Giraffes helped by photographers


This video is called Niger‘s Endangered White Giraffes (Full Documentary).

From Wildlife Extra:

Citizen science project launched to help the world’s giraffes

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with the support of the Polytechnic of Namibia has launched a project to develop an online citizen science platform for giraffes.

GiraffeSpotter.org is an easy to use web-based application that allows people to upload their photos of giraffes they have seen, together with the location where the image was taken and any other valuable information they can supply to help in conservation efforts, such as herd size, sex and age class of the giraffe.

With the help of GiraffeSpotter.org, GCF will be able to improve its understanding of giraffe ranges, distribution, numbers and ultimately the various species of giraffes’ conservation status across Africa.

At the same time, the charity hopes that the project will also engage people and raise awareness of the plight of giraffes in the wild.

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.

Marsh grass-of-Parnassus, and other Meijendel plants


This Dutch video is about the Kikkervalleien in Meijendel nature reserve and the plants growing there.

After the blog post about Kikkervalleien wasps, birds and fungi, this blog post will make a start about the plants on 6 September 2014.

Before we arrived at the Kikkervalleien part of Meijendel, yellow Senecio inaequidens flowers. A species originally from Africa.

And smaller white small nightshade flowers. A species originally from Argentina.

Then, another introduced species: black swallow-wort. This poisonous plant is originally from southern Europe. The Dutch royal family used to hunt pheasants in this area. They imported pheasant feed from southern Europe. Black swallow-wort seeds came along with the ‘canned hunting’ feed. Black swallow-wort displaced native sand dune plants.

After conservationists tried various methods to remove the black swallow-wort, now they have discovered something more effective: cover the black swallow-wort areas with tarpaulin. The black swallow-wort dies. And after removing the tarpaulin, the black swallow-wort won’t come back, but the native plants will.

Common storksbill and red pimpernel, 6 September 2014

On a Kikkervalleien footpath, three flowering plants together: fairy flax; common storksbill; and red pimpernel. As it was still rather early in the morning, the red pimpernel flowers were not open yet.

Drug eyebright flowers.

Another plant, not flowering then; only leaves: star gentian.

Lesser centaury, 6 September 2014

The lesser centaury did have flowers, though they were closed.

Knotted pearlwort.

Marsh grass-of-Parnassus, 6 September 2014

We arrived at a more marshy area. Many beautiful white marsh grass-of-Parnassus flowers.

Marsh grass-of-Parnassus, one stamen, 6 September 2014

Marsh grass-of-Parnassus stamina mature one by one. So, at first you see only one stamen.

Marsh grass-of-Parnassus, two stamina, 6 September 2014

Then, two stamina.

Marsh grass-of-Parnassus, four stamina, 6 September 2014

Then, three stamina. Then, four.

Marsh grass-of-Parnassus, five stamina, 6 September 2014

And finally, five.

Stay tuned for more about Meijendel plants at this blog!

Young herring gull in botanical garden


Herring gull, 8 September 2014

This is one of four cellphone photos in this blog post of a young herring gull on 8 September 2014. Swimming in the canal, it came closer and closer. Then, it walked up the bank near the old astronomical observatory in the botanical garden.

Herring gull, on 8 September 2014

It came closer and closer to the bench where we sat.

Herring gull close up, on 8 September 2014

And still closer. It even tried whether shoe laces are edible.

Herring gull and bench, 8 September 2014

Before we met that gull, we had seen that the botanical garden axolotls are again on show after the reconstruction of the hothouses, now in the orchid hothouse.

In the brook, pondskaters.

William Shakespeare sonnet on building


Shakespeare sonnet on building, 8 September 2014

There are poems on various buildings in Leiden city in the Netherlands. This one, in the inner city, is William Shakespeare‘s Sonnet XXX.

Shakespeare sonnet, 8 September 2014

These are cellphone photos.

