Little grebes and emperor dragonfly’s eggs


On 14 August 2012, I was in the National Park South Kennemerland in the Netherlands.

During the second world war, Dutch forced laborers built an anti-tank defensive line there, ordered to do so by Hitler’s occupying Wehrmacht armed forces. Most of it is a ditch; some of it is a wall. The line was against invading Allied forces, which never arrived.

Now, that line, including the water, is part of a nature reserve.

Little grebes nest there. Little grebes usually eat small fishes. There are no fishes in most of the ditch system. So, the birds eat common newts and leeches instead.

Little grebe, Zuid-Kennemerland, August 2012

I want to thank the photographer of the two pictures in this blog post. The photos were taken last week, but depicted similar situations as on 14 August.

Near the entrance of the national park, carrion crows gather, in an unusually large group for this species.

Near the ditch, a small tortoiseshell butterfly. Flying above the water plants, or resting on them, three damselfly species: blue-tailed damselfly, common blue damselfly, and small red-eyed damselfly.

We pass an abele tree, with a hole in it. Green woodpeckers nested in that hole this summer.

A mushroom: Boletus chrysenteron.

A small copper butterfly sits on the footpath. More on that species is here.

A speckled wood butterfly flying.

Ragwort. St John’s wort.

A common darter dragonfly.

Then, a red-eared slider turtle sitting on a log in the ditch.

Footprints of a deer and a fox in the sand of the footpath.

A small white butterfly.

Great spotted woodpecker sound.

Common toadflax flowering.

On the bank of the ditch again. Many ruddy darter dragonflies; some in semi-heart-shaped love embrace; some sitting on branches.

On this dragonfly and related species: here.

Hemp-agrimony flowers.

Many still very small common frogs on the bank. A common toad in the muddy water.

Willow emerald damselflies.

In the water, coots and a juvenile little grebe swimming. Also, tufted ducks with ducklings. Tufted ducklings are the latest young ducks of summer.

Near its nest, an adult little grebe.

A buzzard calling and flying.

A great tit calling in a tree.

Barn swallows flying.

Lots of songbirds fly to the bank to drink and wash. Great tits, blue tits, a female chaffinch, a male blackcap, icterine warblers.

Emperor dragonfly female, depositing eggs in Zuid-Kennemerland, August 2012

Then, something special. A female emperor dragonfly, flying closely above the water. Every now and then, the “empress” sits down on a piece of wood or water plant to deposit a few eggs under water. Then, she flies on, and deposits a few more eggs elsewhere.

A witch’s hat mushroom. Rather early in the year for this species.

Wild pansy flowers.

Then, the most poisonous mushroom of the Netherlands: a death cap.

Nuthatch sound.

A juvenile song thrush on a branch.

A blusher fungus.

Finally, birch bracket on a birch tree.

England: August 2013. The New Forest’s delicate ecological balance is being threatened by ‘do-gooders’ who have unofficially taken it upon themselves to pull up ragwort from various parts of the open Forest: here.

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