Rare birds in Cornwall

This is as red-breasted flycatcher video.

From Rare Bird Network in Britain, on Twitter today:

Cornwall: RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER 2 today at Nanquidno Valley. Also YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER 1.

Rare bees discovered in Cornwall

This video from Britain is called Cornwall Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves.

From Wildlife Extra:

Very rare bees found on new Cornish Bartinney Nature Reserve

Two very rare species of bee have been discovered on the new Bartinney Nature Reserve near Sennen in west Penwith, reports the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The tormentil nomad bee (Nomada robertjeotiana) is so rare that it is only currently known at one other site in the south west, near Davidstow.

This species uses the nests of another rare bee, the tormentil mining bee (Andrena tarsata), known to only three UK sites and also discovered at Bartinney. Both are moorland species that have undergone a dramatic decline since the 1970s.

This video is called Andrena tarsata bee on tormentil.

Paddy Saunders, the invertebrate expert who discovered both species of bee during a survey for Natural England said: “The tormentil mining bee needs lots and lots of flowering tormentil very near to nest sites, from which to collect pollen to feed their larvae that live in small chambers slightly underground.

“It is unusual to find such big colonies of tormentil mining bee and the Trust’s Bartinney Nature Reserve, with its big drifts of flowering tormentil, is clearly an important site for them.

“The tormentil nomad bee is a ‘cuckoo’ bee that nips into the tomentil mining bee’s nest, where it lays an egg. Once hatched the nomad’s larvae eats all the pollen that the other bee has done all the hard work to collect!

“It needs a big tormentil mining bee colony to sustain a population of the nomad. The fact that Bartinney Nature Reserve supports both these rare bees is very significant.”

Liz Cox, Wild Penwith Project Manager for Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: “Open flower-rich habitats are vital for wildlife, including these bees, and this find highlights the importance of managing Penwith’s moors and downs to ensure such areas are kept open and not lost to invading scrub or bracken.”

“Bartinney Nature Reserve is one of the two reserves that the Trust recently bought thanks to public donations and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and I am sure everyone involved will be thrilled to know that the site is already playing an important role in protecting Penwith’s wildlife!”

Andrew Whitehouse, South West Manager at Buglife said: “Both of these bees have been identified by our South West Bees Project as being in need of conservation action.

“We are encouraged to find that both species have been found at Bartinney, and we hope to work closely with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England to ensure that these nationally important populations thrive.”

To find out more about Bartinney Nature Reserve go here.

Rooks’ intelligence research in Britain

This video is called Rooks at the Tehidy Woods Rookery; in Cornwall.

From Wildlife Extra:

Are rooks one of our most intelligent birds? A survey has just been launched to find out

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) are asking the general public to help them discover just how intelligent rooks are.

Studies done with rooks in the lab have shown that they are extremely intelligent and able to solve complex puzzles using objects and teamwork.

However, apart from their social behaviour, little is known about the behaviour of them in the wild, and especially in gardens.

Anecdotal evidence sugests that rooks can quickly learn to how to unhook feeders in order to drop them on the ground, or how to pull up food dangling by a string with their feet, but the BTO want to know more.

To achieve this the BTO is running a Garden Rook Survey over next six months from 1 July till 31 December.

They will be asking the people to monitor the rooks in their garden and look at their feeding, caching, tolerance, object play, social and vocalisation skills.

Clare Simm, the Garden Rook Survey organiser said, “This is going to be a really exciting survey, learning about what rooks do in gardens across the country.

“We can’t find this out without the public though so if you get rooks in your garden, whether it’s regularly or once in a while, we need your help.”

Click HERE to find out more.

First ever glossy ibis nest on Vlieland island?

This video is called Glossy Ibis at Chapel Amble – Wildlife in Cornwall.

Warden Anke Bruin reports from Vlieland island in the Netherlands about a glossy ibis couple in Kroon’s polders nature reserve.

The normal glossy ibis nesting time, in the Mediterranean, is May-July.

Could this be the first time ever of a glossy ibis nest in the Netherlands? Ms Bruin asks.

In 2012, a glossy ibis couple started to make a nest in the Netherlands, but did not continue.

Glossy ibis nesting attempt in England: here.

Touati, L., Figuerola, J., Alfarhan, A. H., & Samraoui, B. (2015). Distribution patterns of ectoparasites of Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) chicks. Zoology and Ecology 25(1): 46–53. doi:10.1080/21658005.2015.1005447. PDF in ResearchGate.net

Giant barrel jellyfish video

This video says about itself:

Swimming with a giant Barrel Jellyfish

23 June 2014

This Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo) was filmed in the Percuil Estuary, near St Mawes, Cornwall. Large numbers of these, the UK’s largest jellyfish species have been seen this year around our coast. they are totally harmless and feed on plankton. They do have stinging cells but they are not able to get through human skin. They can grow to 80cm wide and weigh up to 30 kilos!

Wildlife Extra writes about this:

A man swimming with his dog in Cornwall captured some amazing footage of a giant barrel jellyfish. …

The film gives a perfect example of the size as Matt’s dog Mango swims by.

According to the Torquay Herald Express, sightings were reported to the Marine Conservation Society at Petitor Cove, at Brixham breakwater, Teignmouth, Coryton Cove, Dawlish and in the River Teign off Bishopsteignton. In Torquay harbour there were more than 100.

