Red fox marks its territory, video


This is a video about a red fox marking its territory with smell signals in Meijendel nature reserve in the Netherlands.

Lammert Heine made the video.

Ducks, ducks, dabchicks and whitethroat


Common pochards, 25 May 2014

Still 17 May 2015. After the early morning in Meijendel nature reserve, we arrived at a lake where these pochard ducks swam.

Common pochard male, 25 May 2014

There were males.

Common pochard male and female, 25 May 2014

And females as well.

There was a redshank too, but it did not want to be photographed.

A little grebe, also known as dabchick, swimming.

A male tufted duck swimming as well.

A bluethroat singing on a bush.

A chiffchaff sings.

We arrive at another lake.

A reed warbler sings, somewhere in a reedbed.

A garden warbler sings in a tree.

A male and a female reed bunting together in a tree.

Little grebes, 17 May 2014

Dabchicks swimming.

A rabbit crosses the footpath.

Garden tiger moth, 17 May 2014

A garden tiger moth caterpillar.

Garden tiger moth, Meijendel, 17 May 2014

Not the only specimen of this species today.

Whitethroat, 17 May 2014

Again, a whitethroat singing. One of the most common birds in Meijendel.

Seaside pansies, 17 May 2014

Seaside pansy flowers.

Egyptian geese and red-crested pochards, 17 May 2014

Another lake, with red-crested pochard ducks and Egyptian geese.

A female stonechat on a bush.

A chaffinch.

A juvenile common frog.

Clove-scented broomrape flowers.

Also about Meijendel: here.

Time use and foraging behaviour in pre-breeding dabbling ducks Anas spp. in sub-arctic Norway: here.

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Nightingale concert and wheatear


Nightingale sings, 17 May 2014

On 17 May 2014, to Meijendel nature reserve. We went very early. Already before sunrise, many nightingales singing so beautifully. As usually, you could hear most nightingales, but not see them. This one, singing from the top of a Meijendel bush, was an exception; as most birds of this species sing at inconspicuous places.

A bit later than the nightingales, but still before sunrise, a blackbird began to sing.

And a robin.

And a blackcap.

And a redstart.

At a lake about a kilometer away, the booming sound of a bittern; only audible for excellent ears.

A song thrush.

A cuckoo calls.

In a lake, a mute swan and red-crested pochards swim. And a coot.

We are in the Ganzenhoek part of the reserve, usually inaccessible to people.

Meijendel fog, 17 May 2014

It is still hazy; the sun has not driven away the fog yet.

A willow warbler sings.

Then, the nightingale on top of the bush of the photo on top of this blog post.

One of many whitethroats sings.

Seaside pansy flowers.

Canada geese flying overhead.

A carrion crow.

Two great cormorants flying.

A woodlark sings.

Meijendel sunrise, 17 May 2014

Then, sunrise.

Meijendel lake, 17 May 2014

A shallow lake. In Meijendel at this time of the year, many tadpoles of various species in lakes likes this.

A northern lapwing calls.

Early marsh orchid flowers.

Meijendel dunes, 17 May 2014

Then, on to a drier part of the reserve, with sand dunes.

There are about 250 foxes in Meijendel, but we don’t see one today.

We do see a male stonechat on a bush.

Meadow pipit, on bush, 17 May 2014

On another bush, a meadow pipit sings. With the early morning moon still in the background.

Cinnabar moths flying; a bit further, their caterpillars.

Wheatear, 17 May 2014

Then, a female northern wheatear.

A goshawk flying.

Meijendel, 17 May 2014

Still remnants of fog in lower parts of dune valleys.

Stay tuned, as there will be another blog post on 17 May in Meijendel.

Ganzenhoek in 2016: here.

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Marsh tits, parakeets, starlings and sanderlings


On 16 February 2013, to Meijendel nature reserve.

Before we departed, the song thrush singing in a parking lot treetop. A carrion crow drove it away to sit on the treetop itself.

At the Meijendel parking lot, jackdaws and rooks on trees. A chaffinch on the ground.

A blackbird. A great tit.

Then, a special bird. A marsh tit. It moves so fast among the branches that it is impossible to make good photographs of it.

Ring-necked parakeets, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

Next, a ring-necked parakeet couple. Less and less of these parrots are by now in the big flocks sleeping, eg, on the island in the pond of The Hague city centre. Ring-necked parakeets nest early in the year. The two birds here inspect whether a hole in a tree is fit for a nest. They seem to like it.

Starling, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

Much to the disappointment of a starling couple, which would have liked to nest there as well.

Ring-necked parakeet female, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

There are still icy patches on the footpaths.

At the hide, the water in the lake is still frozen. One of us speaks about seeing a bittern in the reed beds, but it may be wishful thinking. Others think they hear cranes. Wishful thinking as well? Is the sound really geese?

Another starling couple. This time with a nest hole which is unambiguously theirs.

Starling singing, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

The male spreads his wings and sings.

Starling sitting, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

A bit further, two marsh tits. A blue tit.

The next lake is mostly frozen as well. A lone coot swims in the open water part.

Three Canada geese flying over head. They land in one of few ice-free lakes, south of the path to the sea. A female common pochard.

A dunnock singing.

This looks like a good spot for counting birds in my fifteen minutes for the international Great Backyard Bird Count, organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA.

In these fifteen minutes, 10:36 to 10:51, I count: one female common pochard. Nine mallards. Ten great cormorants. Two mute swans. Fifteen coots. One dunnock. One great tit.

Then, on to the far western dunes, where one has a view of the sea. Over twenty sanderlings. Some resting; some running frantically along the floodline.

Three oystercatchers. Scores of adult and juvenile herring gulls.

Two great crested grebes swimming in the sea.

