Black-veined white butterfly deposits eggs, video


On this video, a female black-veined white butterfly deposits eggs on the underside of a leaf of a butterfly hothouse in Harskamp, the Netherlands.

This species is almost extinct in the wild in the Netherlands, but occurs still in Belgium.

Eric Wander made this video.

Young fox at field, video


This video shows a red fox cub at a farmer’s field near Valthermond in Drenthe province in the Netherlands on 13 June 2015 at 19:23.

Trix Lindeman made this video.

Bats and Tour de France cycling in Dutch Utrecht


This Dutch video is about counting bats in Utrecht city in the Netherlands, from May to August 2015.

Utrecht is not just in the news because of bats these days.

Tomorrow, the Tour de France cycling race will start in Utrecht; with a time trial for all 198 participants.

This video shows where in Utrecht the cyclists will cycle tomorrow.

Sint Eustatius island wildlife, new research


This video from the Caribbean is called Welcome to St Eustatius.

From Naturalis in the Netherlands today (translated):

In recent weeks, a team of researchers from Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Anemoon Foundation have mapped the biodiversity of St. Eustatius island. Both above water and underwater. During the research numerous rare species and even some new species were discovered. Sneak preview: one of the special species is a wonderful Fingerprint Cyphoma. That’s a sea snail.

The blog posts (in English) of the people doing the research are here.

One of the blog posts mentions the discovery of

several [fish species] that have not yet been reported in the Lesser Antilles, such as Chaenopsis resh (the resh pikeblenny).

This video is about, especially underwater, wildlife on and around Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius islands.

Dutch corncrake news


This is a video about a singing corncrake (with chiffchaff sound in the background).

Translated from the Dutch Sovon ornithologists:

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

To hear the raspy sound of the mysterious corncrake, this spring you had to go primarily to Groningen province. Nearly three-quarters of the birds counted are in this province, especially in the vast grain and alfalfa fields of the Oldambt region. This is evident from the special census Sovon has been organizing since 2000.

Spoon-billed sandpiper in China survey


This video is called Spoon-billed Sandpiper: Courtship.

From the RSPB site in Britain, with photos there:

Continuing the international effort to survey the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper in China

Guest blog from James Phillips on a very successful Spoon-billed Sandpiper Survey in May 2015 on the Yellow Sea coast, China

Rudong County is just 2 hours’ drive north of Shanghai. The mud flats along this part of the Yellow Sea coast, in China’s Jiangsu Province, are a critically important staging post in the spring and autumn for migrating spoon-billed sandpipers (‘Spoonies’) and for the tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds that move along the East Asian-Australasian flyway between their breeding grounds in the Arctic and their wintering grounds far to the south.

In recent years, important numbers of spoon-billed sandpipers have been recorded in this area during spring and autumn, and international teams have carried out coordinated surveys here each migration season since autumn 2013.

We continued this approach and surveyed in the first half of May 2015 using a now established and agreed survey methodology.

The Team

It was a truly international team again this year with a fantastic group of observers all passionate about their waders and Spoonie conservation!

A group of field ornithologists at the top of their game! The team from left to right were Zhang Jun (China), Richard Gregory (RSPB UK), Andrew Baksh (USA), John Mallord (RSPB UK), James Phillips (Natural England UK), Adam Gretton (Natural England UK), Xiaohui Ge (Student at Nanjing Normal University, China), Professor Qing Chang (School of Life Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, China) and Wei Liu (Student at Nanjing Normal University, China) not in shot but who is taking the actual team photograph!

Key aims of the Survey

This year we wanted to continue to build our knowledge and understanding on the number of Spoonies passing the Jiangsu Coast and gauge how long individual Spoonies actually stay here. We also wanted to see what areas were used by Spoonies on the different states of the tide. Gathering this information would help identify those areas that might be afforded further protection in the future to provide suitable stopover sites. Finally we wanted to find as many individually marked Spoonies as possible, particularly head started birds. You can read more about our Spoonies project on our Saving the Spoon-billed sandpiper website.

Which parts of the Jiangsu coast to survey?

The team surveyed three areas of mud flats along the southern Jiangsu coast. We focused on those areas that past surveys have shown to be of particular importance for spoon-billed sandpipers. As well as Spoonies we also wanted to get a handle on the number of migrating shorebirds using the different sites. As well as being important for spoon-billed Sandpipers these mudflats are critically important staging posts for many species of shorebird……….Including bar-tailed godwit, for which the Yellow Sea is their only refuelling station on their mammoth migration between Australasia and their Siberian or Alaskan breeding areas.

This video says about itself:

6 May 2014

Red Knots have recently been arriving in the Yellow Sea. These birds have spent the last few days feeding after their long journey from Australia. The entire population of a subspecies of Red Knot use this one site in Bohai Bay, China to refuel before their flight to their Arctic breeding grounds. If we lose this site we lose these birds.

The James Phillips blog post continues:

When was the best time to survey?

We chose the dates 3rd of May to the 12th May as these coincided with a very good high tide sequence and crucially this is the time when (we think) the majority of spoon-billed sandpipers pass through the Jiangsu coast on their way north to their breeding grounds on the Chukotka peninsular in the far north of Siberia.

What was our field work strategy?

For each site we surveyed, it was all about team work with each team member working in close proximity. We split the survey area into sections, with no more than 300m between each observer. This allowed us to get good coverage of a stretch of mud flat. On both the rising and falling tides it was all about finding Spoonies and recording everything we could for each bird we found. On the different tides we would also note the directions that waders were moving in and where they were going to. On the high tide the focus was slightly different, trying to find roosting flocks and get counts of each species present and if possible locate and count any Spoonies present within these flocks.

