Spoonbill and parasol mushrooms of Vlieland island

Spoonbill, 28 September 2015

After 27 September came 28 September 2015 on Vlieland. This photo shows a spoonbill we saw that day, feeding in shallow Wadden Sea water just south of the island.

Before we saw that spoonbill, as we woke up, a robin sang.

In the Wadden Sea shallow water: curlew, oystercatcher, redshank.

Spoonbill in Wadden Sea, 28 September 2015

And then, the already mentioned spoonbill. That bird was late for the time of the year; many spoonbills having already gone to Africa on their autumn migration.

We went north, to the North Sea.

Parasol mushroom, 28 September 2015

In the sand dunes, a parasol mushroom.

On jetties protruding from the beach: many herring gulls. And oystercatchers, ruddy turnstones, carrion crows, and great cormorants.

Dead great cormorant, 28 September 2015

On the beach, a dead great cormorant. A young bird, as its white breast feathers showed. Its neck buried in the sand.

Parasol mushrooms, 28 September 2015

As we went back, more parasol mushrooms, of various sizes and ages.

Films about plants at Rotterdam festival

This 30 April 2014 video is the trailer of the film Baobabs between land and sea.

At the Wildlife Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, there are not only films about animals, but films about plants as well. Like Baobabs between land and sea.

The festival organisers write about this film:

By their sheer size and original shapes, baobabs are among the most remarkable trees on the planet. Relatively unknown, in Madagascar these giants are currently threatened by deforestation. To study them, in the heart of their forests, Cyrille and Wilfrid travel by pirogue, exploring 400 km of wild and isolated coastline in the south-west of Madagascar.

The film chronicles the expedition. It reveals discoveries, meetings, scientific results of the two explorers, baobabs and landscapes that had mostly never been filmed or even photographed! This truly amazing film has its world première at WFFR.

There is also the film The Fir Tree, inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

The festival organisers write about it:

As a cone the little fir tree is kidnapped by a mouse and it must take root and grow up far away from its family. The tree is hopeful and has big ambitions. It wants to grow so high that it reaches the sky and becomes a very successful tree.

Through the ‘eyes’ of the tree we see the world passing by. It is impatient and only looks forward to growing up as fast as possible. The tree tries to resist all troubles but one day in December everything changes when a little boy falls in love with the fir tree.

This video is the trailer of the film Once Upon a Tree.

The festival organisers write about it:

Sitting in her favourite oak tree, 11-year old Filine encounters little wonders in the natural world around her. She sees the beauty and dramas of the life in and around a tree most people are not aware of. Then, as trees fall down in the forest, Filine starts to fear that one day she will lose the special oak tree. The rebellious girl makes a plan to stop the tree chopping in the forest. But what if nothing changes anymore?

This video is the film Plants Behaving Badly: Murder and Mayhem; also at the festival. It says about itself:

Two groups of plants exhibit such intriguing behavior that a century and a half ago they attracted the attention of Charles Darwin, and these same plants still fascinate scientists today. Plants Behaving Badly reveals a world of deceit and treachery worthy of any fictional thriller.

Darwin’s book on ‘On The Origin Of Species’ shook the scientific world. Yet it was his next book, devoted entirely to orchids that filled in the gaps and clarified his revolutionary ideas. Orchids have an ethereal beauty, whether growing hundreds of feet up in a misty rainforest or along the verges of busy suburban roads. But their exotic flowers are shaped for just one purpose – to seduce pollinators.

Murder and Mayhem examines unusual traits that some species have evolved, beginning with a look at carnivorous varieties. In Borneo, a type of pitcher plant survives by utilizing a symbiotic relationship with ants.

The festival organisers write about it:

When carnivorous plants were first discovered they caused uproar in the scientific world. The greatest botanist of the 18th century, Carl Linnaeus pronounced the idea that they ate insects blasphemous, that it went against the way God had ordered the world.

More than a century later another great naturalist, Charles Darwin, would prove him wrong. Darwin worked on many kinds of carnivorous plants and what he discovered both astounded and frightened him. Here were plants that behaved like animals! Today we are still finding new surprises in the world of carnivorous plants.

