This time in Stuifmail a glassy-winged moth, critters that fall from a Christmas tree, a jelly-like fungus and slippery earthworms. Forest ranger Frans Kapteijns answers questions.

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    French Captain

    Omroep Brabant also broadcasts the TV program ‘Op pad’ on Tuesday, in which viewers are taken into the nature reserves of Brabants Landschap. As a viewer you can also walk the route from the program yourself. There is special for the program developed a walking app.

    Behind the kitchen window was a beautiful insect with beautiful transparent wings
    Evelien Reijns ten Berge sent me a photo of a dark, almost black butterfly. What also immediately stands out are the transparent wings. We are therefore dealing with a butterfly from the moth family of wasps or glass butterflies and I think it is the berry glass butterfly. It is a very special discovery, because although those berry glass butterflies are fairly common in our country, they are rarely seen. I myself have only encountered this moth species once. You will most often encounter these moths in shrubs with berries, hence the name. Examples of shrubs are currants, black currants and gooseberries. These types of shrubs are the plants on which the caterpillars live, so you mainly see them in allotments and gardens where many berries grow. Eveline can find more information at the Butterfly Foundation


    The Christmas tree had only been inside for three days and suddenly bugs fell out. What are they?
    Rita Folker sent me a photo of an animal some of which fell out of her Christmas tree and she wondered which animal she photographed. On the ground you can indeed see a very small animal and I think it is an adult aphid. In the photo I can’t really see which species it is, because there are several species of aphids. In addition to black aphids, you also have green, purple, red, yellow and white aphids. In principle, all aphids are herbivorous insects, which feed on plant juices with stinging and sucking mouthparts. Usually you also see them at the growing points of trees, shrubs or herbs. This is because at those growing points, such as flower buds or leaves at the top of a stem, the juice flow has many nutrients. And the latter makes sense, because plants need that there for growth.

    Yellow jelly fungus with a jelly-like, lobed fruiting body
    Yellow jelly fungus with a jelly-like, lobed fruiting body

    Under the oak tree was a jelly yellow thing, what is it?
    Jan Pouels found a yellowish substance under an oak tree and reported that it felt jelly-like. We are therefore dealing here with the yellow jelly fungus. These fungi are easy to recognize by their jelly-like, lobed fruit body that is golden yellow in color. In the beginning, the fruiting body is orange-yellow in color. At full maturity this changes to golden yellow. As they age, the color fades to sulfur yellow to become almost white as they decompose. Yellow jelly fungi grow almost all year round, especially when it starts to get cold at the end of autumn. Yellow jelly fungi thrive on dead branches and on the trunks of various deciduous trees such as beech, oak, ash, hornbeam and hazel. They are quite common. In the Netherlands they are known as inedible fungi, but they are eaten in the Far East. Be careful with this, because the yellow jelly fungi that grow there may be different from those here in the Netherlands. Perhaps just because they grow there on a different type of substrate than here.

    Photo: Jeanne Meijer.
    Photo: Jeanne Meijer.

    Every winter there are all upright sticks between the sidewalk stones
    Jeanne Meijer finds upright sticks between the pavement stones every winter and she wondered what was going on. Earthworms live under her pavement stones and at night these animals become active and look for food. All types of plant materials are then suitable and they pull them down through small openings. But the moment a piece is accessible to eat, they already start. That means that if it is a longer twig, it will still stick out above the ground. If you leave that alone, you will see that it is gone the next day, or that only a small part of it sticks out above the stones.

    Pheasant in the backyard
    Pheasant in the backyard

    Pheasant in the backyard, is that unnatural?
    Diana Liebregts saw a pheasant scurrying around in their backyard on New Year’s morning and she wondered if that wasn’t a little unnatural. I can’t say unnatural, because pheasants go wherever food can be found. If Diana means that the pheasant is unnatural in the Netherlands, then I say yes. Our famous pheasants do not naturally occur in Western Europe. Well in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and from Vietnam to North Korea. Thanks to the Romans, who valued the pheasant for its meat, these animals have spread throughout Europe. However, the major growth of the European pheasant stock took place later, namely for pleasure hunting. In the Netherlands it is also forbidden to breed and release pheasants. Unfortunately, that is still done illegally by hunters.

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    This is why worms are indispensable for our soil – ZEMBLA_BNNVARA
    Publication: 7 Dec 2020

    Scientist Jeroen Onrust (31), also known as the worm man, has been researching earthworms for ten years. He takes us to the farmland where he shows how important the red worm is for soil fertility. But Onrust makes a disturbing discovery in his research: there are fewer and fewer worms. “Plowing has a disastrous effect on the worm population.”

    The black redstart, which is completely black by the way
    The black redstart, which is completely black by the way

    Black redstarts appear daily, on the third floor in Breda
    Harry Verheyen gets to see the black redstart on his balcony every day. Probably because he also puts the right food in a large basket, because black redstarts are generally shy birds. Originally, the black redstarts lived in rocky areas with many gorges. Now for them buildings and houses are the rocks. Canopies, holes in walls and other open spaces are now their places to breed. In addition, the urban area is also warmer than the countryside and they feel completely at home there. Harry lives in such an urban area in Breda and also three high, ideal for the black redstarts. The menu of the black redstart contains the following ingredients; crane flies but also various other insects. The caterpillars and larvae of insects are also on the menu in addition to all kinds of spiders. The advantage for the black redstarts in cities is that there is a lot of artificial light and they also hunt insects at night. After autumn, seeds, berries and other fruits also appear on their menu.

    Birds sometimes hibernate in nesting boxes, isn’t it better to leave the old nesting material in it?
    Antje de Bruyn wondered whether the nest boxes, where the birds hide in severe cold, should be cleaned? Is the old nesting material really beneficial for them, because it gives them some extra warmth? It is true that the nesting material provides extra warmth, but if it is colder and the birds really have to take shelter in those nesting boxes, then it is not the nesting material that is cause for concern, but what is in the old nesting material. Fleas, mites and various bacteria also reside there and if the birds have become weaker due to the cold, they are the ideal victim for those types of pests. It is therefore best to clean the nest boxes completely after the breeding season, at the beginning of autumn. If it does get so cold that they take shelter in it, they provide enough heat by sitting close together.

    Photo: Jan Alberts.
    Photo: Jan Alberts.

    Beautiful photos section
    This beautiful kingfisher was in our pond. Happy 2023 Jan Alberts

    Special nature tip for the inhabitants of the municipality of Hilvarenbeek and surroundings
    Who will win the Nature and Environment Award 2022?

    So at the start of the new year, the Association for Nature and Environment Hilvarenbeek eo. Let’s go back to 2022. Even then, residents of the municipality of Hilvarenbeek have certainly made themselves deserving in the field of nature and the environment in one way or another. As every year, we would like to put these people in the spotlight again. Do you know someone who in your eyes the Nature and Environment Award 2022 deserves? Let them know.

    Name a candidate and justify briefly why do you think she or he is eligible for the prize. You can also nominate a group. Both members and non-members of the VNMH can register a candidate.

    You can register up to and including 31 January via the VNM Hilvarenbeek secretariat; [email protected]

    A jury makes a choice from the applications and makes a recommendation to the board. She decides who will receive the Nature and Environment Award 2022. The prize consists of the famous figurine of the hedgehog made by Henny Vester and a certificate. The award ceremony will take place during the annual meeting on Thursday 23 February.