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Motmot, other rainforest wildlife in Costa Rica


Swallow-tailed kite, 20 March 2014

20 March 2014. After the morning, in the afternoon still around the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica. Two swallow-tailed kites flying near a restaurant.

Blue-and-yellow macaw, 20 March 2014

So does a blue-and-yellow macaw. It flies freely, but then sits on a fence, so close that it is probably a pet.

A bit further away, in a tree, its smaller relatives, crimson-fronted parakeets, are definitely not pets.

This video is called Canopy Tour near Arenal, Costa Rica.

We walk in a rainforest, where bridges as depicted in the video, span steep ravines along rivers. An opportunity to look at wildlife in the canopy … if you have no fear of heights.

Dull-mantled antbird, 20 March 2014

Near one of the smaller bridges, a dull-mantled antbird.

A crested guan.

Leaf-cutting ants.

A slaty-tailed trogon in a tree.

Arenal volcano, 20 March 2014

Still clouds around the top of the Arenal volcano, but less so than on some other days.

Rufous motmot, 20 March 2014

A rufous motmot. Costa Rica’s biggest motmot species.

Northern schiffornis, 20 March 2014

And a northern schiffornis. Not a colourful bird; but a rare bird, singing enthusiastically.

Northern schiffornis singing, 20 March 2014

A black-headed nightingale-thrush not far away on the footpath.

An ochre-bellied flycatcher.

Two piratic flycatchers in a tree near the parking lot.

Near the lake, the biggest kingfisher species of Costa Rica: a ringed kingfisher. It sits on a building, near a great egret on the bank.

Arenal bird list: here.

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Racist crime in Northern Ireland


This video is called Racist Hate Crime in Northern Ireland.

From UTV in Northern Ireland:

15-strong gang carry out racist attack

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A man has lost two teeth after he and two others were targeted in a racist attack in east Belfast.

Two men in their early 20s and a 19-year-old woman, all from Eastern Europe, were assaulted by a gang of around 15 people at waste ground near Lawnmount Street on Monday between 9pm and 9.30pm.

The gang – which included one woman – assaulted the victims with golf clubs leaving them with bruising and cuts, while one man lost two teeth.

Police are treating it as a race hate crime and are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the attack to contact them on the new non-emergency number 101.

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Dutch bird, mammal and caterpillar news


This video is about black terns in the Netherlands.

Dutch conservation organisation Zuid-Hollands Landschap, in their annual report about 2013, mention not only birds of the Zandmotor island, but also birds and other wildlife elsewhere.

In their nature reserves in the Krimpenerwaard region, numbers of black tern nests rose to 76 last year.

In the Zouweboezem reserve, purple heron nests rose from 149 in 2012 to 152 in 2013.

On the Groene Strand beach on Voorne island, there were 284 nesting black-headed gull couples. Figures for other species there: common tern: 196; redshank: 4; ringed plover: 3; little ringed plover: 6; avocet: 17; oystercatcher: 7.

In the sand dunes of Goeree island, more to the south, rare tundra voles were discovered. Other small mammal species in those dunes: wood mouse; common shrew; and greater white-toothed shrew.

In the Voorhofsche polder, near Waddinxveen, in 2013 there were 45 black-tailed godwit nests; 34 northern lapwing nests; and 12 redshank nests. Common terns and tufted ducks nested there as well.

And in Staelduin nature reserve, a caterpillar was found of the rare sycamore moth.

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Mysterious Antarctic sound turns out to be whales


This video is called Close Encounter with Minke Whale in Antarctica.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Scientists solve mystery of Southern Ocean ‘quacking’ sound

Noise heard in the Southern Ocean has been attributed to the underwater chatter of the Antarctic minke whale

Taku Dzimwasha

Wednesday 23 April 2014 15.05 BST

The mystery source of a strange quacking sound coming from the ocean has been discovered.

The so-called “bio-duck” noise, which occurs in the winter and spring in the Southern Ocean, had confused researchers for over 50 years.

Scientists have now attributed the sound to underwater chatter of the Antarctic minke whale.

Submarine crews first heard the quacking sound – a series of repetitive, low-pitched pulsing sounds – in the 1960s.

