dinsdag 29 januari 2013

Endemic bird species of Puerto Rico on Observado.org

I'm quite a fan of the http://observado.org website. You'll find info on thousands of species, from plants to butterflies and from mushrooms to birds. But you won't find which species are endemics for a certain region and which aren't. That's a shame.

That's why I will try to fill this gap on this weblog. I used the list on the Wikipedia page to find the correct endemic species. Problem with wikipedia is that you can't find the localities, and not that many pictures. For this you'll need observado.org

So here's the list, with links to observado.org pages about these species. You'll find photos, distribution maps, places where to find these species, sound recordings etc etc.

(make sure you change the date to the period of your interest. I linked to the sightings and sometimes directly to the pictures. You can play with this yourself, if you use the "about this species" menu on the right corner of the observado.org screen):

Puerto Rican Lizard‑Cuckoo (Coccyzus vieilloti)
Yellow-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus)
Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata)
Green Mango (Anthracothorax viridis)
Puerto Rican Nightjar (Caprimulgus noctitherus)
Puerto Rican Emerald (Chlorostilbon maugeaus)
Adelaide's Warbler (Dendroica adelaidae)
Elfin-woods Warbler (Dendroica angelae)
Puerto Rican Oriole (Icterus portoricensis)
Puerto Rican Bullfinch (Loxigilla portoricensis)
Puerto Rican Screech Owl (Megascops nudipes)
Puerto Rican Woodpecker (Melanerpes portoricensis)
Puerto Rican Flycatcher (Myiarchus antillarum)
Puerto Rican Tanager (Nesospingus speculiferus)
Puerto Rican Spindalis (Spindalis portoricensis)
Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus)
Puerto Rican Vireo (Vireo latimeri)

Here's the list of birds recorded on the observado.org database and seen on Puerto Rico:

maandag 22 oktober 2012

Bird species list of all the birds of the world on Observado.org

A list of all the bird species in the world, is now available on observado.org. This list provides you not only with the names, but also with distribution data, pictures, maps..., etc. Observado.org tries to follow the IOC World Bird List. This means that you can expect an up-to-date list which also includes all the subspecies of the world. 

It's not only a list, it's much more. You can find where the species have been seen, add knowledge to the distribution maps of species and you can help Observado.org to depict all the (sub)species of the world. It is possible to keep your own life lists and archive your wildlife pictures. (To be able to keep your own lists/ archives, you have to register (free)).

But even if your not registered you already have a lot of possibilities within observado.org. (First change the language, for ease I used English for this demonstration. You can change the language at the top right of the observado.org site with the globe symbol) 

Have a look what these lists will look like:
Observado.org>>ALL SPECIES>> LIST OF FAMILIES (if you follow the menu structure):
(make sure the drop box is set to "birds")

Notice that you can click on symbols and text. Clicking within observado provides a lot of extra information. Learn to find your way in observado.org by clicking!

Now, let's continue. How to find observations of a specific species?
Go to ALL SPECIES>> SPECIESLIST (make sure the drop-box is on "birds") and enter the speciesname you like to know more of: 
Let's try "Alpine Accentor" (If you don't know the exact speciesname you could also try to search on the family name first, use the family drop-box for this. Also notice you can also search on scientific name)

It will give these results:

 please open the page (http://observado.org/soortenlijst.php?q=Alpine+Accentor&g=1&f=0&z=1&p=0&sound=0&sort_lat=0lang=en&local=xx)  on observado.org and click on the different names and symbols!

If you click on the speciesname it will give you all the recent observations of this species:
Please notice the following things:

  1. you can click on every single observation and get all the details of this observation (click on the he blue "i" symbol) 
  2. change the area (make a choice in the drop-box "province").
  3. If you want to know observations of a single nature reserve or an other smaller area, there's a different procedure for this on observado.
  4. you can change the period for which observations should be showed.
  5. The photo-symbol means there's pictures of this species
  6. The sound symbol means there are soundrecordings available 

Clicking on the family name
With all the species within this family (also with pictures)

within the page http://observado.org/soortenlijst.php?q=Alpine+Accentor&g=1&f=0&z=1&p=0&sound=0&sort_lat=0 you can click on the blue "i"symbol. If you try this, you will see the species overview page:
Here you can find all kinds of info (notice the 'about this species" menu at the top right of your page):

