Restoring peatland in Belarus

This 2013 video is called BELARUS — NEW PEAT BOGS.

From BirdLife:

Belarus to restore over 1000 hectares of peatland

By APB BirdLife Belarus, 5 Dec 2016

A huge restoration project led by APB BirdLife Belarus (BirdLife Partner), the National Park authorities and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is taking place in Białowieża Forest National Park, to recover invaluable habitat for raptors, owls and woodpeckers.

Between the border of Poland and Belarus lies the impressive Białowieża Forest, one of Europe’s last primeval forests and one of the few remnants of the vast woods that once covered most of the continent. This exceptional habitat is a Natura 2000 site, an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inhabited by a total of 250 bird species including Great Snipe Gallinago media, Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga and the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola.

Sixty years ago, a large open fen covering an area of over 7000 ha at the eastern edge of Białowieża Forest (known as Biełaviežskaja Pušča in Belarusian) was drained as a result of a large scale wetland reclamation campaign in the Soviet Union. A new conservation project started last week to seek to restore an area of 1163 hectares of National Park. One of the largest fen rehabilitation projects in Europe, the project aims to construct 112 natural dams by the end of December.

While the peatland restoration project is taking part in the central part of the Białowieża Forest, its positive impact will even cross borders. The so-called Dziki Nikar mire is the source of the Narevka River, one of the main water arteries feeding the Polish part of Białowieża Forest. The dams will make the water level rise to the surface for the benefit of wildlife in both countries.

Why are peatlands so important?

Peatlands are a type of wetland with a thick organic soil layer made up of decaying plant material. While peatland is a more general term, APB BirdLife Belarus is here restoring a particular, wet kind of peatland called fen: a flat mire that collects water from rainfall and surface water.

Peatlands are unique ecosystems, essential to mitigate climate change because of their ability to store carbon. In fact, they store twice as much carbon as forests in a tenth of the area. They also store such large quantities of water that they help in flood protection and clean water supply.

Belarus is currently taking the lead in peatland restoration in Europe. APB BirdLife Belarus is playing a key role in the process, being a partner or implementing organisation in many such projects.

Over the last decade, up to 50,000 hectares of degraded peatlands have been rewetted in Belarus. Most of them are depleted through peat extraction, which makes restoration of the original mire a complicated and lengthy process. But this project is unique: after Dziki Nikar was drained for agriculture it was used for a relatively short time, thereby enhancing prospects for successful restoration of the original vegetation.

“Water – a key element for all the ecosystems of Belarus. Most of our rare species are associated with water but have become rare due to water shortages. If we restore the peatland, we will bring back these species. We will wait for the return of the Great Snipe, Greater Spotted Eagle and the Aquatic Warbler”, said Alexander Vintchevski, Director of APB BirdLife Belarus.

First results should be visible in the next two or three years. However, it will take at least another 30 years for the ecosystem to be completely restored.

Blue and gray jays in Canada

This video from Canada says about itself:

5 December 2016

Gray Jays visit the Ontario FeederWatch Cam. One seems particularly interested in the goods inside the lady bug feeder.

Thanks to Perky-Pet for helping to make the Ontario FeederWatch Cam possible!

The FeederWatch cam is located in a residential neighborhood in Manitouwadge, Ontario.

This video from Canada says about itself:

Blue and Gray Jays Swap Time at the Feeders – Dec. 5, 2016

These two species of corvids take their turns swapping time at the Ontario FeederWatch feeders.

Thanks to Perky-Pet for helping to make the Ontario FeederWatch Cam possible!

The FeederWatch cam is located in a residential neighborhood in Manitouwadge, Ontario.

Red fox and sparrows

This video is about wildlife, like a red fox and sparrows, in the Dutch North Sea coastal region, between Katwijk and Wassenaar, in the autumn of 2016.

Little bittern video

This video from the Netherlands is about little bitterns; the smallest heron species in Europe.

Purple swamphens in Florida, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

5 December 2016

The rare and exotic Purple Swamphen is an introduced bird species to Florida from southeast Asia. It is like a native Purple Gallinule on steroids – the size of a large chicken and stunning in its purple and green beauty.

A video of the native Purple Gallinule which is much smaller and has different beak coloration can be seen here.

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) was added to the ABA Checklist based on a naturalized population found in Florida. Following a 7–0 vote in August 2012 by members of the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee to add the species to the Official Florida State Bird List, the CLC voted 7–1 to accept the Purple Swamphen as an established exotic. The dissenting CLC voter was concerned that the swamphen population was not large enough to be truly established; CLC rules allow a species to be accepted with one dissenting vote. The addition of Purple Swamphen raises to 977 the number of species on the ABA Checklist.

Flowers, birds of Koudenhoorn island

This September 2016 video is about wildlife at Koudenhoorn island in Warmond in the Netherlands. Including robin, great spotted woodpecker and other birds; and flowers.