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.

New moss species discovery on Texel island

Dicranella varia, photo from Austria

Warden Jitske Esselaar reports from Texel island in the Netherlands about moss research.

Ceres is a small meadow nature reserve close to the Wadden Sea.

During research in Ceres, 31 moss species were found. They included common species, like green silk moss. And rare species, like crisped fork-moss.

One Ceres species was new for Texel: Dicranella varia.

Goldfinch eating dandelion, video

I myself was privileged to see a goldfinch eat dandelion seeds in France.

This video on that subject is by Rick ‘t Hart in the Netherlands.

Birds and plants near the Zandmotor

This 2014 video is about the Zandmotor, an artificial peninsula in the North Sea between Ter Heijde and The Hague in the Netherlands.

We went there on 13 August 2015.

A great cormorant flying over the sand dunes.

On the sand dunes closest to the sea, common sea-buckthorn and elder grow.

So does stinging nettle.

And the yellow flowers of narrow-leaved ragwort, originally from South Africa; present here for just over ten years.

On the sandy plain of the Zandmotor peninsula, scores of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls rest.

In the Zandmotor lakelet, great cormorants and great crested grebes swim.

Near the high water mark, European searocket flowers. Tumbleweed grows there as well.

On some other days, one can see eg spoonbills and seals at the Zandmotor. We did not see them, as it was a busy Sunday. That dogs are allowed to run here without being on leashes probably disturbs wildlife.

Golden samphire, new flower species on Schiermonnikoog island

This video is about the Schorren nature reserve on Texel island. Especially about a rare plant flowering there: the golden samphire.

Dutch conservation organisation Natuurmonumenten reported on 6 September 2015 that late in August a special plant had been found on Schiermonnikoog island: golden samphire.

This species is new for the island. It had been found only at three other sites in the Netherlands: on Texel, Goeree and Griend.