Kingfisher and fungi

Black bulgar fungus

22 November 2015 was a rather cold day, with every now and then rain or hail. We went to the Duivenvoorde and Horsten estates. On a pile of logs on Duivenvoorde, there was this Black bulgar fungus.

Black bulgar fungus on log

A robin sat on the logs as well.

A hare ran away. A wigeon flock flying overhead.

Two great egrets flying over a meadow.

Hawthorn berries

Hawthorn berries on a tree.

A bit further, fieldfares and redwings in treetops. And a big starling flock.

In the Horsten, coal fungus growing on an old tree stump.

On a meadow, many gray lag geese and great white-fronted geese.

Trees in De Horsten

And trees in the woodland …

Horsten trees


… with many raindrops on their branches because of today’s weather.

Jelly fungus

Jelly fungus on a tree branch; a species better at surviving winter than most other fungi.

As we go back to Duivenvoorde, a kingfisher sits on a big tree stump along a canal.

Some fly agaric fungi; rare in this region.

Fungi of Dutch dikes: here.

Dipper and frog, photo

Dipper and frog

This video shows a dipper and a frog. An edible frog; not edible for the dipper.

Wampys from the Netherlands made this photo.

Birds and botanical garden plants

This video is called Goldcrest foraging for insects.

On our way to the botanical garden on 8 November 2015, there was a female goldcrest in a coniferous tree.

Domestic pigeons, 8 November 2015

Along a canal, domestic pigeons looking for food.

In the botanical garden, a large earth bumblebee visiting a flower.

Inside a hothouse, a giant prickly stick insect at its usual place.

Victoria amazonica and butterfly, 8 November 2015

In its botanical garden hothouse, a rare sight: a Victoria amazonica flower. It attracted one of the butterflies living there. A Julia heliconian butterfly, I think.

Downy Japanese maple, 8 November 2015

Outside the hothouse, in the Japanese garden, a downy Japanese maple, with its beautiful red autumn leaves.

Downy Japanese maple and gingko, 8 November 2015

On this photo, a much bigger tree in the background: a Ginkgo biloba.

Gingko leaves, 8 November 2015

A smaller ginkgo grows along the canal. Many of its yellow autumn leaves had already fallen.

A herring gull swimming in the canal. Then, it tried to catch worms in the grassy opposite bank by trampling.

A jay calls. So does a ring-necked parakeet.

Smooth Japanese maple, 8 November 2015

Then, near the old astronomical observatory, another Japanese maple: a smooth Japanese maple, with smaller leaves than its downy relative.

Candlestick fungus growing on wood.

Autumn leaves, 8 November 2015

Near the fern garden, many autumn leaves of various species on the ground.

Weeping beech, 8 November 2015

The weeping beech, growing ever since 1840 in the garden, had also already lost many of its leaves, though it still had some.

Blue berries, 8 November 2015

Near the rose garden, these blue berries.

Coot, 8 November 2015

As we left the garden, two coots swam in the canal.

Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, exhibition in London

This video from England says about itself:

30 September 2015

On the bicentenary of the birth of Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), this film explores the life and work of one of the most important and innovative photographers of the 19th century.

By John Green in England:

Views of tender ardour: Julia Margaret Cameron

Saturday 7th November 2015

A new exhibition of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron’s work shows her to be a dynamic and creative innovator, says JOHN GREEN

Julia Margaret Cameron: Influence and Intimacy at the Science Museum, London SW7


JULIA MARGARET CAMERON was a British pioneer of photography.

Born in Calcutta, the daughter of an official of the East India Company, she was entirely self-taught and only took up the camera as a 48-year-old.

Beginning in 1863, after her daughter gave her a camera, she was only active as a photographer for 15 years.

Yet her legacy is an unrivalled series of portraits of personalities of her time, including poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, painter Holman Hunt, writer Anthony Trollope and astronomer and scientist Sir John Herschel.

“When I have had such men before my camera,” she said, “my whole soul has endeavoured to do its duty towards them in recording faithfully the greatness of the inner as well as the features of the outer man.”

Her work is made up almost entirely of portraits, many of her own family, acquaintances and servants, but in unadorned close-up.

No-one laughs, let alone smiles, in her images. This was probably due to the long exposure times needed at the time, when holding such expressions would have been difficult.

The results give her images a gravitas, earnestness and intimacy. She invariably eschews background scenery or props, giving us the face alone against dark backgrounds.

Cameron said: “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour, and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour… I began with no knowledge of the art.

“I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass.”

She made her albumen-silver prints from wet collodion glass-plate negatives and was innovative and unconventional in her approach to the technical applications of her medium in order to create images transcending the purely descriptive function of photography.

