Young spoonbills’ winter in the Netherlands


This 6 February 2016 video is about two young spoonbills. Most spoonbills in the Netherlands migrate to Africa in autumn. However, some stay; including these two in the Veerse Meer lake in the Dutch Zeeland province.

More about this is here.

Chinese crested terns discovery in Indonesia


This 2014 video is called The Bird of Legend: Chinese Crested Tern.

From BirdLife:

Survey confirms Chinese Crested Terns in Indonesia

By Ed Parnell, Tue, 09/02/2016 – 08:45

A survey team led by Burung Indonesia (BirdLife in Indonesia) and BirdLife’s Asia Division has confirmed a wintering site of the globally threatened Chinese Crested Tern Thalasseus bernsteini in eastern Indonesia.

At least one adult and possibly one first-year Chinese Crested Tern were seen in a flock of up to 250 Greater Crested Terns T. bergii near Seram Island (approximately midway between Sulawesi and Papua). Threats to the site and the birds were assessed in detail during the one-week survey that was carried out in mid-January 2016, and the team also visited local university and government institutions to raise awareness of the nearby presence of this Critically Endangered seabird.

Despite its name, the Chinese Crested Tern was first found near Halmahera, in the Wallacea region of eastern Indonesia. However, since its discovery in 1861 the species had not subsequently been recorded in Indonesia (apart from an unverified record in Bali) until December 2010, when a lone bird was photographed near Seram. As a result of this initial sighting (and further reports in 2014/15), BirdLife and Burung Indonesia believed the area to perhaps be a regular wintering site. A survey team was formed, including local conservationists and three university students from Hong Kong.

“Although the number of Chinese Crested Terns found during the survey is low, it does confirm that the species is a regular wintering bird to the Seram Sea, and it is very likely that Wallacea is a main wintering area for this species. As the local authorities and community are starting to be aware of and feel proud of its presence, it will surely only be a matter of time before more sightings are reported from the region,” said Simba Chan, adding that more surveys and outreach work are planned by BirdLife around Seram in the future.

“The involvement of local communities in conservation actions is one of Burung’s main strategies,” added Ria Saryanthi, Head of Communication and Knowledge Center, Burung Indonesia. Burung has been focusing its work in the Wallacea region which includes Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas, since it was established in 2002.

It is also hoped that another recent project – in China itself – may help to build more knowledge of this little-known species. In August 2015 some 31 crested tern chicks (probably all Greater Crested Terns, which share the colony with their rarer relatives) were banded at Tiedun Dao, the largest Chinese Crested Tern colony. The birds were ringed with numbered red bands, the first step in a systematic study that aims to investigate the movements of the colony’s terns.

Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCFHK) Foundation Director Ms. Suzanne Gendron said, “The Foundation has been supporting the conservation efforts on Chinese crested terns since 2008.  We are excited to know that after years of efforts, there is a higher hope for the recovery of this critically endangered species. I believe our sponsored students benefit from and are inspired by Mr. Simba Chan’s passion and experience.

New tarantula species named after singer Johnny Cash


Aphonopelma johnnycashi. Image credit: Hamilton C.A. et al.

From Sci-News.com in the USA:

Aphonopelma johnnycashi: Newfound Tarantula Species Named after Johnny Cash

Feb 5, 2016 by Enrico de Lazaro

A team of researchers, directed by Dr. Chris Hamilton of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, has discovered a previously unknown species of tarantula that lives in the plains and foothills of the western Sierra Nevada Mountains, the United States, and named it after the famed American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author Johnny Cash.

The newly-discovered species, Aphonopelma johnnycashi, has a distribution running along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and can be found inhabiting the following regions: Sierra Nevada, Central California Foothills and Coastal Mountains, and Central California Valley.

“The specific epithet, johnnycashi, is in honor of the country music legend, Johnny Cash,” Dr. Hamilton and co-authors explained in a paper in the journal ZooKeys.

“This species can be found near the area of Folsom Prison in California (famous for Cash’s song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’), and like Cash’s distinctive style of dress, where he was referred to as ‘the man in black’, mature males of this species are generally black in color.”

The breeding season of Aphonopelma johnnycashi, when mature males abandon their burrows in search of females, occurs during the fall (generally September-November).

“More than 50 different species of tarantulas had been previously reported from the United States, but that many of them were poorly defined and actually belonged to the same species,” Dr. Hamilton said.

To gain a better understanding of the diversity and distributions of these spiders, he and his colleagues spent more than a decade searching for tarantulas throughout scorching deserts, frigid mountains, and other locations in the American Southwest.

The team studied nearly 3,000 specimens, undertaking the most comprehensive taxonomic study ever performed on a group of tarantulas.

Because most species of tarantula in the United States are very similar in appearance and cannot be distinguished from each other using anatomical features alone, the researchers implemented a modern approach to taxonomy by employing anatomical, behavioral, distributional, and genetic data.

Their results indicate there are 29 species in the United States, among which Aphonopelma johnnycashi and 13 other species are new to science.

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Johnny Cash – Man in black with lyrics

Recorded February 16, 1971; Nashville, Tennessee

Farmer gets solar pump to help nesting birds


This 4 February 2016 regional TV video, in Frisian and Dutch languages, shows the installation of a special wetland solar pump on the land of farmer Jelte Bakker.

BirdLife in the Netherlands reports today that solar pump making business Poortman recently made their 100th pump. They decided to give that pump as a present to a farmer managing his land in a bird friendly way.

That farmer is Jelte Bakker (Ginnum village, Friesland province).

The pump has been installed and will help to improve the water level for nesting meadow birds.

2015 was already a good year for the birds on Jelte Bakker’s land. There were 34 northern lapwing couples nesting; 33 black-tailed godwit couples; 27 redshank nests; and 38 oystercatcher nests. Skylarks nested as well.

Green heron in New York, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

27 January 2016

An alert Green Heron hunts for fish in New York. These small herons hunt day and night, crouching patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their dagger-like bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait. Unlike larger herons, Green Heron usually don’t wade, but rather hunt in shallow water, from solid ground, or when standing on vegetation.

New water mites discovery in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

A tiny species of water mite (taxa Hydracarina, species unresolved) and microworms (Panagrellus redivivus, a nematode) in a still-water aquarium.

From the Watermites introduction page:

ANYONE WHO TOOK A PEEK IN A CLEAR DITCH HAS SEEN THEM: the little red spiders that swim in the beautiful contrasting green of the water plants. They seem to roam about aimlessly, like simple red little balls with sprawling legs. Yet there are smaller species, not coloured red, but inconspicuous green or pale yellow. And you have to be an attentive observer to distinguish these minuscule dots in a jar full of jumping water fleas, where they move in more or less steady tracks, like planets between sparkling stars.

Worldwide there are over 5000 water mite species, with large differences in shape and habits. Some species are very similar to species on land.

Translated rom the Dutch EIS entomologists:

Feb 8, 2016 – Water mites are tiny, spider-like aquatic creatures. In the Netherlands, this group is well studied because they are used as indicators of water quality. It is therefore noteworthy that in recent years as many as nine new species of water mites have been found in the Netherlands. This brings the total number of species for our country to 267. …

In a recent article in Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen No. 45 eight new species were reported. Since the publication of this article again a new species for the Dutch fauna has been found, by Cynthia Kruijff-Van der Voorn of Waterschap Scheldestromen: Arrenurus denticulatus. This species is internationally very rare and had only been found in France, Romania and Sweden.