As we walk back, a buzzard sitting on a bush. Later, a kestrel flying.

Tulostoma fimbriatum fungi. A species which does not mind winter cold as much as many other fungi species.

Blackcap and red-crested pochard


Today, to Meijendel nature reserve.

A buzzard flying.

We hear chiffchaffs and willow warblers. We still can see them as well, now that there are not that many leaves on the trees yet.

A willow tit.

A male blackcap.

In the dune lakes: red-crested pochards, tufted ducks, common pochards. On a bank, a northern lapwing and an Egyptian goose.

A rabbit on a dune.

As we go back, a kestrel hovering near the highway.

Subalpine warbler near Crailo, Hilversum: here.

Red-crested pochards and fungi


This is a Dutch video about Meijendel nature reserve.

Today, to the Kijfhoek; the southernmost part of the Kijfhoek en Bierlap part of the reserve.

On our way, black swans near the Valkenburg lake.

Arriving in Meijendel, a buzzard sitting on a coniferous tree.

Songs of chiffchaffs. And of a willow warbler (early in the year for that species).

A male and a female great spotted woodpecker.

A jay.

A song thrush near a treetop, singing beautifully for a long time.

A stock dove.

Blue tits and great tits.

A marsh tit.

On a, still standing, birch tree are birch bracket fungi.

A bit further, on the dune sand floor, much smaller fungi: winter stalkballs.

Green woodpecker sound.

A great crested grebe and grey lag geese in a lake.

In another lake, about thirty red-crested pochards. Also common pochards, tufted ducks, mallards, Canada geese, and coots.

And a little grebe.

A sparrowhawk circling in the air.

A male fallow deer.

Finally, striated earthstars.

Meijendel dwarf earthstar photos: here.

Black-necked grebe and natterjack toad


This is a video of two black-necked grebes in the Netherlands.

Within Meijendel nature reserve, there is a specially protected area called Kikkervalleien. It is open the public only for one day a year, usually in June. This year, that one day was today.

Before arriving there: two adult black swans with young, near the Valkenburgse meer.

Immediately after the Kikkervalleien entrance: two black-necked grebes swimming.

On ragwort plants, black and yellow striped caterpillars. They are caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth.

Flowers of vipers’ bugloss; Viola curtisii; southern marsh-orchid.

A lady working for the nature reserve shows us a very young natterjack toad, which was a tadpole not long ago. Also many still very small common frogs. Later, also an adult common toad there. There are also invertebrates in the water here, including great pond snails.

The nature reserve empoyee also names the many flowers close to the water here: rattle; common milkwort; fairy flax; water mint.

A bit higher, not so close to the water: scarlet pimpernel flowers.

Orchids of Zwanenwater reserve: here.

On a fence sits a male stonechat; see also here.

Many great cormorants flying overhead.

On the water’s edge of a small shallow dune lake, many very small common frogs. Swimming in the water: their brothers and sisters, still in the tadpole phase.

A bit higher, in the dunes: star gentian flowers.

When we get back to the entrance, a black-necked grebe swimming at the same spot where we have seen it earlier.

Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes are superficially very similar in their black-and-white winter plumage, and structural features are important in their separation: here.

Slavonian grebe spotted at Worcestershire reserve: here.

Nightingales and red-crested pochards


This is a video of a male red-crested pochard.

Today, to Meijendel nature reserve.

Before I got there, from the train: many grey lag geese at the Naardermeer. Near Hoofddorp tufted ducks, and later a buzzard.

A coot transporting a green leaf of its own size across the water to its nest near the river Rhine.

Walking from the bus stop to Meijendel, a long-tailed tit. And brimstone butterflies. Later, in Meijendel itself, many speckled wood butterflies.

In Meijendel, I walk at first along the path with red markers; then, the blue path; finally, the yellow path which leads to the sea.

A jay. Sounds of willow warbler, chiffchaff, and great spotted woodpecker.

I arrive at the hide near one of the dune lakes. On the water: coots, mallards, tufted ducks, great crested grebes.

Just as I am starting to think: ‘nice birds, but common species’, I see two red-crested pochards, a male and a female, gliding over the water surface.

Then, a nightingale singing. The first one of many which I will hear here today.

Between ground ivy along the path, also a few Viola curtisii flowering.

I pass more dune lakes. I hear a little grebe calling. Four great cormorants pass overhead.

Tufted ducks and common pochards in a lake. Common gulls at the water’s edge.

Great tits in bushes not far from the sea.

Oystercatchers, carrion crows, and herring gulls on the beach.

As I walk back, a meadow pipit and a barn swallow above the dunes closest to the sea.

Nightingale and chiffchaff sounds.

At the lake which I passed before on my way to the sea, the same birds, now joined by a northern lapwing. The common gulls are in an amorous mood.

At the hide, I didn’t see the red-crested pochards any more. However, there were two gadwall now.

Sounds of a green woodpecker and a pheasant.

Nightingales are disappearing from Britain because deer are eating the woodland undergrowth the birds need for nesting, a new study has shown. It is a significant breakthrough in understanding why numbers of the renowned songbird are rapidly falling; here.

New amphibian species in Dutch nature reserve


This is a video of common newts and juvenile natterjack toads, crawling out of the water in Schiermonnikoog, the Netherlands.

Traditionally, there used to be six amphibian species in nature reserve Meijendel, north of The Hague in the Netherlands.

Four of those are toads and frogs: edible frog, common frog, Eurasian toad, and natterjack toad.

Also two newt species, the common newt and the great crested newt, are traditional Meijendel denizens.

Recently, two other species joined them.

They are the common Eurasian spadefoot toad; and the common tree frog.

Natterjack toads in Ireland: here.

Frogs in Europe: here.

Common frogs in prehistoric Czech human diet: here.