Category Archives: Uncle Davey's Natural Selection

I love nature. This section contains everything that falls within that interest area.

Copenhagen giraffe gaffe and how the Daily Topheegrill’s mods are in a world of their own.


Greetings from a nice warm spot by the window with a blizzard going on outside, here in Moscow.

I had a comment squelched by the Daily Telegrumph Moderator today, but that’s fine. I saved it, and can reproduce it here, where there is freedom of speech.

It was all about the fate of the Danish giraffe, Marius, who got ethnically cleansed for not being good enough for the ScandinAryan giraffe gene pool and fed to lions in Copenhagen Zoo as shown below (photo taken from Tumblywhump as compensation for wasting my time – that’s after all what it amounts to when a moderator squelches one of my finely-crafted commentaaages).

MARIUS-DEAD_2816345k-460x288

This was sad because a billionaire in America had offered to take Marius to a retirement home for giraffes in Beverley Hills and given a load of money even for him to Copenhagen zoo, but the director of the zoo was adamant that Marius was for the chop. So unceremoniously they killed him and carved him up and fed him to lions in front of the parents an children visiting the zoo.

That’s the background.

My comment was as follows:

  • Where are the so-called “Islamic fundamentalists” when you need them? When the Danes draw some funny pictures of a bloke in a turban, they come out and make a terrific fuss, but now, when they really is something rotten in the state of Denmark, as in rotting giraffes being fed to lions, they keep as quiet as a mouse and have nothing to say? Haven’t they read the verse where it says “انت سوف لا اذبح خاصتك الثيران الأسير، بقرات، وغيرها من البهائم الطاهرة وتتغذى منه إلى الأسود، لم يكن أي من خاصتك حمار وحشي والزرافات والإبل والحمير وإلاند. ولا رئيس ولا ذيل ولا قدم ولا الأسلحة ولا أرجل ولا أجنحة ولا الجسم منهم انت سوف يسبب إلى أن تستهلك من قبل قط كبير “, “Thou shalt not slay thy captive oxen, kyne, and other clean beasts and feed thereof to lions, neither of thy zebras, camelopards, okapis, quaggas and elends. Neither the head nor the tail nor the feet nor the arms nor legs nor wings nor body of them shalt thou cause to be consumed by a large cat” (Sura 345.6)

Evidently there is little freedom of speech in the UK these days as I noted that this gem of mine was quickly removed even though the readers of the Tellygrump had managed to vote it up quite strongly in a short time and retweet it around the internet a bit. None of their readers disagreed or wanted to take issue with it, or vote it down, only to support it or vote it up. So how come their moderators are so out of synch with the tastes and opinions of their readership?

Junkalists are the first ones to weep and wail and gnash their smelly teeth when anyone curtails their freedom of the press (which they rarely take proper advantage of anyway) but they will happily curtail that of their own stakeholders the readership with never a care. Thankfully I have my own blog and can have my say anyhow without the by-your-leave of some wannabe Fleet Street hack who got confined to the backroom moderating the online version of the Tuffygroll.

Fish aren’t vegetables, are they?


This is my own work, Photo by Gila Brand. Bask...

Many changes have been made to taxonomy since I was a schoolboy and had a basic grasp of what went in what kingdom, phylum, class, order, family and genus, but when I last checked, fish STILL weren’t vegetables.

I don’t want to get unduly Aristotelian, Linnean, Cladistic or othewise dogmatic about it, but I think it stands to reason that vegetables include many things, but rather not fish.

I understand that you can debate about whether a tomato is fruit or a vegetable.  Or that a mushroom is a fungus rather than a vegetable, and also that nori is made of algae and green drinks from spirogyra so even these things are not really “vegetables” either, so one has to be a bit flexible with the definition of what is a vegetable when following a vegetarian diet. Basically, though, if something can move around at will, an individual going from place to place, it’s highly likely that it isn’t a vegetable. There are some corals which don’t get out much, and are still animals, but there aren’t really any vegetables which go walkies – not outside the novels of John Wyndham like the Triffids, anyhow.

So why, then, am I continually being offered things like tuna and herrings when I say that I am a vegetarian in Poland? Do people here genuinely believe that fish are vegetables? Do they think that tuna and herrings photosynthesise and put down roots or something? What’s up with these phoney fish vegetables people give offering me here?