Lead researcher Denise Risch, from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration north-east fisheries science centre in Massachusetts, told the BBC: “Over the years there have been several suggestions, but no one was able to really show this species was producing the sound until now.”

The research team attached suction-cup sensor tags equipped with underwater microphones to a pair of minke whales off the western Antarctic peninsula in February last year, with the aim of monitoring their feeding behaviour and movements.

These were the first acoustic tags deployed on Antarctic minke whales, and the team compared their recordings with years worth of collected audio recordings to match the sounds. Researchers were able to identify the quacking noise, as well as downward-sweeping sounds previously linked to minke whales.

The sounds “can now be attributed unequivocally to the Antarctic minke whale,” Risch and her team wrote in a study published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Researchers are hoping to retrospectively analyse previous recordings to investigate “seasonal occurrence and migration patterns” of the whales.

Scientists remain puzzled as to why the whales produce the sound, but it is thought that the animals make the noise close to the surface before they make a deep dives to feed.

Risch added: “Identifying their sounds will allow us to use passive acoustic monitoring to study this species. That can give us the timing of their migration – the exact timing of when the animals appear in Antarctic waters and when they leave again – so we can learn about migratory patterns, about their relative abundance in different areas and their movement patterns between the areas.”

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Dutch coastal birds news


This is a Dutch video about the artificial sandy island Zandmotor, in the North Sea, south-west of The Hague.

In their annual report about 2013, Dutch conservation organisation Zuid-Hollands Landschap reports about the Zandmotor.

Two little ringed plover couples nested there last year.

Among species in winter there were snow bunting, peregrine falcon, Iceland gull and red-breasted merganser.

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Young elephants playing, video


This video says about itself:

96 Elephants: An Earth Day Moment of Zen

22 April 2014

Happy Earth Day!

We’re grateful to all our supporters for helping to make the planet safe for wildlife. Here’s our extra special thank you that is sure to melt your heart: 96 seconds of baby elephants playing and frolicking.

This video is pure joy, but sadly the problems facing these magnificent creatures are downright heartbreaking. Check out this video, then head over to 96elephants.org to find out more about what you can do to save them.

Special Thanks to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Mpala Research Centre & Conservancy for arranging filming.

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Hummingbirds and tanagers in Costa Rica


Brown violet-ear, 20 March 2014

In the morning of 20 March 2014 at Arenal observatory in Costa Rica, there were not only woodpeckers and bananaquits, but also, like at many other places in Costa Rica, hummingbirds. Eg, this brown violet-ear.

Brown violet-ear flying, 20 March 2014

Scaly-breasted hummingbird, 20 March 2014

And scaly-breasted hummingbirds.

Palm tanager, 20 March 2014

Also, a palm tanager.

Brown jay, 20 March 2014

The feeders attracted brown jays as well.

Two laughing falcons flying past.

A white-throated thrush.

A buff-throated saltator.

A sulphur-bellied flycatcher.

A male green honeycreeper.

Bay-headed tanager, 20 March 2014

A bay-headed tanager.

Golden-hooded tanager, 20 March 2014

And a golden-hooded tanager.

A black-striped sparrow.

A social flycatcher.

It stops raining. We walk around.

Garden emerald female, 20 March 2014

A garden emerald hummingbird sitting on a bush; then, flying.

A yellow-bellied elenia.

A house wren on the ground.

A variable seedeater.

A chestnut-sided warbler. And a fellow migrant from North America: a Tennessee warbler.

A black-cowled oriole.

A great kiskadee.

A white-necked jacobin hummingbird.

After that small bird, a bigger one: a keel-billed toucan; the second biggest toucan species of Costa Rica.

A hepatic tanager.

A grey-capped flycatcher.

Leaf-mimicking praying mantis, 20 March 2014

As we go back, a special insect: a leaf-mimicking praying mantis. Very probably, the genus Choeradodis. Probably, the species Choeradodis rhomboidea.

Lake Arenal, 20 March 2014

White-collared swifts flying above the lake. Though this is a big species for a swift, they were still too small and too far away to show on the photo.

A turkey vulture flying.

Rufous-tailed hummingbird, 20 March 2014

We started this blog post with a hummingbird. And now we finish it with another one: a rufous-tailed hummingbird.

Stay tuned, as there will be more about Costa Rica on 20 March 2014.

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