Woodpecker, blackbird on balcony


This is a video of a great spotted woodpecker making a drumming sound. Not, like usually, on a tree, but on a TV antenna.

This afternoon, a male great spotted woodpecker.

It was eating the grease on the top of the nest box above the balcony.

Then, it flew to the tree behind the balcony. Then, it flew away.

Soon, two wood pigeons in the tree. On a roof behind the tree, two magpies.

Later, a female blackbird on the balcony, eating seeds from a bowl. While a male blackbird sat in the tree.

In the morning, there had been chaffinches in the tree.

And, of course, many great tits and blue tits at the feeders.

Parakeets and greenfinches in the botanical garden


Today, it is winter.

In the city, much of yesterday’s snow has succumbed to freezing, thawing, cars, bicycles or pedestrians.

Still, especially in gardens and on trees, still snow. And treacherous icy spots on roads.

Blackbird male, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

In the botanical garden, a male blackbird looks for food between the snow.

One of the biggest and oldest trees in the botanical garden is a Taxus baccata L. Its name in English is European yew tree.

The L. behind the Latin name means this is a special tree species. The L. stands for Carolus Linnaeus, the famous eighteenth century Swedish naturalist. Linnaeus designed the scientific names system for living organisms still in use now. But Linnaeus named only a small minority of species known today. The European yew tree is one species of that special minority.

Linnaeus visited this botanical garden in the eighteenth century. Did he see this tree, then a lot smaller, and did it inspire him to give its species a name?

I don’t know the exact age of this specimen, I don’t know whether it already was there in the eighteenth century. But I can certainly see it is old, and much taller than average yew trees.

Ring-necked parakeet female, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

The big yew tree has many red berries. They attract many birds. Blackbirds. Song thrushes. Ring-necked parakeets (see the female on the two photos).

Ring-necked parakeet female, yew tree, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

A collared pigeon.

There is ice on the canal. The ice is still thin. A passing passenger boat breaks it, pushing it aside. No need of an icebreaker for that yet.

The small pond near the source of the brook is frozen. So is the big carp pond, where the brook flows into. The brook itself is not frozen, it streams.

A group of six great cormorants flying overhead.

Greenfinches, botanical garden, 8 December 2012

In the rose garden, two greenfinches.

In the smaller yew trees in the garden of the old university library, not so many birds today.

Woodpecker and snow on the balcony


Today, the first snow of winter.

Like usually, great tits and blue tits at the feeders.

Ans a wood-pigeon below them on the balcony.

Also, after we had not seen it for some time, a great spotted woodpecker.

This is a great spotted woodpecker video.

Then, it flew from a feeder to the tree. Then, it flew away.

Woodpecker visits new bird feeder


This is a great spotted woodpecker video.

This morning, again a great spotted woodpecker on the balcony.

Maybe the new long bird feeder which allows woodpeckers to rest their tails comfortably, attracted it. It fed there.

A blackbird came as well. And a wood pigeon.

Also the usual great tits and blue tits.

In a tree opposite the balcony, a chaffinch.

Woodpecker and blackbird back at the balcony


This morning, like yesterday, great tits at the balcony bird feeders.

Chaffinch on the balcony floor.

A blackbird (which we hadn’t seen here for a long time).

And a great spotted woodpecker, only for the second time. This time, it ate fat at the house-shaped feeder.

This is a video about a juvenile great spotted woodpecker, eating peanuts at a feeder. It is still a bit clumsy at it; so, its mother comes to help it.

Great spotted woodpecker on the balcony


This morning, the usual bird species around and on the balcony feeders.

Like blue tits.

Many great tits. Some of them, the radio said, may have come all the way from Russia. There is unusually big great tit migration from eastern Europe to western Europe now.

A wood pigeon. A couple of magpies. A jackdaw.

Then, a first for the balcony. A male great spotted woodpecker!

This video is about an adult great spotted woodpecker feeding its young in a garden.

A bit later, a male chaffinch looks for seeds on the balcony floor. Only the second time that I saw this species here.

Muscovy ducks and hares


As I wrote on this blog, 23 October 2012 was a very beautiful day at the “Baillon’s crake reserve”. I saw a goshawk better than ever before; I saw a flock of over 100 snipes; and still more!

BUT: no camera.

So, next day, 24 October, I went again. This time, with a camera present.

