Green woodpecker in Belgium, video


This is a video about a green woodpecker, feeding near Wilrijk in Belgium.

Niels Schild, sixteen years old, made the video.

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Belgian priest convicted for abusing niece


This video is called Global Response to Priest Sex Abuse.

Translated from Dutch daily Leidsch Dagblad:

Priest convicted for abusing his niece

Published February 6, 2014 18:46 | Last Updated February 6, 2014 18:59

BRUSSELS – This Thursday, a 69-year-old Belgian priest was convicted to a two years suspended prison sentence for sexual abuse of his minor niece. The court in Tongeren in Limburg province in Belgium decided that he must seek treatment for his sexual problems; that for 10 years, he loses his right to vote; and he must pay 3,000 euros in damages.

The man abused the physically disabled daughter of his sister in the period 1993-1999 various times. When he abused her for the first time, his god-daughter was 11 years old. The priest went every week to his sister’s and enjoyed great prestige within the family. According to the judge, the priest in a gross way ​abused the trust which the family had in him.

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Northern hawk-owl and snowy owl, happy 2014!


This video is about the northern hawk-owl in Zwolle.

Birder Max Berlijn reports from Zwolle, the Netherlands, that the northern hawk-owl is still present; on a branch of a tree besides the Marsweg road.

Today is New Year’s Eve. Which means, in the Netherlands, much noise from fireworks. However, the owl seems to not to let that disturb it.

A photo of the owl flying is here.

This video is about a snowy owl in Zeebrugge, Belgium.

The snowy owl is also still present today on Vlieland island.

This is the first time ever that a snowy owl was seen on Vlieland. Probably the same bird which was on Texel a few days ago. A photo of the owl is here (scroll down).

A third rare owl, a pygmy owl, is still present near Deventer.

I wish all three birds a very happy 2014, with, as spring will come, safe return journeys, to the sub-Arctic forests for the northern hawk-owl and the pygmy owl, and to the Arctic tundra for the snowy owl!

New Van Dyck painting discovery


A hunch by presenter Fiona Bruce leads to the portrait being identified as a genuine Van Dyck

From the BBC:

29 December 2013 Last updated at 09:57 GMT

Antiques Roadshow portrait revealed to be by Anthony Van Dyck

A painting bought for £400 and featured on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow has been revealed to be a Sir Anthony Van Dyck portrait worth about £400,000.

Father Jamie MacLeod, who runs a retreat house in north Derbyshire, first took the artwork to Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, in 2012.

He said he was now planning to sell the piece by the 17th century Flemish artist to buy new church bells.

The BBC show’s host Fiona Bruce said she was “thrilled” by the revelation.

More was revealed about the painting when Father Jamie took it to filming for another edition of Antiques Roadshow in Cirencester, Gloucestershire in June this year.

The Van Dyck portrait was identified after Ms Bruce, who was making a show about the artist with expert Philip Mould, saw the painting and thought it might be genuine.

Following restoration, the painting was verified by Dr Christopher Brown – one of the world authorities on Van Dyck.

The portrait, originally bought at a Cheshire antiques shop, is the most valuable painting identified in the show’s 36-year history.

Father Jamie, who runs a retreat house in Whaley Bridge, in the Peak District, said: “It’s been an emotional experience and it’s such great news.”

Van Dyck was the leading court painter in England under King Charles I and is regarded as one of the masters of 17th Century art.

The painting is a portrait of a Magistrate of Brussels which is believed to have been completed as part of the artist’s preparation for a 1634 work showing seven magistrates.

Ms Bruce said: “It’s everyone’s dream to spot a hidden masterpiece, I’m thrilled that my hunch paid off, to discover a genuine Van Dyck is incredibly exciting. I’m so pleased for Father Jamie.”

Mr Mould said: “Discoveries of this type are exceptionally rare.

“The painting’s emergence from beneath layers of paint was dramatic. It’s been revealed as a thrilling example of Van Dyck’s skills of direct observation that made him so great a portrait painter.”

A Van Dyck self-portrait that was recently sold to a collector who wants to take it abroad, has become subject to a temporary export ban.

The National Portrait Gallery is trying to raise £12.5m to keep it in the UK.

The portrait will be shown on Antiques Roadshow at 19:00 GMT on BBC One on Sunday.

See also here.

