British shorebird problems


This video from England is called Ringed Plover+chick.

From Wildlife Extra:

Big winners and losers in UK wading bird numbers

The number of ringed plovers in the UK has declined by a massive 39 per cent

The spectacle of multitudes of wintering birds on an estuary in the UK is changing, according to a new report from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

The results of analysis of the latest data collected by thousands of Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) volunteers has shown that populations of the UK’s most familiar coastal waders have declined markedly in the last 10 years.

Ringed plover has fared worst with a 39 per cent decline followed by redshank at 26 per cent down, dunlin at 23 per cent, curlew at 17 per cent and oystercatcher at 15 per cent.

These are among the eight most abundant wintering waders on UK estuaries, yet the populations of all of them are declining.

In odd contrast, however, some other waders that just a few decades ago were relatively scarce in the UK have been increasing, and the increases have been considerable.

Since the winter of 2001/02 avocet numbers have risen by 61 per cent and black-tailed godwits by 57 per cent.

Millions of waterbirds overwinter on the UK’s wetlands, many of which use estuaries to take advantage of their rich food supplies.

Many of these sites are legally protected as Ramsar Sites and WeBS volunteers therefore help undertake an essential ‘bird health check’ of these sites by counting their internationally important concentrations of wintering waders, ducks, geese, swans and other waterbirds.

The annual WeBS report, now published in conjunction with an online interactive interface, makes this information available to anyone with an interest in birds and the environment.

The new report, covering the 12 month period up to June 2013, highlights the worrying trends. Precise reasons why these bird populations are changing are not fully understood, but are likely to be due to a combination of factors.

First, waterbird counts from across northwest Europe show that the distributions of many wintering waterbirds have shifted in recent decades, mostly north eastwards, in response to milder winter temperatures.

Secondly, winter population declines noted in the UK may indicate that fewer young waders are being produced in the Arctic – improved information is therefore needed on the annual productivity of waders.

The rising winter numbers of avocet and black-tailed godwit are attributable to increases in their populations in the UK and Iceland, respectively.

Chas Holt, WeBS Coordinator at BTO, said: “In 2012/13, WeBS volunteers made over 34,000 visits to wetland sites to count waterbirds.

“This is a superb effort and has provided the vital information to show that our internationally important wintering waterbird populations are declining.

“Research and close collaboration with international counterparts is necessary to understand the reasons why.”

Richard Hearn, Head of Species Monitoring at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust added: “The declines in waders and other wintering waterbirds in the UK over the past decade or more, as revealed by WeBS, are indicative of wider concerns about the state of our environment.

“They demonstrate the unprecedented period of change that these waterbirds are undergoing, and highlight the need for a step change in monitoring and relevant conservation action if we are to avert continued biodiversity loss.”

Rare seahorses discovery in the Philippines


This video is called The Tiniest Pygmy Seahorses.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare seahorses spotted for first time in Philippine waters

For the first time, two rare species of seahorse have been photographed in the Philippines.

The seahorses, a weedy pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) and Severn’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus severnsi), were photographed near to the island of Romblon, which lies in the West Philippine Sea, by a citizen scientist.

They were then submitted to the iSeahorse app, which collates sightings from the public, before being verified by the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Project Seahorse.

The discovery brings the number of seahorse species known to inhabit Philippine waters to 11.

Chai Apale, iSeahorse Philippines coordinator for Project Seahorse, said: “The exciting discovery of these seahorses in new waters demonstrates the important role citizen scientists can play in conservation.

“Seahorses are found across the globe from Hastings to the Seychelles. Now that the holiday season is in full swing, we’re encouraging the public to don their flippers and use the iSeahorse app to record their seahorse sightings.”

The Severn’s pygmy seahorse is a tiny 1.3cm tall – smaller than a sugar cube, while the weedy pygmy seahorse, which was previously only known to inhabit Indonesian waters, is just .1cm taller at 1.4cm.

There is not currently enough data to assess the conservation status of these two species, but it is hoped this news will help conservationists piece together the missing information.

Photograph a rose-ringed parakeet, get right to name it


Ring-necked parakeet A28 in Leiden with number

Translated from Sleutelstad radio in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Leiden parakeets get names and numbers

Leiden – Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:02

Chris de Waard

Already 85 wild parakeets in Leiden have recently received medals around their necks. Researcher Roland Jonker of the Center for Environmental Sciences of Leiden University wants the ‘Parakeets by numbers‘ project to map how the Leiden parakeet population evolves: “We would really like to know where the birds go, we are also curious about the size of the population and how long the Leiden parakeets live.”

