Good news for guillemots

This video is called Guillemot (Uria aalge).

The Frisian Front is an area in the North Sea, to the north of the Dutch Frisian islands.

As the waters of the shallow southern North Sea and the deep northern North Sea mingle there, it is a very biodiverse area.

It attracts seabirds, like guillemots.

After their nesting season, from July till November, over 20,000 guillemots stay there.

On 12 September 2014, the Dutch government made the first move to make the Frisian Front a Natura 2000 area, which will mean more conservation measures for the guillemots and other wildlife.

Stop vulture poisoning

This video says about itself:

Stop Vulture Poisoning Now

12 September 2014

A drug which has poisoned 99% of all vultures in India, Pakistan and Nepal almost overnight, is now spreading rapidly across Europe. This introduction is compounding many other threats to now make vultures one of the most highly-threatened bird families on the planet.

With a united Partnership of 70 conservation organisations across Europe and Africa, BirdLife has the network, knowledge and know-how to save vultures.

They know that simple and effective solutions exist, and urgently need £20,000 to identify, and tackle the threats to these most beautiful and important of birds. Please support BirdLife’s work to stop vulture poisoning now.

Your generous donation will first be used to fight for a ban of veterinary diclofenac across Europe and tackle other threats in Africa. This action alone could save thousands of vultures.

Your money will also enable an expert team of BirdLife scientists to undertake an urgent review of all vulture species. This study will provide vital information enabling thousands of conservationists around the globe to take action. It will empower them to act, and gain greater support for their herculean efforts.

Tackling widespread threats to entire families of birds like this are very difficult, but BirdLife’s experience shows coordinated action can be highly successful. As a result of their experience and expertise with Asian vultures, BirdLife has a small but important head-start in Africa and Europe.

Your support is vital to this work, and will make a real difference to its success. Please, dig deep, donate now and help us keep vultures flying as high as they should be.

Thank you

Music: Kevin MacLeod (
Vulture video footage: Carles Carboneras
Thanks to interviewees: Dr Mark Anderson, Iván Ramírez, Stephen Awoyemi.
Thanks to Margaret Atwood, David Lindo, Simon King, Chris Packham for their support to the campaign.
Photo credits to follow

This video is called Ban diclofenac to save Vultures!

Kingfisher catching fishes, video

This video is about a kingfisher catching fishes in Oostvaardersplassen national park in Flevoland province in the Netherlands.

Rien van den Eertwegh made the video.

Dwarf ibis on São Tomé, new research

This video says about itself:

19 June 2014

The island of São Tomé is one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots, home to hundreds of species found nowhere else on the globe. But farmers struggling to make a living here are encroaching into protected areas. They cut down trees for firewood and clear land for crops, putting the survival of these species at risk. By working with these farmers to produce more sustainably, IFAD hopes to save this unique environment before it’s gone.

From BirdLife:

Unravelling mysteries for conservation of birds in São Tomé e Príncipe

By Obaka Torto, Thu, 11/09/2014 – 10:13

Quite a number of knowledge gaps have continued to hinder conservation efforts directed towards the threatened birds of São Tomé e Príncipe. Such has been the case for the critically endangered Dwarf Ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), only found on São Tomé island. Among others, the breeding biology of this bird has remained poorly described thus making it difficult to decide on conservation interventions required duringat this crucial stage in its life cycle.

Thanks to the efforts of the Association of Biologists Sãotomense (ABS) in partnership with BirdLife International, a team of researchers led by Hugulay Maia was able to describe some important aspects of the breeding behaviour of this bird. The results of their study conducted in 2009, have now been published in the most recent issue of the Bulletin of the African Bird Club (Volume 2, issue number 2 published in September 2014). This discovery is significant for the survival of the species.

Deforestation in São Tomé seems to be  the threat to the reproduction of the Ibis, and the main cause of the bird’s extinction on the sister island of Príncipe.

The study was conducted at Monte Carmo, the southern part of the island of São Tomé, which currently has the largest oil palm plantation in the country. Like many discoveries, this finding happened accidentally during a research mission on a day of heavy rain. A healthy nest was discovered around an area undergoing systematic monitoring. The authors reveal that the discovery was made, thanks to the local community in Emolve (also called Ribeira Peixe), for their keen interest in bird  conservation. ABS has been conducting conservation activities with the local community since 2005.

Indeed Jose Correia, the ornithologist who led an expedition to the Gulf of Guinea would be happy to know that he was right when he observed a female in its reproductive phase in November 1928. This fact was confirmed 81 years later, with the discovery by ABS which occurred on 29 November 2009, showing that the breeding period of the ibis is from November to January. ABS has also determined that the bird lays two eggs per nest and that the male and female part ways during the incubation period.

Besides the research trying to unravel the ecology of the threatened endemic birds of SãoTomé e Príncipe, ABS has also been working with the communities of Angolares, Ribeira Peixe, Malanza, Dona Augusta and YoGrande, near the area where the ibis was found, to create their awareness of the need for biodiversity conservation.

