Wolf, eagle, ravens in winter


This 27 January 2019 video is about a wolf, a young sea eagle, ravens and hooded crows feeding in winter.

This video was made from a hide in Sweden.

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Flounders in the Gulf of Finland


This August 2017 video says about itself:

European flounder let back into the sea

This washed ashore youngster was placed back in the Baltic sea.

From the University of Helsinki in Finland:

Flounders in the Gulf of Finland: Decline caused by the near disappearance of one species

January 25, 2019

Over the past 40 years, there has been a dramatic decline in fishery landings of an iconic Baltic Sea fish: the flounder. In the 1980s, the landings of the flounder fishery in the Gulf of Finland dropped by 90 per cent, a trend that was later confirmed by fishery-independent surveys.

There are two cryptic (i.e. morphologically very similar) species of flounder in the Baltic Sea: the European flounder (Platichthys flesus), which spawn pelagic eggs in high-salinity offshore basins, and the recently described Baltic flounder (Platichthys solemdali), the only endemic fish of the Baltic Sea.

The latter lays demersal eggs and is well adapted to the low salinities of the coastal waters of the Gulf of Finland and northern Baltic Proper. It was long assumed that only the demersal-spawning species occurs in the Gulf of Finland, where salinity is too low for P. flesus’s reproduction.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki developed a simple genetic test to distinguish the two species. By analyzing the DNA from flounders’ ear bones collected over the past four decades, they discovered that European flounders were in fact once the most abundant species in the Gulf of Finland. However, they have almost completely disappeared.

“We discovered that the decline in fishery landings closely mirrors in time the near-complete disappearance of the pelagic-spawning European flounder — a species that was not supposed to occur here. This species — not the Baltic flounder — dominated local assemblages until three decades ago, but has since disappeared as a result of worsening environmental conditions,” says researcher Paolo Momigliano from the University of Helsinki.

European flounders cannot reproduce in the Gulf of Finland; their northernmost spawning ground is east of Gotland, in the eastern Gotland Basin. However, larvae and juveniles can be transported to the Gulf of Finland by deep water currents.

Eutrophication and climate change have contributed to the worsening of environmental conditions in the eastern Gotland Basin. This, in turn, has likely greatly reduced the supply of larvae to the Gulf of Finland, explaining the near-complete disappearance of European flounders from the Finnish coast.

Revealing the contribution of each species to flounder stocks is essential for the appropriate management of this marine resource. The test developed by the authors also provides the means to monitor the contribution of each species to the local flounder assemblages in real-time, and for the first time will allow estimations of demographic changes, resilience to climate change and exploitation, as well as each species’ response to management.

“But perhaps more importantly, our study demonstrates that cryptic species could become locally extinct before we even notice their presence,” Momigliano points out.

DNA was extracted from 480 otoliths (ear bones), sampled from a collection containing over 29 000 flounder otoliths. These were collected annually from 1975 to 2011 as part of the routine sampling conducted by the Finnish Natural Resources Institute and its predecessor, Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute.

Big cave salamander discovery in Tennnessee, USA


This June 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

On this episode of Breaking Trail, Coyote and the crew hike deep into the West Virginia hills in search of the rare and cryptic Cave Salamander!

However, locating the cave is the only the first obstacle. Once the cave is found they must go spelunking deep into the mountain braving the darkness, cold and giant spiders until the beams of their flashlights illuminate one of these beautiful amphibians…or so they hope!

From the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in the USA:

Record-breaking salamander

January 25, 2019

Researchers at UT have discovered the largest individual of any cave salamander in North America, a 9.3-inch specimen of Berry Cave salamander. The finding was published in Subterranean Biology.

“The record represents the largest individual within the genus Gyrinophilus, the largest body size of any cave-obligate salamander and the largest salamander within the Plethodontidae family in the United States,” said Nicholas Gladstone, a graduate student in UT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, who made the discovery.

The find is making scientists reexamine growth limits of these animals in harsh environments and how hospitable underground environments really are.