Storm helps Belgian Roman age archaeologists


This video is called Secrets of Archaeology – Roman Imprint on the West – Part 1/2.

Translated from news agency Belga in Belgium today:

A positive effect of the Saint Nicholas storm which blew over our country on 5 December is that a lot of archaeological relics were washed up on the coast. That was the case between Ostend and Bredene on Oosteroever. These were finds and sherds from the Roman period.

Snowy owl in Zeebrugge, Belgium


This video from the USA is called NATURE “Magic of the Snowy Owl” | Preview | PBS.

In Zeebrugge in Belgium, a snowy owl was seen today on the North Sea beach of Zeebrugge.

See here; with photo.

Odd migration patterns of snowy owls, other species are troubling zoologists: here.

Dutch-Belgian wildlife habitat restored


This is a video of the alcon blue butterfly taken from the BBC’s Life in the Undergrowth documentary series. Alcon blue butterflies are one of the rare wildlife species in the Dommel valley in the Netherlands.

From BirdLife:

Natuurpunt wins prestigious Best Life Nature Project award

Dommel valley

By Rebecca Langer, Fri, 13/12/2013 – 11:06

The Dommeldal project coordinated by Natuurpunt (BirdLife Partner in Belgium) and Natuurmonumenten in the Netherlands has received one of 6 Best LIFE Nature Project awards in recognition of its focused efforts on habitat restoration in the valley of the Dommel.

This is the fifth year that the Best LIFE Nature Projects award has honoured the most exemplary projects financed within the framework of the EU’s successful LIFE programme. LIFE is a comparatively small funding programme but holds significant value for EU nature conservation. The projects that are made possible by LIFE support have a big impact and lead to long term benefits for nature and society.

The Campine region of Belgium and the Netherlands was once covered in heathland, land dunes, grassland, ferns, marshes and alluvial forest but they have been largely lost or degraded as a consequence of the conversion of land to agriculture, river straightening and land drainage. Now, these natural features have been restored and new opportunities have been created for threatened species, such as the European nightjar, the natterjack toad and the alcon blue butterfly. With help from LIFE funds, 20 ha of wet forests were reestablished and the extensive reed beds are already attracting rare birds such as Eurasian Bittern, Western Marsh Harrier and Savi’s Warbler!

The success of the project is closely linked to the involvement of local communities. In order to ensure the continuation of these achievements, local farmers and volunteers have been involved in the management of the area since the end of the project in September 2011. The Life project has helped raise awareness and increase access to the newly-restored sites by creating educational displays, footpaths, boardwalks and a new bridge over the Dommel, which also serves as ‘green infrastructure’ for species wishing to cross between the eastern and western sides of the nature reserve.

For Ghis Palmans, team coordinator at Hageven De Plateaus, “the Life project’s legacy is the possibility of connecting protected areas in the whole region, while providing better habitats and corridors for insects, birds and other species.”

For more information, please visit the Dommeldal project website.

Read the publication “Best Life Nature Projects 2012” by the European Commission.

In Belgium; our BirdLife Partner Natuurpunt has crossed the symbolic threshold of 20,000 hectares of nature reserve management. The organisation has been a consistent champion for the protection of Flemish countryside and now 68% of the land it manages is owned by the association, the remainder being rented: here.

‘Dutch Breivik’ terror plot in Belgium


This video from Norway is called New CCTV footage of Breivik‘s terror attack in Oslo.

Translated from Kathleen Heylen in Belgium:

Terror suspect wanted to attack Flemish radio and TV broadcasters

15/11/2013 – 06:31 Update: Fri 15/11/2013 – 11:49

In Sint-Niklaas a man has been arrested who is said to have planned to commit terrorist attacks. The man wanted to overthrow the Belgian state, including an attack against the VRT broadcasting organisation.

The 23-year-old man of Dutch origin was arrested on Wednesday night. He was in a bar trying to recruit people to carry out attacks. Like Anders Breivik in Norway, he had described in a manifesto how he wanted to overthrow the Belgian state.

“He’d been planning to proclaim on VRT TV his message and, if necessary, to do this by violence. He targeted some Belgian political institutions as well,” said Anthony Schotsaert from the Prosecutor’s Office in Dendermonde. The Belga news agency claims to have heard from a reliable source that he wanted to strike exactly today, King’s Day.