Sealy Phocas (South Africa series 4/10)


Playout date: 14 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Hout Bay, Cape Town
Other people featured: David Uncleborough, Afrikaaner boat captain, Viktor Dmitrievitch Huliganov, Pierre Delauney
Genre: Environmental
Music used:  Heaven for Everyone, Queen
Languages used: English, but with Russian and French words for seal.
Animals featured: Arctocephalus pussilus, Cape fur seal

I rarely do a lot of different voices on one video, but this is one occasion. I do what I hope is a passable
impersonation of David Attenborough (I called this character David Uncleborough and he comes up a couple of times in my films), and also I do a South African, some Huliganov and some Pierre Delauney.
The Hout Bay cape fur seal colony is a beautiful thing to see. This is the part of the world where the great
white shark preys on these creatures, even jumping out of the water to attack them. We didn’t see any of them today, though.
The mountains around are the twelve apostles, very majestic neighbours of the Table Mountain.

Old Usenetposts Gallery #7 Fish Pond in West Poland


Gallery Page 7 – Fish Pond in East Poland

The lake you see in this photo is not far from the last photo. Here it is possible to see the black stork, a much rarer sight than the usual white stork, but I didn’t manage to photograph it. This lake is man-made and each spring it is commercially stocked with carp for the table and for sport fishing. Each winter it is drained, and lies empty and, in theory, dry over winter, which greatly reduces the ability of pests and the parasites of fish to overwinter and wreak havoc with next year’s lot.

Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region

There are not many natural lakes within striking distance of Warsaw, even Zalew Zegrzynski, the large Y-shaped reservoir north of Warsaw at the confluence of the Bug and the Narew has been flooded artifically, but the North of poland has many more natural lakes from Mazury through to Pomerania, and some, such as Lake Sniardwy (Poland’s largest lake probably a few hundred times larger than the one above) are among the largest in Europe. The Polish Sniardwy compares to Lake Windermere in England or the Hungarian lake Balaton. Contact me for recommendations if you are planning a holiday in Poland.

Lake near Golebiowki, Siedlce region

More scenes from the other parts of Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes, but they will be reposted later on. I’ve done these seven for now, and I will move on to something else to avoid a monotony – especially of things you don’t usually see on this blog – and come back to the remainder of restoring this part of my old Usenetposts.com website some other time.

Old Usenetposts Gallery #6 Birch Forest


Gallery Page 6 – Birch forest in East Poland


The birch forest you see here is typical of East Poland. When I first came to this country 19% of the country was forest, including the largest original forest in Europe, the Bialowieski Park, home to the European bison. Now, because of tax breaks for reafforestation, the figure quoted is around 22%, making Poland one of the most forested countries in Europe. This is part of another piece of ancient woodland, not so large as Bialowieski, but not far off it. It contains a huge selection of wild forest fruits, and we always go here to collect cowberries, bilberries, cranberries, and a variety of edible wild mushrooms (not something to be done by the uninitiated, by the way, as you can end up with the ultimate gourmet event!). I cannot give the exact location, as in Poland it is tradition to keep one’s forest finds secret.

Polish birch forest in the summer – Photo taken at near Topory, Siedlce region June 2004

The typical fauna of the forest in this place are deer and boars, and storks and cranes are plentiful. Last time we came here we saw three cranes walking nearby, a very rare sight on the forest floor, as they are very cautious of humans.

More scenes from the same part of East Poland and coming up, as well as many other themes …

DJJ 13th February 2005

Old Usenetposts Gallery #5 Coots in cahoots


Gallery Page 5 – Coots in cahoots


The birds you see here are the common coot, Fulica atra, which is similar to the American coot Fulica americana, only with a ‘balder’ appearance, as the white headshield is higher in the Eurasian version, leading to the expression ‘as bald as a coot’. The term ‘coot’ in itself is in all likelihood onomatopoeic in English, as one common noise the bird makes, among a large playlist of other calls and alarms made by the splashing of its specialised lobed feet, is like the syllable ‘coot’. The only language that shares with Engolish the name ‘coot’ is Dutch, which calls the bird ‘Meerkoet’. The German term is ‘Blaesshuhn’, the Scandywegian languages are ‘blishoene’ and ‘sothoene’, but don’t ask me which is which, the Russian is Lysukha’ and the Polish is ‘Lyska’, and the Romance languages show mainly variants on the latin ‘Fulica’ (Fr. ‘Foulque’, Sp. ‘Focha’ , It. ‘Folaga’)

Coots wintering on the Vistula near Plock – Photo taken at Nowy Duninow, December 2004

These coots are resting together on the retention reservoir which has been made in the Vistula River between Plock and Wloclawek in a ribbon several birds deep and several kilometres long, strongly calling to mind the appearance of the band of rooks in migratory flight over Warsaw each spring and Autumn, only resting on water rather than flying through the air. These birds will migrate in the spring into East Poland, Belarus and Russia for the summer breeding period – this is the most westerly point on mainland Europe that they are found all year. They live for about 18 years, are omnivorous, and considered as a type of rail: family Rallidae, order Gruiformes.

