Porpoises in Dutch Oosterschelde estuary


This is a harbor porpoise video.

According to Dutch NOS TV, thirty harbour porpoises live in the Dutch Oosterschelde estuary; including five calves. Later this year, it will be investigated whether these porpoises will swim through the partly open Oosterschelde storm surge barrier to the North sea.

See also photos here.

Update May 2010 here. August 2010: here. November 2010: here. May 2011: here. September 2013: here.

Fungi, butterflies, birds of prey


This video is called Wow! Fungi plant growth – The Private Life of Plants – David Attenborough – BBC wildlife.

Today, to the park in the southeast; looking for fungi.

Near the entrance, our first mushrooms: torqs. This is one of just two species able to grow through road paves; the other one is Agaricus geesterani.

Here, hundreds of fungi species have been found. Include the very rare Amanita inopinata, found in less than ten spots worldwide; including here, and in the Weerribben.

Today, no Amanita inopinata and many other species, as it has been quite dry for some time. While many fungi suddenly start growing after rainy days.

On trees, lying on the forest floor, grows Hypoxylon multiforme. This is often the first fungus on decaying trees.

Candlestick fungus.

Dead moll’s fingers.

Bjerkandera fumosa growing on a tree trunk.

An artist’s bracket: five years old.

Not far from here is a small island. There, in winter, a skating biologist discovered a Phellinus hippophaecola fungus: a species associated with sea-buckthorn which grows on the island.

Forming a circle around a birch tree, many birch boletes. Two other fungus species, living in symbiosis with birch trees, are here as well: Birch brittlegill, and Lactarius pubescens.

A speckled wood butterfly flies past.

Yellow fieldcap. Alder bracket, growing on an elder tree.

Witch’s hat.

Daedaleopsis confragosa.

A small copper butterfly flying past.

Royal fern growing.

This park is not just important for fungi and plants, but for animals as well. It is one of few spots in this province where grass snakes are breeding (discovered in a compost heap in a small market garden). We see a kestrel hovering; then, two buzzards circling in the air.

Many grey herons nest here. Last year, great egrets tried to join the heronry, but their nesting did not succeed.

Even in the botanical garden, in the city center, 55 bird species have been recorded. Including tawny owls, nesting in a Caucasian wingnut tree there. They can nest, as the tree is hollow because of the Ganoderma adspersum fungus. A species which we see today here in the park as well; on a willow tree.

We find a knopper gall, made by the wasp Andricus quercuscalicis on oak trees.

Both dewberry and blackberry grow here. The fruits of both are edible, though tasting slightly differently.

Of the Inonotus rheades fungus, only old decrepit bits are left here today.

Poison pax.

A field mushroom. Snails have eaten parts of his hat. A relative, the button mushroom, is cultivated for human consumption in more than 70 countries.

A few Clavulina cinerea grow along the footpath here. There will be many more as it will start raining, as this species does not like dry conditions.

Some maple trees have tar spots on their leaves, caused by the Rhytisma acerinum fungus.

Gymnopilus junonius mushrooms growing on deciduous tree stumps.

Young, still small, sulphur tufts.

A velvet mite on moss on a tree.

Our last two fungus species of today are Agaricus silvaticus, and fairy cakes.

Our last plant of today is sneezewort, flowering.

Tufted puffin in England


This video says about itself:

These Tufted Puffins at the Seattle Aquarium rub their beaks together to show affection (a lot like Kissing)!

From British daily The Independent:

Birdwatchers flock for for the punk puffin

Cahal Milmo, Chief Reporter

Friday, 18 September 2009

One man ran straight off a football pitch. Two more drove 300 miles through the night while dozens of others simply dashed out of their offices with binoculars in hand. All had the same thing in mind – catching the first ever glimpse in Britain of a seabird with an eccentric hairstyle, an outsized beak and a very, very poor sense of direction.

The Oare Marshes were today alive with telescope-wielding birdlovers who had travelled to an isolated corner of the north Kent coast in the hope of sighting an extremely rare and lost Tufted Puffin.

Although closely related to the familiar European puffin, its elaborately-coiffed cousin had never before been seen in Britain, chiefly because it normally resides some 4,500 miles away in the north Pacific, sandwiched between the frozen plains of Siberia and the ice floes of Alaska.

But British birdwatching history changed at 10.50am on Wednesday this week when Murray Wright, a regular visitor to the Oare Marshes, a nature reserve on the edge of Faversham, stared down his binoculars and saw a single Fratercula cirrhata floating in the choppy waters of the Swale Estuary. Measuring about 35cm in length, the seabird with the trademark multi-coloured bill of its species is instantly recognisable because of the two yellow feather tufts that protrude from the side of its head in the summer months. Its Latin name means “tufted little brother”.

See also here. And here. And here.

Atlantic puffins: here. And here. And here.

Puffins from the North Sea’s largest breeding colony venture much further afield during the winter than previously thought, a study has shown: here.

Atlantic puffins had nearly vanished from the Maine coast until a young biologist defied conventional wisdom to lure them home: here.

Nicobar tree shrew photographed


This video from the USA is called Philadelphia Zoo Large Tree Shrew.

From the Indian Express:

Finally, endangered tree shrew caught on camera

Anuradha Mascarenhas

Sunday , Sep 20, 2009 at 0220 hrs

It’s a squirrel but one that is so rare that it has never been photographed.

No, squirrels are rodents. While tree shrews are neither rodents nor true shrews. They are a mammal order of their own, now thought to be related to primates.

So when a team of ornithologists from Pune along with the Indian Navy conducted an avifaunal survey of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, it came as a surprise to find this endangered ‘tree shrew’.

Dr Satish Pande and others from the Ela Foundation have recorded their observations in the current issue of the international Journal of Endangered Taxa — showing that this ‘Nicobar Tree Shrew’ (Tupaia nicobarica) is a small mammal species endemic to India and its distribution is restricted to Great Nicobar and Little Nicobar islands.

Since entry to Nicobar islands is restricted and is allowed only after tedious formal permissions from government authorities, and considering the logistics involved, any recent records of poorly known, endemic and endangered species like Nicobar Tree Shrew are valuable, Pande told The Indian Express.

A pair of the tree shrews was seen on a tree in the rainforest about 12 km from Campbell bay. The pair was quite active and the two members were seen chasing each other. They were seen preferably keeping to the shady parts. The pair disappeared as they moved away to another tree. The species was not seen again during our entire survey thereafter on this island, recalls Pande. The rare photograph was taken by Pande and it is perhaps the first detailed visual documentation of this species in the wild in its natural habitat on Great Nicobar island. Since data is deficient about this species, it is always vital that the mammal is listed as an endangered species.