In February 2014, an Action Plan for the conservation of threatened endemic birds was approved in an event  attended by members of BirdLife International partnership, the General Directorate of Environment, directors (of the Obo Natural Park in São Tomé and Príncipe), ABS, other NGOs and members of the local community. The plan describes measures that would make a difference in reducing threats to these birds.

In conclusion, in order to protect the threatened birds of São Tomé e Príncipe, it is crucial to solve the problem that jeopardizes their survival: deforestation and uncontrolled hunting. These two, currently constitute the greatest threat. Deforestation is believed to be the main cause of the bird’s extinction on the sister island of Principe, we must not allow it to happen on São Tomé as well.

Tropical butterflies in the botanical garden

This video is called Butterfly ‘Morpho peleides’ in the Botanic Garden of Belgium.

Today, to our botanical garden.

In the Victoria amazonica hothouse, we met the garden’s beekeeper. Two months ago, he was put in charge of the garden’s butterfly breeding program as well.

Various South and Central American butterfly species live in this hothouse. Including Dryas julia. One individual sat on top of a plant. However, another one had died of old age, and drowned. Fish had eaten parts of its wings. The Dryas butterflies lay their eggs on Passiflora plants in the hothouse.

Two beautiful blue freshly hatched Morpho peleides butterflies took off for a flight together over the Victoria amazonica pond. Mating takes about 30 hours. Females lay their eggs only on Mucuna atrocarpa plants, of which there is only one in the hothouse. So, the beekeeper knows where to look for eggs to bring to safety in the caterpillar box. Next to the caterpillar box is a pupa box, which is opened when butterflies hatch.

Other species in the hothouse are Caligo owl butterflies, even bigger than Morphos. And glasswinged butterflies (Greta oto).

The best season for butterfly reproduction in the hothouse is summer. They are sensitive to temperature change.

Years ago, there were smaller butterflies from Africa in this hothouse. That did not work well: sometimes, the hothouse windows were open and the butterflies escaped. Now, when windows are open, there are butterfly nets to prevent escapes.

In the Victoria pond are a Pangasius shark catfish, at least one goldfish, and various small fishes.

Outside, two ring-necked parakeets on a tree in the fern garden. Great tit sound.

A pondskater in the stream.

Two butterflies, not as big or spectacular as their relatives in the hothouse, but still beautiful: speckled wood.

In the water near the exit of the garden, two coots feeding on duckweed.

Saving Bulgarian birds from power line deaths

This video is about making power lines in Bulgaria safe for birds.

From BirdLife:

BSPB cooperates with power companies to secure bird-killing power lines in Bulgaria

By Elodie Cantaloube, Fri, 12/09/2014 – 09:59

It was around the middle of August when the nice summer vibe was broken for the bird lovers in Varna, Bulgaria. Around 29 storks were found dead in the village of Vaglen by picnickers who wanted nothing but to chill on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, they had to confront the horrifying sight of the birds which had perched in hazardous electricity poles, causing their death.

Electrocution by badly designed electricity poles is one of the most serious threats to birds in the world. It not only concerns white storks but also raptors, including endangered species like the Imperial Eagle. In the region of the Sakar Mountain, in south-eastern Bulgaria, one of the richest regions in terms of birds of prey and home to half of the country’s Imperial Eagle population, it caused the death of 67% of the birds between 2009 and 2013, according to a study involving satellite tracking of 25 juvenile Imperial Eagles.

Some birds like storks and raptors species tend to perch on the highest parts of the trees, buildings and electricity poles. Although nowadays safer poles are being produced, the ones composing the electricity web in Bulgaria were designed in a way that makes them dangerous to birds. They are notably fatal to migratory birds like white storks, which gather in hundreds and sometimes in thousands in Bulgaria to rest and feed before flying to or back from Africa.

To address the issue, BSPB (BirdLife in Bulgaria) has been engaging with power companies in the country. In collaboration with EVN Bulgaria and ENERGO-PRO, over 1,100 insulations  have been installed, avoiding many incidents not only for storks, but also for other endangered species like the Egyptian Vulture and the Imperial Eagle. Also, within the project Save the Raptor, for which BSPB received the very first Natura 2000 Conservation Award this year, our Partner has been cooperating with the company EVN Bulgaria on the insulation of about 700 dangerous power lines and the burying of overhead cables in nesting areas. BSPB provided the insulation caps while EVN mounted them.

See a video of pylon safeguarding [at the top of this blog post].

These installations already permitted to reduce by thousands the number of dead storks and raptors. The securing of the electricity network also benefit the corporate sector: every time a bird is electrocuted, the network material is damaged and the power supply along the line is discontinued, causing discomfort to the costumers. This is why the power companies have decided to go further. EVN, for example, has developed in cooperation with BSPB the project to secure a further 46 km of overhead power lines into underground cables and retrofit 2,740 poles, based on the mapping of the most dangerous poles produced by BSPB.

For more information, visit