Winter flowers on Texel island


This video is about orchids, flowering on Texel island in the Netherlands in June. However, there are also some flowers there in colder months.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel:

Flowery Christmas at Texel – 28-12-15

It’s warm for the time of year and also on Texel effects on nature show. Particularly in the case of plants that can be seen clearly. In recent days, the Forestry Commission has counted the flowering plants in the Dunes of Texel National Park. In total 32 flowering species were found. The flowers were mainly seen in sheltered places like along the Redshank Brook in the forest and the green footpath behind the Geul nature reserve.

Some flowering species’ old plants were flowering again: ragwort, common sowthistle and prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper), Japanese rose and blackberries.

Rare spiny starfish in North Sea


Spiny starfish, photo by Tato Grasso

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Christmas surprise: spiny starfish – 25-12-2015

A very special star! On the North Sea only very occasionally a spiny starfish is caught. But this week, the Texel cutter ship TX43 caught one in their nets, approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Texel. The fishermen kept the starfish alive and brought it to Ecomare. There it lives now in the dike aquarium.

Ice age wolf’s bone discovery on Texel island


The Texel wolf's bone. photo: Ecomare

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Dec 24, 2015 – An exciting discovery on the beach at beach post 12 on Texel. Hiker Els ten Napel found a big bone in the sand. Because she wanted to know what animal it came from, she took it to Ecomare. It proved to be a bone from the Ice Age. Judging from the shape, it is a thigh bone of a wolf. On Texel fossil bones are found regularly, they come from the seabed to the beach. …

From the deep brown color of the wolf’s bone you can see that it probably dates from the last ice age. It would therefore be between 10,000 and 100,000 years old. Wolves were quite common in the last ice age. They hunted many large herbivorous animals that were here then. There were at that time also other carnivorous animals: lions, hyenas, brown bears and humans, but they were a lot rarer. Ecomare has the bones of these predators from the ice age in the collection.

Small-spotted catshark baby born soon?


This 2014 video from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands shows small-spotted catshark embryos moving inside their eggs.

Translated from the blog of Jedilda Sluis, employee of the Ecomare aquarium, 24 December 2015:

There is a small-spotted catshark in the making! It is still a very small embryo, but one can already discern its tail. I went to take a look at the brittle stars that are in the same wall aquarium as our shark eggs when my eye caught movement in one of the four egg capsules. What a surprise! Such an egg case is fairly transparent; if you look carefully then you can see what’s happening inside. I even think there is one more egg with signs of life.

Young Sandwich terns, from Texel island to Africa


This video shows Sandwich terns, during their mating season, 5 May 2014, near Dishoek in Zeeland province in the Netherlands.

In June 2015, over 300 Sandwich tern chicks on Texel island in the Netherlands were provided with colour rings.

People with telescopes can read those rings, making it possible to map the journeys of these young birds.

A few of the ringed Texel Sandwich terns have already been reported from west Africa.

Red-breasted geese on Texel island


This video shows a lone red-breasted goose among flocks of grey lag geese and barnacle geese in Kieldrecht, Belgium on 3 December 2015.

This east European species is rare in western Europe.

Marc Plomp mentions on Twitter today that four red-breasted geese are wintering now in nature reserve De Bol on Texel island.

Grey lag geese: here.

Dead minke whale beaches on desert island


The Razende Bol rorqual, photo by Hans Eelman

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Dead whale washed ashore

13 December 2015

The whale was clearly already dead for a while before it washed up on the Razende Bol, a sand bank between Texel and Den Helder. The cadaver was found there yesterday, it is in an advanced state of decomposition. According to Ecomare employee Sytske Dijksen and beach warden Hans Eelman the whale is about 9 meters long and probably a female. Its remains show that it is a rorqual whale. In view of the length and colour of the flippers and the shape of the head a minke whale is most likely.

Research

Although the animal has already been dead for some time, a research team from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University may still will be trying to figure out the cause of death. In addition, the remains may possibly even help in other investigations of whales, such as what the animal had eaten before it died. This kind of knowledge can help to better protect this species of whale in the North Sea.