Who is the mole in Jan’s garden? Frans Kapteijns knows it!

Forest rider Frans Kapteijns shares his knowledge about nature on the radio every week. Listeners can ask questions at [email protected] This time in Stuifmail he is aware of a strange lizard in Turkey, a mouse in a squirrel feeder, and he answers the question what kind of strange lump is under the beech hedge.
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Every Sunday afternoon there is also a new episode of the Stuifmail podcast. Listen to it here:

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Omroep Brabant also broadcasts the television program ‘Op pad’ on Tuesday, where viewers are taken into the nature reserves of Brabant’s Landschap. As a viewer, you can also follow the route from the program yourself. There is one especially for the program go app developed.

A pile of sand between the tiles, has an overzealous mole worked here?
Jan van Loon regularly sees piles of sand on and between the tiles. He cleans them up, but a few days later they are back. He wonders if there is a mole at work. No, not a mole, but earthworms. If you look carefully, you will also see that there is a lot of food ready for those earthworms. You can say that the table is well set for the earthworms, because there are remnants of fuchsia all over the pavement. Earthworms eat these scraps and then drag them through the spaces between the tiles. What remains are piles of sand containing the feces from the feast. Earthworms are therefore scavengers, which in turn leave food for many plants. In addition, they dig tunnels and thus ensure a better soil structure. What you should never do is fight earthworms, because then you immediately ensure a worse garden or lawn.

Rose-ringed parakeet in Tilburg, photo Marij van Driel
Rose-ringed parakeet in Tilburg, photo Marij van Driel

Again the ring-necked parakeet
Marij van Driel sent me pictures of a ring-necked parakeet. She arrived on January 17th. Listeners may know that this time last year, January 30th to be exact, I asked listeners to tell me where ring-necked parakeets can be seen in Brabant. I received many messages then. The first from Roland, who had seen ring-necked parakeets in Veldhoven. But there were also reports from Diessen, and Marij van Driel then reported to me that she knew ring-necked parakeets had also been seen in Leijpark in Tilburg. Then she wrote to me that unfortunately she hadn’t seen it herself. So now yes. Thanks for the pictures. Unfortunately I can only post one. I would like to make another appeal where people in Brabant see ring-necked parakeets.

A robin (photo: the Klijsen family).
A robin (photo: the Klijsen family).

Mice in the squirrel feeder
The Klijsen family found a mouse in a squirrel feeder. But which? I think it’s one of the cute little mice I know: the red mouse. In any case, voles are very cute mice. I always compare them to the lovely, soft, cuddly stuffed animals in toy stores. Voldes are very recognizable by their thick, somewhat clumsy body with a blunt head. And on and in that head there are little ears and little eyes. Unfortunately, the photo of the Klijsen family does not show the animal’s short tail, which is shorter than the body. The difference between the other mice and this robin is that the robin has slightly larger, darker eyes and clearly visible ears. In other clams, the ears are barely noticeable. The vole’s menu consists mainly of plant food. The animal prefers soft seeds and fleshy fruits. They also eat leaves, fungi, roots of herbs, grasses, moss and nuts. But also tree bark and at certain times even insects, earthworms and snails.

The tasty milk mushroom (photo: Hans Bleeker).
The tasty milk mushroom (photo: Hans Bleeker).

Unrecognizable fungus in Breda
Hans Bleeker sent me some pictures of a mushroom. He writes: ‘an unrecognizable mushroom’. That is somewhat correct. Old, decayed mushrooms are often almost impossible to name. Still, I dare to put a name to this. I think it’s the tasty milk mushroom. This species is quite common in our country and belongs to the russula family. In the picture you see a mushroom that is orange-red in color but tends to turn brown. This is the typical color of this tasty milk mushroom, as well as the clearly visible gills and plates, which are the same color as the cap. The name is also perfect, because the tasty milk mushroom is very edible. In many countries such as Spain (Catalonia), France (Provence), Poland and Cyprus, this mushroom is used in many dishes. A good recipe is on this page.

A tall tit in front of a nest box (photo: Pixabay).
A tall tit in front of a nest box (photo: Pixabay).

