Rare moth back in northern Netherlands


This video from the Netherlands is about National park Dwingelderveld in winter.

Translated from the Dutch Natuurmonumenten conservationists:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pachythelia villosella, a very rare moth species, is back in Drenthe province. In late July, several individuals were seen and found dead in the National Park Dwingelderveld.

Disappeared species

Warden Ruud Kreetz of Natuurmonumenten says: “The species had disappeared from the northern provinces long ago, and was only seen recently on some spots in the Veluwe, North Brabant and Limburg.”

Birds, bees, butterflies earlier in mild winter weather


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.

Skylarks and chaffinches sing already.

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Fungi, godwits and avocets


Meeslouwer lake, 23 February 2014

This photo shows the Meeslouwer lake, just north of Starrevaart nature reserve.

Today, 23 January 2014, to Starrevaart. In the pond next to the parking lot, gadwall ducks swimming.

A bit further, in the Meeslouwer lake: grey lag geese; coots; great cormorants sitting on poles.

Canada geese. Two little grebes. Tufted ducks.

Then, to the Starrevaart lake. Shelducks. A buzzard flying. Pheasants walking.

In woodland, fungi; the winter weather so far is mild. Scurvy twiglet mushrooms.

Witches' butter, 23 February 2014

On a fallen tree, witches’ butter.

A bit further, Coprinellus micaceus fungi. And Coprinus domesticus fungi. And Bjerkandera adusta.

Lesser celandine already flowering along a ditch, though spring still has to begin officially.

In the Starrevaart lake, scores of common pochards swimming. Behind them, over a thousand wigeons.

On the small island near the hide: many oystercatchers, scores of northern lapwings; and a few black-tailed godwits, just back from spring migration.

Oystercatchers and avocets flying away, Starrevaart, 23 February 2014

Every now and then, something scares the birds on the islet, and they fly away. On the photo, oystercatchers fly with two avocets, while wigeons swim.

Oystercatchers and godwits, Starrevaart, 23 February 2014

Most of the birds return to the island, if they think it was false alarm. On the photo oystercatchers, northern lapwings, and two black-tailed godwits; with a wigeon swimming in front of them.

Lapwings and godwits, 23 February 2014

Two male and one female goldeneyes swimming near the other side of the lake.

Shoveler, 23 February 2014

A male shoveler duck swims behind the islet.

Northern lapwing, 23 February 2014

A northern lapwing on top of a pole, with a row of wigeons underneath.

Northern lapwing, Starrevaart, 23 February 2014

Lapwings and wigeons gather as well on the rocks just east of the islet.

Lapwings and wigeons, 23 February 2014

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Rare birds in Florida


This video is called Birds of Florida.

From the Herald-Tribune in the USA:

Cold winter brings rare birds to Florida

By VALERIE GARMAN
Halifax Media Group

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 8:07 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 8:07 a.m.

PANAMA CITY BEACH – Bay County has been a destination for a more literal type of snowbird this winter.

Frigid temperatures across the country have brought some migrating birds farther south than they usually fly, with some making the trek all the way from the Arctic Circle.

“We’ve had a number of birds that have been quite rare for Bay County,” Bay County Audubon Society member Neil Lamb said Monday. “Probably the most exciting we’ve seen is a snow bunting that is out at Deepwater Point at St. Andrews State Park, where the [St. Andrew] Pass and Grand Lagoon meet.”

The arctic snow bunting doesn’t usually travel farther south than Ohio for the winter. Ironically, the bird was first spotted by a human snowbird about a week ago among the Savannah sparrows and yellow warblers common to the state park’s sand dunes.

“They’re one of the Arctic regulars and they winter usually down in the Great Plains part of the U.S.,” said Lamb, who led a walk with the Audubon Society on Saturday to seek out the snow bunting. “It’s quite unusual.”

Colder-than-usual temperatures in the northern states also have brought huge numbers of loons and ducks to the area this year.

While most of the visiting loons and ducks are species commonly seen in the winter, Lamb said he also recently spotted another arctic bird, a red-throated loon, among a flock of about 55 others in St. Andrew Bay.

The bay also has served as a winter home to thousands of ducks, more than usual this year, as they fatten up on feasts of fish and shrimp to prepare for the long journey back home.

“If you look at the weather reports, the Great Lakes have been totally frozen over for the first time in years and years,” Lamb said. “When the water’s frozen, the ducks can’t survive on ice. They have wings, so they’ll go where there’s open water.”

Some spotted species include red-breasted mergansers, hooded mergansers and redhead ducks.

Lamb said news of the rare bird sightings also have brought a boost for ecotourism in the area, with bird enthusiasts from across the Southeast hoping to catch a peek.

“It’s been bringing quite a few people into the area,” said Lamb, who noted there are three times as many bird watchers as there are hunters.

Avid birders often upload their finds to an online documentation site, eBird.org, which sends out “rare bird alerts” when unusual species are reported in a user’s region of interest.

“We’re always on alert,” Lamb said.

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Spring flowers in winter


This video is called Crocus flowers full bloom, bees enjoy.

Last year, during spring, the weather often felt like winter.

Now, it is officially still winter, but the weather feels like spring.

There are white snowdrop flowers. Not unusual for this time the year. The white daisies and purple crocus flowers near the canal today are a bit more special.

While a blackbird sang.

Some people saw honey bees flying; which they don’t do in real winter weather.

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Purple heron winters in the Netherlands


This is video about a young purple heron. It winters in a meadow near Bleskensgraaf in the Netherlands.

Usually, purple herons are migratory birds, wintering in Africa.

But not this bird. So far, the winter has been mild. But very recently, it became colder. Let us hope this heron will survive.

A. Strootman made this video.

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