Orchids, dippers and tarantula in Costa Rica


Maxillaria ringens, 19 March 2014

The morning of 19 March 2014 on Costa Rica. There were not only orchids along the mountain road yesterday, but in the cloud forest today as well. Like Maxillaria ringens on the photos.

Maxillaria ringens orchid, 19 March 2014

Flower, 19 March 2014

And other species.

Before we went to the cloud forest, a rufous-collared sparrow singing. Hummingbirds at the feeders.

A flock of three-striped warblers on a bush.

A bright-rumped attila in a tree.

A monarch butterfly on flowers.

Chestnut-capped brush finch, adult, 19 March 2014

Like yesterday, a chestnut-capped brush finch.

Inca dove, 19 March 2014

An Inca dove.

Central American agouti, 19 March 2014

And a Central American agouti.

Tarantula, 19 March 2014

This tarantula is of the Brachypelma genus.

Butterfly, Costa Rica, 19 March 2013

About this butterfly, I don’t even know the genus.

Magenta-throated woodstar, 19 March 2014

A male magenta-throated woodstar hummingbird flying. A species which lives only in Costa Rica and Panama.

In the forest, a ruddy-capped nightingale thrush on a branch.

A spotted woodcreeper climbs up a tree trunk.

A tufted flycatcher in a tree.

An American dipper on a rock in the stream.

A sulphur-bellied flycatcher.

American dipper, 19 March 2014

11:35. Two American dippers on rocks in the stream. Unfortunately, just at a time when the camera was acting up. So, just this one photo.

We left, to the Arenal volcano.

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Scottish forest trees, other wildlife, news


This video from Scotland says about itself:

Ray Mears visits the remaining Caledonian pine forests of Scotland and finds a wide range of wildlife.

From Wildlife Extra:

Scotland’s native Caledonian pine forest to be doubled in size

April 2014: One hundred thousand trees, including birch, aspen, two species of willow and alders, are to be planted … [at] Abernethy forest nature reserve in Speyside, which will almost double the total size of the woodland, and join it up with the fragmented surrounding remnants.

Abernethy hosts some of the rarest and most iconic species in the UK, with around 12 percent of the population of capercaillie, as well as Scottish crossbills, crested tits, wildcats, pine martens, black grouse, golden eagles and many rare mosses, fungi and plants including twinflower.

Managing and reducing the grazing pressure on the reserve from deer over the past quarter century has already enabled the Scots pine trees of Abernethy forest to expand by self-seeded natural regeneration, with more than 800 hectares of new pine saplings now established. However, although the main component of Caledonian pine forest is the native Scots pine, a critical element of ancient pine forests include a broader range of native shrub and broadleaved tree species – such as juniper, birch, rowan, alder and willows – and whilst recovery of the pine element at Abernethy has been successful, some of these other species remain extremely scarce of [sic; or] localised.

Over the next ten years, with the help of schoolchildren in Strathspey, volunteers from across Scotland and local contractors, the conservation charity will plant close to 100,000 trees at the reserve, including birch, aspen, two species of willow and alders. It is hoped that at least 40,000 of the planted saplings will survive grazing pressure from hares and other herbivores to reach maturity, leaving the full range of species and ensuring the forest’s continuity.

Jeremy Roberts, the Senior Site Manager at Abernethy, said: “We have conducted some of the most comprehensive surveys of regeneration in Britain, and this has shown that the recovery of broadleaves has been extremely slow and localised compared to the pine element at Abernethy. Few broadleaves remain to provide the vital seed source, and of those that do are highly immobile and restricted.

“To give the forest a helping hand we are restoring these species, with the welcome help of local schools and volunteers to assist with the planting of these under-represented broadleaved trees. As these small groups mature they will themselves provide the seed source, inoculating the forest edge and providing a locus for these species to regenerate more widely, and restoring the forest to its diverse and species-rich former glory.

“It may well be that the children and grandchildren of the school children who have been assisting with the planting will be the ones who see the difference rather than us. However, it is enormously satisfying to know that this is this generation that is creating this legacy.”

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Wren singing, video


This video is about a wren singing in the Netherlands.

Tet56 made the video.

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Black woodpecker feeding


This is a video about a black woodpecker looking for food on a tree in the Noordlaarderbos forest in the Netherlands.

Gerrit Kiekebos made this video on 13 January 2014.

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Orchids, armadillos, monkeys and birds in Costa Rica


This video is about national parks in Costa Rica.

18 March 2014.

Costa Rica; after earlier in the afternoon, still near Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco.

