37 little grebes, one great crested grebe, wheatears


This is a little grebe video from Belarus.

On 21 September 2014, to Voorne island.

Between The Hague and Rotterdam, a grey heron on a lamppost. Not so unusual. However, on lampposts next to it: two white storks, more unusual.

A few kilometer more south: again, three white storks on lampposts.

Near Rotterdam, again a stork on a lamppost. As it is still rather early in the morning, are they waiting for higher temperatures, with better conditions for soaring, continuing their autumn migration to Africa?

On Voorne island, first to Strypsche wetering nature reserve.

This is a video about ruff mating season at Strypsche wetering on 2 May 2014.

We saw ruffs on 21 September there too. Not in mating season mood and plumage, but in autumn migration mood and plumage.

Other Strypsche wetering birds: redshanks, ruff relatives. Northern lapwings, more distant relatives. A big golden plover flock landed. Egyptian geese. Mallards. Snipe.

Four great cormorants flying overhead.

Again and again, flocks of scores of barnacle geese, maybe just arrived from the Arctic, fly, calling, to a field where hundreds congregate.

Shoveler ducks flying.

On the bank, yellow common fleabane flowers.

A barn swallow flies.

A buzzard sits on a fence.

We continue to another fence: a male and a female kestrel sitting next to each other.

We arrive at another part of the Strypsche wetering. Many Canada geese. Some of them look like being injured. Probably because of hunters who can’t shoot straight.

Ten gadwall ducks flying. Five grey lag geese flying.

We arrive at the sand dunes closest to the beach. A flock of common linnets. A blue tit.

On rock in the water, a great black-backed gull.

Closer to us, swimming, a big surprise: at least 37 little grebes, probably many more. Such a big flock is unusual for this species. Every now and then, some of the birds fly a short distance and land again. A great crested grebe swims along with them.

At nature reserve Hoekje Jans, a Cetti’s warbler sings. Also unusual at this time of the year.

A little egret flying.

A red admiral butterfly on a bush. Which species of bush? Elaeagnus multiflora, or Elaeagnus umbellata?

A smaller butterfly: a speckled wood.

A comma butterfly.

At the Slikken van Voorne nature reserve, flowers of yellow-wort and seaside centaury.

This is a video about the Slikken van Voorne.

A green-veined white butterfly.

Corn sow thistle.

Northern wheatears between the sparse sand dune vegetation.

A meadow pipit.

Oystercatchers on the mudflats.

Sea spurge.

A dead northern wheatear.

Finally, near the south coast of Voorne, pintail ducks.

Great reed warbler, Eurasian reed warbler ringed, photos


Great reed warbler and Eurasian reed warbler, Oostvaardersplassen, 23 August 2014

This is a photo of a great reed warbler, and of a smaller Eurasian reed warbler, in a bird ringer‘s hands at a ringing station of Dutch SOVON ornithologists in Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in the Netherlands, on 23 August 2014. Like all pictures in this blog post, it is a cellphone camera photo.

Before I will tell you why these two birds are so special, I will tell how we got there.

Walking to the ringing place, we saw a red fox.

A sand martin flying past.

Then, we arrived at the bird ringing. Something really special: a great reed warbler had flown into the ringers’ net. This is a really rare species in the Netherlands. It was the ringers’ only great reed warbler of that day. This young bird was born this year, as its feathers showed.

Great reed warbler and Eurasian reed warbler, in Oostvaardersplassen, on 23 August 2014

The Eurasian reed warbler in the ringer’s other hand was an adult bird. Maybe two years old, maybe ten.

Great reed warbler with ring, and Eurasian reed warbler, in Oostvaardersplassen, on 23 August 2014

80% of the birds caught on 23 August were Eurasian reed warblers. Only two of them adults; the rest juveniles. Adult reed warblers usually start their migration to Africa earlier than juveniles.

Some other bird species were caught on 23 August: bluethroat; tree pipit; sedge warbler.

After the ringing and making of notes, all birds were freed to continue their long journey to Africa. If one of these birds will ever be found again, than that will contribute to more knowledge about that individual bird and its species; helping with conservation.

Bird ringers' net, Oostvaardersplassen, 23 August 2014

A marsh harrier flew over the ringing station.

What happened, as we walked back from the ringing place? Stay tuned!

Costa Rican birds, bye-bye!


This video is called Amazing hummingbirdsCosta Rica.

31 March 2014.

After yesterday, today departure from Costa Rica.

To Panama and beyond.

Early in the morning on the bird table: clay-coloured thrush and blue-grey tanager.

Also buff-throated saltator and rufous-collared sparrow.

This video from Colombia is called Buff-throated Saltator, Silver-throated & Lemon-rumped Tanagers.

On our way to the airport: great-tailed grackles.

