This is a hummingbird hawk-moth video from Poland.
This video is about male and female brown hairstreak butterflies.
Pro-butterfly activists complained about this to local authorities. As a result of this, blackthorn bushes, on which the butterflies depend, were planted all over Steenwijk. This enables brown hairstreaks to live at many spots now; making them no longer dependent on one vulnerable area.
This winter, over 1,850 brown hairstreak eggs were found in Steenwijk. A record number.
This is a photo of a crocus flower from today, when we went to the cemetery.
The crocus flowers attracted small insects, like flies (the one on the photo was not much bigger than a fruit fly).
Many birds singing. A short-toed treecreeper climbing up a small tree, just outside the cemetery grounds.
Just inside the cemetery grounds, a nuthatch on a branch.
Wood pigeons. A magpie. Blue tits. Jays.
This video says about itself:
Up Close: Andrena Vaga Bee Digs an Impressive Hole
2 Feb 2014
Andrena is the largest genus in the family Andrenidae, and is nearly worldwide in distribution, with the notable exceptions of Oceania and South America. With over 1,300 species, it is one of the largest of all bee genera. Species are often brown to black with whitish abdominal hair bands, though other colors are possible, most commonly reddish, but also including metallic blue or green.
Body length commonly ranges between 8 – 17 mm with males smaller and more slender than females, which often show a black triangle (the “pygidial plate”) at the abdominal apex. In temperate areas, Andrena bees (both males and females) emerge from the underground cells where their prepupae spend the winter, when the temperature ranges from about 20°C to 30°C. They mate, and the females then seek sites for their nest burrows, where they construct small cells containing a ball of pollen mixed with nectar, upon which an egg is laid, before each cell is sealed. Andrena usually prefer sandy soils for a nesting substrate, near or under shrubs to be protected from heat and frost.
Andrena females can be readily distinguished from most other small bees by the possession of broad velvety areas in between the compound eyes and the antennal bases, called “facial foveae”. They also tend to have very long scopal hairs on the trochanters of the hind leg.
Some people say spring starts officially on 1 March. Some say 21 March. Astronomers say between 19 and 21 March.
Though it is still winter now according to many viewpoints, mild winter means that in the Netherlands, many birds and insects are unusually early, Vroege Vogels radio said today.
Andrea vaga bees are already flying. So are large earth bumblebee queens.
Some butterfly species fly already: peacock, red admiral, brimstone, small tortoiseshell. Not that surprising for these species, as they winter as adults, and will start flying when temperature allows.
A bit more unusual are other butterfly species which already fly now: small white and speckled wood. These species winter as pupae. Apparently, mild temperatures make for a quicker metamorphosis.
This video is called Complete Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.
From Sylvia Fallon’s Blog in the USA:
As monarch butterflies plummet, it’s time to rethink the widespread use of our nation’s top weedkiller
February 24, 2014
Today NRDC is calling on EPA to re-examine the widespread use of glyphosate, commonly called Roundup, in light of its impacts on monarch butterflies. Glyphosate was last approved by EPA in 1993 before the adoption of genetically modified crops that are tolerant to its use, known as “Roundup Ready” crops. Now, however, Roundup Ready corn and soy dominate the agricultural system and the use of glyphosate has skyrocketed tenfold to 182 million pounds annually. As a result, milkweed – which is the sole food source for monarch butterfly larvae – has all but been eliminated from farm fields across the Midwest.
At the same time that spraying of glyphosate has soared, the monarch butterfly population has been plunging. This winter the population at their Mexican wintering grounds fell to just a tenth of its running average, to 33.5 million, and a calamitous drop from a high of one billion monarchs in 1997, the year after the first Roundup Ready crops were introduced to the market.
Because of this alarming decline, researchers this year declared the monarch’s migration is at “serious risk of disappearing.” This means we are in danger of losing, in just a few short years, a marvel of nature that has existed for millennia. The monarchs’ annual flight from a tiny area of Mexico to as far as Canada and back, all in a single season and spanning several generations, is a unique phenomenon still mysterious to science.
Although other factors like temperature and drought also affect the monarchs, researchers broadly agree that the widespread use of glyphosate in association with genetically modified Roundup Ready crops has been a major contributor to the decline of the monarch population. With glyphosate, says leading monarch expert Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota, “We have this smoking gun.”
Now that we know that glyphosate is having a devastating impact on one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, it’s time to restrict the pervasive use of this and other weed-killers.
The EPA has the authority to conduct an urgent review of any herbicide and impose restrictions to address its adverse impacts. That’s why NRDC has filed a petition asking the EPA to undertake such a review of glyphosate and develop measures that would reduce its impact on monarch populations. Some of the measures we propose include preventing use of glyphosate and other weed-killers along highways and power-line rights of way where milkweed, a relatively short plant, could grow freely without interfering with maintenance or emergency crews – and requiring farmers to establish herbicide-free safety zones in or around their fields, or create other milkweed-friendly habitat. And we encourage the agency to explore other safeguards to protect monarch habitat from glyphosate and other herbicides.
