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Archive for September 27th, 2008

Image: allposters.com

From Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 1601:

DUKE ORSINO:
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.

Swallows in Durban – see the news article in this entry from ENS news

Enjoy “Village Swallows” by  Mantovani and his orchestra. It is a composition by Josef Strauss, one of the Strauss-brothers.

 

hmmm…just what I need…flowers and chocolates!! and on this video…the music of Strauss…”Roses from the South”

Swallow Flocks and World Cup Airport Try Coexistence

DURBAN, South Africa, November 12, 2007 (ENS) – This year, as five million barn swallows migrate from across Europe to roost in South Africa’s Mt. Moreland Reedbed, they will be greeted by air traffic controllers. The controllers will be waiting to warn pilots of the swallow flocks coming in to land so that bird-plane collisions can be avoided.

The plan to protect the birds was announced Monday at a ceremony at the reedbed, attended by the nonprofit conservation group BirdLife South Africa.

The decision to protect the swallows was made in response to global outcry last November, when BirdLife outlined its concern about the expansion of La Mercy Airport at Durban, in preparation for South Africa’s hosting of World Cup 2010.

The airport is being expanded to handle traffic expected for the soccer event and the KwaZulu Natal government wants to see the project completed by 2009.

The Airports Company of South Africa, which administers the existing Durban International Airport, owns the La Mercy land where the $8 billion King Shaka International Airport is under construction, 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Durban.

The new airport is expected to replace Durban International, which will be decommissioned. But for the swallows at the Mt. Moreland Reedbed, without special planning and accomodation, the airport would have been deadly.

Both the reed bed and Mount Moreland are situated South West of the proposed development are aligned exactly with the proposed runway and so are in the flight patch of aircraft leaving or arriving the airport.

The controllers at La Mercy Airport have been among those watching the millions of birds come in this year from all over eastern and western Europe. They will leave again at the onset of winter.
The threat that planes at an expanded La Mercy Airport would pose to the swallows roosting at the reedbed, among Africa’s largest roosts, was put across by conservationists and BirdLife partner organizations throughout Europe.The barn swallow, Hirundo rustica, undertakes one of the world’s most remarkable migrations. The birds fly thousands of miles from southern Africa in spring to breed in Europe and then repeat the feat in reverse in the autumn, to winter back in Africa.

“This has been a fantastic result, and we’re delighted to report on this outcome after a year of negotiations and meetings. The support of so many people via letters and petitions has played an important part.” said Neil Smith, conservation manager at BirdLife South Africa, which led the campaign.

The Airports Company of South Africa has been supportive of making accommodations for the birds.

“Since our campaign started, the Airports Company of South Africa has really come on board, quickly realizing the importance of this site as a reedbed of international significance,” said Smith.

Following BirdLife’s complaint, consultants were brought in to examine the roosting and flocking behavior of the swallows, using advanced radar imagery. They confirmed that constant monitoring of the swallow movements during take-off and landing of aircraft would be required.

The Airports Company of South Africa now says it will install in the airport control tower the same advanced radar technology that the consultants used to study the movement of the swallows.

This will mean that planes can take the option of circling or approaching from another angle when large flocks of swallows form over the reedbed site in the late evening.

Environmental management staff will be employed to make sure that suitable management of the reedbed continues, the airports company said.

Bird conservationists feel somewhat reassured about the swallows’ future. “Losing such a valuable site could have affected breeding swallow populations across Europe,” said Dr. Ian Burfield, Birdlife’s European research and database manager.

“Conserving migratory birds is about more than ensuring one site is protected or well managed,” said Burfield. “It takes global effort: at breeding sites, at stopover sites during migration, and at important non-breeding sites like this, where large numbers of birds roost.

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