Ruffs back in Dutch nature reserve after twenty years


This video is about ruff mating season in the Netherlands.

Translated from Natuurmonumenten conservation organisation in the Netherlands:

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Ruff courtship and mating, a special and rare phenomenon to see. For the first time in 20 years it is again happening in nature reserve Waalenburg on Texel island . Around 55 ruffs were seen by Natuurmonumenten last week in Waalenburg. Courtshiping with their beautiful collars up the males were trying to impress the females.

Previously, there used to be many ruffs in Waalenburg, it was a well-known lek.

After 1985, the ruff disappeared as a breeding bird on the island. Natuurmonumenten hopes that ruffs will actually breed in Waalenburg this spring.

This video is about Waalenburg, showing birds, orchids, etc. in the area.

Squid eggs found on Texel island beach


European common squid eggs. Photo: Foto Fitis, Sytske Dijksen

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

In May, not only birds lay eggs. The squid in the North Sea are starting that now as well! Photographer Sytske Dijksen found at the tip of the Texel Hors peninsula a string of European common squid eggs. Cephalopods lay their eggs in spring in strands on the seabed fastening them onto something solid. Yet they will sometimes come loose and wash up on the beach. At this time of the year you have the best chance to find squid eggs on the beach.

Transparent

Sytske last year also found once strands of European common squid eggs. They had already fully developed. Because these egg strings are transparent you could see the squid embryos well. When she put the egg strand into water, the baby squid hatched! The egg strand of this month was not so far yet. One cannot yet recognize squid in it.

Texel in 1940: here.

Amber discovery on Texel island beach


Amber, found on Texel beach by photographer Sytske Dijksen

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Ecomare on Thursday, April 30th, 2015

It is the dream of every beach walker: to find amber. Photographer Sytske Dijksen recently found dozens of pieces of amber on the southernmost point of the Hors peninsula on Texel. Amber is a precious gemstone. It is fossilized and petrified resin. There are a few other “stones” very similar to amber; both originated from resin. But those are not fossil and petrified. Most of the bits of ‘amber’ found in the Netherlands turn out to be not real. In this case, they are!

Real fossil

Amber is old. The pieces of amber that you find in the Netherlands come from the Baltic region and date back to the Eocene epoch, 35 million years ago. Then there were vast coniferous forests. The pine species delivering amber of the highest quality which people prefer to find, Pinus succinifera, is extinct now. The most spectacular amber finds also include insects, spiders or plant residues.

Birds of Slufter nature reserve, Texel island


This video is about two little egrets (and some mallards, and a great cormorant) at the Slufter nature reserve, Texel island, the Netherlands.

Warden Joël Haasnoot reports today about birds he saw at the Slufter.

From 20 to 27 April, he saw on all days, in or around a pool: eider duck (often in mating season mood), redshank, oystercatcher, curlew, greenshank, skylark, ringed plover and brent goose.

Every now and then, not all the time, Joël saw spotted redshank, red knot, sanderling, dunlin, golden plover, grey plover, ruddy turnstone, Eurasian spoonbill, little egret, marsh harrier, hen harrier and many more.

Common gulls nesting at Texel museum


This is a common gull video.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands (with photos there):

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

At Ecomare, we have had for years a group of special visitors. Since 1999, common gulls nest, first on the roof and now on and around our patio. That’s pretty special, because common gull colonies are normally in remote dune areas. Especially for these birds last year we created special nesting sites so that they can still sit a bit quieter. For several weeks the gulls have been busy again starting to use the nesting sites around Ecomare. It is very nice for the staff and visitors to see these special guests again!

For some years, a common gull couple nested in an Ecomare planter.

Update June 2015: here.

Barn owls on Texel island


In this 2013 video, a male barn owl brings a shrew to his partner in a nest box on Texel island.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel in the Netherlands today:

In 2009, 1820 barn owl couples were counted in the Netherlands, of which two on Texel. Barn owls like to eat common voles. This vole species is not present on the island. But since 2006 there are greater white-toothed shrews and barn owls think they are tasty as well. In 2014 there were 16 breeding pairs on the island, and 53 young owls hatched. Now 70 nesting boxes hang scattered across the island.

Rare butterfly for first time on Texel island


This video from the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

A very rare butterfly, a scarce tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas), was present in the dunes of Klein Valkenisse on March 27, 2015.

You can hear in the background several birds from the area, including chiffchaff, robin, dunnock, blue tit, long-tailed tit, goshawk and great spotted woodpecker.

Warden Erik van der Spek reports that last Saturday, for the first time ever a scarce tortoiseshell butterfly was seen on Texel island: in De Geul nature reserve. Last year, this species invaded the Netherlands for the first time, but had not been seen on Texel then.