching the web, it seems that the seals name is Sammy and he’s been here for about 13 years.. Which is not quite as long as I’ve been here, and begs the  question, why didn’t I know about him before now?

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Anyway, it seems the fishmongers at Billingsgate Market up at the top of the island have been feeding him salmon all these years, which is why he stays presumably.

This is a link to a BBC news report from last year which shows Sammy in action…

A Trip to Iceland…

March 14, 2014 2 comments

Iceland_1There will be no posts for a while as next week I are mostly be in Iceland…

Thanks to my lovely girlfriend, who bought us the holiday for christmas, I’m fulfilling a long held dream of mine, to go and experience some of the most amazing, almost primeval landscapes in one of the least populated countries in the world…

So weather permitting, we will be putting on our big coats and boots and heading out to do and see everything we can: Reykjavik, the Northern lights, volcanoes, geothermal pools, tectonic fissures, frozen waterfalls, snow, ice, crystal clear lakes, The Blue Lagoon and boiling geysers. I can’t wait…

It’s my guess that this trip might generate some new ideas for blog posts, but until that happens, here are some pics stolen from the web. How amazing does it all look?

As an aside, the first image reminds me of that age old conundrum: Why is it that Iceland (which is mostly green) is called Iceland and Greenland (which is mostly covered in ice) is called Greenland… ?

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Blue-Lagoon

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A Walrus on an Iceberg…

August 23, 2013 2 comments

I saw this photo by Daniel Beltra, in yesterday’s papers and apart from the obvious political and social implications of climate change and our atrocious record of looking after our home planet, I couldn’t help but wonder…   how on earth did that big old walrus get up onto that thin shelf of ice..

Did he jump, did he first choose that spot several months ago and has been waiting patiently as the iceberg melts around him for the friendly Greenpeace photographer to arrive at just the right moment. Maybe he was put there by a helicopter and asked to pose for his portrait… My friend Archie has suggested that he probably just waited until high tide…

And how far must the iceberg extend underwater to be able to counterbalance such a big animal so perfectly…

I’ve no idea whatsoever, but it seems to me to be an image that should inspire us into doing whatever we can to ensure such wonders will always be possible…

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Stop Overfishing Now…

January 31, 2013 3 comments

I seem to be continuing in a bit of an eco-political mood at the moment, with a brilliant example of animated graphic art catching my eye…

This very stylish video, made by the German Design studio UHS (where you’ll find lots of other very cool stuff) explains in a beautifully simple and clear way how overfishing will potentially empty our oceans within the next 50 years and was made as part of last years Ocean 2012 campaign to raise awareness of the issue, reform EU Fishing Policy and bring about an end to destructive fishing practices.

Having been a vegetarian for the last 25 years or so, and having not eaten any fish at all since I was about 8, this of course doesn’t apply to me, which means I can appreciate the stunning graphics and inventive storyline without guilt or worry…

If only it were that simple, some of the numbers in this presentation are very, very scary…

  • estimated 90% drop in fish stocks over the last 60 years
  • fishing nets with openings greater than 23,000 sqm
  • 9kg of fish are thrown back for every 1kg of shrimp caught (i.e. 90% of the catch is thrown away)
  • 5kg of captured wild fish are needed to feed every 1kg of farmed salmon
  • 10,000 tonnes/ year (recommended scientific limit for catches of blue fin tuna to allow sustainable stocks) 29,500 t/y (EU Fisheries agreed limit)  61,000 t/y (the actual amount caught)

To my mind it comes down to thinking about what you eat and asking yourself where it came from and how it got to be on your plate…

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