Orchid of the Year: Butterfly-orchids
Kadri Tali and Tiiu Kull introduce two orchids of the year: the lesser butterfly-orchid and the greater butterfly-orchid, and the biology of both of the species. The two species are very similar: the lesser butterfly-orchids are distinguished by their two shining green basal leaves, especially of the hill form, which are shorter and broader. The flowers of the species also smell quite differently. The authors explain the biology and distribution of both protected species.
CD: Marine bird folk
Fred Jüssi gives an overview of the characters on his new CD: the habitants and travellers of our coastal meadows, islands and reef beds. There are recordings of 33 bird species on the CD that complements the May issue of the Estonian Nature. The author comments shortly on all of the recordings, in order to give some background to each sound.
The mysterious tufa forming spring fens remain a mystery
Laimi Truus and Mati Ilomets describe one of the world’s most threatened mire types, the calcareous tufa forming spring fens in Estonia. The authors explain the formation of calcareous tufa and describe the flora of such habitats. Most of Estonia’s tufa forming spring fens are small, and are located in South-Estonia. The exact number is not known, as are some of the reasons for their decrease.
Estonian Nature inquires
Maris Kivistik explains the objectives of regional round tables on environmental education.
Aide Tsahkna warns against eating green potatoes.
The social life of birds
Tuul Sepp looks at the social life of different bird species and individuals, and tries to find reasons why birds prefer others’ company. Flocking is especially common among marine birds: 95% of the marine bird species nest in colonies. Foremost, life in colonies helps them to fight against enemies. Some birds gather in evening to share information and make plans. Manoeuvre coordination in avian flocks is another interesting phenomenon, which has lead scientists to work out computer models. In general, birds like company, but every flock has its own complicated hierarchical structure.
Juhan Javoiš takes a look at the complicated behaviour of bird flocks, especially the amazing avian flocks, where birds form new images in the sky, seemingly with no reason. It appears from the discussions among biologists that we still don’t’ know the reasons behind such behaviour.
Photo contest: Bloodless Hunt 15
Tiit Hunt takes a look at the history of the photo contest “Bloodless Hunt”. The hunt lasts for 3 days every May, and special attention is paid to one species, the fair game.
Interview: Kallis, the man from the party “Better Weather”
Toomas Jüriado has interviewed Ain Kallis, a climatologist.
Hiking trail: Two hiking trails in the woods behind the Nunnery
Marit Kasemets takes the readers to the hiking trails located around and on the territory of the Tallinn Botanical Gardens, on the Pirita River landscape protection area. The 3,9 km long trail in and around the Botanical Gardens introduces different habitats, while the 2,5 km long trail of the Kloostrimetsa forest takes the hiker outside the territory of the Botanical Gardens, for a walk in the former mire, where one can learn about the flora, fauna, and the history of the area.
Another sign of spring
Mati Martin introduces a cestode – the tapeworm Ligula intestinalis, which can be found in spring when preparing fish for food. The tapeworm Ligula intestinalis occurs in the body cavity of its cyprinid second intermediate host, often the roach and other carp (cypriniformes) species, and inhibits host gonadal development. The mechanism by which infected fish are prevented from reproducing is unknown. However, the tapeworm does not actually parasite on fish, but on birds. And the fish from which body cavity the worm was found is still edible for humans.
The merry birthday week of the Tartu Environmental Education Centre
Toomas Jüriado looks back at the history and the birthday events of the Tartu Environmental Education Centre, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in April.
Practical tips: How to document nature observations?
Uudo Timm and Lauri Klein give advice about what and how to observe in the nature, so that scientists and nature protectors could use this information. It is most important to write down what or whom, where and when was observed, but also the name of the observer and the contacts. Nowadays, it is mostly possible to take a picture of the observation. In Estonia there are three larger nature observation databases in use.