Kingfisher and brimstone butterfly


Brimstone butterfly, 29 August 2015

This photo shows a male brimstone butterfly in the gardens of Sperwershof in ‘s Graveland in the Netherlands. We went there on 29 August 2015.

Before we arrived there, a group of white wagtails on a meadow. And grey lag geese.

A bit further, a kingfisher fishing in a ditch.

A dragonfly sitting on a pole: a male vagrant darter, aka moustached darter?

Brimstone butterfly, on 29 August 2015

As I said, at the Sperwershof a brimstone butterfly.

This is a brimstone butterfly video.

As we go back, nuthatch sound.

Along the bicycle track, big parasol mushrooms grow.

Bee-eater vs buzzard in England


This video from England is called Bee-eater vs Buzzard, Brampton, 2015.

Long-tailed skua passes Texel island


This is a long-tailed skua video from Sweden.

This morning, a long-tailed skua was reported flying west of Texel island in the Netherlands.

Scandinavian swift autumn migration in the Netherlands


This video is called Common swift (Apus apus) under some tiles and flying.

Translated from the Dutch SOVON ornithologists:

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Swifts stay no longer in our country than is strictly necessary. Almost immediately after the fledging of the youngsters they disappear towards Africa, mostly in the second half of July. This year in the end of August there was a late wave of Scandinavian migrating birds. Exceptional!

Migration counters record most swift movements in the second half of July. Normally the numbers of swifts fall sharply in early August. The migration then trickles on a bit, with the last birds passing in September or even October

Late migration

In the fourth week of August this year there were strikingly many swifts seen by migration counters. Especially on August 23 sizable numbers were recorded: 1272 in Bergen aan Zee, 1084 at De Nolle in Vlissingen, 576 at the Volcano in The Hague and 563 in Ketelbrug.

Saving Asian vultures from extinction


This video says about itself:

Yula Kapetanakos: Asian Vulture Study

19 July 2012

Despite their grisly lifestyle, vultures play an important role in nature and are even important for protecting human health—but in southeast Asia several species are facing extinction from exposure to a drug used to treat livestock. Cornell graduate student Yula Kapetanakos tells us about her doctoral research on White-rumped Vultures in Cambodia.

She extracts genetic samples from dropped feathers and uses them to determine how many vultures remain and how closely related they are. Since the birds naturally shed these feathers, her work doesn’t affect the birds at all; and since she is able to accurately identify individuals through their genetic fingerprints, her counts have revealed population levels that exceed those estimated with previous techniques—good news for an imperiled species.

From BirdLife:

Major breakthrough in fight to save Asian vultures from extinction

By Martin Fowlie, Fri, 28/08/2015 – 09:32

A major step for the future of vultures in Asia has been announced by the Indian Ministry of Health. A ban of multi-dose vials of human formulations of diclofenac, which is responsible for the death of tens of millions of Asia’s vultures, has come into force with immediate effect.

The painkiller was banned from veterinary use in India in 2006 because of its lethal effects on vultures that feed on the carcasses of treated cattle and buffaloes, but human formulations of the drug have been illegally used to treat animals since then. The ban sees diclofenac production now restricted to human formulations in a single 3ml dose.

Chris Bowden, RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and SAVE vulture programme manager said, “Despite diclofenac being illegal for veterinary use since 2006, human formulations have been made readily available in large vials by irresponsible drug companies, making it cheap and easy to use illegally to treat cattle and buffalo. This ban means that the large vials can no longer be manufactured and sold, making it more difficult to use illegally for animals and thereby removing it from the primary source of food for Asia’s vultures.  This is a huge step closer to bringing vultures back from the brink of extinction.”

Veterinary diclofenac caused an unprecedented decline in the three species South Asia’s Gyps vulture populations – White-rumped, the long-billed and the slender-billed vulture. Oriental white-backed vultures declined by more than 99.9% between 1992 and 2007, with the loss of tens of millions of individuals.

