Cetti’s warbler, house martins, mandarin ducks, butterflies

This video from Britain is about the Cetti’s warbler and its call.

Today, a Cetti’s warbler called at the Muggenbult viewpoint in Naardermeer nature reserve.

A blackcap sang.

Barn swallows, house martins, swifts, a white wagtail, a starling and house sparrows near the Naardermeer visitors’ centre.

On the way back from the Naardermeer, an orange-tipped butterfly. And brimstone butterflies.

Grey herons. And three white storks. And three mandarin ducks.

Bullfinch couple, common terns and lapwings

This is a Eurasian bullfinch video from Sweden.

Today, there was a bullfinch couple at the Muggenbult viewpoint in the Naardermeer nature reserve.

And a blackcap singing.

Also at the Muggenbult: sedge warbler. And reed warbler (audible, but hidden in the reedbed). Reed bunting. House sparrows. Common tern. Nesting black-headed gulls. Great cormorants. A mute swan.

Not far from the Muggenbult: northern lapwings in a mating season flight. A buzzard flying. A white wagtail scurrying in the mud.

A swift drank from a ditch while flying near the Naardermeer visitors’ centre. Also near the visitors’ centre: a stonechat.

Barn swallows flying. Dragonflies flying as well.

Bluethroat, barn swallows, butterfly in Naardermeer

This 2015 video is about bluethroats in Belarus.

Today, there was a singing bluethroat in the Naardermeer nature reserve in the Netherlands.

Barn swallows, among the first ones of this spring, flying.

A stonechat. Great egrets. Shelducks and northern shoveler ducks at the hide.

And a female lesser spotted woodpecker on a tree.

An orange-tipped butterfly.

Dragonflies and young house martins

Naardermeer marsh plants, 19 August 2019

On 19 August 2019, we went to the Naardermeer nature reserve.

Near the entrance, barn swallows flying. A great crested grebe swimming.

We see construction activity. Wildlife corridors are built underneath the railway; to save lives of grass snakes, moor frogs, otters, pine martens, etc.

On the footpath to the Muggenbult viewpoint, a male black-tailed skimmer dragonfly.

A grey heron.

Naardermeer marsh plants, near dragonfly, 19 August 2019

Along this bit of marsh, a beautiful green and blue dragonfly flies. An emperor dragonfly?

Naardermeer, on 19 August 2019

Naardermeer, 19 August 2019

Rowan berries.

On the footpath, a smallish red dragonfly.

A great cormorant flying.

Naardermeer, Muggenbult, 19 August 2019

As we arrive at the Muggenbult viewpoint, a coot couple and their chick swimming.

A male gadwall duck.

White and yellow water-lily flowers.

Two adult mute swans swimming with one youngster.

Naardermeer mute swan, 19 August 2019

A great crested grebe with two youngsters.

We walk back. On the visitors’ centre buildings, house martin nests, both artificial and built by the birds themselves. To both, parent house martins fly to feed their chicks.

Naardermeer, sundew, 19 August 2019

Close to entrance/exit of the nature reserve is a patch with carnivorous plants: sundew.

1932 great cormorant ring discovery in Naardermeer

The 1932 great cormorant ring, photo by Luc Hoogenstein

This photo by Luc Hoogenstein shows a bird ring of the Dutch natural history museum in Leiden, affixed to a great cormorant in 1932.

Recently, that old ring was found in the Naardermeer nature reserve.

The ring was affixed in Lekkerkerk; where then was a big great cormorant nesting colony. Great cormorants then did not nest yet in the Naardermeer. They did so for the first time in 1937, with just three nests. Now they are many more.

This old ring indicates that the Naardermeer colony was started by Lekkerkerk birds.

Fish of Naardermeer nature reserve

This 2017 Dutch video is about clean water streaming into the Naardermeer lake.

Dutch Vroege Vogels radio reports on the recent monitoring of fish in the Naardermeer lake. In this nature reserve, the three most common species are bream, roach and northern pike.

This year, a new species was found for the first time: the western tubenose goby; n invasive species originally from eastern Europe..

More wildlife corridors at Dutch nature reserve

This June 2015 video is about a boat trip in Dutch Naardermeer nature reserve.

Ever since 1906, the Naardermeer lake is the oldest nature reserve in the Netherlands. In 1874, before it was a nature reserve, a railroad track was built, separating the northern and southern parts of the lake.

That railroad is still there. It turns out to be sometimes lethal for roe deer, red foxes, hares and other wildlife.

Now, the railway is reconstructed. That opportunity is used to add six wildlife tunnels to enable animals to cross safely under the railroad. These tunnels are supposed to be ready at the end of 2019, radio show Vroege Vogels reported today.

This 2013 animation video is about a wildlife corridor built then, from the Ankeveense plassen to the Naardermeer nature reserves, enabling, eg, otters to cross. That corridor indeed made it possible for otters to reach the Naardermeer.

There are now also plans for wildlife corridors between Flevoland province and the Naardermeer which may enable beavers to reach the Naardermeer from Flevoland.

Badgers in the Netherlands and Britain

This 2012 video from the Netherlands is called A family of Badgers (Meles meles) on their badger sett.

Dutch Vroege Vogels radio reports that this year a young male badger has reached the Naardermeer; a new species for this nature reserve.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

More badgers face death sentence

Friday 29th September 2017

PETER FROST is exasperated by how the government keeps ignoring scientific evidence in order to propagate a solution to bovine TB that is as illusory as it is damaging to the environment

Last autumn the number of one of our most fascinating wild mammals shot in the controversial badger cull soared to more than 10,800.