The devastation of the monarchs is a disheartening example of the many unintended consequences we suffer from the industrialization of the agriculture system. By taking steps to save the monarch, we must also take a hard look at the wider impacts of our current land use and farming practices. There are several other herbicide-resistant crops in line for approval that will only further contribute to the loss of milkweed and other native plants that pollinators depend on unless we build in appropriate safeguards.
Though seemingly delicate, monarch butterflies are remarkably resilient and their decline can be reversed – but for that to happen we must find a way to make a little room for the very plant that they need to survive.
This video from Portugal is about a sword-grass moth caterpillar.
It was a sword-grass moth.
Wardens had smeared syrup on English oak trees to attract moths. If the night is not too cold, then moths will come to feed on the syrup. This February, one of the moths at the syrup turned out to be a sword-grass moth. A very rare species. It had been seen for the last time in the Netherlands in 2001; in Drenthe province, much further east.
This video from the USA says about itself:
19 Sep 2013
Meet unique Texas butterflies and ones that wing it across the country—with Marianna Trevino-Wright and Max Munoz from the National Butterfly Center in Mission. Host: Tom Spencer.
From Wildlife Extra:
Two new butterfly species discovered in eastern USA
February 2014: Two new butterfly species have been discovered in eastern USA, one in east Texas and one in south Texas by scientists who were studying the common Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius).
“It was completely unexpected’, said Dr. Grishin. ‘We were studying genetics of these butterflies and noticed something very odd. Butterflies looked indistinguishable, were flying together at the same place on the same day, but their DNA molecules were very different from each other. We thought there was some kind of mistake in our experiments.”
It soon became clear that the researchers were dealing with two species and one new to science, which were not even very closely related to each other, just very similar in wing patterns. The new species has been named Intricate Satyr (Hermeuptychia intricata).
Initially discovered in Brazos Bend State Park in East Texas, Intricate Satyr is widely distributed all over eastern USA in several states, including Florida and South Carolina.
Being curious about genetic makeup of these Satyrs the scientists decided to investigate DNA sequences and genitalia of Satyr populations from South Texas. And it immediately paid off. These populations turned out to be another new species, named “South Texas Satyr” (Hermeuptychia hermybius).
This video is called Valentine’s Day Animals: Compilation.
From eNature blog in the USA:
Valentine’s Day In The Wild— There’s A Lot Going On Out There!
Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by eNature
Some folks love it, others dread it. But no matter what your feelings about Valentine’s Day, there’s no avoiding it.
And it’s not just humans— animals in the wild are succumbing to Cupid’s arrows as well.
Take a a walk through your backyard or a backcountry hike and you’ll likely be confronted by a courtship ritual of some sort. For the animals engaged in such displays, though, the whole month of February, not just Valentine’s Day, is meant for romance.
Despite the chill that remains in much of North America, Raccoons, Minks, river otters, Gray and Red Foxes, Coyotes, and skunks all take time off from their mid-winter hunting to prowl for partners. Groundhogs start to look around longingly soon after they emerge from their long winter’s sleep, and many of their rodent kin, from California Kangaroo Rats to Black-tailed Prairie Dogs, also consider February just the right time for rubbing noses.
Birds, too, at least a few of them, hit their romantic stride during the second month of the year. Great Horned Owls start hooting it up in December but mostly wait till now to take care of their romantic business. Male Red-winged Blackbirds return to much of the continent in February and start right in displaying and singing for prospective females, while American Woodcocks stage their delightfully bizarre courtship performances in the February twilight. And in the swamps of southern Florida, ungainly looking Wood Storks make hay in the February sunshine.
Also out under bright sunny southern skies are myriad butterflies looking for love. There are large Pipevine Swallowtails and diminutive Western Pygmy-Blues in Texas, gorgeous Zebra Heliconians and Gulf Fritillaries in Florida, Spring Azures and Long-tailed Skippers in the other Gulf States, and dainty Desert Marbles and Desert Orangetips in the Southwest. Wherever and whenever you see butterflies flying, even in February, you can rest assured that half of them are males on the lookout for lepidopteran love.
As for amphibians, their amorous inspiration comes in the form of a nice February rain. And when the rain falls, the amphibians emerge from their hibernation and march straight to breeding pools. Pond frogs, treefrogs, toads, and salamanders of all kinds take to the mating trail in February in the southern parts of the United States. The male frogs are at their vociferous best in their choruses to attract mates, while male salamanders vie for partners, too, though without the audible fanfare.
Even fish feel frisky these days, especially the Rainbow Trout in the Smokies and the Largemouth Bass in Texas. The same is true for animals in saltier waters: Humpback Whales, Northern Right Whales, Gray Seals, and Northern Elephant Seals have love on their marine-mammal minds, while far to the north in the pitch-black darkness of the Arctic winter Walruses have a gleam in their eyes.
Environmentalists’ Valentines Day Wish: Stop Selling Bee-Harming Plants: here.