Marching On Together


Marching On Together I have had a romance with a lady since my childhood just like thousands of other people around the world who are also in love with her. I have remained in love with her through the many bad times and the few good times, my love for her has never faltered and never will. My lady's name is Leeds United and she is just five games away from returning to the English Football Premiership, after sixteen years in the football wilderness. In the sixties, seventies and early nineties my lady was known as "Super Leeds," however in 2003, my love was relegated from the English Football Premiership due to financial miss-handling by her owners. "Super Leeds," dropped down to the third tier of English football. If Leeds United can grab ten points from their last five games my lady will be back where she belongs in the higher echelons of English football and I can once more embrace my love with happiness.

Leeds 5 v 0 Stoke, 7 points needed from 4 games...

Monday, 18 November 2019

"It's the tip of the iceberg" Thousands of short-tailed shearwaters migrating from Alaska have been washing up on Sydney's iconic beaches but death rate of Alaskan seabirds is unprecedented

Photo Credit Daily Mail

Thousands of short-tailed shearwaters migrating from Alaska have been washing up on Sydney's iconic beaches, with who knows how many more dying out at sea in what could be confirmation of incredible fish shortages in the Pacific Ocean. The corpses have been spotted at several shorelines including Bondi, Manly and Cronulla. The birds are migrating back to southern Australia to breed after spending the summer in Alaska. But, according to experts, a higher number than usual are dying on the way due to a lack of food. The birds need to be at full strength to make the 14,000km trip over the Pacific but the krill and other fish they feed on have apparently dwindled due to sea temperatures rising.

BirdLife Australia has rendered the problem a 'crisis'. In a statement on its website, the group says: 'For the fifth consecutive year, the sea surface temperatures off Alaska have been unusually warm, which has led to a dire shortage of the shearwaters' marine prey, resulting in thousands of dead shearwaters being washed ashore along Alaska's beaches. 'According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they died of starvation. 'It wasn't a single event, though; instead, it was a series of catastrophic die-offs. 'Starting in late June, these die-offs continued along different sections of the Alaskan coast, occurring progressively further south, through into August. 'Numerous shearwaters also washed up on Russia's Chukotka Peninsula as well. 'Although many thousands of birds were found dead and dying on the beach, this is likely the tip of the iceberg.'

It is the tip of the iceberg!


2019 Alaska Seabird Die-off

Date: September 9, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—In May 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) began receiving reports of dead and dying seabirds from the northern Bering and Chukchi seas, including near Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

From late June to early August, thousands of Short-tailed Shearwaters were reported dead and washing up on beaches in the Bristol Bay region, or observed weak and attempting to feed on salmon gillnets in inland waters. By mid-August, the shearwater die-off had extended north, in smaller numbers but widespread locations, into the northern Bering and Chukchi seas along the coasts of Alaska and the Chukotka Peninsula of Russia. Puffins, murres, and auklets are also being reported, but at much lower numbers than shearwaters. Additionally, live Short-tailed Shearwaters have been observed in large numbers this August in the Gulf of Alaska, along the coasts of Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords national parks, and bays of Kodiak Island. It is unusual to see this species in high abundance in these areas, as it is typically offshore and comes from the southern hemisphere to forage in the Bering and Chukchi seas during the summer and fall.

Photo credit adn.com
Historically, seabird die-offs have occurred occasionally in Alaska; however, large die-off events have occurred each year since 2015. (TBW Quote: millions of small dead sea birds have been reported dead annually since 2015, this year it's Short-tailed Shearwaters but recent years have seen puffins, murres, and auklets dying thought to be due to starvation).  

Consistently, dead birds examined from the Bering and Chukchi seas during these recent die-offs were determined to have died due to starvation. Seabird carcasses from the 2019 die-off events were collected from multiple locations and sent to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center for examination and testing. Initial results indicate starvation as the cause of death for most locations. However, in southeast Alaska, exposure to saxitoxin (a biotoxin associated with paralytic shellfish poisoning) was linked in June to a localized die-off of breeding Arctic Terns.

The Big Wobble has been reporting an unprecedented seabird die-off in Alaska and Canada since 2015.
Climate change is considered by scientists as a significant contributor to seabird declines with reports of British species such as terns and kittiwakes facing an uncertain future as sea temperatures rise.
Puffins, in particular, have suffered enormous losses in recent years and a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature in April warned the iconic species was at risk of extinction.
Thousands of dead seabirds have been found washed ashore on sites from islands in the Bering Sea to villages north of the Bering Strait, signs of another large die-off in the warmed-up waters of the North Pacific Ocean. (The actual numbers will be in the millions as most will die at sea.)
The dead birds are mostly northern fulmars and short-tailed shearwaters, species that migrate long distances to spend summers in waters off Alaska and other northern regions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported.
Also in the mix are some kittiwakes, murres and auklets, the federal agency said.
The cause is being investigated.
Necropsies so far show that the birds are emaciated - with no food in their stomachs or intestines and little or no fat on their bodies.
"Right now, we know that they are starving to death and can't hold their heads above water, and they're drowning," said Ken Stenek, a teacher in Shishmaref and volunteer in a program that monitors seabirds.
The precise toll is unclear.
The new die-off follows a massive loss of common murres in 2015 and 2016, 2017 and 2018, the biggest murre die-off on record in Alaska, and a precursor to near-total reproductive failures for murres in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering.
It also follows the deaths of thousands of puffins found last fall on St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs and, prior to that, mass deaths of murres and auklets along the U.S. West Coast.
In each death wave, starving birds have left emaciated carcasses, and each wave has been associated with unusually warm marine waters. 

The University Of Aberdeen has issued the latest depressing news of a catastrophic die-off, this time the unfortunate species is the world's seabirds.
Due to overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution, populations have dropped by an incredible 70% since the 1970s, (can you imagine if the worlds human population fell by 70% in just 50 years?)
Scientists compared two time periods – 1970 to 1989 and 1990 to 2010 – to assess the degree of competition seabirds faced for prey species such as anchovy, mackerel and squid.
According to the Independent, the team then estimated the annual consumption of those prey species for nearly 300 varieties of seabird, based on population counts and models.
This was then compared to annual catches by fishing boats as contained in the Sea Around Us world database.
The scientists found that the total annual seabird consumption decreased from 70 to 57 millions of tonnes over the study period, while annual fishery catches increased from 59 to 65 millions tonnes over the same period.
"Our research shows, that despite the decline of the world seabird community between 1970-1989 and 1990-2010, competition with fisheries remained sustained," said the study's lead author Dr Aurore Ponchon from the University of Aberdeen.
"This competition was even enhanced in almost half the oceans.
"This enhanced competition, in addition to other factors such as pollution, predation by invasive species on chicks, the destruction and changes in their habitat by human activities and environmental changes caused by climate change, puts seabirds at risk, making them the most threatened bird group.”
She added: "This study calls for improved management of the world's fisheries to alleviate competition pressure on seabird populations."