Acorn woodpeckers in Colombia, new study


This video says about itself:

Through the Lens: Acorn Woodpecker

23 April 2011

The Acorn Woodpecker is a favorite among bird watchers. It has a clown like appearance and the unique habit of storing acorns in a favored tree that is often used by generations of birds. Wildlife Photographer Marie Read shares her experience photographing the behaviors of these lively birds.

Learn more about Acorn Woodpeckers on All About Birds.

From PLOS one:

The Geographic Distribution of a Tropical Montane Bird Is Limited by a Tree: Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) and Colombian Oaks (Quercus humboldtii) in the Northern Andes

Benjamin G. Freeman, Nicholas A. Mason

June 17, 2015

Abstract

Species distributions are limited by a complex array of abiotic and biotic factors. In general, abiotic (climatic) factors are thought to explain species’ broad geographic distributions, while biotic factors regulate species’ abundance patterns at local scales

We used species distribution models to test the hypothesis that a biotic interaction with a tree, the Colombian oak (Quercus humboldtii), limits the broad-scale distribution of the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) in the Northern Andes of South America. North American populations of Acorn Woodpeckers consume acorns from Quercus oaks and are limited by the presence of Quercus oaks. However, Acorn Woodpeckers in the Northern Andes seldom consume Colombian oak acorns (though may regularly drink sap from oak trees) and have been observed at sites without Colombian oaks, the sole species of Quercus found in South America

We found that climate-only models overpredicted Acorn Woodpecker distribution, suggesting that suitable abiotic conditions (e.g. in northern Ecuador) exist beyond the woodpecker’s southern range margin. In contrast, models that incorporate Colombian oak presence outperformed climate-only models and more accurately predicted the location of the Acorn Woodpecker’s southern range margin in southern Colombia.

These findings support the hypothesis that a biotic interaction with Colombian oaks sets Acorn Woodpecker’s broad-scale geographic limit in South America, probably because Acorn Woodpeckers rely on Colombian oaks as a food resource (possibly for the oak’s sap rather than for acorns). Although empirical examples of particular plants limiting tropical birds’ distributions are scarce, we predict that similar biotic interactions may play an important role in structuring the geographic distributions of many species of tropical montane birds with specialized foraging behavior.

Rare flowers back on Dutch fields


Corn-cockle

Translated from the Dutch Natuurmonumenten conservation organisation:

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

An extraordinary discovery in Salland [region in Overijssel province]. On cornfields the rare corn-cockle and corn marigold have been found. “Confirmation that the management by Natuurmonumenten is paying off,” says the Salland forester Marion Plagge.

Field management

Natural fields have almost disappeared. To turn the tide, Natuurmonumenten manages cornfields in nature reserve Eerde and National Park The Salland Ridge. The nature organization is working here together successfully with organic farmers. On these cornfields no poison or fertilizer is used, but only solid manure of organic origin.

Corn marigold

Black walnut, from North America to Texel island?


The eastern black walnut on a Texel beach, photo by Ecomare

On 30 June 2015, Ms Sytske Dijksen of Ecomare museum found a nut on the beach of De Hors, in the south of Texel island in the Netherlands.

The nut turned out to be a eastern black walnut. Probably, the Gulf Stream had brought it all the way from Florida or elsewhere in eastern North America to Texel. These nuts drift well.

There are a few eastern black walnut trees in parks in Europe, but the nuts on beaches there probably have all made long trans-Atlantic journeys.

In 1995, for the first time an eastern black walnut was found on a Dutch beach; also on Texel. Since then, it was found a few scores of times in the Netherlands. They have been found in France and England as well.

Gall midges, new Dutch and Belgian discoveries


This video says about itself:

25 August 2014

Gall midge (Cecidomyiidae sp.) oviposits on a fallen beech in a forest near Marburg, Hesse, Germany.

Translated from the Dutch entomologists of EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten:

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Soon a revision of the gall midges of the Benelux, with 11 new species for the Netherlands and 87 ones for Belgium, will appear. Gall midges are among the main producers of galls on leaves of plants. The midge Obolodiplosis robiniae which appeared first in the Netherlands as recently as 2008 proves surprisingly to be the most common species in our country.

Gall midges together with gall wasps, gall mites and gall producing fungi are the major producers of galls. The mosquitoe-like insects lay eggs in plants and the plants respond by making galls. These are fascinating structures of plant tissue, which provide food and shelter for the larvae of the midges.

Orchids, long-tailed tits and beautiful beetles


Orchid, 28 June 2015

This photo, made with a macro lens like the other ones in this blog post, shows a southern marsh orchid in the Heempark on 28 June 2015.

As we entered the park, a robin singing.

In a ditch, mallards, and a coot couple with a nest.

A flock of long-tailed tits in a tree.

A juvenile robin cleaning its feathers on a branch.

Field horsetails.

Chaffinch and blackcap singing.

A lesser black-backed gull flying overhead.

A chiffchaff sings.

Southern marsh orchid, 28 June 2015

Quite some southern marsh orchid flowers.

Greater yellow-rattle, 28 June 2015

Greater yellow rattle flowers.

Field bindweed, 28 June 2015

While field bindweed intertwines with other plants.

Ring-necked parakeets call.

A common carder bee. Honeybees. Hoverflies.

Orchid flowering, 28 June 2015

Another orchid. Also a southern marsh orchid; but of the rare variety Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. praetermissa var. junialis.

Bladder campion, 28 June 2015

Bladder campion flowering; with field horsetail in the background of this photo.

Field horsetail, 28 June 2015

On this photo, field horsetails are the main subject.

A blackbird sings.

A Muscovy duck walks past.

Wild strawberries, 28 June 2015

Wild strawberry fruits along the footpath.

Milk-parsley, 28 June 2015

Milk-parsley: partially still flowering, in other plants the flowers are already gone.

Green dock leaf beetle, 28 June 2015

Near the milk-parsley plants many small beautiful beetles: green dock leaf beetles.

Rare Anomodon moss discovery in the Netherlands


Anomodon attenuatus

Recently, in nature reserve Beuningse Uiterwaarden, along the Waal river in the Netherlands, a rare moss species was discovered.

It is Anomodon attenuatus.

The species had been found at a few places in the Netherlands before, but in much smaller quantities.

Hummingbird hawk-moth, a slow motion video


This video by Kars Veling from the Netherlands is about a hummingbird hawk-moth, drinking nectar from a busy Lizzie flower.

Actually, the video shows four seconds; but the slow motion makes it 26 seconds.

Broad-bordered bee hawk-moth on Dutch Texel island: here.