Mute swan feeding, video


This video shows a mute swan feeding on water fern.

The video was made near Griendtsveen (Limburg province).

Jos Vroegrijk made the video.

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Ancient underwater forest discovery in Gulf of Mexico


This video from the USA is called Alabama‘s Underwater Forest.

From the Houston Chronicle in the USA:

Divers collecting funds to film ancient, hidden forest discovered in Gulf

By Carol Christian

April 17, 2014 | Updated: April 18, 2014 1:12am

A team of scuba divers is trying to raise $15,000 to make a documentary about a hidden, ancient underwater forest in the Gulf of Mexico.

To enlist the public’s help, they turned to Kickstarter.com, a popular platform for crowd-source fundraising.

By early Thursday afternoon, just one week into the campaign, they had raised more than $10,000. Under Kickstarter rules, they must meet their goal by their own deadline — in this case May 1 — or they get nothing.

The forest is a half-mile-square area of 50,000-year-old cypress stumps perfectly preserved under the ocean floor off the coast of Alabama. When the wood is cut, it has a “cypressy” smell, and sap oozes out of it, Raines said.

“That’s 50,000-year-old sap coming out of these trees,” said team member Ben Raines, a former reporter for the Mobile Press Reporter who is now executive director of the Weeks Bay Foundation in Fairhope, Ala.

Rewards offered by the team to Kickstarter donors range from access to high resolution photos, for a $10 contribution, to a chance to dive at the site, for a $2,000 pledge.

“We got our first taker today,” Raines said Thursday of the $2,000 donation.

Money raised beyond the goal will allow the team to do more filming and prepare special graphics, Raines said.

Others behind the documentary proposal are Chas Broughton, owner of Underwater Works in Fairhope, Ala., and Eric Lowe, the photographer for above-water shots. Raines is the underwater photographer.

The forest’s existence has generated intense interest around the world since its discovery was announced a couple years ago, Raines said.

Its exact location, about 15 miles off the coast, has been kept secret to prevent harmful disruption to the site, including commercial salvaging of the stumps, he said.

The Weeks Bay Foundation is working on a federal designation as a marine sanctuary for the ancient forest that divers have described as a “magical fairy land,” Raines said.

Those who have seen it now believe the forest was uncovered in September 2004, when Hurricane Ivan hit Alabama after pounding the Caribbean, Raines said.

“Ivan had 90-foot waves associated with it, the largest waves ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said. “We think they scoured the bottom. Waves have as much power underwater as above the water.”

Now that the cypress stumps have been exposed to oxygen, they are starting to decay but fortunately, Raines said, cypress wood decays slowly.

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New fungi discoveries in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

A short description of Gyromitra esculenta, another false morel. This mushroom is still being eaten by some people who think it’s safe. It’s not!

The Dutch Mycological Society reports about research in the Horsterwold nature reserve in Flevoland province this spring.

Then, they found the rare mushroom species Gyromitra esculenta. It was the first time ever for Flevoland.

They also found Caloscypha fulgens; a fungus species, which, before this, had been known only from three spots in the Netherlands. Also a first for the province.

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Save British botanical gardens scientific work


This video is about Kew Gardens in London, England.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Campaign and petitions launched to save botanical garden jobs

Saturday 19th April 2014

London’s Kew and Wakehurst Place in Sussex are threatened by government cuts

A national campaign has been launched to save vital conservation and scientific work at two botanical gardens where 120 jobs are under threat.

General union GMB said on Thursday that jobs are under threat at Kew in London and Wakehurst Place in Sussex due to government cuts.

Kew Gardens is a world leader in its field with over 250 years experience, but has announced a £5 million deficit.

The campaign includes a petition and early day motion in Parliament.

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is backing the campaign.

GMB regional officer Paul Grafton said “The aim is to save globally important conservation and science under threat.

“Never before has Kew faced such a significant threat to its future. It now needs public support to ensure its globally-important plant and fungal collections can continue to be used to support plant and fungal science and conservation around the world.”

The petition can be found here.

This video is called WAKEHURST PLACE, MANSION & GARDENS, WEST SUSSEX, UK.

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Orchids, dippers and tarantula in Costa Rica


Maxillaria ringens, 19 March 2014

The morning of 19 March 2014 on Costa Rica. There were not only orchids along the mountain road yesterday, but in the cloud forest today as well. Like Maxillaria ringens on the photos.

Maxillaria ringens orchid, 19 March 2014

Flower, 19 March 2014

And other species.

Before we went to the cloud forest, a rufous-collared sparrow singing. Hummingbirds at the feeders.

A flock of three-striped warblers on a bush.

A bright-rumped attila in a tree.

A monarch butterfly on flowers.

Chestnut-capped brush finch, adult, 19 March 2014

Like yesterday, a chestnut-capped brush finch.

