Caterpillar feeds in garden, video


This 25 August 2016 video shows an elephant hawk-moth caterpillar feeding on Fuchsia leaves in a garden in the Netherlands.

The video is by Matty Weydema, who did not mind this damage to her garden.

American birds in Cook pine trees


This video from the USA says about itself:

Cook Pine Trees Makes Great Bird Perches

22 August 2016

Birds love to perch at the very top of a tall Cook Pine Tree next to the Backyard. It provides a unique perch vantage as the fast growing tree is one of the tallest around. The new growth pattern at the top of the tree always forms a perfect perch. A favorite hangout of hawks it is also used by almost every other backyard bird at some point. Thanks to Melvin Wei for pointing out that these are Cook Pines and not Norfolk Island Pines as I had thought. The biggest clue is their “rocket shape” compared to the less dense and floppy looking Norfolk Pines. These trees are sold as small ornamentals, but when planted in the yard in a semi-tropical climate like Florida can grow to huge sizes.

Araucaria columnaris, the Coral reef araucaria, Cook pine, New Caledonia pine, Cook araucaria, or columnar araucaria, is a unique species of conifer in the Araucariaceae family. It is endemic to New Caledonia in the southwestern Pacific, where it was first classified by botanists of Captain James Cook’s second voyage of exploration. It is a distinctive narrowly conical tree to 60 metres (200 ft) tall. The female cone is 10–15 cm. long by 7–11 cm. wide.

Growing plants on Mars?


This video from Leiden University in the Netherlands says about itself:

A Garden on Mars

22 August 2016

We are the Leiden iGEM 2016 team. In context of the iGEM competition, we are raising money through crowdfunding to support our research! You can support us by donation via the website, or you can support us by sharing this video and spreading the word.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

‘A garden on Mars‘ crowdfunding campaign starts today

22 August 2016

Today, 13 students at Leiden University have started a crowdfunding campaign to collect money for research into the possibilities of growing crops on Mars. Their research will contribute to the knowledge of our galaxy. The project is in the context of the iGEM competition.

Food for Martians

Martian soil contains a toxin known as perchlorate, which causes all crops grown to be toxic to humans. If we manage to land men on Mars in the near future, this is a problem that will have to be resolved. It is not possible to take adequate supplies of food, and crops therefore have to be grown as a sustainable source of nutrition. The students are developing a bacterial system that will break down perchlorate and at the same time release much-needed oxygen in the process: a win-win situation for future Martian explorers. The bacteria will do their work in the enclosed environment of a bioreactor with Martian soil.

Students and the public work together to enable research

The project is completely student led and student run. This includes financing their own materials, including perchlorate, simulated Martian soil and laboratory disposables. State-of-the-art techniques are used, including Martian gravity simulation. The students hope to finance a part of the costly project through crowdfunding. Communication is a key aspect of the project and the students are presenting their project at events, including the Night of Art and Knowledge on September 17.

International science competition

The students’ research is part of the world’s biggest competition in synthetic biology: the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, organised by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In total, over 300 teams are participating in the competition, using synthetic biology to solve a problem of their own choosing. The results will be announced at the end of October 2016 at the Giant Jamboree in Boston.

Crowdfunding campaign

The crowdfunding starts on 22 August 2016 and will continue until the students travel to Boston on 27 October. Their target is €8,600, the amount they need to complete their research.

Flowers and stonechats video


This 20 August 2016 video is about Berkheide nature reserve in the Netherlands; its sand dunes, flowers, stonechats and other wildlife. And the North Sea close to it.

Buzzard family, butterflies and flowers


Painted lady, 30 July 2016

On 30 July 2016, to Gooilust nature reserve again. Where we saw this painted lady butterfly on a butterfly-bush flower in the garden.

Before the garden, near the Gooilust entrance, we heard a young buzzard, presumably still a nestling, call.

A male buzzard, presumably its father, flying, then sitting down on a tree. Then, that buzzard flew to the ground, catching, probably, a rodent. While in flight, he transferred his prey to his female mate. Who then flew to the nest. The youngster’s calls turned to silence, presumably because it was feeding.

Then, we continued to the Gooilust garden. Many butterflies: small whites; map butterflies. Red admirals. Peacock butterflies.

Also, various bumblebee species.

Dahlia, 30 July 2016

Many beautiful dahlia flowers.

Dahlia, on 30 July 2016

Of various colours, including white.

Dahlias, 30 July 2016

Nuthatch sound.

Corversbos, 30 July 2016

We left Gooilust, passing the Corversbos fields.

Butterflies, damselflies, birds and flowers


Map butterfly, 9 July 2016

After we had arrived at Huis ter Heide near Tilburg in the Netherlands on 8 July 2016, on 9 July we went to that nature reserve again. First, we saw this map butterfly, on a very young oak tree.

Sounds of a green woodpecker and a chiffchaff.

In a Rauwe Vennen lakelet, a flock of gray lag geese and two grey herons.

We arrive at a bigger lake, the Leikeven. On and around the sandy footpath near this lake, thousands of Crabronidae wasps have their nests.

Leikeven, 9 July 2016

People can walk across the Leikeven on a boardwalk.

Coots swim. A young black-headed gull.

Marsh St John's-wort, 9 July 2016

In the shallow water grow plants; like marsh St John’s-wort.

Marsh St John's-wort, Leikeven, 9 July 2016

Also spoonleaf sundew and shoreweed.

Many common blue damselflies. Sometimes sitting on shoreweed, sometimes on other plants, sometimes flying.

White wagtails on the boardwalk.

Not far away, two adult great crested grebes and their four chicks swim.

Mating common blue damselflies, 9 July 2016

On the boardwalk, this ‘tandem‘ of mating common blue damselflies.

We see many more common blue damselfly tandems. Though, at first sight, there are more males than (less conspicuous) females. Along a common blue, a smaller, reddish damselfly flies. Maybe a small red damselfly.

Common blue damselflies, 9 June 2016

Near the end of the boardwalk, hundreds of common blue damselflies, sitting on plants and flying.

The next lake is Plakkeven. From a birding hide, we see a moorhen.

On the footpath, a male black-tailed skimmer dragonfly.

In the Bodemven lake swim little grebes and mallards.

Finally, three parasol mushrooms.

Stay tuned, as on 10 July we went to Huis ter Heide again.

Butterfly and flowers


Green-veined white butterfly, 8 July 2016

This photo shows a green-veined white butterfly. It is from 8 July 2016, in nature reserve Huis ter Heide near Tilburg in the Netherlands. That day, after the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition, we had arrived there.

Green-veined white butterfly, on 8 July 2016

Green-veined white butterfly, Huis ter Heide, 8 July 2016

Flower, 8 July 2016

Not far from the butterfly, this flower grew.

Flowers, 8 July 2016

Many more flowers than just one.

Next day, we went to Huis ter Heide again. So, stay tuned!