Bearded reedlings, marsh harriers and roe deer


This 5 May 2016 video is about the Beningerslikken nature reserve in the Netherlands.

We went there, and to the Spuimonding West nature reserve adjacent to it, on 28 May 2016.

This video is about Spuimonding West.

This video is about Spuimonding West and Beningerslikken.

So is this one.

And this one.

A barn swallow flying.

We saw two ringed plovers. Later, we would see a flock of hundreds of them.

Redshanks. Northern lapwings.

Shelducks. Oystercatchers.

Teal. Great crested grebe.

Barnacle geese. A swift flying.

Meadow pipits.

Avocets. Gadwall ducks.

Canada geese swimming with goslings. Behind them, a mute swan and a red-breasted merganser.

A Cetti’s warbler sings.

A goshawk lands on a tree.

A male marsh harrier flying.

A female reed bunting. Later, males as well.

Reed warblers and sedge warblers sing.

So does a bluethroat.

This video shows a Beningerslikken bluethroat.

Then, a highlight: four or five bearded reedlings balancing on reed stems.

A female marsh harrier. A buzzard.

A hare.

Two roe deer running across the footpath.

This video shows Beningerslikken roe deer running.

Edible frog sound.

Yellow iris flowers.

A female stonechat.

A willow warbler sings.

A yellow wagtail.

Finally, two spoonbills foraging.

This video is also about the Beningerslikken and its wildlife.

So is this video.

And this one.

Whisky protects Polynesian parrots


This video says about itself:

Rimatara Lorikeet and other birds on Atiu, Cook Islands

Rimatara Lorikeet – found only on Rimatara (Tubuai Islands), Kiribati, Atiu (Cook Islands)
Rarotongan Fruit-dove – found only on Rarotonga and Atiu (Cook Islands)
Rarotongan Flycatcher – found only on Rarotonga and Atiu (Cook Islands)
Chattering Kingfisher – found only in Society Islands and Cook Islands

Videos, photography and sound recording by Philip Griffin, April 2014 – Atiu, Cook Islands

From BirdLife:

Whisky protects lorikeets in French Polynesia

By Caroline Blanvillan, 27 May 2016

Invasive alien predators, especially rats, are the biggest threat to the birds of the Pacific region. Their spread across the Pacific has followed the movements of people, particularly Europeans, over the last two centuries. These invaders, as they “stepped off the boat”, heralded the beginning of the decline of many bird species.

Today, the Pacific region has 42 bird species that are classified as Critically Endangered, a quarter of the world’s total of such species.

BirdLife and its Pacific Partners have already cleared 40 islands of invasive species: the recovery of previously declining species on these islands has been spectacular. It is one of two actions that can ensure the continuing survival of species. The second, which is also the most cost effective option, is to prevent invaders from arriving in the first place.

In both cases, biosecurity is the essential component. Moreover, it makes good economic sense both for places that invasive predators not yet reached and those from which they have been removed. While this seems like simple common sense, in places where boats are vital to everyday life, an opportunistic rat will always try to catch a lift. It only takes a romantic couple or a pregnant individual and a new invasion will start.

So, prevention is not an easy task. Yet, in island communities, especially those sometimes hundreds of kilometres across the sea from the main resources, local people are the key defenders against predator invasions: they need every tool they can find to help them.

With the help of a generous grant from the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund, the Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie (SOP Manu, BirdLife in French Polynesia) and the local associations on Ua Huka and Rimatara islands are putting in place biosecurity measures to protect these precious places.  To help them, Dora and Whisky, two Jack Russell terriers bred and trained in New Zealand, were imported to try to detect any stowaway rats or other invaders.

Are they effective?  In the eight months since Whisky has been on rat patrol on Rimatara, three rats have been detected, the most recent one already dead.  This demonstrates the elevated risk of re-invasions.  The potential is real and conservationists are not merely crying wolf!

Did Whisky miss any invaders?  To test how good our ”super hero” really is, SOP Manu’s Caroline Blanvillain hid the skin of a rat in a cargo going out to Rimatara and waited to see if the protocol of inspection now in place on the Rimatara wharves was effective.

The result: one rat skin and one dead rat in another package were detected.  This proves the importance of the biosecurity and the need for adequate resources to be available to local communities in order to continue this essential work.   The cost is small when compared with the tens of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars that would be needed to remove the rats if they invaded successfully.

The islands of Rimatara and Ua Haka are last refuges of three of the most beautiful and rare lorikeets in the world; the Endangered Ultramarine Vini ultramarina and Rimatara Lorikeets V. kuhlii and the Vulnerable Blue Lorikeet V. peruviana.  All three owe their survival to the fact that rats have not yet got to these isolated islands.  Rimatara is also the potential site for the establishment of a second Tahiti Monarch Pomarea nigra population.

These are precious places.  We owe a big thank you to the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund and the dedicated local communities and Site Support Groups for keeping them safe.

Indonesian wild birds and cage birds


This video is called Birds of Indonesia.

From BirdLife:

One more in a cage; no more in the wild

By Shaun Hurrell, 27 May 2016

A new study shows that, without action, soon the only places to see and hear Indonesian bird species will be in cages.

Keeping birds as pets is an integral part of Indonesia’s national culture. From town to village throughout the archipelago, you’re very likely to find caged birds in restaurants, shops and homes. But as with many things, when a trend becomes popular, it can get out of hand. Beneath the sweet sound of a restaurant songbird or the colourful feathers of the family prized-and-caged-possession, a chaotic demand for pets is decimating Indonesian bird populations.