Salamanders can be found in a variety of habitats across Tennessee. Some species have adapted to live in cave environments, which are thought of as extreme and inhospitable ecosystems due to the absence of light and limited resources.

Salamanders are one of only two vertebrate animal groups to have successfully colonized caves. The other is fish, said Gladstone.

The record-breaking specimen had some damage to the tail, leading researchers to believe that it was once nearly 10 inches long.

The Berry Cave Salamander can be found in only 10 sites in eastern Tennessee, and in 2003 it was placed on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Candidate Species List for federal protection.

“This research will hopefully motivate additional conservation efforts for this rare and vulnerable species,” said Gladstone.

Biggest ever pro-climate demonstration in Brussels, Belgium


This Dutch language video is about the 17 January 2019 high school striking students march in Brussels, Belgium. Then, there were over 12,000 demonstrators.

A week later it was over 35,000 striking demonstrators.

This video is about that 24 January 2019 demonstration in Brussels.

So is this video.

And today, 27 January 2019, there was the biggest pro-climate demonstration ever in Brussels: over 70,000 people! Not just students this time; all age groups.

This 27 January 2019 video shows many pro-climate demonstrators arriving in Brussels, in spite of the rain. The Belgian railways had trouble transporting so many people to Brussels.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Some 70,000 people participated in the climate march through the streets of Brussels. In Belgium there are regularly demonstrations demanding climate measures, but never have so many people joined them. The organization counted on 30,000 people.

The fact that many more people have come to Brussels shows, according to the organization, that many Belgians believe that the government is not taking the climate problem seriously.

On Thursday, 35,000 high school students marched through the Belgian capital to draw attention to climate change. There was a lot of criticism because supposedly for the pupils it was just truancy.

According to NOS correspondent Thomas Spekschoor, many pupils were marching again today. “They wanted to show that they really mean it and that the strike was primarily meant to attract extra attention.

On banners, the demonstrators, eg, criticized the Flemish Minister for the Environment Joke Schauvliege, who does not participate in the march: ‘Joke is a joke’ [in English], writes one of the demonstrators.

Ms Schauvliege belongs to the conservative ‘Christian Democrat’ party.

This video from France calls for a pro-climate march in La Rochelle city. With the slogan also seen in self-made signs in Brussels today: ‘Let us change the system; not the climate’.

This video is about an 18 January 2019 pro-climate march of 10,000 striking students in Lausanne, Switzerland.

This video shows a September 2018 pro-climate march in Marrakech, Morocco.

Goldcrest, grey heron, roe deer, poetry, snow


This video about the Oude Buisse Heide is from September 2013, when the heather flowered.

Still 23 January 2019 at Oude Buisse Heide nature reserve.

After 22 January 2019 came our 23 January 2019 walk.

We walked again through the snow along the poetry footpath; signs with poems by Henriette Roland Holst besides it.

A goldcrest flying from branch to branch.

This video says about itself:

A male goldcrest singing, you can tell it’s a male by the crown showing a deep orange flash when it is raised. The song is so high-pitched that some people find it difficult to hear, it’s also not easy to keep up with when filming this fast-moving little bird which is recognised as Britain’s smallest bird.

A grey heron stands on a snowy footpath.

Branches and snow, 23 January 2019

Also much snow on branches.

Leaves, 23 January 2019

Also still some leaves.

A jay flying.

Roe deer footprints in the snow.

Turfvaart, 23 January 2019

We continued to the Turfvaart. This canal used to be for transport of peat by boats.

Robin, 23 January 2019

This robin sat down on barbed wire near the Turfvaart.

Great tits, 23 January 2019

We were almost back at where we had started. Near the Angora farm were many feeders, which attracted great tits, blue tits and, below the feeders, robins and chaffinches.

Great tit female, 23 January 2019

Also near the atelier of Henriette Roland Holst and her visual artist husband there was a feeder, which attracted birds like this female great tit.

Great tit male, 23 January 2019

And this male great tit.

Robin, on 23 January 2019

And this robin.

Feeder, 23 January 2019

On this photo, a blue tit feeds, while two great tits await their turn.

Stay tuned for more from the Oude Buisse Heide!