I hope this will help you all find out the wonders of Observado.org! I also hope this information will make you decide to help the observado.org website and contribute your own wildlife sightings! You can enter en retrieve information of all the bird species of the world! Every observation is an invaluable contribution to the knowledge of biodiversity!

donderdag 11 februari 2010

Endemic species of the Galapagos

(For a specieslist with photos, check the lower part of this article)

Again something about Observado.org, this website likes to complete the overview of all the species of the World. Including the Galapagos. Have a look at the specieslist already entered on observado.org (change language to english in the top right corner):
or at the pictures (change the dates between which dates you like to search!):
Photos of species from the Galapagos

I have never been tot the Galapagos archipelago. Off course this is a big wish, but at the moment it's probably not going to happen. But if someone out there likes to sponsor me.... ;-)

Why, if I have never been there, would I talk about the Galapagos?
Let me tell you.
Again the admin for Observado.org story?

As a volunteer admin I check almost daily the newly added pictures on observado.org. One of my personal goals is to complete family overviews like these ones (change language to english in the top right corner):
or these:

I can only complete these overviews with the help of as many observers as possible, that like to share their observations on observado.org. At the moment the site is growing really fast and I am learning so much on observations of others. About subspecies, about ageing of birds, but also about there geographical spatiation. That's the main reason why I like it so much if we would get these overviews filled. One of the interesting phenomena are Island endemics. One of the most famous areas on this topic is off course the Galapagos archipelago. Recently some nice pictures were added by Marc Gottenbos. It makes me dream of nice places on bad wheater winter days...

But also many, many other observers added fantastic photos, just to mention a few that added recently some nice ones:
But every picture, even bad quality is great, since it will give extra insight into the biodiversity of the world! So thanks to all observers!!

Before it's getting t0o much a commercial, here are some tips to some good sites about the Galapagos:

If you want to know more on the Galapagos, check these sites:
Photos (photo overview of the species of the archipelago)
http://observado.org/gebied/species_list/36231 (exact locations where birds were seen, and add your own observations)

Endemic Bird species
(Some pictures of these species are still missing. If you have these pictures, please don't hesitate to contribute on observado.org):
Near endemics:
Waved Albatros
Galapagos Petrel (a.k.a. Dark-rumped Petrel)
(to be continued)

zondag 7 februari 2010

Observado.org, the biodiversity website

I am a volunteer admin for the Biodiversity website http://observado.org. I am still very excited about the project, so let me tell you something about it. I will start with it's history and then I will explain you something on how it works (please scroll down if you're not interested in it's history). Observado.org is a spin-off project of the very succesfull dutch website http://waarneming.nl. The project started in August 2003, with a question on the EBNNL (eurobirdnet Netherlands) internetforum. The question was about how to get information on what birds were seen in which Dutch nature reserves. If you wanted to visit an area, what could you expect? In August 2003, on EBNNL it was proposed tot create a national database, where you could enter, retrieve and share sightings of birds. The database should be easy to use and had to be open to everybody, from laymen to experts. Founding fathers Hisko de Vries and Dylan Verheul teamed up with the foundation "Stichting Natuurinformatie"and together they built Waarneming.nl. (I joined in the winter of 2005/ 2006 as volunteer when I organised a national count of Waxwings, during a large irruption of this species in Western Europe. We used Waarneming.nl as the platform where people could enter their waxwing sightings).

Growth went fast and by 2005 it was clear that birds weren't the only thing, users were interested in. So other groups were added. Mammals, amphibians, ... I myself entered the first Fungus sighting, plants, etc.. The possibility of entering pictures and sounds were improved as was the way you could enter a sighting. With the use of google maps, it became possible to point on a satellite map, where exactly you did the sighting. This was off course phenomenal and improved the distribution maps enormously! Sightings are checked by experts, called admins or validators. Within 5 years time, the distribution maps on Waarneming.nl, were often better than the ones that were gathered in the 20 years before. It appeared that single sightings could give a lot of information, something probably not many people had expected.

Enough about Waarneming.nl, let's talk about Observado.org!
The dutch observers didn't only see animals/ plants/ ... within the Netherlands, they also visited countries abroad. They wanted to have a platform where they could enter and share these sightings. Since they were already using waarneming.nl, why shouldn't there be an international version?
Observado.org is open to everybody from all over the world, so not only for Dutch users. So whether you're from Spain, Brazil, Japan, South-Africa or whatever country, you could all join and share your biodiversity observations! Every observation is interesting, so not only the rare species! The large amount of pictures and sightings will give information on the variation within species, will improve the distribution maps and can help people to identify species.

