Cattle egret/Kuhreiher/Bubulcus ibis

This is a bit of a cheat as I see it in Nuremberg Zoo, in an en closure that the public can go into, with ibis, black stork and spoonbill.

But they are beginning to breed in England, along with little egrets. I just wanted to link to this brilliant headline: Egrets? We’ve had a few, in the Independent (the yellowish-brown colouring is in the breeding season, apparently).

Muskrat misnamed/Umbenennen der Bisamratte?

The animal party wants to rename the muskrat:

Partij voor de Dieren wil nieuwe naam muskusrat

PERSBERICHT Groningen, 6 oktober 2008 – Als onderdeel van de zojuist gestarte campagne voor de waterschapsverkiezingen, lanceert de Partij voor de Dieren een wedstrijd rondom het bedenken van een nieuwe naam voor de muskusrat. De muskusrat is namelijk helemaal geen rat, maar een soort woelmuis. Hij staat dichter bij de hamster en de bever dan bij de zwarte en de bruine rat.

(via Onze Taal)

Nuremberg Zoo/Tiergarten Nürnberg

It’s just been announced that the polar bear cub Flocke will be on public view from April 9. Here is a guide for visitors – after all, the school Easter holidays end next Friday, so from March 31 there will be a few days to visit the Zoo while it’s still civilized.

I can’t get the hang of Google Maps, but if you scroll to the right here you will eventually see the zoo, marked with a blue line.

View Larger Map

It is embedded in deep forest, on a hilly and wooded site, and you can see the sandstone where the stone for Nuremberg Castle was quarried. So it’s quite a large and civilized zoo for the visitor – less so for some of the animals. A bit like a mixture between a more generously planned zoo and a crowded inner-city zoo. It would still be in Dutzendteich if Hitler hadn’t wanted that area for a parade ground. And look what happened to that.

Parking is difficult except on the civilized days I just mentioned. So do yourself a favour and get the tram from the main railway station. At the moment, it normally runs every ten minutes and takes fifteen minutes to get there, and you get out closer to the zoo than if you had to park some distance away.

See more in the continuation.

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Telling the cats/Gespräch mit Katzen zu undeutlich für Verurteilung

Telling the bees is an old tradition, but telling the cats should perhaps be avoided. The Times Online:

A pensioner who was charged with murdering his partner after police recorded him apparently confessing to his cats was cleared yesterday by a jury that decided his comments were the ramblings of an old man.

David Henton, 72, was hugged by members of the jury before returning home to his two long-haired Persian cats Pudsey and Twinkle.

I suppose long-haired Persian cats are even harder to groom than normal Persian cats.

The content of the recordings was disputed:

At one point according to the prosecution, Mr Henton said: “Good God alive. Don’t panic now. Police car I got. Good God I don’t believe I’ve done it.” But the defence version of the same segment read: “Good God alive. Police car I got . . . come on now, I’m coming,” interrupted by coughing, a clunk and road noise.

Cormorant – Phalacrocorax carbo – Kormoran

These must have blown in with the storm, and brought their log with them.

I thought I’d almost finished with the birdspotting series. Someone told me where to see a kingfisher, but it’s too wet to try out, and my nuthatch picture was not very good. I could post the green woodpecker, I suppose.

Cormorants swim very low in the water.

Pied piper of Hamelin / Rattenfänger in Spanien

The plague of the common vole (Microtus arvalis, Feldmaus) in Spain this year has led to desperate measures such as burning.

Such drastic measures are only permitted by European Union officials in exceptional circumstances and many observers are questioning why the EU has wasted so much time and money in dragging voles through the courts on previous occasions when burning them to death is so much quicker, cheaper and effective.

This precept could be applied to many court cases.

It’s a shame they are not the right food for the vultures that have now emigrated to the Netherlands after carcasses were no longer left out on the hills.

I’m not sure that driving the voles with ultrasound to where they can be burned or drowned is quite the same as the Pied Piper of Hamelin luring them away with music. But perhaps the playing of various instruments in Villotilla is?

According to my book on European mammals, the common vole is breeds faster than any other mammal. One vole lives for 4 – 5 months and can produce 500 descendants in that time. If the population is too dense, they attack each other and may even eat weaker ones. The situation improves when there is mass death, usually at the beginning of the cold weather.

Thanks to Trevor, who is taking the vole plague with equanimity.

Unidentified moth / Unbekannter Falter

Can anyone identify this? I don’t take enough photos of insects (all my dragonfly shots have been failures), but this actually came indoors.


This is fairly close.

Now closer – at a German site for identifying moths and butterflies, it looks like Phragmatobia fuliginosa (Zimtbär – Ruby tiger moth – borealis? more brown than red on top).

I really should be doing something else, at least cleaning that floor. The insect has disappeared, so I never photographed its underwings.