After years of campaigning by conservationists, the governments of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan banned veterinary formulations of diclofenac between 2006 and 2010. Recently, experts have recorded a slowing of Gyps vulture declines as a result of the bans. However, human formulations of diclofenac are still widely available and illegally used to treat livestock, the carcasses of which are the main food source for vultures in South Asia.

The RSPB is a member of SAVE (Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction), which is a consortium of international organisations created to oversee and co-ordinate conservation, campaigning and fundraising activities to help the plight of South Asia’s vultures.  Since it was created, SAVE has requested pharmaceutical companies to cease production of the large vials of human formulations of diclofenac, which, at 30ml, are ten times the size of the dose required to treat a human (i.e., 3ml).  Only three companies voluntarily ceased manufacture ahead of this regulation, while more than 70 in India ignored the requests. Health professionals do not think that the banning of large vials poses any significant threat for the legitimate use of diclofenac in treating humans.

Vibhu Prakash, a scientist from the Bombay Natural History Society (BirdLife in India) said, “Probably the most important step in vulture conservation since diclofenac’s ban for veterinary use in 2006, this latest announcement shows how much progress has been made. But there is still a job to do to make sure that safe alternative drugs are used.  Unfortunately, many alternatives, like ketoprofen, are not vulture-safe and more remain untested. In fact, there is only one vulture-safe alternative – meloxicam.”

Meloxicam is becoming more widely used now that the cost to manufacture it has been reduced by lifting its patent in South Asia.  However, other drugs known to be toxic or with unknown effects remain legal and are still being used.

Closer to home, an Italian company was, incredibly, given the green light to produce diclofenac for the Italian and Spanish veterinary markets, eight years after India’s first ban on the drug. Vultures inhabit both countries and feed on livestock carcasses, some of which will be treated with diclofenac. Vulture conservationists fear that this will cause declines in Europe’s vultures similar to that seen in South Asia. However, these fears have not been taken seriously by the European Medicines Agency who did not advise a European Union-wide ban on diclofenac.

Toby Galligan, RSPB Vulture Research scientist, said: “Again the government of India has made a strong decision to protect its vultures. Something that Europe has failed to do. It is truly shameful.”

SAVE is working to stop veterinary use of diclofenac by advocating vulture conservation to governments and raising awareness of alternative drugs that are just as effective in treating cattle to veterinarians and livestock owners.  While these issues are being tackled in situ, SAVE has established captive breeding populations of vultures at centres in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The birds will be released to supplement surviving wild populations, but only when it is safe to do so.

Bird breeding news from Texel island


This video says about itself:

22 March 2013

The Dutch wadden island Texel is a paradise for birds. Photographer Sijmen Hendriks visited it several times from 2007 on . This slideshow video shows the result of these visits. Grey Plover, Avocet, Spoonbill, Stonechat, Brent Geese, Whitethroat, Hen Harrier, Sandwich Tern, Linnet, Yellow Wagtail and many more birds are featured in this video. Texel is the westernmost island in the Wadden Sea and is known for its rich bird life.

Warden Erik van der Spek from Texel island in the Netherlands writes today (translated):

In the Muy lake spoonbills, great cormorants and grey herons have nested in colonies. In 2015 as many as 106 spoonbill couples have bred. This number has never been so high. In 2014 there were 85 nests. The numbers of cormorants have declined: there were an estimated 848 nests in 2015 (census April 20). In 2014 there were still 882 nests. The cormorants may have relocated to De Geul; the colony there has increased explosively, with 661 couples in 2014 and 1040 in 2015.

De Geul

In the Geul there were counted at least 420 spoonbill couples. Since 2011, the number of breeding pairs here has remained about the same. …

Of the approximately 65 little tern couples on the Hors about half the young fledged. Of the others, the nests have been washed away. The four pairs of hen harriers together produced eight young birds; one nest failed. This is comparable to the situation in 2014.

Starling bathing, video


This is a video of a starling bathing in the garden of Michael de Vries, in Ede, the Netherlands.