Inca dove, 19 March 2014

An Inca dove.

Central American agouti, 19 March 2014

And a Central American agouti.

Tarantula, 19 March 2014

This tarantula is of the Brachypelma genus.

Butterfly, Costa Rica, 19 March 2013

About this butterfly, I don’t even know the genus.

Magenta-throated woodstar, 19 March 2014

A male magenta-throated woodstar hummingbird flying. A species which lives only in Costa Rica and Panama.

In the forest, a ruddy-capped nightingale thrush on a branch.

A spotted woodcreeper climbs up a tree trunk.

A tufted flycatcher in a tree.

An American dipper on a rock in the stream.

A sulphur-bellied flycatcher.

American dipper, 19 March 2014

11:35. Two American dippers on rocks in the stream. Unfortunately, just at a time when the camera was acting up. So, just this one photo.

We left, to the Arenal volcano.

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Scottish forest trees, other wildlife, news


This video from Scotland says about itself:

Ray Mears visits the remaining Caledonian pine forests of Scotland and finds a wide range of wildlife.

From Wildlife Extra:

Scotland’s native Caledonian pine forest to be doubled in size

April 2014: One hundred thousand trees, including birch, aspen, two species of willow and alders, are to be planted … [at] Abernethy forest nature reserve in Speyside, which will almost double the total size of the woodland, and join it up with the fragmented surrounding remnants.

Abernethy hosts some of the rarest and most iconic species in the UK, with around 12 percent of the population of capercaillie, as well as Scottish crossbills, crested tits, wildcats, pine martens, black grouse, golden eagles and many rare mosses, fungi and plants including twinflower.

Managing and reducing the grazing pressure on the reserve from deer over the past quarter century has already enabled the Scots pine trees of Abernethy forest to expand by self-seeded natural regeneration, with more than 800 hectares of new pine saplings now established. However, although the main component of Caledonian pine forest is the native Scots pine, a critical element of ancient pine forests include a broader range of native shrub and broadleaved tree species – such as juniper, birch, rowan, alder and willows – and whilst recovery of the pine element at Abernethy has been successful, some of these other species remain extremely scarce of [sic; or] localised.

Over the next ten years, with the help of schoolchildren in Strathspey, volunteers from across Scotland and local contractors, the conservation charity will plant close to 100,000 trees at the reserve, including birch, aspen, two species of willow and alders. It is hoped that at least 40,000 of the planted saplings will survive grazing pressure from hares and other herbivores to reach maturity, leaving the full range of species and ensuring the forest’s continuity.

Jeremy Roberts, the Senior Site Manager at Abernethy, said: “We have conducted some of the most comprehensive surveys of regeneration in Britain, and this has shown that the recovery of broadleaves has been extremely slow and localised compared to the pine element at Abernethy. Few broadleaves remain to provide the vital seed source, and of those that do are highly immobile and restricted.

“To give the forest a helping hand we are restoring these species, with the welcome help of local schools and volunteers to assist with the planting of these under-represented broadleaved trees. As these small groups mature they will themselves provide the seed source, inoculating the forest edge and providing a locus for these species to regenerate more widely, and restoring the forest to its diverse and species-rich former glory.

“It may well be that the children and grandchildren of the school children who have been assisting with the planting will be the ones who see the difference rather than us. However, it is enormously satisfying to know that this is this generation that is creating this legacy.”

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Orchids, armadillos, monkeys and birds in Costa Rica


This video is about national parks in Costa Rica.

18 March 2014.

Costa Rica; after earlier in the afternoon, still near Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco.

Bandera española, 18 March 2014

Walking down the mountain road, not only long-tailed silky flycatchers, but also flowers. This orchid species is called bandera española, Spanish flag, in Costa Rica. This is because it has the same red and yellow colours as that flag.

Bandera española, on 18 March 2014

Two nine-banded long-nosed armadillos close to the road.

More mammals: mantled howler monkeys with a youngster.

Clay-coloured thrush, 18 March 2014

A clay-coloured thrush.

Slate-throated redstart, 18 March 2014

We are back. A slate-throated redstart on a branch.

Chestnut-capped brush finch, adult, 18 March 2014

On the other side of the stream, chestnut-capped brush finches.

Chestnut-capped brush finch, adult, Costa Rica, 18 March 2014

Chestnut-capped brush finch, juvenile, 18 March 2014

Both adults and juveniles, with duller colours, are present.

Central American agouti, 18 March 2014

Also on that side, a Central American agouti.

A black guan flies, while calling.

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Costa Rica chlorophonia and other cloud forest wildlife


Costa Rica cloud forest and epiphytes, 18 March 2014

18 March 2014 near Bosque de Paz, Costa Rica. After the birds and moths of yesterday, to the cloud forest. Many bromeliads and other epiphytes on the trees, as the photos show.

