Middle spotted woodpecker in Dutch Alphen

This 27 February 2020 video shows a middle spotted woodpecker in the Dutch town Alphen in the western South Holland province.

This is special, as this is an eastern species in the Netherlands. In South Holland, it had only been seen twice before.

Luuk Punt made this video.

Dutch far-right gun massacre and police mistake

This 2016 Dutch video is about 5 years ago: [9 April 2011] PVV [Geert Wilders’ xenophobic political party] supporter Tristan van der Vlis shot 7 people dead, including Tristan himself. He had injured sixteen other people.

According to Dutch daily NRC, mass murderer Van der Vlis was a PVV sympathizer and hated ‘foreigners’. He was the grandson of Dutch nazi Kornelis van der Vlis, mayor during the 1940-1945 German occupation of the Netherlands.

Van der Vlis’ first victim of the massacre in the Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall was a refugee poet from Syria.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Court of Appeal: police are liable for mass shooting in Alphen aan den Rijn

The police are liable for personal injury and death caused by the mass shooting in a shopping center in Alphen aan den Rijn, in April 2011. The Court of Appeal in The Hague decided that after the district court had reached a different conclusion. They had found that the police were not liable, though they had made mistakes.

Victims and surviving relatives blame the police for having granted a gun permit to Van der Vlis in 2008. He had psychological problems and therefore he should never have received that permit, they reason.

Mr Van der Vlis was a gun club member and had licenses to own five firearms legally.

Why could such an apparently emotionally unstable dangerous individual have licenses to own firearms? To know the answer to this, we have to look at Dutch gun clubs in historical perspective.

November 1918. In Russia there is revolution. In Germany, the emperor flees to the Netherlands. Other monarchs fall.

Pieter Jelles Troelstra, the Dutch Social Democrat leader, and David Wijnkoop, leader of what would become the Dutch Communist Party, then proclaimed revolution. To counter this, counter-revolutionary paramilitary forces, the “Burgerwacht” were founded. To recruit for these forces, the emphasis was on love for the monarchy (even among non-socialists, love for the royal family was mostly stronger than for the capitalist economic order). One of the commanders of those Burgerwacht forces was Baron van Ittersum, a relative of royal lady in waiting, Baroness Elise van Ittersum.

Later, in January 1923, the first Dutch fascist party was founded by admirers of Mussolini: the Verbond van Actualisten, VVA. When, in July 1925, this party participated in the Dutch general election, a parliamentary candidate was Baron van Ittersum, a contact of other fascists who had been in the Burgerwacht under him.

Other Burgerwacht people would also turn up later in Dutch fascist organizations. Eg, Hugues Alexandre Sinclair de Rochemont, a co-founder of the VVA, had served under Van Ittersum. He would die as a member of Adolf Hitler’s SS occupation forces in the Soviet Union.

After the attempts at Left revolution of 1918 had failed, the Dutch government made it illegal for people with “revolutionary views” to become members of gun clubs. This meant exclusion of social democrats, communists, anarchists, etc. That law is still valid today.

On the other hand, the law on gun clubs said nothing about banning violent counter-revolutionary people. So, supporters of Mussolini, Hitler, and later dictatorships like the Greek colonels or Pinochet in Chile were and are welcome as rifle club members.

In the nineteen-eighties and nineties, there was the neo-fascist “Centrumdemocraten” party in the Netherlands. They had their own gun club.

Today’s NOS report continues:

The district court ruled that the police acted negligently, but “the rule that police must be careful when making such a decision does not intend to protect against damage that the plaintiffs have suffered”.

The Court of Appeal disagrees with that and states that this standard of due care is indeed meant to protect citizens against the harmful consequences of the abuse of a gun permit. Because the damage was not directly caused by the granting of the permit, the court limits itself to awarding injury and death damages; material damage to, for example, the stores is not reimbursed.

Little grebe eats fish

This 18 January 2018 video shows a little grebe eating a fish.

José Olsthoorn made this video in Alphen aan de Rijn in the Netherlands.

Monkey goby underwater video

This 8 December 2016 video shows a monkey goby in the Zegerplas lake, in Alphen aan de Rijn in the Netherlands.

The monkey goby, originally from eastern Europe, is an invasive species in western Europe.

Taeke Veenstra made this video.

Night heron cleans feathers, video

This video shows a black-crowned night heron cleaning its feathers near Alphen aan de Rijn in the Netherlands.

José Olsthoorn made this video.

Rare desert warbler still in the Netherlands

Since a few weeks, a desert warbler, very rare for western Europe, is near Alphen aan de Rijn in the Netherlands.

Hundreds of birdwatchers come to see it, Dutch NOS TV reports today.

Even people from Belgium, France and Italy come.