Peter Richardson, the Marine Conservation Society’s biodiversity programme manager, said the charity first started getting reports of barrel jellyfish in mid-April, off Teignmouth, and during May and June there were daily reports, mostly from Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, but also south Wales and north Scotland.

Dr Richardson said: “This year is a very unusual year for barrel jellyfish in the south west. It’s normal to have barrel jellyfish in UK waters but this is the first time since we started our survey in 2003 that we’ve had quite so many reports from the south west.

“This species is the only one that can survive multiple seasons so we think what we’re seeing in the south west is a lot of adults that survived the mild winter.

“We’ve also had a pretty good start to the basking shark season this year and they also feed on plankton, so it could be the south west seas are productive at the moment. We’re really pleased.”

To report sightings of jellyfish, turtles and basking sharks go to www.mcsuk.org.

Giant barrel jellyfish on Texel island, December 2014: here.

Spoonbill and plover news from Vlieland island

This video is about two Kentish plovers in Cornwall.

Warden Carl Zuhorn reports about birds on Vlieland island in the Netherlands.

This spring, so far there are about 160 spoonbill nests at five places on Vlieland. Some spoonbills are still returning now from spring migration.

On the Vliehors, the west of the island, there are three Kentish plover nests.

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Good basking shark news from Cornwall

This video says about itself:

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Basking sharks and Lampreys

8 May 2012

In 1998, Jonathan made a remarkable discovery about Basking sharks, the second largest fish on Earth. While diving with Basking sharks in the frigid waters of the Bay of Fundy, Jonathan saw parasitic lampreys on the backs of the sharks. This had never before been documented, so he returned the next year with a shark biologist and a lamprey biologist to attempt to recover living lampreys from the backs of Basking sharks. They didn’t think Jonathan could do it. Wait until you see what happens!

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Conservationists rejoice as Cornwall is awash with basking sharks

Paul Gallagher

Friday 09 May 2014

So many basking sharks have already been spotted in British waters that experts are declaring this the best start to shark season in living memory.

A wildlife tour group reported sighting 19 basking sharks up to 25 feet in length last weekend as the eight-tonne travellers begin to arrive off the south west coast.

The animals, which travel to temperate waters and can stay in British regions until October, have been growing in numbers year on year according to The Shark Trust. A total of 266 Basking Shark sightings were reported to the Trust last year as it hopes for an even higher number in 2014.

“To see so many this early has been an absolute honour and it is exciting to consider what the rest of the season may hold for us,” said Captain Keith Leeves, a veteran skipper with AK Wildlife Cruises, told the Western Morning News.

“We have been blown away with the size of the sharks too, with several sharks being over 20 feet long, which is something truly special to behold! This has been one of the best starts to a shark season in living memory.”

Crew Member Billy Burton said: “Guests have been absolutely blown away by the sightings they have had. There is something awe-inspiring about seeing a 25-foot shark approach you, mouth wide open.”

The cruise company has raised concerns about basking sharks, the second biggest fish behind whale sharks, after spotting a number of sharks with chunks missing from their fins. It said the most likely cause for the damage was encounters with boats navigated by negligent skippers and holidaymakers. AK stressed the importance of following the guidelines from the Shark Trust when around the animals.

The swelling numbers led Penzance-based operator Marine Discovery to urge people to be more cautious than normal when on the water around the south west coast.

A spokesman said: “At this time of year basking sharks can be found feeding off the Cornish coast and it’s fantastic to see them. However it is important to remember that they need to be approached carefully so as not to disturb their natural behaviour, this feeding time is a crucial part of their yearly cycle.

“If a shark thrashes its tail and dives or stops feeding and dives then it is likely you have disturbed it. If this happens learn from the mistake and try not to repeat it.”

Exeter University student Tom Whitlock said he saw four basking sharks, one of three plankton-eating sharks alongside the whale and megamouth sharks, on a recent cruise trip along the coast.

Basking sharks became a protected species in 1998 meaning they cannot be targeted, retained or disturbed in British waters.

A spokesperson for the Shark Trust said: “It may come as a surprise to many, but sharks are a natural part of UK marine fauna; whether native or vagrant, over 30 species of shark, as well as over 16 species of skate and ray, can be found in British waters. However, shark, skate and ray numbers have dropped dramatically in our waters due to the impact of poorly managed fisheries.

“Sightings of sharks are mainly reported in summer months when more people are out on the water and should be treated as a privilege rather than a point of concern. Sharks make an easy target for dramatic headlines but it remains far more dangerous to drive to the beach than to swim in our seas.”

British sharks

At least 21 species of shark are resident inhabitants and commonly found around the coasts of Britain all year round, including the Smallspotted Catshark, Porbeagle Shark and Basking Shark, according to The Shark Trust.

Its website says: “Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako Sharks are seasonal visitors, appearing in British waters in summer during their trans-Atlantic migrations. A few species, Smooth Hammerhead and Frilled Shark may be vagrants, occurring infrequently off the British coast, with their main distribution ranges being outside British waters. At least 11 shark species, including the Portuguese Dogfish, Black Dogfish, Kitefin Shark and Gulper Sharks are only found in deep water.”

A satellite tag used by scientists to track the movement of a basking shark has been found on a beach in south Wales by a man collecting driftwood: here.

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