The blog of Anke Bruin, warden on Vlieland island in the Netherlands, reports that more dune pansies than ever are flowering on the dunes of the island this year. This is because sand from the beach was blown into the dunes by winds.
The pansy plants attract caterpillars of various butterfly species, like the Queen of Spain fritillary.
Northern wheatears eat these caterpillars. So, many dune pansies is good news for wheatears.
Northern wheatears nest in rabbit holes. The rabbits keep other plants short, which helps the pansies. The rabbits don’t eat pansies.
Interesting, this interaction between various species.
This video from Britain is called Taking a look at Terns 2: Roseate, Sandwich and Little Tern.
Warden Carl Zuhorn reports that little terns are back nesting on Vlieland island in the Netherlands.
Last year, 68 little tern couples nested on Vlieland. For the first time since many years, some chicks fledged.
Little terns are vulnerable nesting birds. They nest on beaches. That makes the nests vulnerable to high tides, or to people walking on beaches with dogs.
This video is called トゲウオの巣卵ファンニング行動 Freshwater fish Ninespine stickleback fanning his nest.
Translated from ichthyologist Gerbrand Gaaff in the Netherlands:
Schiermonnikoog and Vlieland have a freshwater fish fauna with very few species. Actually only the ninespine stickleback plays a significant role there. In addition, on both islands also Prussian carp (a carp relative) are sometimes caught. The sweet waters of the other three islands are also inhabited by perch, roach, bream, silver bream, common rudd, carp and pike. The zander lives only on Texel and the tench only on Terschelling.
See also the table here.
This site says that the goldfish (domesticated form of the Prussian carp), probably released from aquariums, is the only freshwater fish of Vlieland.
This is a brent geese video from Scotland.
Translated from the blog of Anke Bruin, warden on Vlieland island, the Netherlands:
Brent geese numbers in the Netherlands are at their maximum in spring. That maximum has been about 75,000 birds for some years now.
Here is a list of brent geese counts on Vlieland in 2012.
Jan 1000 – 2000
Feb 800 – 1200
March 1000 – 1500
Apr 1500 -2000
May 1500 -2000
June 20 – 50
July 0 – 5
Aug 0 – 5
Sep 15 – 20
Oct 2500 – 3000
Nov 1500 -2000
Dec 1000 – 1500
Vlieland rabbits: here.
This video from England is called Bewick Swans WWT Slimbridge.
Translated from the blog of warden Anke Bruin, on Vlieland island, the Netherlands:
March 4, 2013 by Anke Bruin, Forestry Department
No less than 69 Bewick’s Swans, including 6 first year youngsters (still a little gray) rested in the third Kroon’s polder wetland. Even the Chinook helicopter of the Air Force did not drive them away, they are probably very tired. This morning, colleague Herman Vogel mentioned the beautiful white birds. Bewick’s Swans have been in Vlieland earlier, but never such a big group. They are migrating from the south to the northern tundra and they are quite right, they just come here to rest and recharge.
A slide show about this is here (scroll down).
Also from Vlieland: this morning the first spoonbills of spring flying.
This video is about a bittern in the Oelemars nature reserve in Overijssel province the Netherlands, filmed by Carl Derks.
Vlieland bitterns: here.
Though it is still winter, Dutch great cormorants are already nesting. This photo by Erik Menkveld is from the Zwanenwater nature reserve.
Translated from the blog of game warden Anke Bruin from Vlieland island:
February 22, 2013
Last week, our colleague Herman Vogel noted that there are already over 80 great cormorants nesting in the second Kroon’s Polder wetland, on the islets. There they have already laid eggs. The particularity of the cormorants on Vlieland is that they nest on the ground. Elsewhere they make their nests in trees. On Vlieland they feel safe enough on their own islets, to breed on the ground.
The ‘Vlieland’ cormorants eat mainly sand eels (commercially not an interesting species).
There is a slide show about the cormorants in Ms Bruin’s blog post.
For the next few days, the weather forecast is more snow and cold. All my best wishes for the birds and their nests!
The blog of the forestry service on Vlieland island in the Netherlands reports a rare squid, stranded on the beach, yesterday 4 December.
It was a sagittal squid. The first time for that species on that island this year. On nearby Texel island, three specimens have beached so far this year.
In November, an Atlantic pomfret beached on Vlieland. Though this fish, usually living in Atlantic Ocean depths, is rare in the Netherlands as well, it does occur every year.
This video is about waxwings on Vlieland island in the Netherlands, 21 January 2011.
Last weekend, birds were counted on Vlieland; as Dutch ornithologist Peter de Boer reports.
The count was especially of shorebirds near the island at high tide. Then, birds have moved from drowning big sandbanks to smaller areas close to land, making it easier to count birds.
The counters saw over 81,000 birds. The three most common Vlieland species were bar-tailed godwit (24,000), dunlin (16,000) and oystercatcher (13,000). There were also quite some herring gulls (4,000), shelducks (3,700) and sanderlings (3,000).
There were 1,300 eider ducks.
Rare birds: two black brent geese, four peregrine falcons and a yellow-legged gull.
This video is called Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus).
Richel is a sand bank/desert island in the Netherlands, close to Vlieland island.
Richel is a breeding ground for ringed plovers, Kentish plovers, little terns, and other birds. It is also an important resting place for gray seals. At high water, the sand bank is a flood refuge, where many species of wading birds rest and, while cleaning their feathers, wait until they can forage at low tide.
Wildlife rangers on Richel have a blog (in Dutch). It is here.