Tory ministers, and some of their rich farmer pals, claimed the result as a success but the vast majority of leading scientists said there was no basis for suggesting the cull was effective.

It was clear that the badgers were being used as scapegoats for failures in the intensive livestock industry.

Ten culls took place across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Somerset.

Half the badgers killed in 2016 were shot without first being trapped — a method rejected as inhumane by the British Veterinary Association.

This year badger culling has just begun in 21 areas across England including 11 new areas in Devon, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire and could see up to 33,000 badgers killed.

Justin Madders, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, criticised the expansion of the scheme. “This week the government announced a badger cull in Cheshire,” he said.

Scientific evidence is that a vaccination programme would be far more effective yet the government insists on carrying out this cruel and barbaric practice contrary to the science.”

Cheshire East Council said it would ban culling on land it directly controlled but it would not be able to prevent culling taking place on land that it rented to tenants, including farmers.

TB in cattle is certainly a serious problem for some farmers in England, but an earlier 10-year trial of badger culling found it could make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.

However, Tory environment minister Michael Gove, farming minister George Eustice and their teams remain adamant that culling will help to cut TB.

Almost all scientists, however, have said the badger cull is not working and is very unlikely ever to work. Indeed many scientists think the cull could even make matters worse.

Gove is a firm supporter of continuing the cull despite the best expert opinion. For example badger expert Prof Rosie Woodroffe from the Zoological Society of London told the Guardian: “There is no basis for drawing any conclusions about the effectiveness of culling.”

For culling to work over 70 per cent of badgers in an area must be killed. Otherwise the disturbed remaining populations will range more widely and spread the disease further. Why then are some culling targets being set as low as 50 per cent?

“This means that there is really no way to tell what reduction in badger numbers was achieved by these culls,” said Woodroffe.

“Culling that was consistently ineffective would look like a low badger density and prompt a reduced target. I would therefore consider the conclusion to be based on extremely shaky evidence.”

Even a government independent panel set up to make an assessment of the first year of culling found it was neither effective nor humane. Gove and Andrea Leadsom, minister of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, know how to deal with expert panels who give unwelcome if accurate advice — they simply shut the panel down.

The two years of data accumulated since the cull started in 2013 shows clearly that the culls have not cut TB.

Now ignoring all results and advice Gove and the government have embarked upon a widespread expanded badger cull.

Campaigners against the cull say the policy will have no impact on bovine TB and could lead to local populations of badgers being wiped out.

Claire Bass, director of the UK Branch of Humane Society International said: “Badger culling is a costly distraction from the real solution to TB in cattle. It’s a disease of cattle, primarily spread by cattle, and it’s cattle-focused control measures that will stop it. But the government has sanctioned large-scale ‘badgercide’.”

Dominic Dyer, head of the Badger Trust, concurs: “Not only is the badger cull a disastrous failure on scientific and animal welfare grounds, it is also becoming an unacceptable burden on the taxpayer.”

Latest estimates suggest that the cost of culling a single badger is an incredible £6,775.

This figure does not include policing costs, which have been estimated at £500,000 per area per year and include:

– Over £300,000 for costs related to licensing the cull

– £750,000 for sett monitoring n £17,000 for independent panel to monitor the cull

– £700,000 estimated costs for humaneness monitoring

– £750,000 for carrying out post mortems on badgers.

This is an almost exclusively English cull. Scotland is classified as free of TB. The Welsh Assembly government has chosen to vaccinate badgers with trials underway in North Pembrokeshire.

Northern Ireland is conducting research into an eradication programme involving vaccination and selected culling.

There is a vaccine for badgers — the BCG jab, which has been used by a number of wildlife and conservation bodies in England, including the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the National Trust.

Now Andrea Leadsom has told Parliament that not only is there a world shortage of the vaccine but it is also becoming too expensive to use, nevertheless, vaccination continues in Wales and the Republic of Ireland, and there are further plans to introduce it in Northern Ireland.

Cattle can also be vaccinated with the BCG vaccine although it is currently prohibited by EU legislation, mainly because BCG can interfere with the tuberculin skin test, the main diagnostic test for TB.

Let’s leave the final words to Dyer who told the Morning Star: “We could kill every badger in England but bovine TB would continue to spread in cattle herds due to inaccurate TB testing, excessive numbers of cattle movements and poor bio-security controls.

“The badger is being used as a scapegoat for failures in the modern intensive livestock industry that have led to a significant increase in bovine TB.

“No credible scientist has ever suggested that culling badgers will make any significant impact on lowering TB in cattle and there is now clear evidence the policy is failing badly. The government is simply imposing its will in an act of political aggression against both science and the will of the people.”

Ireland: State moves away from killing badgers and will vaccinate them instead. Badgers to be vaccinated to stamp out TB in cattle: here.

Jackdaws, buzzards and great egrets

This video from England says about itself:

5 February 2014

Researchers in Cambridge and Exeter have discovered that jackdaws use their eyes to communicate with each other — the first time this has been shown in non-primates.

While what humans do with their eyes has been well studied, we know almost nothing about whether birds communicate with members of the same species with their eyes.

The new study, published today in Biology Letters, shows that jackdaw eyes are used as a warning signal to successfully deter competitors from coming near their nest boxes.

See more here.

Today, near the railway station, at the same spot as yesterday, a jackdaw couple. Probably the same birds as yesterday. Like yesterday one of the two jackdaws had nesting material in its bill.

As the train passed Naardermeer nature reserve, a male and a female buzzard circling around each other in the air.

Also at the Naardermeer, two great egrets.

Near the bridge, a coot still sitting on its nest.