Beaver back in Friesland after 350 years


This 31 August camera trap video, made by Harrie Bosma near Woudsend village in Friesland province in the Netherlands, shows that a beaver has started to build a dam there.

This is the first time for this species since about 350 years.

In 2008, beavers had been introduced to Groningen and Drenthe provinces, bordering on Friesland. But this is the first proof they have crossed the Friesland border.

Common vole on Ameland island, video


This is a video about a common vole on Ameland island in the Netherlands.

The vole was feeding on grass next to a cycle track.

Ronald made this video in August 2014.

Water voles back in Scottish Highlands


This is a video from England about a water vole (and a male mallard).

From Wildlife Extra:

Water vole returns to RSPB site in Scottish Highlands after 20 year hiatus

The endangered water vole has returned to RSPB Insh Marshes after 20 year absence.

The small chubby rodent, which inspired the character Ratty in the children’s novel Wind in the Willows, was last seen at the reserve in Strathspey more than two decades ago and ecologists believe its reappearance is a result of work to eradicate American mink.

Predation by the American mink and habitat loss has led water vole to being the UK’s fastest declining mammal with numbers having dropped by 90 per over the last 40 years.

However, since 2011 the Scottish Mink Initiative has worked alongside organisations and landowners like the RSPB to eradicate mink from large parts of northern Scotland, including the Cairngorms National Park and Insh Marshes. This has allowed water voles to re-establish themselves in those areas.

RSPB Officer, James Silvey, said: “Water voles are extremely important mammals because they’re a really good sign of a healthy wetland environment.

“ It’s great to see them returning to Strathspey and we are hopeful this population will go from strength to strength. However, we have to remain vigilant to ensure that mink remain absent from the area.

“RSPB Scotland will continue to support the Scottish Mink Initiative in its efforts to remove mink from as much of the site as possible. People in the area can help protect water voles too, by looking out for them and reporting any sightings to us so we can monitor their populations.”

African harrier-hawk in Cape Town, South Africa


This video from South Africa says about itself:

An African Harrier-Hawk hunting upside down (Gymnogene)

The African Harrier-Hawk, Harrier Hawk, or Gymnogene is a bird of prey. It is about 60-66 cm in length, and is related to the harriers. It breeds in most of Africa south of the Sahara.

From the Sunday Argus in South Africa this week:

Pics: Harrier-hawk’s urban takeaway

A large bird of prey swooped through Long Street, startling pedestrians and motorists alike

Cape Town – Was it a small plane? Was it Superman? No, actually, this time it was a bird in the form of an African Harrier-hawk that swooped around the heart of Cape Town last week, startling motorists and pedestrians and scaring the living daylights out of the pigeons.

And in the case of what appeared to be a young fledgling pigeon, this was literally true, because it was caught and devoured by the raptor that was formally known (and still is to many bird-lovers) as a Gymnogene.

The graceful but highly manoeuvrable raptor was photographed with its prey by Weekend Argus photographer Leon Muller at the intersection of Long and Waterkant streets.

Pedestrians and shoppers also whipped out their cellphones to record the unusual event while anxious Hartlaub’s Gulls squawked raucously as they tried in vain to drive the intruder away. The Harrier-hawk simply ignored them as it polished off its meal before taking off again.

A few days later it was seen alighting on the Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square, sending the local flocks of pigeons wheeling in terrified flight.

This raptor species has the ability to climb, using its wings, claws and double-jointed knees, which allows it to raid nests, particularly those of cavity-nesters such as barbets. It also feeds on alien species, like feral pigeons and house sparrows.

Professor Peter Ryan, director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, confirmed the identity of the raptor.

“They are increasing in the Peninsula and are partial to squirrels, among other things,” he said.

That has to be good news for nature-lovers concerned at what appears to be the rapid population explosion of the alien grey squirrel that, although predominantly vegetarian, also feeds on the eggs and chicks of indigenous Cape birds.

Grey squirrels are native to North America and were among several exotic species introduced to the Cape by arch-colonialist Cecil John Rhodes.

john.yeld@inl.co.za

John Yeld, Sunday Argus

Five short-eared owl babies born


This video from Britain is called Separating Short-eared and Long-eared Owls.

Translated from Natuurmonumenten conservation organisation in the Netherlands:

Young short-eared owls born in Skrok

Monday, July 21, 2014 11:11

Unique: Five owlets were born from a nesting pair of short-eared owls in Skrok nature reserve. Unique to the Frisian area, 10km north of Sneek. It is certainly twenty years since breeding short-eared eared owls had been observed there for the last time.

Mowing postponed

Ranger Sander Veenstra: “Now that we know this, we will definitely not mow this plot in the coming weeks.” …

It’s a good short-eared owl year. This year there is a surplus of mice. And that is visible. In the nest of this couple there are mice which have not even been eaten. The parents have made a sort of a pantry. The owlets can use this as well in the coming months. In a few weeks’ time, they will fly off. A unique event for Skrok,” says ranger Sander Veenstra.

Four new rodent species discovered in Bolivia


This video is about tuco-tucos.

From Science, Space & Robots:

Scientists Identify Four New Species of Tuco-Tucos

Scientists have identified four new species of tuco-tuco in Bolivia. The research team was led by Scott Gardner from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Tuco-tucos are gopher-like mammals that make burrows for homes. They range in size as adults from 7 to 12 inches (.2 to .3 meters) and weigh about 1 pound (0.45 kilograms).

The researchers say the high ridges that create deep river valleys in central Bolivia have aided the development of different tuco-tuco species through geographic isolation. The four new tuco-tuco species include Ctenomys erikacuellarae (Erika’s tuco-tuco), Ctenomys andersoni (Anderson’s cujuchi), Ctenomys lessai (Lessa’s tuco-tuco) and Ctenomys yatesi (Yates’ tuco-tuco). There are about 65 tuco-tuco species in South America. Bolivia has twelve of them with the four newly identified species. …

Tuco-tucos dig complex burrows using their claws and their teeth. These burrows feature long branching tunnels and include a main tunnel that is longer than 46 feet (14 meters). They reportedly make a loud “tuc-tuc” noise which is where the tuco-tuco name comes from.

Gardner said in a statement, “The area from which these mammals were collected is still relatively unknown in a biological sense, even though this is the eastern foothills of the Andes, with among the highest level of biodiversity anywhere.”

A research paper on the new species was published here in the Special Publications from the Museum of Text Tech University.

July 21, 2014

Birds and rodents, video


This video is about wildlife in the Netherlands. Birds like song thrush and reed bunting; and small rodents.

Gerrie van der Meulen made the video.