Bandera española, 18 March 2014

Walking down the mountain road, not only long-tailed silky flycatchers, but also flowers. This orchid species is called bandera española, Spanish flag, in Costa Rica. This is because it has the same red and yellow colours as that flag.

Bandera española, on 18 March 2014

Two nine-banded long-nosed armadillos close to the road.

More mammals: mantled howler monkeys with a youngster.

Clay-coloured thrush, 18 March 2014

A clay-coloured thrush.

Slate-throated redstart, 18 March 2014

We are back. A slate-throated redstart on a branch.

Chestnut-capped brush finch, adult, 18 March 2014

On the other side of the stream, chestnut-capped brush finches.

Chestnut-capped brush finch, adult, Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Chestnut-capped brush finch, juvenile, 18 March 2014

Both adults and juveniles, with duller colours, are present.

Central American agouti, 18 March 2014

Also on that side, a Central American agouti.

A black guan flies, while calling.

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Sand martins returning to British quarry sites


This is a video about a sand martin colony in Sweden.

From BirdLife:

Sand Martins return to CEMEX quarry homes

By Rebecca Langer, Wed, 09/04/2014 – 07:52

 

As spring arrives Sand Martins are making their way from sub Saharan Africa to the UK in their annual migratory journey. Thanks to efforts beginning last year in the 2013 Sand Martin Awareness campaign, this year they will be returning to CEMEX quarry sites that have been specially prepared for their arrival.

In 2013 approximately 200 birds made the journey to the Berkswell quarry where they found ideal nesting conditions. After their long migration, Sand Martins love finding steep-faced sandy banks where they can dig nest holes, sometimes up to 1m deep, which help protect them from predators. The quarries are also home to many insects which provide the necessary nourishment the Sand Martins look forward to after their tiring trip.

This year, CEMEX is striving to build on last year’s campaign and provide an even more hospitable habitat for their returning guests. For 2014, the plan is for all quarries to have a specially prepared sand bank sensitively located such that day to day operations won’t disturb them.

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Long-tailed silky flycatchers and band-tailed pigeons in Costa Rica


Long-tailed silky flycatcher male, 18 March 2014

Still 18 March 2014 in the highlands of Costa Rica. After the hummingbirds and the coati earlier in the day, we went higher up the mountains, and saw long-tailed silky flycatchers.

Long-tailed silky flycatcher sings, 18 March 2014

This species lives only in the mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama.

A male and a female sat together in a tree.

Band-tailed pigeons, 18 March 2014

Two band-tailed pigeons sat in another tree.

Long-tailed silky flycatcher, 18 March 2014

As we walked back again, we saw (probably other) long-tailed silky flycatchers again.

Long-tailed silky flycatcher with berry, 18 March 2014

They were feeding on berries.

Long-tailed silky flycatcher, Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Flowers, Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Flowers were there as well. More other flowers, like orchids, will have to wait till a later blog post.

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Birdwatching in Greece, new guide


This video says about itself:

Lesvos Birds spring 2012 The Wetlands

Wildlife filmed on the Greek island of Lesvos between April 21st to May 5th 2012.

Tsiknias River, Lotzaria, the Kalloni Saltpans and the Alykes wetlands all feature,
and birds include…

Black & White Storks, Squacco & Purple Herons, Great White & Little Egrets

Glossy Ibis, Little Bittern, Baillon’s & Little Crake, Wood, Marsh & Curlew Sandpipers

Little & Temminck’s Stint,

Ruff & Black-winged Stilt, Spotted Redshank, Black-headed & Citrine Wagtail & Bee-eater, White-winged Black & Gull-billed Terns, Garganey & Ruddy Shelduck.

From BirdLife:

New birdwatching guide shows best birding sites in Greece

By Rebecca Langer, Thu, 10/04/2014 – 11:51

HOS, BirdLife in Greece, has just released a new guide designed for birdwatchers, photographers and naturalists to provide all information needed to see some of the most important birds of Greece. The climate and geographical location of Greece, in south-eastern Europe and at the crossroads of three continents, has enriched the country with a diverse birdlife. The country comprises a meeting point and bottleneck for birds’ passage from Europe, Asia and Africa, and is the only place in Europe where you can see some of the birds coming from other continents. So far, 449 species of birds have been recorded in Greece, a number expected to increase, as more people become involved in birdwatching.