The timings of our surveys were based completely around the tide times. We would always be on site, ready and in position 2 hours before the high tide point resulting in some extremely early starts!

What information did we record for every Spoon-billed Sandpiper we saw?

We wanted to gather as much information as possible on all the birds we saw. This included:

The date, time and GPS location for each bird
The Plumage score 1-7 (A seven being a full adult bird in breeding plumage)
Whether and how the bird was marked (Which leg it was marked on, the colour of flag or rings and whether the flag was inscribed)
And if possible we would try and get a photo of every marked bird

What did we see and how many birds did we see!

Well we did very well. We recorded a minimum of 62 individual spoon-billed sandpipers during the survey period with a total of over 250 different sightings, including flocks of 33 and 13 birds! We recorded some 12 flagged birds including a number of head started birds which was very exciting. These birds are so important to the future recovery of the species and the fact we were seeing a number of these birds returning back north means that the strategy of head-starting chicks on their Siberian breeding grounds is truly working!

Heading back north!

It wasn’t just spoon-billed sandpipers! We also recorded some 40 species of wader during the survey period with the team regularly recording between 40,000 and 70,000 waders at the different sites we surveyed!

The coastal mudflats and areas of coastal reclamation are also important for Black-faced spoonbill currently IUCN Red listed ENDANGERED (EN) and Saunders’s Gull and Chinese Egret which are both currently IUCN Red listed VULNERABLE (VU). Whenever we saw these species we recorded them.

We had a great trip and the whole team would like to thank Zhang Jun and Jing Li for their help in making the arrangements and helping it all run so smoothly. We also like to thank the Links Hotel www.linkshotel.cn where the team were based throughout the survey period and to all the staff there for looking after us so well during our stay. The hotel is in a superb central location for all our survey work at the various sites along the southern Jiangsu coast.

Read more about our Spoonie research in a series of blogs ‘Spoonies in a haystack 2‘, ‘Spoon-billed sandpiper update from Rudong China‘ and ‘Spoon-billed sandpiper more from the survey team in China‘.

Welsh Ramsey island bird news


This video from Wales is called RSPB Ramsey Island – why is it special?

From Wales Online:

Ramsey Island conservation staff serenade Manx Shearwaters as part of population survey

20:43, 1 July 2015

By Liz Day

It is thought that Pembrokeshire‘s three islands are home to more than 50% of the world’s population of Manx Shearwater

Conservation staff on an important island nature reserve in West Wales are spending their days serenading seabirds as part of a population survey.

Wardens on Ramsey Island in Pembrokeshire lower an MP3 player into each burrow and play a recording of a duetting pair of Manx Shearwaters, encouraging the birds inside to call back.

Site manager Greg Morgan said: “This is the only way to accurately survey a species that spends most of its life either at sea or underground.

“We play a short burst of a recording and listen for a response. At this time of year, the birds are incubating eggs, so you have the best chance of getting a response because at least one of the pair should be home by day.”

Success story

Greg, who has counted thousands of burrows on the island, is accompanied by his sheepdog Dewi.

“He loves Shearwater surveys, as he can sniff them out long before I get to the burrow,” he said.

“He usually lies down outside a burrow to tell me if it’s occupied or not. He is very well trained and it’s not unusual for dogs to be used to for seabird surveys.”

Greg describes Manx Shearwaters, which have amber conservation status, as the island’s biggest “success story”.

When the RSPB took over Ramsey in 1992, it was full of rats that arrived on shipwrecks in the 1800s and nearly wiped out the species by eating eggs and chicks.

Puffins had become extinct on the island and a survey in 1998 revealed there were just 850 pairs of Manx Shearwaters.

Last year, volunteers on the island installed a puffin sound system and planted decoys in an attempt to lure the distinctive birds to breed on the island, so far without success.

Healthy bird populations

Rats were eradicated from the island in 1999 and although Puffins have not been reintroduced, the population of Manx Shearwaters has rocketed. The most recent population census, carried out in 2012, recorded 3,800 pairs.

It is thought that Pembrokeshire’s three islands – Ramsey, Skomer and Skokholm – are home to more than 50% of the world’s Manx Shearwaters. Skomer is home to 300,000 pairs, while Skokholm has 45,000 pairs.

Greg and his wife Lisa, the island warden, carried out the last full population census in 2012 and between them counted more than 12,000 burrows.

The next full census is due to take place next summer and the wardens are hoping the population will have continue to grow.

“Fingers crossed our next survey will see the population go from strength to strength,” said Greg.

“We have no reason to think that the number will not have increased again. There is plenty of habitat here and the island is still rat-free.”

Migration monitored

To ensure that no rats access the island, there is a quarantine process for visitors and all supplies are inspected before arriving.

Other surveys carried out this year have revealed there are currently 4,400 Guillemots on Ramsey – the highest number ever recorded. There are also 1,200 Razorbills.

“This number is down slightly on previous years, but Razorbills are one of the species hardest hit by the storms in 2013, so it is not surprising,” explained Greg.

Later this month, he will attach data loggers to the Manx Shearwaters to monitor their migration to South America.

The birds leave their nest sites in July to migrate 7,000 miles to Argentina where they spend the winter before returning in late February and March.

For more informations, see rspb.org.uk/ramseyisland.