So what does it look like and what could you do with it?
First of all, change language to english in the top right corner when you open Observado.org. Secondly you could always have a look at the observations that are already in the database, also without signing in. But if you want to enter your own observations you have to log in. Signing up is free. The reason why observado asks for signing in, is to keep the data clean of errors and nonsense observations. If we (admins) find an error or a strange observation, we can contact the observer and ask him/ her to change or delete the observation.
If you do decide to enter observations on Observado.org, there's many extra's you could use (like keeping your own lifelists, search in your own photostream, enter sound recordings, etc. etc.).

Now on tour!
(I give some links, best is to right click on them and open them in a new tab).

startpage This page shows recent rarities added from all over the world
On top of this page, you'll find the menu tabs (under "Observado.org"):

In the search bar, you could search for specific species. Make sure you enter the correct speciesname (or part of the speciesname) otherwhise it won't find the species you are looking for. Let's start searching for the global species Osprey:
Enter osprey in the search bar, and you'll retrieve:

Two species, let's take osprey:
Click on the speciesname and you'll get all the osprey sightings in Observado.org:
http://observado.org/soort/view/346 (from a chosen date, till a chosen dat).
(if you look at province, you could chose a country)

Okay, let's say we're interested in pictures of this species. If you look in the menu top right "about this species", you see "photos"
Also have a look at "information"! Information is a selection of the pictures, with focus on identification and variation.

My own sighting of an osprey (I didn't include the google map):
Try also clicking on the familiy name of a species! This will show you the other family members.

Just try things out by clicking on them! That's the best way to find out how it works! I might write some more about this in the future.
Good luck!

zondag 21 juni 2009

A wish that remains a wish... Badgers (Meles meles)

For years I wanted to see a Badger (Meles meles). Problem is, I live in the west part of the Netherlands and Badgers don't live there. Badgers look like they've been invented by Walt Disney, with their black and white stripes upon their head and their clumsy way of walking. Probably they are one of the most beautiful animals that one can come across in the Netherlands and who wouldn't like to see one? Well, I don't! Since I've found out, they don't exist at all! It's a plot! "Oh didn't you see the badger yet? Well, if you walk down this road, for about 5 miles and then you take the sandy road into the forest for about a mile, there's a big oak tree, with three arms. Walk for 200 meters to the east and you'll find a large sett (= a badger's den). There you wait until dusk. And then you'll see the badger" You walk down the road and all the people in the village are laughing their heads off...

I was one of these fools that still believed in the Badger and went to an area where it was believed to exist. Theo - the man that would guide me- knew a place. He showed me some pictures he took a few days before. Everything seemed good... Too good, I should have known... what a scam... ;-)

Yes, we didn't see badgers. But we did see some good stuff. The setting was fantastic.

A beautiful oak forest, without undergrowth and small but nicely shaped tree trunks. We waited until dusk and then the forest turned into magic. I got Clannad songs in my head of a Robin Hood television series I saw in my youth (by the way, the very best Robin Hood serie ever!). I saw something moving through the trees. At first I couldn't see what it was, but then it appeared to be a Roedeer with her calf. Beautiful, they moved through the forest and Theo and I could follow them with our binoculars without them noticing us. The next animal that appeared was a black male Roe deer, which came really close. Although I've seen hundreds of roedeers in my life, I hadn't seen them in this setting. I fantasized where the badger would appear, how it would walk and what it would do. But nothing happened....

I had a fever and and was thinking of the five miles I had to walk back. It wasn't a happy thought. But then we flushed a large animal, it appeared to be a large Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). The adrenaline and a little fear got me going. Especially when we stood between three tiny piglets. Very nice animals, but I was also thinking of it's mother, which was probably not that nice... We walked on. But then we heard the piglets again.. "oink oink oink.." Unbelievable but they were following us. When we walked a little harder, we were able to lose them. On the way back we crossed our path with some Red Deers, some young foxes and a few Nightjars. But the Badgers weren't our friends that night...

And it could have been so nice... (sorry for that music folks...)
(if they existed off course..)