The new guide includes 33 of the most interesting birdwatching sites, covering all aspects of the exceptional habitat diversity found in the country; from alpine grasslands to river deltas and from maquis scrub to dense pristine woodland. Priority has been given to sites that hold populations of Mediterranean or rare and endangered species. The sites have been grouped in seven different regions, depending on their geographical location.

Each site comes with a detailed text and map with birding hotspots. It also includes information on how to get to each site, the best time of year to visit, other fauna and flora present as well as a list of the highlight bird species. Useful contacts are also provided.

The aim of this guide is to help birdwatchers add new species to their bird lists, as well as provide tourists with alternative activities that will allow them to enjoy Greek nature in a way that respects the incredible diversity that can be found throughout the country.

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São Tomé and Príncipe seabirds research


This video says about itself:

Academy researchers explain why Sao Tome and Principe are so special and extreme. Featuring Robert C. Drewes -curator in the department of Herpetology, and Roberta Ayers -Senior Educator at the California Academy of Sciences.
Check out the blog here.

From BirdLife:

Tinhosas Islands – desert island, seabird paradise

By nairobi.volunteer, Fri, 11/04/2014 – 07:00

São Tomé e Príncipe is a small tropical country known amongst birdwatchers and conservationists for its endangered secondary forests, and high level of bird endemism. However, the country also holds the most impressive seabird colonies in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean – the Tinhosas Islands. These are two barren rocky islands around 12 km SW of Príncipe Island. They are named Tinhosa Grande, and Tinhosa Pequena, and are both remote and endowed with abundant seabird life. Three of five seabird species known to breed in São Tomé e Príncipe, namely Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata, and Black Noddy Anous minutus, breed in Tinhosas, some in great numbers. The last assessment of the Tinhosas colony was completed in 1997, and since then accounts of exploitation of the birds for human consumption have raised concern about its conservation status.

BirdLife International sponsored a two-day expedition to Tinhosas islands, in order to conduct a census of breeding birds, and assess trends and threats. “We departed for Tinhosas in a quite misty dawn, and saw few birds en route, but seabird numbers increased massively as we approached Tinhosa Pequena. They were mostly ‘Wideawake’ Terns [Sooty Terns]“, said Nuno Barros, SPEA/BirdLife Portugal seabird officer, and one of the participants in the expedition. When on the scene, and after two days of seabird census in intense tropical heat and a night spent amongst large numbers of land crabs, the results showed that while some species registered a slight increase, others, like Brown Booby evidenced a steep decrease from the 1997 census figures. Caution must be used when interpreting these differences, for multiple visits within and between years should be performed, to census breeders, monitor threats and establish breeding phenologies  says Simon Vale, a PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University, based in Príncipe at the time, and also an expedition member. Nevertheless, the massive decrease in Brown Booby numbers is a grave concern.

Tinhosas islands are an amazing wildlife spectacle, and a remote arid paradise for breeding seabirds, that deserve further investigation and safeguarding. As Dr Ross Wanless, team member and Africa Coordinator for the BirdLife International Marine Programme, explains “Although none of the species breeding there is globally threatened, this is the only seabird colony of any significance in the Gulf of Guinea, so assessing the populations’ health and protecting the colonies from human impacts is of great value.”

BirdLife International and the expedition team would like to thank Bom Bom Island Resort for logistical support for the expedition. Ross Wanless received some financial support for the expedition from the University of Cape Town.

Read the full report: Status and trends of the seabirds breeding at Tinhosa Grande Island, São Tomé e Principe.

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Hummingbirds and coati in Costa Rica


Magnificent hummingbird male, 18 March 2014

After the golden-browed chlorophonias and other wildlife in the morning of 18 March in Costa Rica, now a blog post mainly about hummingbirds again. Like this male magnificent hummingbird.

A monarch butterfly.

Green-crowned brilliant male, 18 March 2014

2pm. The feeders were temporarily replaced by flowers. A bit unusual for the hummingbirds; still, they kept coming. Like this male green-crowned brilliant.

Green-crowned brilliant male, Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Male violet sabrewing, 18 March 2014

And this violet sabrewing male.

Violet sabrewing male, Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Violet sabrewing male, in Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Green hermit female, 18 March 2014

And this green hermit female.

Green hermit female, Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Purple-throated mountain-gem and green-crowned brilliant, 18 March 2014

Here, a female purple-throated mountain-gem waits on a stem, while a male green-crowned brilliant hovers.

White-nosed coati, 18 March 2014

Some twenty minutes later: a white-nosed coati on the other side of the stream.

Ten minutes later: a green spiny lizard.

We went away, higher up the mountains.

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