After we had crossed the water on the ‘kingfisher ferry’ on 9 April 2017, we were in the Esscheplaat part of the nature reserve Oeverlanden Hollands Diep in the Netherlands. The Esscheplaat used to be a place where willow wood was harvested for building dikes, making baskets etc. Now, it is a beautiful riverine forest.
Sometimes, the Esscheplaat reminded one of a temperate version of the Amazon rainforest.
Some willow trees, with their twisted forms, still showed the willow growing and logging past of this area.
Much Himalayan balsam in the undergrowth.
We hear a great spotted woodpecker.
As we continue, we hear several mistle thrushes singing.
Every now and then, we hear a wren. One of the 120 Esscheplaat wren couples.
Along the water, marsh marigold flowers. The Caltha palustris subsp. araneosa form, adapted to willow growing and logging environments.
A great cormorant sits on a pole in the water.
Four shelducks fly overhead. Two males (bigger, with red knobs above their bills) and two females.
A jay flies past.
A short-toed treecreper creeps up a tree. We are near the hut ‘Koosje’, where willow wood harvesters used to stay during the winter months decades ago.
A small juvenile common frog.
Finally, on the Esscheplaat in the morning, a nuthatch on the top of a tree.
And a male and a female buzzard circle around each other in the air.
A green sandpiper on a mudflat.
A black-tailed godwit calls.
A Cetti’s warbler sings.
A big flock of sand martins fly above the water. Apparently, they are just back from Africa. They prepare their nesting tunnels on the sandy bank for the new breeding season.
The sand martin is also depicted on the information sign of this nature reserve (this is a cellphone photo).
In the afternoon, in the part of the nature reserve near Strijensas village, a male marsh harrier flying. A bit later, a female.
Also, a much rarer male garganey.
Quite some shoveler ducks.
Three beautiful yellow wagtails. They come quite close. Unfortunately, no camera at hand.