Baby carp in botanical garden


Baby carp in botanical garden

These photos show baby carp, born recently in the pond of the botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands, photographed by a diver of the Dutch natural history society KNNV.

The caption mentions an aquarium and terrarium exhibition which will be in the botanical garden this September.

Bat colony in city park tree, video


This 26 June 2015 video was recorded by Niels de Zwarte early in the morning in a city park in Leiden, the Netherlands.

It shows a colony of common noctule bats, in a hole in a tree.

Dead young woodpecker to natural history museum


This is a video about a juvenile great spotted woodpecker.

On 14 June 2015, I was in the Rembrandtpark, opposite the place where famous painter Rembrandt was born.

Not far from a building, a dead woodpecker laying on the ground.

The bird had a red cap on the top of its head. So, very probably a young great spotted woodpecker. In theory, a middle spotted woodpecker was also a possibility. However, that species is much rarer in this region; and tends to avoid urban areas like the Rembrandtpark more than its somewhat bigger relative.

There are some trees in the Rembrandtpark which might attract great spotted woodpeckers. However, the park is rather stony and not big. Maybe the young woodpecker had been on one of its first flights, from a nest near the ethnology museum or elsewhere with more and bigger trees. And then, it may have been too inexperienced to know about the dangers of flying against windows; or of cats. I don’t know yet what killed this woodpecker.

I put the bird into a plastic bag. Then, the bag went into my freezer, next to the bread.

Today, I took the dead woodpecker to Naturalis museum. Not far from the entrance, a male blackbird flying along with me.

Mr Pepijn Kamminga, of the Naturalis ornithology department, received the dead bird. He was not sure whether it was a great spotted or middle spotted woodpecker either, but also thought juvenile great spotted was most probable. The museum receives only about two or three dead great spotted woodpeckers a year; and still far less middle spotted woodpeckers.

Years ago, I had brought a dead great tit to Naturalis. The ornithology department then said they did not get great tits very often. Dead bigger birds like kestrels, though less common, had more likelihood of ending up in the museum collections; being more conspicuous, and because people finding dead small common birds might think mistakenly that museums already had plenty of them.

Mr Kamminga told me that situation had changed. They now have contracts with bird ringing stations that they will send dead birds to Naturalis. This means that now, among the most common dead birds arriving are willow warblers, great tits, blue tits, and robins. Also still bigger birds, like woodcocks and buzzards.

Inside the black plastic bag in which I had brought it, the spotted woodpecker went into the museum freezer. The freezer was rather full. Probably, Mr Kamminga said, in three months’ time or later because of the backlog of so many birds in the freezer, a taxidermist will conserve the woodpecker. Then, we may get to know more about which species it was, and about what caused its death.

As I walked away from the museum, a wren calling in the bushes, just two meter away.

This video shows a young great spotted woodpecker, fed by its parents.

This video is about a great spotted woodpecker nest.

Fitting Tyrannosaurus rex bone fragments together


People trying to fit Tyrannosaurus bone fragments together

Translated from ANP news agency and RTL Nieuws in the Netherlands today:

Nearly two hundred people have this weekend worked in Leiden on a special puzzle. They tried to fit the tiny skeletal remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex together.

In Naturalis museum there are thousands of shards of neck vertebrae and ribs of the T-rex. Eventually, 30 bits were found to fit together.

The bone remnants are part of the skeleton of a T-rex which lived 66 million years ago. Scientists of Naturalis excavated the dinosaur’s remains in 2013 in the United States.

Five million euros

Last year, the museum bought the complete skeleton. Using crowd funding and sponsorship, the museum received the required 5 million euros. The whole skeleton will come in September next year to Leiden. In 2018, it will get a place of honour in the new museum building.

Stop sexism at universities


This video from the USA says about itself:

Sexism is Alive and Well at the University of Texas!

4 June 2014

The UT Austin Nursing School has a new dress code, and it sucks. Not cool, Longhorns.

From the Athena’s Angels site at Leiden university in the Netherlands:

4 women in academia

Many people assume that men and women have equal opportunities to be successful in an academic career. Yet women continue to be approached and treated differently than men, in ways that impact on their scientific career prospects. This website is designed to elucidate the specific challenges women have to overcome to realize their scientific ambitions, and where possible eliminate these.

Four female full professors have united under the name Athena’s Angels, to defend the interests of women academics. The mission of Athena’s Angels is to offer men and women truly equal opportunities to advance in their scientific career. What is needed to achieve this?

Know the facts   –   Report maltreatment   –   Ask for advice   –   Recognize sexism   –   Join forces 

Pallas Athena

The Greek goddess Pallas Athena is the feisty goddess of wisdom. The owl is her symbol. It is true: she was born, fully armed, from the head of her father Zeus, and can be pretty male-identified at times. The first women in academia did sometimes show this trait. But we are happy to carry out our missions under Athena’s aegis.

Classical music in the botanical garden


Ragazze Kwartet, 25 May 2015

This cell phone photo shows Dutch classical music group Ragazze Kwartet on 25 May 2015; during a concert in the botanical garden in Leiden.

They played Maurice Ravel‘s string quartet in F major.

This video shows another time when they played that.

The Ragazze Kwartet consists of Rosa Arnold, violin; Jeanita Vriens, violin; Annemijn Bergkotte, viola; and Kirsten Jenson, cello.

Classical and folk rock music


Willem Bodhi in concert, 24 May 2015

On 24 May 2015, Willem Bodhi played guitar and sang, as this cell phone photo shows.

This was an open air concert in the courtyard of the Jean Michelhof in Leiden; built in 1687 for housing elderly French-speaking refugees. The Jean Michelhof is a ‘hofje‘, a courtyard with almshouses around it. There are over thirty hofjes in Leiden. They used to be for elderly people. Today, mainly students and others live there.

Jean Michelhof courtyard, photo by Biccie

This photo shows the Jean Michelhof when the courtyard is empty.

This is a video of Willem Bodhi playing to thousands of people at the Parkpop rock festival in 2014 in The Hague.

In the small Jean Michelhof courtyard, though it was jam-packed, of course far less people could listen. Still, things went well, as the weather was sunny.

One of the songs Willem sang was ‘Here comes the sun‘, originally by George Harrison; with its line ‘It’s all right’. It’s all right with me as well … as long as that sun is not Rupert Murdoch‘s Sun :)

Among Willem’s other songs was another Beatles song, Come Together.

This concert was part of a big series of concerts with various types of music in the hofjes of Leiden, on 23-25 May.

Earlier on 24 May, we had heard another concert, also packed, at the somewhat larger Pieter Loridanshof.

A group of three musicians: Isabel Favilla on recorder and baroque bassoon; Filipa Meneses on viola da gamba; and Giulio Quirici on theorbo played baroque music there.