Parrot toadstool, Dutch Mushroom of the Year


Parrot toadstool

Translated from the Dutch Mycological Society:

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

The parrot toadstool has been elected Mushroom of the Year 2014, this choice is not fortuitous. The parrot toadstool is characteristic of arid grasslands where the soil has not been disturbed for a long time. Where it occurs there are often also other special grassland fungi. It is also one of the most easily recognizable waxcaps. Help the mycologists and go looking for the parrot toadstool.

Wild boar smell truffles, not acorns


This is a wild boar video, recorded in winter in Sweden.

Translated from Roelof Kleis in the Netherlands:

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Wild boar have a good nose for truffles. But not for acorns, says PhD student Lennart Suselbeek of Wageningen University. Looking for acorns they search randomly, according to research into how wild boar search for hidden acorns.

Suselbeek comes to that conclusion based on experiments in the lab and in nature. The aim of the study was to determine whether wild boar have influence on the way that wood mice hide acorns. Wild boars, like mice, love acorns. So they are competitors. But when it comes to defending its stock, the mouse is no match for the boar. It must be smart. They cannot be smart by hiding everything at the same place, but by making many different small stock sheds. So, risk spreading.

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.

Rare bees discovered in Cornwall


This video from Britain is called Cornwall Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves.

From Wildlife Extra:

Very rare bees found on new Cornish Bartinney Nature Reserve

Two very rare species of bee have been discovered on the new Bartinney Nature Reserve near Sennen in west Penwith, reports the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The tormentil nomad bee (Nomada robertjeotiana) is so rare that it is only currently known at one other site in the south west, near Davidstow.

This species uses the nests of another rare bee, the tormentil mining bee (Andrena tarsata), known to only three UK sites and also discovered at Bartinney. Both are moorland species that have undergone a dramatic decline since the 1970s.

This video is called Andrena tarsata bee on tormentil.

Paddy Saunders, the invertebrate expert who discovered both species of bee during a survey for Natural England said: “The tormentil mining bee needs lots and lots of flowering tormentil very near to nest sites, from which to collect pollen to feed their larvae that live in small chambers slightly underground.

“It is unusual to find such big colonies of tormentil mining bee and the Trust’s Bartinney Nature Reserve, with its big drifts of flowering tormentil, is clearly an important site for them.

“The tormentil nomad bee is a ‘cuckoo’ bee that nips into the tomentil mining bee’s nest, where it lays an egg. Once hatched the nomad’s larvae eats all the pollen that the other bee has done all the hard work to collect!

“It needs a big tormentil mining bee colony to sustain a population of the nomad. The fact that Bartinney Nature Reserve supports both these rare bees is very significant.”

Liz Cox, Wild Penwith Project Manager for Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: “Open flower-rich habitats are vital for wildlife, including these bees, and this find highlights the importance of managing Penwith’s moors and downs to ensure such areas are kept open and not lost to invading scrub or bracken.”

“Bartinney Nature Reserve is one of the two reserves that the Trust recently bought thanks to public donations and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and I am sure everyone involved will be thrilled to know that the site is already playing an important role in protecting Penwith’s wildlife!”

Andrew Whitehouse, South West Manager at Buglife said: “Both of these bees have been identified by our South West Bees Project as being in need of conservation action.

“We are encouraged to find that both species have been found at Bartinney, and we hope to work closely with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England to ensure that these nationally important populations thrive.”

To find out more about Bartinney Nature Reserve go here.

Kew Gardens in London, video


This video from London, England is called Top Ten Attractions at Kew Gardens – in just two minutes.

It says about itself:

15 July 2014

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is in Richmond on the outskirts of London, and is one of the most amazing gardens in the world. It has an extraordinary diversity of plants and over 14,000 trees all set within a vast and beautiful landscape layered with history and heritage.

This short film gives you a bird’s eye view of Kew and reveals the must-see attractions within the gardens.

Rare mushroom in the Netherlands for first time


Crepidotus cinnabarinus between Crepidotus mollis fungi, photo by  Ieko Staal)

This photo shows the rare reddish mushroom Crepidotus cinnabarinus between not so rare white Crepidotus mollis fungi; photo by Ieko Staal.

The Dutch mycological society reports today about Crepidotus cinnabarinus, a fungus which is rare all over Europe and North America.

That species had never been seen in the Netherlands. Until 28 August 2014, in the Hulkesteinse bos woodland in Flevoland province. Six days, later on 3 September, it was found in Zeeland province as well.

Shoreweed, and more Meijendel plants


Water mint, 6 September 2014

My previous blog post on plants in the Kikkervalleien in Meijendel nature reserve finished with marsh grass-of-Parnassus. On the marshy lakelet banks there were other plants as well, as these water mint flowers show.

Also, little green sedge.

And its relative, blue sedge.

And sand sedge.

Seaside centaury.

Jointleaf rush.

Weedy cudweed.

Common restharrow.

Great hairy screw-moss, 6 September 2014

And a moss species: great hairy screw-moss.

Yellow rattle, 6 September 2014

Yellow flowers of the hemi-parasitic plant yellow rattle.

Small white flowers of knotted pearlwort.

Lesser hawkbit flowers were yellow again.

Marsh lousewort, a Red List species.

Drug eyebright, 6 September 2014

Drug eyebright flowering.

Marsh pennywort.

Shoreweed, 6 September 2014

In the next lake, both on the bank and in shallow water, a really special species: shoreweed.

Shoreweed, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

Two years ago, these rare plants were discovered again here, after an absence of over sixty years.

Shoreweed with fruits, 6 September 2014

Some shoreweed plants had fruits.

Broad-leaved pondweed in the water as well.

Common speedwell on higher, drier ground.

Common self-heal, 6 September 2014

And common self-heal flowers.

Seaside pansy, 6 September 2014

And seaside pansy.

A marsh helleborine orchid plant. Not flowering.

On our way back, we see St John’s wort flowers.

Red pimpernel, 6 September 2014

And red pimpernel flowers. We had already seen them when we arrived. But then, the flowers had still been closed, it being too early for them.

Jimson weed near the Kikkervalleien exit fence.

Finally, another lakelet.

Fan-leaved water-crowfoot in the water.

Clustered dock and golden dock, 6 September 2014

On its banks, clustered dock.

Clustered dock and golden dock, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

And its relative, golden dock.

Water mint, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

And another species: water mint. The first as well as the last plant in this blog post.