The work showed that 13 bird species found in Sundaic Indonesia are at serious risk of extinction. Surely holding the status of Indonesia’s national bird would render the Javan Hawk-eagle Nisaetus bartelsi immune to wanton over-harvesting? No, even this incredible species is rapidly disappearing.

The study, which is co-authored by BirdLife’s Research Fellow Dr Nigel Collar, also found that an additional 14 bird subspecies are in danger of extinction.

Besides the Javan Hawk-eagle, the other full species at risk include the Silvery Woodpigeon Columba argentina, Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil, Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea, Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus forsteni, Javan Green Magpie Cissa thalassina, Black-winged Myna Acridotheres melanopterus, Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi, Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax rufifrons, Sumatran Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor and Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora.

Although most of them are kept as pets, the Helmeted Hornbill is an exception: thousands of these birds are being illegally killed and traded for their unique solid bill casques, carved as a substitute for elephant ivory, to meet demand in China.

The Javan Green Magpie was recognised as a full species as recently as 2013; it was simultaneously documented as being in grave danger of extinction owing to trade pressure. In direct response, the Threatened Asian Songbird Alliance (TASA), operating as a formal body of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), initiated a programme of captive breeding in a number of zoos, creating assurance colonies for security and propagation purposes.

Such conservation breeding is the last hope for some of the taxa affected. According to the study: “Regrettably five subspecies…are probably already extinct, at least in the wild, due primarily to trade.” They include one subspecies of a parrot (Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet), three subspecies of the accomplished songster White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus and one subspecies of the Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, popular because of its ability to mimic human voices.

“Whether it’s species or subspecies, the message is the same: excessive trade is wiping out Indonesia’s wild bird species at an alarming rate”, said Dr Chris Shepherd, TRAFFIC’s Director for Southeast Asia and a co-author of the study. “Despite the alarming scale and consequences of the bird trade, governments and even conservation organisations often don’t view this issue as a high priority. This hampers efforts to prevent further losses.”

The solutions to the bird trade crisis in Indonesia lie in a combination of better law enforcement, public awareness campaigns, in situ management, conservation breeding, conversion of trappers to wardens and field, market and genetic surveys, say the study’s authors.

Meanwhile as certain favoured species disappear because of trapping, others are targeted as “next-best” substitutes, while commercial breeders sometimes hybridise taxa for “better” effects, leading to further conservation complexities.

The study’s authors also consider whether commercial breeding could help alleviate the situation, but conclude that “while attractive in theory, [commercial breeding] presents difficulties that are probably insurmountable in practice.”

Adapted from TRAFFIC press release.

Brave blackbird and cat video


This video shows a male blackbird and a cat at food in a garden in the Netherlands.

Aad and Rianne made this video.

Good Dalmatian pelican news from Bulgaria


This video is about Dalmatian pelicans in Greece.

By Emilia Yankova in Bulgaria, 20 May 2016:

New colony of Dalmatian Pelicans established in Bulgaria

A new colony of the globally threatened Dalmatian Pelican, 60 years in the making, has finally been formed in Bulgaria. Ten pairs now nest on one of two artificial wooden platforms built for them in the Peschina Marsh, located in the Persina Nature Park.

The Peschina Marsh is the largest on the Bulgarian part of the Danube River and was once a bird haven. In the past, the wetland dried up due to lack of sufficient water from the Danube. In 2008, restoration work on the marsh began with the financing of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), as part of a World Bank-managed Wetlands Restoration and Pollution Reduction project. The project was the first of its kind under the umbrella of the GEF Black Sea/Danube Strategic Partnership – Nutrient Reduction Investment Fund which aims to control or mitigate nutrient inflow into the Black Sea.

Thus the marsh, situated on the largest of the Danube islands and part of the Ramsar site Belene Islands Complex, is once again rebuilding its position as a paradise for birds: since the restoration, about 250 Dalmatian Pelicans have used it for roosting and feeding. The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB, BirdLife in Bulgaria) and the park’s directorate are monitoring the ecological effects of the wetland restoration project on biodiversity.

Dalmatian Pelicans have been threatened globally by a variety of manmade causes, including wetland drainage, illegal killing, human disturbance, water pollution and over exploitation of fish stocks, among other things. Until the Peschina Marsh site was developed, the only breeding habitat for this species, native to Bulgaria, was in the in Srebarna Lake near the town of Silistra.

In 2011 and 2012, as part of a conservation project, BSPB and the directorate of the park, with the help of WWF Bulgaria, Whitley Fund for Nature, and many volunteers, built three artificial wooden platforms in the marsh to stimulate the breeding of the Dalmatian Pelicans. These wooden structures were covered with reed bundles to make them attractive as nests to the pelicans at the beginning of the breeding season.

Four years after the platforms were constructed, the area is already occupied by a group of 30 Dalmatian Pelicans, including young birds. Public access to the island is still very limited, which helps to ensure minimal human disturbance, a vital factor for the pelicans to breed.

“We are very happy to see the Dalmatian Pelicans returning to breed in the Belene marshes. After more than 60 years finally we have a second pelican colony established in Bulgaria!” Svilen Cheshmedzhiev, coordinator of BSPB in the region, says. “It’s a great nature conservation success, and an example of good cooperation between institutions and non-governmental organizations.”

Barn swallows and electricity


This 24 May 2016 Dutch video is about barn swallows. Hundreds of them live at a farm. They used to sit down on electricity wires. However, then electricity there moved underground, removing the poles and wires. This meant the swallows lacked places to rest. The farmer decided to have new poles and wires, not for electricity, but for the swallows.

Mute swan cygnets on video


This May 2016 video is about mute swan cygnets in Ede in the Netherlands.