Birds and whales seen during Svalbard expedition

This video is called Ortelius, polar bear, Svalbard June 2015.

This morning, Dutch Vroege Vogels radio broadcast an interview with participants in the big Dutch Svalbard expedition who had counted birds from the expedition ship Ortelius.

They did not only see birds, but also cetaceans; including fin whale, minke whale and white-beaked dolphin.

Among the bird species counted were Atlantic puffins, fulmars, kittiwakes, glaucous gulls, ivory gulls, little auks and Brünnich’s guillemots.

Scandinavian swift autumn migration in the Netherlands

This video is called Common swift (Apus apus) under some tiles and flying.

Translated from the Dutch SOVON ornithologists:

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Swifts stay no longer in our country than is strictly necessary. Almost immediately after the fledging of the youngsters they disappear towards Africa, mostly in the second half of July. This year in the end of August there was a late wave of Scandinavian migrating birds. Exceptional!

Migration counters record most swift movements in the second half of July. Normally the numbers of swifts fall sharply in early August. The migration then trickles on a bit, with the last birds passing in September or even October

Late migration

In the fourth week of August this year there were strikingly many swifts seen by migration counters. Especially on August 23 sizable numbers were recorded: 1272 in Bergen aan Zee, 1084 at De Nolle in Vlissingen, 576 at the Volcano in The Hague and 563 in Ketelbrug.

Shark study in the Netherlands

This video says about itself:

15 April 2015

School sharks, Galeorhinus galeus, in a Fuerteventura beach (Canary Islands).

There used to be quite some sharks around the Dutch Wadden Sea islands; mainly starry smooth-hound sharks and school sharks.

However, ever since the 1970s, their numbers declined.

Recently, some fishermen say the numbers are going up again.

To see whether that is true, some shrimp fishermen will tag sharks which they catch, and release them.

Today, 28 August 2015, was supposed to be the start of this. However, the shark caught today was too small to tag, so it was freed without having been tagged.

Stop Dutch blackface, other racism, United Nations says

This video says about itself:

Blackface for the holidays

18 December 2012

Is The Netherlands’ tradition of putting Santa’s helpers in blackface racist or a harmless custom? We look at Zwarte Piet or Black Pete.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

UN report: Zwarte Piet should change

Today, 15:28

The Dutch government must ensure that Zwarte Piet will change. So says the five-yearly report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The fact that a tradition is deeply rooted cannot justify discrimination and stereotyping, writes the committee.

“Sometimes the way that Black Peter is portrayed refers to negative stereotypes of people of African descent. Many people of African descent experience this as a remnant of slavery, which impairs the value and self-esteem of children and adults of African descent.”

The committee recommends that the government “should find a reasonable balance, such as another form of Black Peter.” Freedom of speech by opponents of the tradition should be guaranteed better.

Demonstration against the role of Zwarte Piet in the Saint Nicholas holiday

This photo shows a demonstration against the role of Zwarte Piet in the Saint Nicholas holiday. Such demonstrators often get arrested by police. The sign says: ‘Zwarte Piet is racism! Look honestly into the mirror of colonialism.’

Action plan

The UN Committee writes reports on all countries which have signed the international treaty against racial discrimination. Every five years it is the Netherlands’ turn. Last week in Geneva there was a hearing on the Dutch anti-discrimination policy.

The report further states that there should be a national action plan against racial discrimination, partly because the Dutch police is guilty of ethnic profiling. More must be done against racist bullying in schools and more people from minority groups should work in the police and judiciary.

Furthermore, the committee is concerned about racist and xenophobic statements by “some extremist political parties and politicians.” Also in the media and on the Internet much racist language is expressed, the report said. Particularly Jews and Muslims are its victims. The report also points to anti-Semitic and racist chants in football stadiums.

Slavery past

The Committee calls for more recognition for discrimination against people of African descent. The Dutch government does not consider them to be a discriminated against group, the report said. But there is much poverty and unemployment among people of African descent and they are underrepresented in public office.

Education should according to the Committee pay more attention to the Dutch slavery past. And people who are victim of racism should have easier access to free legal aid.

Good kingfisher news

This is a kingfisher video from Austria.

Dutch ornithologist Jelle Harder reports that in 1914 the number of kingfisher nests in the Gooi en Vechtstreek region rose from 11 to 41.

The 1914-1915 winter was not harsh. So, will 2015 be an even better year for kingfishers?

Loggerhead turtle beached in the Netherlands

This video says about itself:

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hatchling Rescue

23 July 2014

Words cannot describe…

I came across some baby sea turtle tracks one morning at the refuge and noticed many of the tracks went up into the dune instead of directly to the water. A quick search revealed several hatchlings floundering in the dune vegetation.

As the acting refuge biologist, I am permitted to handle these protected turtles for purpose of rescue. This was an amazing opportunity for me to examine these amazing creatures up close and personal, a rare and priceless occurrence.

These animals are protected, please do not approach them in the wild.

Music by Dan-O at

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Recently a loggerhead turtle washed ashore at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin. This year already two loggerheads washed up on our beaches. Up to now, this is the tenth individual ever found in the Netherlands. …

On July 27 Ber van Perlo while watching birds found a dead turtle on the beach at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin and De Putten. It was a not yet adult loggerhead (Caretta caretta) with an estimated carapace length of 55 to 60 centimeters. Adult specimens have a carapace length of 83 to 124 centimeters. …

That a loggerhead turtle washed ashore in the Netherlands is very special! The first documentation of a loggerhead in the Netherlands was in 1707. This is the 10th individual:

1707 Wijkmeer, Beverwijk (IJmuiden)
1894 Ouddorp, Goeree-Overflakkee
1927 Scheveningen
1954 Noordwijk
1959 Noordwijk
1998 Flushing
2007 Vlieland
2008 Groote Keeten
2015 Katwijk
2015 Hondsbossche Zeewering, Petten

Leopard slugs mating, video

This video shows two leopard slugs mating. Like other slugs, they are hermaphrodites: both male and female.

They exchange sperm to bring it to their female parts.

Jelle Talsma from the Netherlands made this video.

Slugs mating in Drenthe: here.