Rare African desert warbler in western Europe for first time

This video is about an African desert warbler.

The video was recorded in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, on 21 November 2014, by Adri de Groot.

This north African species had never been seen in Europe, except for a few times in Spain and Italy.

Photos of this bird are here.

This is another video about that desert warbler.

See also here. And here.

Australian galahs back in Avifauna zoo

An Avifauna keeper, very happy with the return of the galah parrots; photo: Avifauna

Translated from the Alphen CC site in the Netherlands:

August 27, 2013 13:18

Alphen aan den Rijn – After two days of searching, Avifauna Bird Park has back two galah cockatoos which had flown away Sunday afternoon during a bird free flight demonstration. An observant inhabitant of Woubrugge saw the birds sitting and called the park.

Avifauna says they are overjoyed about the return of the birds. ,,Thanks to all the media attention, because someone recognized the birds from the pictures.”

The park has reunited the birds with their carers.

Steller’s sea eagle, macaws and kingfishers


On 3 August 2013, to Avifauna bird zoo in Alphen.

There are about 1800 birds there. I cannot honestly claim we saw all of them.

We did see the biggest birds, ostriches. And the smallest birds, Surinamese hummingbirds.

We did see the great hornbill couple, together for forty years now.

And we did see wild birds, not officially included in the 1800 number: hundreds of jackdaws flying together. Two grey herons trying to catch fish when the Humboldt penguins were fed. A chiffchaff singing. A blackbird. And free flying white storks raising their chicks on the artificial nests of their Avifauna colony.

Kingfisher sculpture, Avifauna, 3 August 2013

There are wooden bird sculptures on the tops of signposts in Avifauna. And also this wooden kingfisher on a bridge. The photos in this blog post are all made with a mobile phone.

Great white pelicans, Avifauna, 3 August 2013

At noon, the great white pelicans were fed. A dozen wild great cormorants had joined them, hoping to get a fish too.

Three times a day, there is a bird free flight demo in Avifauna.

In the Netherlands, there are scandals about trade in wild birds, especially raptors and owls. Some of these birds are used in commercial bird shows. The birds are then driven around all over the country in small cages in vans. During the shows, eagles, owls, vultures, falcons and other birds are on short leashes. Basically, the show bosses don’t tell their audiences anything about the birds during the shows.

The Avifauna free flight demos are different from this. They are three times a day during the summer months.

Each show is with different birds. In the morning, a red kite participated.

I saw the demo in the early afternoon, along with hundreds of others on the bleachers near the pond. With some of the birds in these two videos, but not all of them; and with other birds as well.

This video is called Avifauna / Bird free flight demo part 1.

And here is part 2.

The demo started with macaws flying high over the pond, calling each other. The blue-and-yellow macaws and scarlet macaws reminded me of when I was in Suriname. The parrots landed and were rewarded with nuts by the trainer; who meanwhile, told how the birds live.

Then, a white-throated magpie-jay. Three children on the bleachers got three sticks. The jay landed on the children’s arms, took the sticks, and brought them to a nest under construction near the pond.

Then, a five-year-old Steller’s sea eagle. It flew across the pond several times; as there was meat on tree trunks on both banks. As the eagle flew across the pond, the local moorhen kept swimming, undisturbedly.

Then, three young sun parakeets came flying.

Then, Australian birds arrived: kookaburras and galahs.

Then, a flock of scarlet ibises, with some cattle egrets.

At the end of the demo, a flock of white doves. And there was a collection of money for helping wild birds to survive in their habitats.

In the Australian birds compound, emus. Also maned geese. Two of them cleaning each other’s feathers.

Toucans on bridge, Avifauna, 3 August 2013

A bridge near the tropical birds hall had toucan images on it.

In the tropical birds hall, a great kiskadee couple sat near the top of the hothouse; reminding me of Suriname again.

Tawny frogmouths shared their aviary with bush stone-curlews whose chicks had hatched recently. Both species are from Australia.

Finally, more Australian birds. To the lori landing.

This video is about the lori landing in Avifauna. There are three bird species in that building. Most are rainbow lorikeets.

This video is about rainbow lorikeets feeding at the lori landing.

There are also some scaly-breasted lorikeets and blue-faced honey eaters.

At the entrance of the building, people can buy small cups of nectar. Inside, the birds will sit down on people’s arms and shoulders to drink the nectar.

Rainbow lorikeet feeding, Avifauna, 3 August 2013

The lorikeet on this photo took a deep bow to reach the nectar.

One of the world’s most colorful parrots and a familiar resident of zoos and aviaries worldwide, the rainbow lorikeet is a stunning bird with a wide range of subspecies that show just as much variation in their colors as the bird has in its rainbow-hued feathers: here.