The film travels from the swamps of the southern US, to remote, isolated mountains rising above the rainforests of South America, and from Borneo to South Africa searching out the latest astounding discoveries.

Good orchid news from Dutch desert island

This Dutch video is about Hompelvoet desert island in Grevelingen lake in the Netherlands. Autumn lady’s-tresses orchids grow there.

This is a rare species in the Netherlands, living at only a few sites.

However, in 2004 the orchids on Hompelvoet were discovered first: 300 flowering plants then.

In 2015, autumn lady’s-tresses orchid numbers had risen to 45,000 flowering plants.

Amethyst deceivers, fly agarics and woodpecker of Vlieland

Amethyst deceiver fungus, Vlieland, 27 September 2015

After the birds of the morning of 27 September on Vlieland island, in the afternoon we went again to the forest north of the village. Where these young amethyst deceiver fungi grew.

Amethyst deceiver fungi, Vlieland, 27 September 2015

Russula sp., 27 September 2015

As we continued, a beautiful red mushroom. Probably one of many Russula species.

Fly agarics, 27 September 2015

A bit further, more red mushrooms, easier to recognize: fly agarics.

Torenvijver, Vlieland, 27 September 2015

Next, the Torenvijver pond. Pictured on this photo; the only one on this blog post not made with a macro lens, but with a wide-angle lens.

This is video about the Torenvijver in May 2012, with much sound by many edible frogs.

When we were there, the pond was much more silent. Just three mallards, two males and one female, swimming.

Yellow stagshorn, 27 September 2015

As we continued, there was this yellow stagshorn fungus along the footpath.

A great spotted woodpecker calls.

Bolete, 27 September 2015

A big bolete fungus, looking like a slug has already eaten part of it.

Shaggy ink cap, 27 September 2015

Shaggy ink cap.

Sulphur tufts, Vlieland, 27 September 2015

Sulphur tufts on an old tree stump.

Sulphur tufts, on Vlieland, 27 September 2015

A dead wood mouse on the footpath.

Vlieland fungi and birds

This video is about Vlieland.

After 25 September, 26 September 2015 was our second day on Vlieland island. We did not only see Slauerhoff’s poetry then.

Early in the morning, a robin singing.

Curlew and redshank sounds from the Wadden Sea not far away.

In the afternoon, we went to the forested area north of the village.

Many fungi, including shaggy ink cap.

White saddle fungi, 26 September 2015

And these white saddle fungi. Like the other photos on this blog post, this is a macro lens photo.

Mycena species, 26 September 2015

And these fungi: about same colour, but different species, much smaller.

Great spotted woodpecker sound.

In the sand dunes close to the North Sea beach, big parasol mushrooms.

On the North sea jetties: herring gulls, ruddy turnstones, oystercatchers, a red knot.

European searocket flowers on the beach.

Common puffballs, 26 September 2015

Back to the forest. These common puffballs grew there.

Fungus, 26 September 2015

And this mushroom.

Bolete, 26 September 2015

And this young bolete.

Sulphur tufts, 26 September 2015

Finally, these young sulphur tufts.

Back in the village. A male chaffinch.

Removing wildlife from crops not helping human health

This video from the USA says about itself:

Clearing wild vegetation doesn’t improve crop health

10 August 2015

In the wake of a 2006 outbreak of E. coli – spread via packaged spinach harvested on a farm in Central California – farmers began clearing wild vegetation around growing fields.

Investigations weren’t able to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, but many placed the blame of wildlife. But new research suggests restructuring the agricultural landscape to minimize wildlife is inadvisable and has no effect on the presence of pathogens like E. coli.

“Wildlife took much of the blame for that outbreak, even though rates of E. coli in wildlife are generally very low,” Daniel Karp, a research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a press release. “Now, growers are pressured by buyers to implement practices meant to discourage wildlife from approaching fields of produce. This includes clearing bushes, plants and trees that might serve as habitat or food sources for wild animals. Our study found that this practice has not led to the reductions in E. coli and Salmonella that people were hoping for.”

