Fallow deer and jackdaws, photo

Fallow deer and jackdaws

This photo shows a fallow deer and two jackdaws, using its hair as nesting material. The deer does not mind, as it is changing from winter pelt to summer pelt.

The photo is by 1968Tj from the Netherlands.


Brown thrasher sings in the USA

This February 2018 video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

Brown Thrasher singing its song is like songbird jazz – very improvisational. They can out sing their cousins the Mockingbirds and Catbirds. Lately this Brown Thrasher has been singing his song every morning before sunrise usually high in the oaks where he is hard to see due to dense cover and poor light.

Look for a special late winter guest appearance due to very warm weather – notice the squirrels‘ reaction to this unwelcome visitor. Sometimes squirrels will attack snakes and run them off, but the Backyard Squirrels here are pretty mellow.

Blauwe Kamer nature reserve

This 2013 video is about Blauwe kamer nature reserve in Utrecht province in the Netherlands.

Green woodpecker, 24 April 2018

Before we arrived at the Blauwe Kamer today, 24 April 2018, the day after 23 April, we saw this green woodpecker. Not a great photo (through a window), but unmistakable.

A grey heron flies. A wren sings.

A jay.

At the ferry from Gelderland province to the Blauwe Kamer, barn swallows fly over the river Rhine.

Gadwall and mallard ducks swim.

This September 2017 video is about nature reserve De Blauwe Kamer in the Netherlands. It shows osprey, white stork, great egret and other birds. Also konik horses and red deer.

On the Blauwe Kamer bank, a male pheasant.

From the Blauwe Kamer bird hide, we see nesting spoonbills, grey herons and great cormorants. Also tufted ducks and Egyptian geese.

Green trees, 24 April 2018

There were fresh green spring leaves on the trees; even on a tree which had fallen down.

As we walk on, a willow warbler sings.

On the chimney of the old Blauwe Kamer brick factory, a white stork.

A whitethroat sings.

Chaffinch, 24 April 2018

Back on the southern bank of the Rhine, this chaffinch sings.

Clay-colored thrush sings, forages in Panama

This video says about itself:

Clay-colored Thrush Singing and Foraging on Fruit, April 24, 2018

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders

The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Canopy Family.

Five new blanket-hermit crab species discovered

This video says about itself:

Hermit crab housing chain – Life Story: Episode 3 preview – BBC One

A small hermit crab joins a housing chain to secure a new home.

Some other hermit crab species, however, have a different way of life.

From ScienceDaily:

Five new blanket-hermit crab species described 130 years later from the Pacific

Since 1888, a lone crab species living in an extraordinary symbiosis has been considered to be one of its kind

April 23, 2018

Summary: Unlike most hermit crabs, the blanket-hermit crab does not use empty shells for protection, and instead lives symbiotically with a sea anemone. The crab uses the anemone to cover its soft abdomen, and can pull the anemone’s tissue over its head to protect itself whenever necessary. Since 1888, this crab had been considered a unique species until a research team recently described five new ones and a new genus.

At the turn of the twentieth century, two independent marine scientists — JR Henderson in 1888, and A Alcock in 1899, described two unusual blanket-hermit crabs from the Indo-West Pacific.

Unlike other hermit crabs, these extraordinary crustaceans do not search for empty shells to settle in for protection. Instead, they have developed a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones to cover their soft bellies. To do this, the crabs use highly specialized chelipeds to pull back and forth the anemone’s tissue to cover their soft bodies and heads whenever necessary — much like hiding under a blanket.

Among the numerous specimens collected during the famous HMS Challenger Expedition in 1874, there were two hermit crab specimens obtained from the Philippines. They amazed Henderson with their unusual physical characters, including an abdomen bent on itself rather than spirally curved, and the lack of any trace of either a shell or other kind of protective structure for their body.

As a result, in 1888, JR Henderson established a brand new genus and new species for it as Paguropsis typicus. The ending of the species name was subsequently grammatically corrected to Paguropsis typica.

A decade later, unaware of the previous discovery, A Alcock stumbled upon hundreds of hermit crab specimens off southern India, which exhibited quite spectacular behaviour. Having observed their symbiotic relations with sea anemones, the researcher also formally described in 1899 a new species and a new genus for his specimens.