Costa Rica cloud forest, and epiphytes, 18 March 2014

Costa Rica cloud forest, 18 March 2014

In the early morning, a clay-coloured thrush sang.

A black guan in a tree.

Many hummingbirds again.

A sulphur-bellied flycatcher.

A golden-browed chlorophonia.

A red-tailed squirrel.

A ruddy-capped nightingale-thrush crossing a forest path.

An eye-ringed flatbill on a branch.

Slate-throated redstart, 18 March 2014

A slate-throated redstart; singing.

Mantled howler monkeys call.

Another black guan in a tree.

A broad-winged hawk in another tree.

A great black hawk flying.

Torrent tyrannulet, 18 March 2014

8:50: a torrent tyrranulet near the stream.

A boat-billed flycatcher in a tree.

Costa Rica cloud forest flowers and golden-browed chlorophonia, 18 March 2014

A beautiful golden-browed chlorophonia again.

Golden-browed chlorophonia, 18 March 2014

Caterpillar, 18 March 2014

A caterpillar.

Butterfly, Costa Rica, 18 March 2013

Will it become this butterfly? Or another butterfly, or a moth?

Spot-crowned woodcreeper, 18 March 2014

A spot-crowned woodcreeper climbs a tree.

A prong-billed barbet on a branch.

A common bush-tanager. A tropical parula.

A golden-winged warbler.

Yellow-thighed finches, 18 March 2014

Yellow-thighed finches in a tree.

Spangle-cheeked tanager, 18 March 2014

A spangled-cheeked tanager. A species living in mountainous areas of Costa Rica and Panama only.

11:35: we are back. A Central American agouti across the stream.

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Costa Rica mountain hummingbirds


This video from Costa Rica is called Juan Castro Blanco National Park. It gives an idea of especially the plant life of the mountainous area around Bosque de Paz where we arrived in the afternoon of 17 March 2014, after the great potoo and red-winged blackbirds of earlier that day.

Feeders around Bosque de Paz attracted many hummingbirds.

Violet sabrewing male, 17 March 2014

These included violet sabrewings; like the male on the photo.

Green-crowned brilliant male, Costa Rica, 17 March 2014

And green-crowned brilliants. The photo shows a male.

Green-crowned brilliant female, in Costa Rica, 17 March 2014

And this photo shows a female.

Green hermit female, 17 March 2014

And green hermits. On the photos, females.

Green hermit female, on 17 March 2014

Green hermit female, Costa Rica, on 17 March 2014

And purple-throated mountain gems. This species lives only in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

And stripe-tailed hummingbirds.

Scintillant hummingbird male, 17 March 2014

A male scintillant hummingbird on a branch. One of the smallest hummingbird species.

Magnificent hummingbird female, 17 March 2014

This photo shows a female magnificent hummingbird.

A list of Bosque de Paz bird species is here.

More Bosque de Paz birdlife and other wildlife to come on this blog. Stay tuned!

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Hummingbirds, flowers and iguana in Costa Rica


Montezuma's oropendola male, 17 March 2014

Still the morning of 17 March 2014 near the Sarapiqui river in Costa Rica. After the earlier Montezuma’s oropendola’s, we see this bird species again. Doing gymnastics on a branch again.

Stripe-throated hermit, 17 March 2014

A stripe-throated hermit hummingbird. Some hermits are big for hummingbirds, but this one is one of the smallest species.

Flower, Costa Rica, 17 March 2014

It likes the beautiful flowers, which grow here. And in the botanical garden on the other site of the road, where we would go later and where the flower photos were taken.

Flower, in Costa Rica, 17 March 2014

Flower, in Costa Rica, on 17 March 2014

Green iguana, 17 March 2014

Much bigger than the little hummingbird is a green iguana.

We cross the main road. Groove-billed anis on the other side.

Two social flycatchers on a wire.

A house wren. A singing grey-crowned yellowthroat.

A pond in the botanical garden attracts damselflies.

A black-cheeked woodpecker in a tree.

A Central American agouti walking in the garden.

A scaly-breasted hummingbird on a branch cleans its feathers.

A black-cowled oriole in another tree.

In yet another tree, a yellow-olive flycatcher.

Rufous-tailed hummingbird, 17 March 2014

A rufous-tailed hummingbird; sometimes, on a branch; sometimes flying.

A masked tityra. A boat-billed flycatcher.

Back across the main road. In a treetop, an olive-throated parakeet.

Clay-coloured thrush, Costa Rica, 17 March 2014

A clay-coloured thrush.

Butterfly, Costa Rica, 17 March 2014

We walk along the forest trail. A butterfly.

Summer tanager male, 17 March 2014

A bird from North America wintering here: a male summer tanager.

Montezuma's oropendola, 17 March 2014

Let us finish this blog post like we started it, with a Montezuma’s oropendola.

Stay tuned!

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