Eocene fossil seashell discovery on Texel island


Venericor planicosta

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands, 19 February 2015:

Never before had a Venericor planicosta seashell been found across the whole Wadden Sea region. The shell lived in the Eocene epoch, 56 to 42 million years ago.

Subtropical

Last year, Ms. Kenselaar found it on the beach at Den Hoorn. The shell for a while remained in her cottage, but last week she took it to Ecomare. Curator Arthur Oosterbaan showed it to various experts, and they all said the same thing: Venericor planicosta. It lived in our region in the early and middle Eocene. That’s about 15 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Europe then was an archipelago with a subtropical climate.

In the Netherlands, until this discovery, this fossil species had really only been known from the south-west of the country.

A sanderling’s life


Sanderling G3BGGW on Texel, 31 December 2014 (photo Micheal Hermes)

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

The life of G3BGGW – 12 February 2015

No, not a character from Star Wars. G3BGGW is a sanderling which was ringed in Iceland in May 2013. He was found dead on February 1, 2015 on Texel. What makes this bird so special is that he was not only seen several times in the past two years, but he was even seen alive a day before his death. So, the day of his death is very accurately known, something bird researcher Jeroen Reneerkens has experienced only a few times. Such small birds are almost never found when they die, let alone so quickly.

What’s in a name?

Thanks to his rings this sanderling was recognizable. When he came in sight of the telescopes of various bird watchers, viewers have noted the series of rings and passed the information on to the ring station. The letters in his name are about the colours: G = green, B = blue, W = white; the numeral 3 indicates that one of the rings is a flag, in this case a green flag, this was on “position 3″: above the rings on the left leg. Bird rings are read from left to right and from top to bottom.

Winter beach guest

Sanderlings are found on Dutch beaches outside the breeding season, so from late July to late May. The largest numbers you see on beaches in the winter months. They breed in the far north. … Those little birds that fast run back and forth with the surf – that are sanderlings. It seems like they are trying to go as close as possible to the water without making their feet wet. But actually they are looking for worms that appear quickly from the sand when the seawater flows over them. In the water there is plankton on which the worms feed. The birds try to catch the worms.

Lifespan

In Iceland G3BGGW was ringed and weighed. He weighed 71 grams and had OK fat stores to fly even further towards Greenland to breed. In winter sanderlings slim to about 50-55 grams. Five months later, he was seen on Texel, north of beach post 12. Then he came back a year later on the island, on November 5, 2014 at beach post 9. Presumably he remained until his death in this environment. Two days before his death he was seen on the parking lot near the beach. That is very strange for such a beach bird. There it cannot find food. The birdwatcher thought that he did not look too healthy there. The next day the bird was seen again on the beach and the next day he lay dead along the road to this beach.

Research

Jeroen Reneerkens for years has been doing research into sanderlings. To do that, he has a large network of people in many countries who help with the rings and retrieval of this species. Except for Iceland also in Greenland, Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Mauritania, Ghana and Namibia research teams are involved. There are 6,000 birds ringed and 61,000 observations noted. A chore, but it provides a lot of information on which the survival of sanderlings can be mapped accurately. Furthermore, the scientists discovered that while most sanderlings are worm eaters, they eat shellfish only in Ghana! They swallow them in their entirety and so have strong stomach muscles. The life of bird G3BGGW is not over. Jeroen will investigate this bird further. By viewing its organs and fat, he hopes to find out why the animal died: by disease, age, something else? Such a fresh dead bird is an unique opportunity!

Seal swims from Dutch Texel to Cornwall


This video says about itself:

22 January 2015

Stranded Seal Pups are released into the wild in Cornwall.

The National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek has let six of the creatures go this morning.

They include Superman, Wonderwoman and Bruce Wayne.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Victor seen in Cornwall – 06-02-15

Not only gray seals are travelers, harbour seals also explore the North Sea. This has been proven by harbor seal Victor. He surprised staff at Ecomare by making the crossing to England. Victor arrived last year on July 11 at Ecomare as an orphan in the shelter and was equipped with a chip and a flipper marker. On November 7 he was released in the Wadden Sea. For three weeks he has by now resided along the Cornish coast at Par Beach, and he has become a local celebrity.

Traveler

Possibly Victor has explored much more than just the beach of Cornwall. In the River Fowey in Cornwall, a bit further, spotted a harbour seal was spotted as well. Presumably this was Victor as well. So, a real traveler! Unfortunately Victor on Par Beach could not rest completely undisturbedly. Hikers with dogs sometimes came too close to the young seal, thereby disturbing him. Subsequently, members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue caught Victor on 2 February.

Released while healthy

With only a small wound on the flipper, presumably caused by a dog bite, Victor appeared otherwise healthy and he was released the same day. This time a bit further away, so hopefully he’ll find a little more peace. On this site there are not only 10 gray seals, but also an adult harbour seal.

Living harbour porpoise beached on Texel island


This video is called Protecting Harbour Porpoises.

This morning, a living harbour porpoise was found beached on Texel island near Westerslag.

People of Ecomare museum brought the animal to the continental Netherlands, transferring it to the SOS Dolfijn marine mammal rehabilitation center in Harderwijk.

One should hope this young female will recover there, making it possible to go back to the North Sea again.

Wasp species discoveries, new for Texel island


This video says about itself:

The life cycles of mud wasps, paper nest wasps and bumblebees provides a detailed case study of the reproductive and survival strategies used by living creatures within an ecosystem.

Warden Erik van der Spek on Texel in the Netherlands reports about small wasps in the Slufter area in the island.

One wasp species found there was Anteon exiguum. So far, this species had only been reported, rarely, in the continental Netherlands; not on Wadden Sea islands.

Another species was Goniozus claripennis; also a new species for the Wadden islands.

Ocean sunfishes beached in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

THE OCEAN SUNFISH: LARGEST BONY FISH

3 June 2013

Ocean sunfish. The ocean sunfish, also known as Mola mola, is the world’s largest bony fish. This strange creature is like no other. Come along and watch as a sunfish glides through the ocean waters.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

15-01-15

It looks as though it is going to be an ocean sunfish winter. Since the beginning of this year three of them have washed ashore on the Dutch beaches. The sunfish is certainly one of the strangest fish swimming sometimes in the North Sea. At beach post #23 on Texel last Wednesday a 60 centimeter long individual stranded. The day before, there was a 75 cm long one at Neeltje Jans in Zeeland, and on January 2, there was one near Castricum.

These were young animals; adult sunfish can be 4 meter in size.

See also here.