However, shortly thereafter and upon learning of JR Henderson’s earlier work, A Alcock concluded that his hermit crab specimens and those of JR Henderson must be one and the same species, so the two scientific names were officially synonymized in 1901 in a publication with his colleague AF McArdle, with JR Henderson’s name taking precedence as required by the principle of priority set forth in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Now, 130 years later, an international team of scientists, led by invertebrate zoologist Dr Rafael Lemaitre of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, USA, not only found that A Alcock’s Indian specimens were indeed a separate species, leading to the resurrection of its name as Paguropsis andersoni, but that blanket-hermit crabs are not as rare as previously thought.

In their recent publication in the open access journal ZooKeys, the biologists described a total of five new species and a new genus of closely related blanket-hermit crabs. Furthermore, they expect that other species are to be discovered, since there are many vast marine shelf areas and deep-sea habitats spread across the Indo-West Pacific yet to be sampled.

To develop their exceptional symbiosis with sea anemones, the blanket-hermit crabs have obviously needed just as extraordinary evolutionary adaptations. Perhaps the most remarkable of these are their specialized chelate fourth legs that allow for the crustaceans to effectively grab and stretch the thin-walled body of the anemones to cover themselves. For five of the species, the scientists report and unusual grasping shape for this cheliped that is reminiscent of bear claws, while in the other two the shape resembles ice-block tongs.

Unfortunately, the identity of the sea anemone species involved in the symbiotic relationship with any of the studied blanket-hermit crabs is currently uncertain, and their biology remains unknown.

So far, the genus described by JR Henderson as Paguropsis, contains five species distributed in the subtropical and tropical Indo-West Pacific, and living at depths ranging from 30 to 1125 m. These include the two species discovered in the 19th century, and three new species, one of which, Paguropsis gigas, is the largest known blanket-hermit crab that reaches a body size of 15 cm when fully stretched (a large size by hermit crab standards).

For two of the newly discovered hermit crabs, the new genus Paguropsina is erected to reflect the numerous similarities between the two species and their Paguropsis relatives. The Latin suffix -ina refers to the comparatively smaller size of the two species. Both blanket-hermit species of Paguropsina are found in the subtropical and tropical western Pacific at depth between 52 and 849 m.

“Here there is no shell to play the part of ‘Sir Pandarus of Troy,’ but the sea-anemone settles upon the hinder part of the young hermit-crab’s tail, and the two animals grow up together, in such a way that the spreading zoophytes form a blanket which the hermit can either draw completely forwards over its head or throw half-back, as it pleases,” Alcock once eloquently described his marine discovery.

Baby red-tailed hawks hatching on webcam

This video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in New York state in the USA says about itself:

Two Eggs Hatching On Cornell Hawks Cam! – April 23, 2018

The hawks’ first chick has officially emerged from its shell! Watch fluffy-headed hatchling clumsily wriggle around the nest bowl underneath BR [Big Red, the female]’s watchful eye. Interestingly, this chick is from egg #2, meaning it hatched prior to the hawks’ first egg (which is also well on it’s way to hatching). Welcome to the world H1!

Watch live at allaboutbirds.org/cornellhawks

A Red-tailed Hawk pair has been nesting above Cornell University’s athletic fields since at least the 2012, making use of two different light towers for their nest sites. In 2012 and 2015, they used a tower near Fernow Hall, and in 2013, 2014, and 2016, they used the tower nearest Weill Hall. We installed cameras at both of these sites to get a better look at the intimate behavior of these well-known birds as they raise their young amid the bustle of a busy campus.

To Marspolder nature reserve in Dutch Gelderland

This September 2017 video, from the air, is about Lienden village in Gelderland province in the Netherlands.

North of Lienden is the Marspolder nature reserve; where we went on 23 April 2018.

Much of this area became a nature reserve recently.

We arrived at Rhenen railway station. House sparrow. Blackcap singing. Ribwort plantain growing.

Arriving at the Marsdijk, a jay flying.

A chaffinch sings.

In the Rhine river swim two great crested grebes,

Grey lag geese. An oystercatcher on the bank.

Two great cormorants fly past.

Lady’s smock flowers.

White dead-nettle flowers.

Edible frog, 23 April 2018

Edible frogs in a ditch. Like this one.

In the nature reserve, male and female tufted ducks. And a great crested grebe couple.

Great crested grebe, 23 April 2018

As we walk back, green woodpecker and greenfinch sound.

A little owl on a polled willow.

In a pond, a mallard couple and a male mandarin duck.