The rest of the weekend we spent on some other local specialties, like the Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis), the Adder (Vipera berus) our only poisonous snake in the Netherlands and some other stuff. Even without the Badgers this weekend was good!!!

zondag 11 januari 2009

Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus) in Belgium

Yesterday we (Frank van Duivenvoorde, Luuk Punt en me) left for Belgium. A couple of days ago, a Dusky Thrush was reported in Erezée in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes. The bird stayed, and beautiful pictures arrived also in the Netherlands. When Luuk called me if I wanted to join, I didn't hesitate: The Dusky Thrush was a lifer, views were apparently really good and the Ardennes is a very nice area. So I cancelled my other appointments (sorry for that, my friends!) and went to bed, to catch some hours of sleep. We left at 5.20 a.m. for a long drive to Erezée. A major part of it, we had to drive in the dark, temperatures were way below zero. It was years ago, since we had these arctic circumstances in this part of Europe. Especially when we entered the snow covered parts of Belgium, the temperature dropped. Our record was -16 °C. There was one luck however, there were no clouds and no wind. When we saw the sun rise, it was actually a quite pleasant day.

When we arrived in Erezée, there were already about 20 - 30 people present. Different languages were spoken, French, Dutch, German and English: We weren't the only twitchers that wanted to see this species. Many of our Dutch birdwatcher friends had also left for Erezée. Ridiculous if you think of it... without knowing of each other we met in a small place in the Dutch Ardennes. A place that probably no-one had heard of before... but there we stood, waiting for a lost bird to arrive in -15 °C.

It had chosen a small orchard with appletrees. One old tree had still a lot of apples on its branches. And about 15 Blackbirds, one Fieldfare, a few Starlings and one Mistle Thrush were feasting on these apples. Especially on the ones that were fallen below the tree.

Then all of a sudden the Dusky Thrush Turdus eunomus arrived. We had magnificent views on this beautiful bird, that originates from central Siberia and eastwards. Dusky thrushes are rare vagrants in Europe. Apparently it was the fifth record for Belgium, but the first since 1956!

The combination of very fine plumage elements made this a very nice bird. The wing pattern, the double breastband, the diamondshaped markings on the sides, it's supercilium, all fantastic! All these different tones of brown colours, wow! The crowd stayed calm, the bird showed off, the snow,... a small vacation in Belgium. All in all it was a fantastic twitch.

We drove through the Ardennes in the direction of the Dutch Province of Limburg. Near Herstal we saw the reported Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides. Inland Iceland gulls are rare and we had some short but good views. After a few minutes the bird flew off together with a couple of thousand Black Headed Gulls. We are quite used to large amounts of gulls, but this was really enormous.

The rest of the day we spent birding and enjoying the nice scenery in the Dutch Province of Limburg. We dipped out on the Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo on the Pietersberg near Maastricht. But had some magnificent hours at the Hamster nature reserve near Sibbe. This is a large agricultural reserve. Made for the last Dutch wild Hamsters Cricetus cricetus, but many other animals can benefit from this protected area as well. We saw hundreds of Yellowhammers, Linnets, Common Wood pigeons, Jackdaws and Rooks and in betweens these groups we found about 15 Corn Buntings Miliaria calandra. A speciality from this area, they have become really rare in the rest of the Netherlands. A few Northern harriers and splendid views of a hunting Merlin.

All locations and pictures of the birds can be found through http://waarneming.nl/ and http://waarnemingen.be/

A last picture from our very nice day. The scenery from a typical "Holle weg" (= hollow road) in Sibbe in Limburg. Frank and Luuk ahead of me walking towards the car.

vrijdag 2 januari 2009

New Year

A selection from the birds, we (Bird ringing station Meijendel, near Wassenaar) caught in 2008. All the birds were measured, aged and sexed if possible and were then released with a ring with a unique number. We ring in the dunes of the nature area called Meijendel. This area is owned and preserved by the Duinwaterbedrijf Zuid Holland (DZH). On our ringing station we try to get an impression of the species and numbers that use the dunes the year round. This includes local breeding birds, after breeding dispersion, and autumn migration. We had a fantastic year, that broke all the records. For our total list please take a look at Trektellen.nl

If you wondered which species are on this picture, or already figured out, but want some confirmation, from left to right: Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana), Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) and
Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor).

I wish you all a good 2009!!