New orchid discovery on Schiermonnikoog island


Northern marsh orchid, photo by Hans Dekker

On 25 July 2015, Hans Dekker published his new book, Orchideeën van Noord-Nederland (Orchids of the northern Netherlands).

He had to make a last-minute addition. On 28 June this year, Dekker discovered on Schiermonnikoog island a northern marsh orchid, a species, new for the Netherlands.

Rare mushroom discovery in Dutch park


Coprinopsis strossmayeri

The Dutch Mycological Society reported on 15 July 2015 that scores of rare fungi had been discovered in the Dr. Jac. P. Thijssepark in Amstelveen.

They were Coprinopsis strossmayeri; which had been known from only six places in the Netherlands.

Coprinopsis strossmayeri is rare in Armenia as well. It was discovered there for the first time in 2010-2011.

Radioactive daisies after Fukushima, Japan


Deformed daisies in Fukushima, Japan

In 1976, Dutch singer-songwriter Fon Klement recorded a song called Elke Madelief, Radio-Aktief; meaning Every daisy radioactive.

Today, in Japan, that song becomes sad reality.

From Yahoo! News Canada:

Deformed daisies from Fukushima disaster site gain Internet fame

By Lisa Reddy

Monday, 13 July, 2015

Photos of flowers on Twitter and Instagram may be as commonplace as sunsets and selfies, but one Japanese amateur photographer has captured something a bit more unique than a beautiful bloom.

Twitter user @san_kaido posted a photo of mutated yellow daisies last month, found in Nasushiobara City, around 70 miles from Fukushima, the site of the 2011 nuclear disaster.  The photos show daisies with fused yellow centres and with the petals growing out the side of the flower.

The daisies are not the first deformed plants found after the disaster. In 2013, the Daily Mail posted photos of mutated vegetables and fruit, attributing the apparent abnormalities to high levels of radiation found in the groundwater.

The daisy photos come four years after the Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Power Plant meltdown which was caused after a devastating earthquake and tsunami knocked out three of the plant’s nuclear reactors.

Beetles, flowers and green woodpecker


Ladybird, 10 July 2015

This is a photo of a ladybug on milk parsley flowers which are finished. I think this is an eleven-spot ladybird. It is from 10 July 2015, when we were in the Heempark again.

Near the entrance, a chiffchaff singing.

A brown-banded carder bee on a thistle flower.

A group of long-tailed tits on a leafless tree, with a great tit not far away.

A lesser black-backed gull flies overhead.

Two muscovy ducks walking and grazing.

Sounds of a blackbird, a chaffinch, a jay and an edible frog.

Wild strawberries.

A blackcap sings.

A buff-tailed bumblebee.

Meadow brown butterflies.

Many of the flowers of two weeks ago here (orchids, bladder campion, greater yellow rattle) are gone now.

A green woodpecker calls, and flies from tree to tree.

Scarlet lily beetles, 10 June 2015

Orange-ish beetles mating on flowers. I would say: scarlet lily beetles.

Purple flowers, 10 June 2015

Finally, purple flowers.

Jamaican mountains become World Heritage site


This video says about itself:

Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park | Jamaica travel guide

4 July 2015

Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is a national park in Jamaica. The park covers 495.2 km2 and accounts for 4.5% of Jamaica’s land surface. The park is globally known for its biodiversity. This park is the last of two known habitats of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio homerus), the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere and also the habitat for the endangered Jamaican Blackbird (Nesopsar nigerrimus), a refuge for the Jamaican Boa (Epicrates subflavus) and the Jamaican Hutia (Geocapromys brownii). The park was nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site for mixed criteria (cultural and natural) in 2011.

For more detail please visit here.

For the John Crow Mountains, there is the history of the famous anti-colonial past.

For the preparation of the anti-colonial movement in Jamaica this is a reminder of the late 1600s; then, African slaves fled into hiding in the John Crow mountains.

From Wildlife Extra:

Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains become the country’s first World Heritage site

The Blue and John Crow Mountains has become Jamaica’s first World Heritage site, following advice from IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, UNESCO World Heritage Committee has announced.

Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains has been inscribed as a “mixed” site, recognising the complex interplay between the area’s natural and cultural values. The local Maroon communities share a strong identity with the area and are actively engaged in its management.

“The Blue and John Crow Mountains in Jamaica is a jewel of the Caribbean displaying exceptionally pristine nature,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. “We are delighted that a site so valuable in the eyes of the local communities has been recognised for its importance to the whole humanity. This inscription also helps to build a World Heritage list which can represent the world’s regions in a more balanced way.”

Combining Jamaica’s highest peak with a contrasting limestone plateau, the site boasts the greatest diversity of ecosystems and habitats on the island, which are also among the most intact in the Caribbean region.

It overlaps with one of the world’s 78 most irreplaceable areas for the conservation of amphibian, bird and mammal species. Half of the flowering plants growing at 900 to 1000 metres in the John Crow plateau cannot be found anywhere else in the world, while unique montane tropical forests hang on the steep slopes and rugged landscape of the Blue Mountains peaking at 2,250 metre. The site also hosts globally significant populations of bird species.

Cactus flowers photographed


Cactus flowers opening

This is a photo of cactus flowers opening.

From National Geographic about this, with more photos there:

Cactus Flowers: Mother Nature’s Fireworks

Janna Dotschkal

Did you know that cacti can bloom? Yes, those prickly green plants burst out some of the most beautiful flowers you’ve ever seen.

For photographer Greg Krehel, these crazy cactus flowers have become an obsession.

“Since I was a kid I’ve always loved succulents and cacti. One year I ended up at a local garden shop and picked up [a] cactus for my collection. A couple years later it put out these awesome flowers, unlike others I had seen. It just kept blooming. It really went to town.”

Note: Many of these cacti are hybrids that were bred and cultivated by different individuals, hence the unusual names.

After seeing these stunning blooms, Krehel decided he needed to know more about the breed of cactus he had bought. He discovered it was a type of Echinopsis, cacti that are native to South America. Krehel says, “It turns out mine was a ‘snoozer’ compared to other varieties out there, even though I thought it was fantastic.”

Krehel was hooked. He started buying more blooming cacti and realized he wanted to find a way to capture the flowers’ incredible beauty.

Eventually he developed a method of focus-stacking images so that every part of the frame would be sharp, making every little detail visible.

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.