More beautiful landscape scenes from Poland and elsewhere coming up…

DJJ 13th February 2005

Old Usenetposts Gallery #4 Pineapple Pleco


Gallery Page 4 – Pineapple Pleco

English: Pseudorinelepis genibarbis (Valencien...

Image via Wikipedia

(As you can see from the insert, this photo was also given by me to Wikipedia and remains there to this day.)
Here’s one of my two pineapple plecos – Pseudorinelepis sp. I don’t find it easy to take fish photos, as invariably either a piece of algae gets in the way or they swim off or turn round and look at me, or I get a reflection, but this for me is a relatively good shot. The fish is a true delight, very elegant swimmers, relatively peaceful, needing to supplement their diet with bogwood The piece you see in the photograph has been diminished in size by their occasional nibblings. (The rock to the left is jasper, by the way, a very good aquarium rock). They have gradually learned to compete for surface food by swimming upside-down and grazing the surface, which looks very odd, and I have never seen this behaviour in a large plecostomid before.

Pseudorinelepis sp., called the Pineapple pleco, is one of the loricarids known to science under an ‘L’ number – in this case L152 – as there are too many to sort out

They are called ‘pineapple plecos’ for the pineapple skin appearance of their armour. These armoured fishes, of which there are so many, are the ideal creature to be found in the fossil record, and yet very few have been found, one of many facts consistent with a major catastrophic flood, but not millions of years of evolution.

Stay with the tour for more natural history photos, and numerous other topics….

Old Usenetposts Gallery #3 Gecko on the Wall


Gallery Page 3 – Gecko on the Wall


Here’s a tropical lizard on the wall of the villa I was staying in. I assume this is a gecko of some sort, but what I don’t know is what sort, exactly. It allowed me to take a load of photos at quite close range, of which this is perhaps the most detailed. Please E-mail or bulletin board if you know what species of lizard this is precisely.

Gordon the Gecko is not wired for sound this time, but was under surveillance anyway

Stay with the tour for more natural history photos, and numerous other topics….

DJJ 13th February 2005

Old Usenetposts Gallery #2 Tropical Birds


(I’m continuing with the repost of old material from the former Usenetposts.com)

Gallery Page 2 – Tropical Birds
Right, still with me? Good. We’re still looking at unidentified fauna. Here we have a kind of gull that I’ve never seen in Europe, with a kind of hairstyle, as it were, of an old English teacher of mine. (I use that possessive pronoun attributively, not possessively, as he would say). Provisionally, therefore, I’ve named it the Saunders gull – but what is its real name? E-mail or bulletin board if you know the answer. Seen in the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo, November 2004.

This seagull is probably not new to science, but it was new to me

Again from the Dominican Republic in November 2004, is this small reddish hawk. The picture doesn’t deserve its own page, as the quality is not good, but still I don’t know the bird so I’m hoping someone will tell me what it is. This is the best of three I managed to take before it flew away.

The tiniest hawk I ever saw

More animals coming up, before moving on to other themes…

DJJ 13th February 2005

Old Usenetposts Gallery #1 Moth


I’m scheduling some reposts of some content I used to have on Usenetposts.com – over the next few days I’ll be showing some old photos I took and placed on the old site as a tour. I’ll be keeping the old original text I wrote some years ago, as this is now not up anywhere else since Usenetposts.com, in the form it was hosted before, was sabotaged by the sad, conceited drug addict who hosted it, whilst pretending to be an Evangelical Christian, which he has since dropped his pretense of being.

Gallery Page 1 – Tropical Moth
Welcome to my picture gallery. This is just a small selection of the photos I’ve been taking. The rule here is to give a small amount of text around the picture, but to give pride of place to the pictures in each page of the gallery, between 1 and 3 pictures per side. They have all been made very small for the net, and if anyone likes any of them particularly, then they can always ask me for a full sized version by e-mail.

I am not making an index to the gallery, but taking it as a tour, so as to encourage people to see all the pictures. I’m not saying at this stage what is around the corner, the best thing is simply to follow the links to the next page at the end of each gallery page. When it is finished it will lead back to the home page of this site, but as this is going to be an ongoing work in progress, as I take photos all the time, you may like to check back in a few weeks and see if there are any more.

DJJ 12th February 2005 (original time of publishing)

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