Good Dutch little owl news


This is a video about little owls.

The Dutch ornithologists of SOVON report that this year seems to be a good year so far for rodents in some regions of the Netherlands.

That means also a good year for birds eating rodents.

Researchers at nest boxes for little owls in the Achterhoek region of the eastern Netherlands find many more rodents at the nests than in earlier years. So far, 2007 was the year with the highest figure: 197 rodents.

This year, the counting is not finished yet, but already 486 rodents were found. 253 of these were wood mice. 145 were common voles. Bank voles: 73. House mice: 8. Water voles: 6. And one young brown rat.

Barn owls can catch enough food as well this year.

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Wood mouse drinks from teacup, video


This video is about a wood mouse drinking from a teacup in the Netherlands.

Elise Xhaflaire made the video.

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South American giant rodent on English golf course


This video from England says about itself:

World’s biggest rodent caught on UK golf course

5 May 2014

A bunch of golfers have recorded footage of the world’s biggest rodent, a Capybara, running loose on a UK golf course, a long way away from its usual home in South America.

World’s biggest rodent seen on loose on Essex golf course

Golf players film a 4ft long rodent usually found in South America sniffing around their course in Essex

First there was the runaway rhea seen roaming a Hertfordshire golf course. Now, it seems that putting greens and fairways have proved tempting refuge for another animal fugitive: a capybara.

The creature — the world’s largest rodent species — was filmed ambling around near the 8th tee at the North Weald Golf Club in Essex after apparently escaping from a fenced enclosure at nearby Ashlyns Farm Shop.

Like the rhea, the capybara is a native of South America — but unlike the 6ft bird, which is reputedly capable of disembowelling a man with a flick of its claws, the runaway rodent is not believed to be dangerous.

Described by bemused golfers as looking “like a cross between a beaver and a bear”, capybaras are in fact most closely related to the guinea pig, but dwarf them, growing to as long as four feet.

The creature was spotted at the Essex course on March 16 when, according to the club, “golfers approaching the 8th tee stumbled across something that looked quite out of place on the course”.

“Kevin & Barbara Walters and John & Pat Miles were about to play their tee shots when Kevin saw what he thought was a wild boar meandering around the pond. After a quick phone call to the clubhouse, Angus and Hamish arrived at the scene with cameras at the ready to capture the rare sight,” the club said in a statement on its website.

Another club member, Stefan Freeman was “next up on the tee” and identified it as a capybara.

Rob Dixon, manager at Ashlyns Farm Shop, confirmed it was “missing a capybara”.

He said the solitary male animal had been sighted since but attempts to catch it had so far proved unsuccessful. “We keep on trying to catch it, but as soon as we try and catch it, it’s moved on or it jumps in the river and shoots off. Next time we’ve got to get a vet out and try and tranquillise it,” he said.

“They run away from humans — they’re quite shy,” he added. “They’re not like a rat, they’re almost like a big hamster.”

Capybara owners in the UK include Lady McAlpine, who wrote last year that a capybara had gone missing from her Fawley Hill estate in Henley-on-Thames and “gone to swim in the Thames”.

Lady McAlpine, whose capybara has since returned, said that they were “tremendous escapologists”.

See also here.

A South American [rhea] giant bird that has been patrolling the fairways and greens of a golf club in Hertfordshire for the last month has been shot dead and will now be made into gourmet sausages: here.

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Crow tries to drive squirrel away, video


This is a video about a red squirrel in the Netherlands. A carrion crow tries to drive it away from a roof.

Agklink made the video.

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Second beaver lodge on Tiengemeten island


This video is called How Beavers Build a Lodge – BBC Animals.

Dutch conservation organisation Natuurmonumenten reports that this year, beavers have built a second lodge on Tiengemeten, an island which is a nature reserve.

Last year, beavers built their first lodge on Tiengemeten.

Beavers had become extinct in the Netherlands in 1826. In 1988, they were reintroduced.

Scotland wild beaver reintroduction trial ‘an outstanding success’. Ecologists say four pairs of beavers have produced 14 young, transformed the landscape and boosted tourism in Knapdale: here.

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Squirrel ‘shares’ food, video


This video shows a red squirrel, feeding on sunflower seeds from a squirrel-shaped feeder.

Jan Duijneveld from the Netherlands made the video.

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Beaver and lapwings, video


This is a video about a beaver in Biesbosch nature reserve in the Netherlands; featuring some sleepy northern lapwings.

Marco Valk made the video.

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Wild beavers back in England after 200 years


This video from England says about itself:

Beaver in Devon

30 sep. 2013

Beavers are a vital missing link in the UK’s ecosystem and the wetland environment is suffering from the loss of beaver activity. In principle we support the EU’s call for governments to reintroduce lost endemic species and note that England is one of the few remaining countries not to reintroduce beavers.

From Wildlife Extra:

Wild beavers spotted in Devon

European beavers are back in the wild

February 2014: After an absence of more than 200 years a small population of European beavers, Castor fiber, has been seen wild in the English countryside. A family group of three were filmed by Tom Buckley on the River Otter in East Devon. They are believed to be the result of an escape or unsanctioned release.

It is highly significant because it strongly suggests that a small breeding population of beavers now exists outside of captivity. This would be the first time since the 18th century that European beavers had been breeding in the wild in England. Beavers were finally hunted to extinction during the 18th century as a result of being highly valued fur, medicinal value and meat, not because they were viewed as a nuisance species.

“We believe that releases of European beavers should be properly planned. We do not support unlicensed releases of any animals or plants, said Devon Wildlife Trust in a statement.

“However, now that a small European beaver population has established itself in East Devon we believe that they should be left alone and observed, using a rigorous monitoring programme. This group of beavers provides us with a unique opportunity to learn lessons about their behaviour and their impact on the local landscape.

“We believe that, given the right conditions, the return of the European beaver, a formerly native mammal, will be of overall benefit to river and wetland habitats in the UK.”

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Red squirrel video


This is a video about a red squirrel in a garden in the Netherlands.

Corry van Erp made the video.

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Blind mice blind no more?


This music video is called 3D Animation: Three Blind Mice, English Nursery Rhyme for children, with lyrics.

From the New Scientist:

Blind mice see the light after simple drug therapy

19 February 2014 by Colin Barras

If it’s beyond repair, you find something else to do its job. This could soon apply to rods and cones, the light-sensitive cells in our eyes that can wither with age, causing blindness. A drug has been found that coaxes neighbours of ailing cells to do their work for them.

In 2012, Richard Kramer at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered that injecting a certain chemical into the eyes of blind mice made normally light-insensitive ganglion cells respond to light. These cells ferry optical signals from the rods and cones to the brain, so the mice regained some ability to see light.

But it only worked with ultraviolet light. Now, Kramer’s team has found a different drug that does the same with visible light. Just 6 hours after they were injected, blind mice could learn to respond to light in the same way as sighted mice – although Kramer says he doesn’t know whether they regained vision or just light sensitivity.

Selective effect

When the researchers studied the drug’s impact on retinal cells in more detail, they realised it had had no effect on healthy cells. “That’s what’s particularly remarkable and hopeful about this,” says Kramer. “It’s possible that if you put this drug in a partially damaged eye it would restore vision to the damaged regions and leave the healthy areas unaffected – although we haven’t done the experiments to test that.”

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