Fungi and autumn birds

This 17 October 2017 Dutch video is about the fungi in Haagse Bos forest in The Hague.

Vermilion waxcaps, 14 October 2017

On 14 October 2017, to Oud Poelgeest woodland. Quite some fungi, like these vermilion waxcaps.

Over the meadow east of Oud Poelgeest, an Egyptian goose flying.

On the banks of the water around Oud Poelgeest, sleeping mallards.

A bit further four mute swans, including a juvenile.

Sulphur tuft fungi on a tree stump.

In the water, many mallards and also four gadwall ducks.

A moorhen swims.

Vermilion waxcaps, on 14 October 2017

We find vermilion waxcaps.

Amethyst deceiver fungus, 14 October 2017

The most common fungi here now are amethyst deceiver mushrooms.

Amethyst deceiver fungus, on 14 October 2017

Jays flying.

Many mute swans, including young ones, in the castle pond.

Ring-necked parakeet sound. Robin sound.

As we cross the bridge out of Oud Poelgeest, a great crested grebe swimming.

We go to the Heempark.

Blue tits in a leafless treetop.

Heempark, 14 October 2017

The sun shining through the leaves.

Heempark leaves, 14 October 2017

Many leaves had autumn colours already.

Berries, 14 October 2017

There were berries.

At the pond, a grey heron hunting. Some of what it catches is so small they are probably water insects, not fish.

Two coots. A moorhen swimming.

Trees, 14 October 2017

Some trees had unusual shapes.


Albatrosses eat jellyfish, new research

This video says about itself:

8 April 2014

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests land at Steeple Jason Island in the Falklands to see the impressive wildlife, including the world’s largest colony of black-browed albatross. Video by Mark Coger.

From the University of Tasmania – Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Australia:

DNA tests on albatross excrement reveal secret diet of top predator

October 18, 2017

A study that used DNA tests to analyse the scats of one of the world’s most numerous albatrosses has revealed surprising results about the top predator’s diet.

DNA analysis of 1460 scats from breeding sites around the Southern Ocean has shown that the diet of black-browed albatrosses contains a much higher proportion of jellyfish than previously thought.

The finding, in a study led by IMAS researcher Julie McInnes and published in the journal Molecular Ecology, is important because top predators such as the albatross are used as indicators of the health of the broader marine ecosystem.

Ms McInnes said jellyfish have traditionally been regarded as an unlikely food source due to their poor nutritional value, although sightings of albatross eating jellyfish are occasionally made.

“We need to understand what albatross eat so we can identify how marine ecosystems might be changing in response to pressures such as climate change or fishing,” Ms McInnes said.

“Past studies of albatross diets relied largely on analysis of their stomach contents, with jellyfish found in less than one in five samples and then only in low volumes of around 5 per cent of the total.

“In contrast, our study found that in fact jellyfish are a common prey of black-browed albatrosses and the closely related Campbell albatross.

“While there was large variation between breeding colonies, jellyfish were present at seven of the eight sites sampled and in 37 per cent of the scats tested, comprising 20 per cent of the DNA sequences identified.

“We were also surprised to find jellyfish in the diet of chicks, as we had expected adults would prefer fish to low energy value jellyfish when feeding their offspring.

“The failure of previous studies to detect jellyfish in albatross stomach contents can be explained by the speed with which they are digested and the lack of hard parts, such as fish bones or squid beaks, that might be retained in the birds’ stomachs for days or weeks.

Ms McInnes said the study showed the value of new DNA metabarcoding technology in the study of seabird diets.

“Ongoing monitoring of the diet and foraging behaviour of top marine predators will help scientists to understand the future impacts of environmental change and fisheries, with climate change predicted to have a significant impact on the abundance and distribution of species across the world’s oceans,” she said.

The research was in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division and DPIPWE, as well as a number of international researchers. The work was funded by an Australian Antarctic Science grant and the Winifred Violet Scott Charitable Trust.

Red-throated loon couple

This video shows a red-throated loon couple, in June 2011 during the mating season, in Sweden.

Urban birds in the Netherlands video

This 2017 video is about urban birds in the Netherlands.

Insects decline in Germany

This video says about itself:

5 September 2017

Due to a reduction in biodiversity, insect populations have declined in Europe by as much as 80%. Educators in South Africa predict the same fate for their country.

From PLOS one:

More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

Published: October 18, 2017


Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services. Our understanding of the extent and underlying causes of this decline is based on the abundance of single species or taxonomic groups only, rather than changes in insect biomass which is more relevant for ecological functioning.

Here, we used a standardized protocol to measure total insect biomass using Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna.

Our analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study. We show that this decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline. This yet unrecognized loss of insect biomass must be taken into account in evaluating declines in abundance of species depending on insects as a food source, and ecosystem functioning in the European landscape.

Peacock butterfly in the wind

This 17 October 2017 video from the Netherlands shows a peacock butterfly in the wind.

Francisca Bakker made the video.

Grey heron nesting season video

This 2017 video from the Netherlands is about the grey heron nesting season in Frankendael park in Amsterdam.