Fungi, birds and wasps of Meijendel


Big rose bedeguar gall, 6 September 2014

This is a photo of a rose bedeguar gall on a dog rose leaf in the Kikkervalleien area of Meijendel nature reserve, on 6 September 2014.

This blog has already reported about amphibians there on that day. Now, about fungi, birds and the small wasps, only three millimetre for males, four for females, Diplolepis rosae, which cause these galls.

Soon after our arrival at Meijendel, great spotted woodpecker sound.

Along the cycle track, Lactarius controversus fungi.

Next, Inocybe serotina mushrooms.

Then, brown roll-rim.

And stinking dapperling.

Two common pochard ducks swimming in a lake.

In another lake, tufted ducks, mallards and coots.

Lepiota alba fungi.

Nine gray lag geese flying overhead.

We arrived at the Kikkervalleien area of Meijendel, usually closed to the public.

Then, we saw the dog rose plant of the first photo of this blog post.

Small rose bedeguar gall, 6 September 2014

That plant had more galls than the one on the first photo; like the one on this photo, usually smaller ones. If a small Diplolepis rosae wasp lays an egg on a leaf, then the plant reacts by building a gall around the egg, protecting it. This wasp species was named originally by Linnaeus.

Winter stalkball fungi on the footpath.

A great cormorant flying overhead.

Scotch bonnet mushrooms.

Many rabbit droppings.

Witch's hat, 6 September 2014

A beautiful red mushroom: a witch’s hat.

Two carrion crows.

Then, five greenshanks on migration, flying overhead.

At the next lake, two mute swans. First on the bank, then swimming.

Hygrocybe sp., 6 September 2014

Another beautiful red mushroom. A witch’s hat? Or a vermilion waxcap? This genus, Hygrocybe, is not easy.

We find another gall: a Pontania collactanea wasp caused this one.

Three great egrets flying.

Hygrocybe sp., Kikkervalleien, 6 September 2014

More beautiful Hygrocybe fungi. Still difficult to say which species.

Hygrocybe sp., in Kikkervalleien, 6 September 2014

As we leave the Kikkervalleien for other parts of Meijendel, other mushrooms: death caps.

Stay tuned for the Kikkervalleien plants on this blog!

Amphibians of Meijendel nature reserve


Young tree frog, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

This is a photo of a young tree frog on the shoe of a natural history enthusiast in Meijendel nature reserve, north of The Hague in the Netherlands, on 6 September 2014. If you read on, then you will find out how that frog landed there.

That day, we went to a part of Meijendel, usually not open to the public. It is known as Kikkervalleien, frogs’ valleys, because of many amphibians living there.

In the Kikkervalleien, original wet sand dune valley situations have been restored. This means many small lakes with shallow water. Good conditions for amphibians, as there are often no predatory fish in the lakelets.

Traditionally, there used to be six amphibian species in nature reserve Meijendel.

Four of those are toads and frogs:edible frog, common frog, Eurasian toad, and natterjack toad.

Also two newt species, the common newt and the great crested newt, are traditional Meijendel denizens.

About 2007, two other species joined them.

They are the common Eurasian spadefoot toad; and the common tree frog.

The species which we saw most on 6 September were natterjack toads.

All still very small; most smaller than half a centimeter.

Natterjack toad, 6 September 2014

No matter how young natterjack toads are, they already have the characteristic stripe down their backs.

Common frog, 6 September 2014

The second most numerous species on 6 September were common frogs. Also mostly still young, but a bit bigger than the natterjack toads: over 1 centimeter. We also saw an adult.

Young tree frog on shoe, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

Then, the young common tree frog. It jumped around on the sand, till it jumped on the shoe. Then, it jumped higher, to a fold in trousers. Finally, it jumped off, to continue its journey in the dunes.

Young tree frog still on shoe, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

At the lakelet near the exit of the Kikkervalleien area, where the natterjack toad photo is from, there were also young common frogs. And small Eurasian toads.

And a young common newt.

Stay tuned, as there will be more posts on this blog about non-amphibian life forms of Meijendel, like birds, fungi and plants!