European bison, short-eared owl and woodlarks


This Dutch video is about European bison in Kraansvlak nature reserve near Zandvoort in the Netherlands. The video shows their ecological significance as they create more space for other lifeforms.

European bison are the heaviest surviving wild land animal in Europe. They nearly became extinct, but are slowly recovering now.

On 20 September 2014, to the European bison trail in the Kraansvlak coastal sand dunes. This trail is open only from 1 September to 1 March. If you are lucky you can see the bison from the trail.

This 2007 video by Monique Moors is about freeing bison, originally from Bialowieza in Poland, in the Kraansvlak.

After the initial introduction, births of calves increased the herd to nineteen animals now. Still, it is not easy to find these relatively many big beasts. Kraansvlak is hilly: every next step may mean that one can no longer see what is behind some hill. There are patches of woodland where the bison may hide.

We met hikers who walked this trail for the fourth time. All these four times, they had not seen the bison. Still, they did not regret the walks, and kept hoping that one day they might be more lucky.

Along the trail, seaside pansy flowers.

Woodlarks flying.

A stonechat on a bush.

Meadow pipits.

We don’t see any bison so far. We do see bison cow pies. And other signs of mammals living here: konik horse manure and footprints. Red fox manure. Fallow deer footprints.

A small copper butterfly sitting on the trail.

The first redwing we have seen this year flies past.

We walk back. Not any bison yet.

A short-eared owl. This bird of open country would probably not have been here if the bison would not have stopped vegetation from becoming too dense.

Carline thistles; with their flowers looking like being dead or dying while they are not.

Then, in the distance to the left of the trail, thirteen European bison. Maybe the other six members of the herd are hiding not far away.

European bison, Kraansvlak, 20 September 2014

Both adult animals and calves are resting.

Near the end of the trail, dewberries grow.

Kraansvlak bison are good for bees: here.

21 thoughts on “European bison, short-eared owl and woodlarks

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