15:00, Panamanian time: a great-tailed grackle flies past a window at Panama City airport. Like when this journey began; closing the circle.

Bird book about Costa Rica: here.

Blue-crowned motmot and white-eared ground sparrows in Costa Rica


This is a video about a blue-crowned motmot; recorded in Alajuela in Costa Rica.

After the Escher art in the botanical garden in Heredia, Costa Rica on 30 March 2014, there were, of course, birds.

First, a black vulture flying overhead.

Blue-crowned motmot, 30 March 2014

Then, much closer, a blue-crowned motmot. First, on the lawn just before our feet; then in a nearby bush.

Twenty minutes later, at 11:55, two motmots.

A Hoffmann’s woodpecker.

Hours later, at 16:43, a female Baltimore oriole.

This video is from Costa Rica is about a clay-coloured thrush. Called yigüirro, it is the national bird of Costa Rica. It occurs in this garden as well.

Clay-coloured thrush, 30 March 2014

A clay-coloured thrush washed itself in a birdbath.

White-eared ground sparrows, 30 March 2014

Then, late in the afternoon, two special birds at another birdbath: white-eared ground sparrows. In Costa Rica, they live only in the Central Valley. Because of their skulking habits, and ‘best seen at near … dusk’, many people don’t see them there.

White-eared ground sparrow, 30 March 2014

So, a fine end to our last full day in Costa Rica.

Stay tuned for the blog post on our last Costa Rican early morning, 31 March!

Escher art in Costa Rica


Metamorphosis III, 30 March 2014

Still 30 March 2014, in the botanical garden of Heredia in Costa Rica. Not just birds in that garden; art as well. This art, based on the woodcut print Metamorphosis III by Dutch artist M.C. Escher, was in one of the garden buildings; a round gazebo.

Escher, Metamorphosis III reptiles, 30 March 2014

In Escher’s work, reptile forms slowly morph into other forms.

Escher, Metamorphosis III more reptiles, 30 March 2014

Escher, Metamorphosis III bees, 30 March 2014

And bees morph into other insects.

Escher, Metamorphosis III birds, 30 March 2014

And birds into fish.

Escher, Metamorphosis III birds and mammals, 30 March 2014

And birds into mammals.

Escher, Metamorphosis III yet more reptiles, 30 March 2014

Until we were back at the reptiles again.

Baltimore orioles and summer tanagers in Costa Rica


This is a rufous-collared sparrow video. One of the bird species in Santo Domingo de Heredia in Costa Rica. An individual often sang, sitting on top of a bronze stork sculpture in the botanical garden. I fondly remember this species from Quito in Ecuador, a long time ago.

30 March 2014. After yesterday, our second full day in Santo Domingo de Heredia. And our last full day in Costa Rica.

A Montezuma oropendola feeding on a flower in a tree.

In the same tree, a Hoffmann’s woodpecker.

A Finsch’s parakeets flock flies past. These birds live only in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama.

A rufous-tailed hummingbird.

Baltimore oriole male, 30 March 2014

Male Baltimore orioles.

Baltimore oriole female, 30 March 2014

And females.

Baltimore oriole female close to flower, 30 March 2014

Baltimore oriole female closer to flower, 30 March 2014

White-winged dove, 30 March 2014

7:35: a white-winged dove.

Summer tanager male, 30 March 2014

Five minutes later: a summer tanager male.

There is a summer tanager female as well.

Blue-grey tanager, 30 March 2014

A blue-grey tanager builds its nest.

A buff-throated saltator sings.

An Inca dove.

Rufous-naped wren, Costa Rica, 30 March 2014

A rufous-naped wren.

Variegated squirrel, 30 March 2014

10:38: a variegated squirrel feeding.

Great-tailed grackle female, 30 March 2014

10:45 a female great-tailed grackle drinks at a bird bath.

A list of birds in this garden is here.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on birds and other subjects in Costa Rica on 30 March!

Costa Rican botanical garden flowers


Flowers, Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

In the botanical garden in Heredia in Costa Rica on 29 March 2014, there were of course not only these birds, but also plants and flowers. Like these ones.

Bougainvillea, 29 March 2014

And this Bougainvillea. Is it Bougainvillea spectabilis (originally from the Atlantic coast of Brazil, but introduced to many other countries)?

Bougainvillea flowers, 29 March 2014

And these Bougainvillea flowers.

Flower, in Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

Jabuticaba, 29 March 2014

The garden is specialized in the original flora of the now densely populated Central Valley of Costa Rica, but there are also South American species. Like this Jabuticaba and its fruits.

Cornstalk dracaena, also present, is originally from Africa. While Thunbergia is originally from Africa and Asia.

There is a flowering Bauhinia purpurea, aka Phanera purpurea tree.

Flower, Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

Flowers, in Costa Rica, 29 March 2014

There were orchids as well.

Orchid, 29 March 2014