Do big boobs clean up their poop?
José Spijkers saw big tits flying in and out of his nest box in December. She thought these creatures were using her nest box to avoid the cold. What she also saw was that those birds were flying with all sorts of things in their beaks. She wondered if they brought their own excrement with them. I think Jose is absolutely right. Great tits do not soil their own roost. They remove their excrement and possibly also old nesting material that has been left behind. However, not all big breasts participate in this. Some just leave the droppings behind, so it’s always good to check the nest boxes after the winter. Great tits also sleep in nest boxes in the winter to protect themselves from the rain and the cold wind. But nest boxes also provide protection from predators and owls.

Heaps of sand between the tiles in Jan's garden (photo: Jan van Loon).
Heaps of sand between the tiles in Jan’s garden (photo: Jan van Loon).

A pile of sand between the tiles, has an overzealous mole worked here?
Jan van Loon regularly sees piles of sand on and between the tiles. He cleans them up, but a few days later they are back. He wonders if there is a mole at work. No, not a mole, but earthworms. If you look carefully, you will also see that there is a lot of food ready for those earthworms. You can say that the table is well set for the earthworms, because there are remnants of fuchsia all over the pavement. Earthworms eat these scraps and then drag them through the spaces between the tiles. What remains are piles of sand containing the feces from the feast. Earthworms are therefore scavengers, which in turn leave food for many plants. In addition, they dig tunnels and thus ensure a better soil structure. So what you should never do is fight earthworms, because then you will immediately ensure a worse garden or lawn.

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The sleeping mouse – Natuurmonumenten 2014
I’ve talked about sleeping mice before. Above you can see a video about one of these dormouse, dormouse. Dormus are a small family of rodents. They get their name from the fact that they hibernate. Because the dormouse is an excellent climber and rarely comes to the ground, it is also called a monkey. As the name suggests, the dormouse loves hazelnuts. Together with the garden mouse, these are the only two species of dormice that occur in the Netherlands. Here is a video about the mysterious life of a dormouse.

A strange lumpy thing (photo: Ad Stakenburg).
A strange lumpy thing (photo: Ad Stakenburg).

Strange lump under the beech hedge, who knows that lump?
We have another one for our listeners: I have not found out, even after asking acquaintances, what the above tuber or fruit is. The question comes from Ad Stakenburg. He took the photo above. Every fall, when you loosen the soil under the beech hedge, Ad finds these strange tubers that, when pressed, make the whole thing feel slimy. What does Ad have lying under the beech hedge? Who knows?

What lizard is this?
Carool IJpelaar was on holiday in Turkey and came across a kind of lizard and two kinds of trees that he did not know. I will answer the tree question later. First, the question of the lizard. It is clearly a species that does not occur here. Then you should go to a specialist who knows more about reptiles around the world. Luckily I have some friends in that corner and they came up with the story that it could be a Syrian lizard. This lizard species is found around the south coast of Turkey and can be seen a lot at the well-known tourist spots.

Beautiful photos section
In the section beautiful pictures now the colorful mandarin duck. A beautiful picture of Tom and Nellie van den Heuvel!

Nature tip
On Saturday 29 January, from ten in the morning to twelve in the afternoon, a walk is organized over the hilltops at Loonse and Drunense Duinen.

The tour guide takes you over the top of the edge walls, so that you are soon walking at a height of about ten meters. The story of the development of these peripheral walls is told while you enjoy the beautiful view of forests, sand plains and heaths. Discover the oak trees that have been buried by the shifting sand and are called oak forts. Learn all about the changing sand recovery and the plants and animals that live here.

The walk is about four to five kilometers long. The bits through the loose sand aren’t too bad on this walk. Nevertheless, it is a walk for fit hiker.

More information:
• The starting point is the De Rustende Jager car park at Oude Bossche Baan 11 in Biezenmortel.

• Registration required, this can be done via this link.

• The visitor center’s telephone number is (013) 591 50 00.

• Participation costs adults ten euros, members seven euros.

• This excursion is for adults. Older children are welcome accompanied by an adult.

• Wear sturdy walking shoes.

• Wear clothing that suits the weather.

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