In a new paper in the journal PNAS, Karp and his colleagues posit that wildlife clearing may negatively affect farmland. Research has shown that natural vegetation can help sustain bee populations, vital for pollinating flowering crops.

“There have also been studies that suggest that a landscape with diverse plant life can filter out agrichemical runoff and even bacteria,” said Claire Kremen, a Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management. “Changing this dynamic shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Researchers arrived at their conclusions after analyzing more than 250,000 surveys of of crops, irrigation water and local rodents, in which samples were tested for pathogens. The scientists compared test results with land use maps, and found no correlation between pathogens and the presence of wild vegetation.

From Wildlife Extra:

Removing wildlife from US vegetable crops has not cut down on human diseases

A move in the US to safeguard people from digestive diseases in the salad vegetables they eat, by removing wildlife from the fields where they grow has been deemed a failure by a new study made by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley.

It was thought that disease-causing germs came from birds, rabbits and other animals that wander in and near fields where crops are growing.

Keeping animals out of the fields should therefore prevent major outbreaks of illness, was the conclusion drawn and so steps were taken on some farms to limit wildlife’s access to crops.

But a new study finds that fencing out animals and removing their habitat isn’t working. It doesn’t make salad greens less germy.

The findings, reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were striking. Removing wildlife habitat, such as brush, trees and shrubs, did not improve food safety. In fact, it seemed to increase levels of germs, not reduce them.

A major push to keep wildlife out of farms began in 2006. It followed an outbreak of E. coli bacteria that sickened more than 200 people and killed five.

Raw spinach sold and eaten in 26 US states had hosted the germs and investigators eventually traced the bacteria to a farm in California.

There, the same strain of E. coli was found in the soil, water and faeces of both wild pigs and nearby cattle. The natural conclusion was that animal faeces must be behind the spinach contamination.

Under pressure from retailers and customers, farmers began to remove wildlife from their fields. They put up fences to keep deer, pigs and other animals from getting near crops and cleared nearby areas of trees, shrubs and other non-crop plants, leaving behind bare ground.

The changes worried conservation biologists woprking to preserve ecosystems and species threatened or endangered with extinction. One big concern was for pollinators, such as bees.

To prove the efficacy, or otherwise, of the clearance policy, ecologist Daniel Karp and his colleagues examined data collected at a large farming operation over seven years.

During that time, the farmers collected a quarter of a million samples from their produce and biologists tested each sample looking for various strains of E. coli, as well as for Salmonella, which causes nearly one million cases of food poisoning in the US each year.

Sampling for the germs began shortly after the 2006 E. coli outbreak. It continued as farmers evicted wildlife and their habitat from areas in and around crop fields.

This gave Karp and his team the chance to see whether the changes affected levels of disease-causing germs, orpathogens.

The scientists also sampled for these germs in nearby streams and wells, and used aerial surveys to map and measure how much wildlife habitat bordered the farms.

They now report that removing wildlife habitat has not improved food safety. In fact, pathogen levels seem to increase.

This was seen to be particularly true in crop fields located near grazing livestock, which suggests rain water might have washed tainted cow dung onto the nearby fields. Or it might indicate that removing habitat hasn’t had the effect of stopping wild animals from visiting farms.

Karp and his team now recommend adding more wildlife habitat to farms. For instance, they advise planting non-crop barriers between livestock and crops.

These barrier plants, Karp explains, may clean and filter water before it passes into crop fields. Keeping livestock and wildlife away from shared waterways also could limit faecal germs from reaching crops.

Finally, the researchers suggest surrounding crops of salad vegetables that are eaten raw with others that require cooking.

Animals may tend to stay near the edge of a field, the scientists note. This should keep their faeces — and germs — from spreading beyond the outer crops.

Any pathogens that do end up on these outer vegetables would later be killed during cooking.

Young goldfinch feeds on sunflower, video

This video shows a young goldfinch feeding on a sunflower. Its parent (with red cap) feeds it as well.

Monique Smulders from the Netherlands made this video.