Her portrait of Herschel, her “teacher and high priest,” conjures a Rembrandtian figure, a Biblical prophet in three-quarter profile, staring into the far distance.

Her portrait of May Prinsep, The Wild Flower, exudes a calmness and serenity reminiscent of an Italian Renaissance portrait yet, perhaps contradictorily, it also has something of the Victorian penchant for romance and melodrama and an uncanny resemblance to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s portraits of Jane Morris.

Cameron’s work is radically different from the conventional portrait. They are not obviously posed or staged.

In a letter to Herschel — in response to criticisms others had made about the lack of focus in some of her images — she wrote: “Who has the right to say what focus is the legitimate focus… my aspirations are to ennoble photography and to secure for it the character and uses of high art by combining the real and ideal.”

The few photographs she took in Ceylon, where she later settled with her husband, are an intriguing taster of what she could have achieved.

Two show tea plantation workers against a backdrop of the plantation, others are of local people and differ from other “colonial” images of the time in reflecting a naturalistic and observed reality rather than an attempt to record “ethnographic types” or allegorical figures.

This free exhibition will be chiefly of interest to those with an interest in the history of photography.

But it does also transport us into the Victorian world of 150 years ago better than many a painter or other photographer could do.

Runs until March 28, details:

Birds and autumn leaves photos

Jackdaw on bicycle, 7 November 2015

Today, 7 November 2015, we saw this jackdaw on a bicycle near the botanical garden.

Jackdaw, 7 November 2015

It later flew to the ground.

Rembrandtpark leaves, 7 November 2015

In the Rembrandtpark, these beautiful autumn leaves.

Grey heron, 7 November 2015

And this grey heron looking for food …

Grey heron looking, 7 November 2015

it sees something …

Grey heron with fish, 7 November 2015

… and catches this little fish. It caught three small fishes.

Autumn leaves, 7 November 2015

Finally, some more autumn leaves, along the canal.

Autumn leaves, on 7 November 2015

Teal, brent geese and grey heron

Teal male, 1 November 2015

On 1 November 2011, to the nature reserve where I once saw Baillon’s crakes. Today, we saw this teal male: one of scores which had come there to moult.

Near the entrance: gadwall ducks swimming. Behind them, a northern shoveler.

Near the northern lake island: northern lapwings, great cormorants, snipes, black-headed gulls.

A lapwing tries to drive away a circling buzzard.

As we walked on the new footpath across the northern meadow, a kestrel flying overhead.

A robin on a bush near the railway.

Barnacle goose, 1 November 2015

In the southwestern part: six barnacle geese. Always one goose as a guard, looking around …

Barnacle geese, 1 November 2015

… while the other five kept grazing.

A moorhen.

Coot and great cormorants, 1 November 2015

Ten great cormorants, and a coot.

Swan goose, 1 November 2015

At a farm, a flock of swan geese. A species, originally domesticated in China.

Swan goose, on 1 November 2015

Finally, a grey heron.

Grey heron, 1 November 2015

It catches a small fish.

Grey heron with fish, 1 November 2015

Goldcrests, avocets and ships

Maasvlakte, container ship, 24 October 2015

On 24 October 2015, to the Maasvlakte, west of Rotterdam; as this blog reported earlier. We were there for birds, but saw many ships as well. Like this ship on its way to Rotterdam harbour; some of its containers had gone out of balance during the journey.

Maasvlakte, containers on ship, 24 October 2015

Some containers were still where they were supposed to be.

A great black-backed gull on a jetty.

Maasvlakte, female goldcrest, 24 October 2015

As we walked back to the parking lot, there were a few goldcrests in bushes.

At another spot, a grey seal swimming in the sea.

Maasvlakte, ferry, 24 October 2015

Still more ships.

A kestrel on a lamppost.

Common scoters flying off the coast.

We come to a place called the Slufter of the Maasvlakte. Many shelducks there.

Maasvlakte, avocets, 24 October 2015

And about 100 avocets: sometimes flying, sometimes resting.

On the south side of the Maasvlakte, you could see seals on a sandbank from a hide. And oystercatchers.

Maasvlakte, female chaffinch, 24 October 2015

Much closer to the hide, this female chaffinch.

This video is about a male and a female chaffinch in winter in Britain.

Still further, near the north coast of the Oostvoornse meer. A curlew calls.

Maasvlakte, starlings, 24 October 2015

Flocks of starlings on treetops.

Along the footpath to the hide of Hoekje Jans nature reserve, common self-heal flowers. A pheasant calls.