Rare albino seal freed after convalescence

This 15 January 2020 video from Texel island in the Netherlands shows the freeing of two seals who had been ill after convalescence: one ‘normally’ coloured harbour seal, and the albino seal Snow White.

Snow White had been the first albino seal ever in Texel’s Ecomare museum rehab.

Snow White had been ill when he was found last October. Now, he has an electronic tracker on his back for studying his movements.

Sick albino seal to Texel island rehab

This 11 October 2017 video from the Pieterburen seal rehabilitation centre in the Netherlands shows seals, including albino seal Sealas, being set free again after convalescence. Miss Earth was present.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Nature Center Ecomare on Texel has since today a new resident: an albino seal. And that is special, because according to Ecomare, albinism is a ‘rare phenomenon’ among seals.

The white male [harbour] seal lay this morning on the Wadden Sea dike of Texel. “A passer-by has called us and thought that the seal did not look fit. He was not relaxed”, says an Ecomare spokesperson.

The animal appears to suffer from a lungworm infection and has little to no eyesight. Eye problems often occur with albinism. It is not yet clear whether the seal is completely blind, or can at least see some things. …

The Ecomare albino seal

This photo shows the Ecomare albino seal, with its pale fur and red eyes.

“The good news is that he has already eaten himself today. That saves a lot of stress for the animal. We hope that the medication will works, that the animal will recover quickly and we will be able to release it back into nature.”

It is the first time that Ecomare has taken care of an albino seal. In the past, other shelters have cared for albino seals, but albinism remains a rare phenomenon among these animals. Seals that are completely black and have melanism – the opposite of albinism – are more common.

The seal is cared for in quarantine, but is visible to visitors through the windows.

The animal is three to four months old and weighs 16.8 kilograms. According to Ecomare, that is a reasonable weight for an animal that arrives so sick at the shelter. Because of the infection and the many wounds on his body, the seal has received a solution of salts and minerals to restore the moisture balance. The vet has also given an injection of antibiotics and worming agent.

Amphibians of Texel island

This 2015 video is about a male moor frog. He is blue during the mating season.

On 8 October 2019, wildlife warden Anne Sprenkeling wrote about amphibians of Texel island in the Netherlands.

Moor frows are rare in the coastal sand dunes of the Netherlands: they live there only on Texel, and on Schouwen in Zeeland province.

Natterjack toads are rather common on Texel.

Until about 1980, edible frogs were absent on Texel. After that, people introduced them, and they now live in most areas of the island.

Also, common frogs and common newts live on Texel.

Good beewolf news from Texel island

This August 2017 video says about itself:

A short story on the European Beewolf wasp (Philanthus triangulum) showing how it preys on others and what it does to improve the success of its offspring. Shot on heathland.

Wildlife warden Huib Koel reports today from Texel island in the Netherlands:

The beewolves on Texel are doing well

The tourists are not the only ones who enjoy the summer temperatures on Texel, also the solitary beewolves – a species of wasp that is not dangerous to humans – benefit from the heat. The bird watchers at De Slufter discovered more than a hundred nests at the end of last month alongside the bike path at the Zanddijk dunes. Last year the counter stopped at around thirty heaps of sand made by the beewolves. Beewolves catch honey bees as food for their young.

At De Slufter, the beewolves do not have to fly far, because every year a beekeeper puts his hives with tens of thousands of honey bees very close to the nest location of the beewolves. His honey bees get nectar from the flowering sea lavender in De Slufter, but several hundred honey bees end their lives in the wolves’ nest. …

Rare species discovered

This year the bird watchers discovered another insect that keeps a close eye on the activities of the bee wolves. An insect with fantastic green and red shiny, metallic colours. It is one of the most beautiful insects in the Netherlands: an emerald wasp with the scientific name Hedychrum rutilans of less than a centimeter in size. It is a rare wasp species, although it has been observed more frequently in recent years – just like the beewolves. It is the only emerald wasp that targets beewolves. Other jewel wasps have other victims. … She tries to deposit her egg in the beewolf’s nest. According to the EIS research agency of Naturalis, this is the seventh observation of this jewel wasp on Texel.

Hedychrum rutilans

Good northern wheatear nesting news

This is a 2015 northern wheatear video.

This week, Dutch site waarneming.nl reports that the 2019 nesting season was good for wheatears in the Netherlands.

After many years of decline, the number of northern wheatear nesting couples rose from 28 in 2018 to 42 in this year in the Aekingerzand nature reserve in Drenthe province.

In the coastal sand dunes near Den Helder, the number went from 25 to 42.

In the dunes in the northern part of Texel island, from 29 to 37.

Also the numbers of eggs per nest increased. So did the numbers of second broods. There was few predation. About two hundred young northern wheatears fledged in 2019, double the usual number.

Probable causes of these good result are conservation measures. And drought killing much grass, as wheatears don’t like dense grass.

New spoonbill nesting colony on Texel island

This is a Eurasian spoonbill video.

Wildlife warden Anna Sprenkeling on Texel island in the Netherlands reports today that this spring, there is a new Eurasian spoonbill nesting colony in the Slufter nature reserve.

There were already three Texel spoonbill colonies: the Muy, the Schorren and the Geul.

In the 1980s there were just about 100 spoonbill couples in all of the Netherlands. That has now increased to about 2500.

So far, 16 nests have been counted in the Slufter; 27 in the Muy; and 378 in the Geul. Very probably, more birds will still start nesting.