Again, like yesterday, gadwall ducks in the canals near the southern entrance.

In the southern lake, teal swimming. And, like yesterday, snipes. But flying a lot less, not as disturbed, compared to yesterday.

Are they not afraid of the goshawk anymore? I look at the roof where the bird of prey sat. There is a bird. But it’s a carrion crow today.

So, unfortunately, less photo opportunities than yesterday. The weather is also a lot less sunny than yesterday :(

On the northern lake island: snipes, lapwings, and teal.

Behind them, near the northern lake bank, a grey heron eats a fish.

A robin sings.

On the bank of the pond of the ex-”goshawk house”, two tufted ducks and mallards.

Female and male muscovy ducks, 24 October 2012

Also, three muscovy ducks. Males have a mostly white head; females a mostly black head.

Two male teal, 24 October 2012

Quite some teal in the marshy area not far from the railroad.

Hares, with Canada geese in the background, 24 October 2012

In the northern meadow: eleven hares (more than ever). And Canada, grey lag, and Egyptian geese.

Hare, 24 October 2012

Black-headed gull, 24 October 2012

As we walk back, a black-headed gull in winter plumage on a lamppost. It cleans its feathers.

Black-headed gull on lamppost, 24 October 2012

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Dutch waders photos from Breebaart


On 23 July 2012, I was in the hide of Breebaart nature reserve in the Netherlands.

These wader photos were taken then.

Common sandpiper, Breebaart, 23 July 2012

This is a common sandpiper.

Redshank, Breebaart, 23 July 2012

This is a redshank.

Bar-tailed godwit, Breebaart, 23 July 2012

This is a bar-tailed godwit.

Also Breebaart bird photos: here.

Woodpecker, reed buntings, wren and plants


18 March 2012.

After we went to the sea through the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen nature reserve, we returned.

We pass a bunker in the dunes. During the nazi occupation, it was used by Hitler’s Wehrmacht. Now, by wintering bats.

Dunnock singing, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, 18 March 2012

A bit further, a dunnock singing on the top of a bush.

Near a canal, a pied wagtail.

A magpie on the footpath.

A woodlark singing.

Arrhenia spathulata fungus growing on star moss.

A stonechat on a branch.

A little grebe swimming. A buzzard flying.

Sphaghnum palustre moss.

A robin.

Reed buntings, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, 18 March 2012

On the footpath, five male reed buntings and a female search for food.

A great crested grebe in a canal.

Near the exit of the reserve, an old Calvatia utriformis fungus.

Fungus near exit Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, 18 March 2012

Lophocolea heterophylla liverwort.

Orthodontium lineare, a moss originally from the southern hemisphere.

Metzgeria furcata liverwort.

Female great spotted woodpecker, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, 18 March 2012

A female great spotted woodpecker, feeding on a big branch.

On the ground level, a wren plays hide and seek between tree trunks and fallen logs.

Wren, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, 18 March 2012

Wren sounds: here. Another wren photo: here.

A male chaffinch looks for food between fallen leaves.

Male chaffinch, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, 18 March 2012

Bluethroat and reed buntings of the Naardermeer


This is a bluethroat video.

12 May 2008, to the Naardermeer nature reserve.

In the marsh on the opposite side of the road: many shelducks; grey lag geese; northern lapwings; mallards; gadwall.

And a female reed bunting.

A bit further in the Naardermeer reserve, grey lag geese and barnacle geese, both with goslings.

Redshanks on the mud.

Pied wagtail.

A male shoveler swimming.

One of many singing male reed buntings of today.

A bit lower in the vegetation, a male bluethroat.

Cuckoo and reed warbler sounds.

From a hide, great egret and female mandarin duck.

We go to the next hide, De Wijde Blik.

Sedge warbler and grasshopper warbler singing.

Egyptian geese and great cormorants.

We walk on. Brimstone butterfly and buzzard flying. A juvenile edible frog in a ditch.

Then, back to the Wijde Blik.

A speckled wood butterfly between the trees.

On the water, coots and male tufted duck.

Mating dragonflies. A fine view of singing reed bunting and sedge warbler.

At the next hide, shelduck and little grebe. A bit further, a roe deer.

Finally, a small tortoiseshell butterfly on a yellow flower.

FEMALE LARK BUNTINGS—medium-sized sparrows that breed throughout the Midwest [in the USA]—show strong preferences for males with certain physical traits: here.