The parakeets’ medals have unique letters and numbers, so the parakeets are easily recognizable. It is estimated that in and around Leiden approximately 850 ring-necked parakeets live. So by now about ten percent have clearly visible badges. Jonker hopes that from now on Leiden people will report back massively parakeets with medals by making pictures of them and posting these to the research project’s Facebook page. As a reward, people who rediscover a parakeet may name that bird.

The medals do not hinder the ring-necked parakeets, according to Jonker. Last year a few parakeets got ‘collars’ and when they were caught again later, it turned out they had not been harmed by them.

“Parakeets by numbers” is a joint project of the Center for Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University and City Parrots in collaboration with the Bird Migration Station and Waarneming.nl.

This research project chose medals, not leg bands, for parakeets; as with the numbers, the birds do not have to be caught again to read letters and numbers, causing less stress for the birds.

Buzzard calling from a tree, video


This is video about a buzzard calling in a tree.

Jan Tetteroo from the Netherlands made the video.

Rare wasps mating, video


This video is about two individuals of a rare wasp species mating.

They are Ammophila pubescens wasps.

Frits de Kinderen made the video, in nature reserve De Brand near Biezenmortel village in the Netherlands..

Wild pheasant in garden, video


This video shows a wild male pheasant in a garden in Brummen village in the Netherlands.

11-year-old boy Daan Willemse made the video.

Bird migration in the USA, now


This video from California in the USA says about itself:

The Great Migration – KQED QUEST

16 March 2010

For thousands of years and countless generations, migratory birds have flown the same long-distance paths between their breeding and feeding grounds. Understanding the routes these birds take, called flyways, helps conservation efforts and gives scientists better knowledge of global changes, both natural and man-made. QUEST heads out to the Pacific Flyway with California biologists to track the rhythm of migration.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Species on the move: mid and late July 2014

28 July, 2014

Although most of the US is firmly in the midst of typical summer conditions, fall migration is already under way for many species. BirdCast will begin its weekly series of forecast and analysis and species on the move in early August, but there are changes a foot now to discuss! And migrants to see, so get out there, bird your local patch, and submit all of your data to eBird! Here we briefly highlight a few changes of potential interest.

Some changes are subtle, such as in Yellow Warbler and Chipping Sparrow. Yellow Warblers are on the move at night, with the first flight calls for this species probably apparent since the beginning of July in some parts of the country. In the figure below, one can see the current frequencies of occurrence for this species across the four BirdCast regions as well as historical frequencies from 2004-2013.

Changes in Chipping Sparrow are also subtle but apparent depending on where you are. Again, nocturnal listening in some parts of the country, particularly the West, may highlight these subtle movements in a more tractable manner, albeit acoustic, than typical day time birding.

More striking changes in the last week have probably come in the form of increasing numbers of shorebirds across the continent.

In the West, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson’s Phalarope, and Red-necked Phalarope have all increased in frequency of occurrence in complete checklists.

So too have Greater Yellowlegs, Baird’s Sandpiper, and Short-billed Dowitcher in the Great Plains; Semipalmated Plover and Least Sandpiper in the Northeast and Upper Midwest; and Spotted Sandpiper and Solitary Sandpiper in the Southeast and Gulf Coast.

New Brazilian frog discovery, name honours escaped slaves


This video is the film Quilombo, on the history of slavery in Brazil, and slaves’ resistance to it.

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of frog named after slaves

A tiny new species of narrow-mouthed frog from the Microhylidae family has been discovered in the Atlantic Forest of the Espírito Santo State, southeastern Brazil.

Measuring just 14mm, the new species has been name[d] Chiasmocleis quilombola after the quilombos communities typical of the Espírito Santo State in Brazil, where the frogs were collected.

Quilombola communities are descended from slaves who dared to escape during colonial Portuguese rule in Brazil between 1530 and 1815 and find a refuge in the depths of the Atlantic Forest.

Even today in the north of Espírito Santo State quilombola communities still remain and maintain alive their traditions, such as quilombola food and craftwork.

Chiasmocleis quilombola occupy coastal areas north of Espírito Santo State, a region that is under strong human pressure, therefore the species may face imminent threat of habitat loss.

The discovery was made by scientists from two US universities, the University of Richmond in Virginia and The George Washington University in Washington DC.

See also here.

The scientific description of the new species is here.