Herring gull and worms video


This 28 March 2017 video is about a herring gull trying to catch worms by trampling on the ground.

Cor Huijgens in the Netherlands made this video.

Cuban kestrels and blackbirds


This video is called Birding in the San Diego, Cuba area. Delaware Nature Society Bird Survey Trip, 2010.

After 7 March 2017, on 8 March 2017, we went from Viñales to Santa Clara in Cuba.

As we woke up, four Cuban martins sitting on a TV antenna.

After our journey began, an eastern meadowlark, a North American migrant bird, on a meadow.

Two American kestrels drove a much bigger turkey vulture away.

A cattle egret. A peregrine falcon flying.

We went to the La Güira National Park, near San Diego.

La Güira National Park, 8 March 2017

At the entrance, trees with orange flowers, attracting several blackish bird species.

Tawny-shouldered blackbird, 8 March 2017

Greater Antillean grackles; tawny-shouldered blackbirds (see photos); and shiny cowbirds.

Tawny-shouldered blackbirds, 8 March 2017

We continue to the Cuevas de los Portales; caves near a river valley. A Cuban solitaire sings. In 1962, Che Guevara lived in these caves. The Cuban government feared that after the 1961 Playa Giron invasion, there would come another United States military incursion: not this time of a relatively small force of CIA mercenaries as in 1961, but of ten thousands of regular United States soldiers in that Cuban missile crisis year. If that would happen, Che intended to wage guerilla against the invasion forces from the Cuevas de los Portales.

Two great lizard cuckoos in a tree.

Cuban trogon, 8 March 2017

In another tree, the Cuban national bird: a Cuban trogon.

A Cuban emerald hummingbird.

At 14:40 we leave Pinar del Rio province for Artemisa province to its east.

Cattle egrets near cattle.

At 15:46, the lake where we had also been on the first day. Brown pelicans. Great egrets.

16:23: we are in Havana province; then, Mayabeque province. 17:30: Matanzas province.

Finally, we arrive in Santa Clara city.

Great tit gathers nesting material


This 28 March 2017 video shows a great tit gathering hair as nesting material.

Ciska van Geer in the Netherlands made this video.

Five-legged lamb born in Dutch Zeeland


Five-legged lamb Adèle

Dutch regional broadcasting organisation Omroep Zeeland reported on 28 January 2017 that a five-legged lamb had been born at Bertus Aartsen’s farm in Sint Jansteen village in Dutch Zeeland province.

In spite of her very unusual five legs, the lamb is healthy.

Normally, farmer Aartsen does not name his lambs. However, in this case he made an exception. He named her Adèle. As she was born on 21 January 2017: the dying day of well-known Dutch actress Adèle Bloemendaal, who starred in TV series ‘t Schaep met de 5 pooten (the five-legged sheep).

Aartsen usually sells his lambs to other farmers or slaughterhouses. However, he will keep Adèle if there is much interest in her, he said.

Earlier this month, another five-legged lamb (a white one; not black like Adèle) was born in England.

Young tawny owl video


This 28 March 2017 video shows a young tawny owl which has left its nest but cannot fly yet.

Kcanneke Verheij from the Netherlands made this video.

Mandarin ducks and spring trees


Tree, 28 March 2017

Today, spring in the Netherlands really started with a warm day. Benefiting, eg, this tree.

Mandarin ducks, 28 March 2017

And these mandarin ducks (also near ‘s-Gravenland village).

Wall lizards get used to humans


This video from France shows a common wall lizard.

From FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology:

Wall lizard becomes accustomed to humans and stops hiding

March 27, 2017

Summary: Habituating to predators or fleeing and hiding are tactics that vary between species. Scientists have observed that adult male common wall lizards sharing their living spaces with humans become accustomed to them and hide less when humans approach them. Yellow lizards were the most ‘daring.’

Habituating to predators or fleeing and hiding are tactics that vary between species. Scientists from two research centres in Italy and Spain have observed that adult male common wall lizards sharing their living spaces with humans become accustomed to them and hide less when humans approach them. Yellow lizards were the most “daring.”

Humans have an increasing presence in different species’ natural habitats. For this reason, scientists are investing much time in studying wild animals’ capacity to tolerate these disturbances. Lizards are an appropriate model for research into this subject, as they can be found in high densities in many environments and are relatively easy to observe in the field and handle in laboratories.

Scientists from the Eco-Ethology group of the University of Pavia (Italy) and the National Museum of Natural History (CSIC) in Spain used the lizards to analyse their reactions to attacks by human predators and the strategies they adopt, depending on the local risk level. To do this, they simulated human attacks on two populations in completely different settings: rural and urban habitats.

“The species we used in the study was the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis). The main aim was to detect the possible influence of urbanisation on their antipredator response in terms of activity, time spent hidden in refuges after attacks and habituation to predators after repeated attacks,” Sinc was told by Jose Martín of the Spanish National Museum of Natural History and co-author of the paper, published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

The findings show that urban lizards spend less time in their refuges following simulations of predator attacks and that the[y] become habituated, as their successive hiding times decreased faster than those of the rural lizards. This detail suggests different levels of caution against potential predators. “The study has important implications for our understanding of humans’ effect on animal populations and animals’ resp[onses to them].

The explanation for this is that for prey, the majority of humans they come across represent “ineffective, dangerous predators” that rarely attack and are easily escaped from with low-intensity, low-cost antipredator responses. In this way, they save themselves always having to respond with high-intensity antipredator strategies, which can be very costly in terms of lost time and energy.

Red lizards cower when threatened

As this species displays polychromatism (there are individuals with yellow, red and white bellies), which has an important role for the species, the researchers also took individual colouration into consideration in the study.

“Independently of whether the population was rural or urban, yellow lizards gradually decreased the time they spent in their refuges compared to the other two morphs,” Martín explained. “On the other hand, red lizards progressively spent longer periods before emerging from their refuges after successive tests, suggesting growing sensitisation to potential attacks by predators.”

Previous studies had found differences between differently coloured lizards in terms of stress and haematological profiles, for instance, as well as in immune response, female reproductive strategies and males’ chemical signals.

“By using a lizard species as a model, we shed light on two key points of evolutionary ecology, concerning both antipredator response optimisation and factors enabling polymorphism to be maintained,” the researcher concluded.