Winterswijk blackcap and nuthatch


Blackcap male, 28 April 2017

After 27 April 2017 in Winterswijk came 28 April. When we saw this male blackcap.

In the garden, a great tit.

Along the Slingeweg road, lilac flowers.

A dunnock along the road.

Near the Borkense baan bridge, this time no grey wagtails; but the blackcap of the photo at the top of this blog post was present.

At the entrance of the Buskersbos forest, a nuthatch on a tree.

A song thrush sings. So does a chaffinch.

Planet Saturn, spectacular Cassini spacecraft photos


This video says about itself:

Closest Saturn Pics Yet Snapped During Daring Cassini Dive

27 April 2017

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft’s ’Grand Finale’ has begun with the first of 22 planned dives between Saturn‘s innermost rings and the planet itself. The probe came within about 1900 miles (3000 km) of the planet’s cloudtops and captured some amazing images.

Read more here.

From Science News:

Cassini’s ring dive offers first close-up of Saturn’s cloud tops

Spacecraft images reveal stunning views of planet’s hurricane and more

By Ashley Yeager

5:49pm, April 27, 2017

Cassini has beamed back stunning images from the spacecraft’s daring dive between Saturn and its rings.

The first closeup pictures of the planet’s atmosphere reveal peculiar threadlike clouds and puffy cumulus ones, plus the giant hurricane first spotted on Saturn in 2008 (SN: 11/8/08, p. 9). Released April 27, the images of Saturn’s cloud tops are a “big step forward” for understanding the planet’s atmosphere, says Cassini imaging team member Andy Ingersoll, an atmospheric scientist at Caltech.

“I was pretty struck by the prevalence of the filamentary type of clouds,” he says. “It’s as if the long threads of clouds refuse to mix with each other.” Studying the interactions of these clouds and the cumulus ones will reveal what’s going on in Saturn’s skies.

During its dive, Cassini swooped to within 3,000 kilometers of the planet’s atmosphere and 300 kilometers of the innermost edge of the rings at 124,000 kilometers per hour. Slamming into even tiny particles from the rings could have damaged the spacecraft. To protect Cassini, mission scientists used the spacecraft’s 4-meter-wide antenna as a shield, putting the spacecraft temporarily out of contact with NASA.

Cassini reestablished contact with mission control early on April 27 and started to send back data minutes later. Shots of the rings and other features will be available in the coming days, and more stunning views are expected when the spacecraft shoots through the gap between Saturn and its rings again on May 2. It will ultimately orbit 20 more times before plunging into the planet’s atmosphere on September 15 (SN Online: 4/21/17).

Cassini gallery of raw Saturn images: here.

Birds, butterfly and plants of peatland


Korenburgerveen, 26 April 2017

This photo from 26 April 2017, the day after 25 April, is from the Korenburgerveen, a peatland nature reserve near Winterswijk.

As we traveled to the Korenburgerveen, near the Borkense baan flew a male bullfinch.

Near the old Berenschot water mill and its fish corridor, a grey wagtail near the bank.

A hare crossing the bicycle track.

At the Korenburgerveen, a green woodpecker calls.

Near the Rommelpot restaurant, a buzzard calls.

We follow the trail in the Meddose Veen, the northern part of the Korenburgerveen.

A willow warbler, and a blackbird, singing.

Meddose Veen, 26 April 2017

We arrive at a lake. This photo shows common cottongrass on its bank.

A relative, tussock cottongrass, grows in the Meddose Veen as well.

Meddose Veen trail, 26 April 2017

Great spotted woodpecker sound.

The trail was sometimes dry …

Cottongrass, 26 April 2017

… sometimes muddy, eg, if water-loving cottongrass grew near it.

Cottongrass, on 26 April 2017

Cottongrass, Meddose Veen, on 26 April 2017

A male orange tip butterfly sits down near the trail.

Orange tip butterfly, 26 April 2017

As we walk back, a great egret and a grey heron at a wetland. And greenshanks.

American great crested flycatchers, photos wanted


This video from the USA is called Great Crested Flycatcher Calls.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA, April 2017:

Wanted: Great Crested Flycatcher Nest Photos

Great Crested Flycatchers have a curious habit of adding snake skins to their nests. But, why do they do this? If you find a Great Crested Flycatcher nest this spring, take a photo and submit it to NestWatch to help us understand this unusual behavior. We’re collaborating with Dr. Vanya Rohwer of the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates to address three main questions:

  1. Does the use of snake skins in nests vary across the breeding range?
  2. Where in the nests do flycatchers place snake skins (e.g., touching eggs, around the entrance hole, or scattered throughout the nest cup)?
  3. Do snake skins increase nesting success?

How to take photos: Great Crested Flycatchers are cavity nesters, so these directions assume that you’ve found a nest in a box. Please take photos looking straight down onto the nest so that the nest cup, eggs/nestlings, and box walls are visible. For each photo, please include the location, the date you took the photo, and indicate whether you’re NestWatching the box (data on nest fates are especially helpful). In order for photos to be used, they must be in focus and sufficiently bright so that we can see snake skins inside the nest (or lack thereof). Please submit photos through our online Participant Photos Gallery.

Great Crested Flycatchers are an insectivorous bird that is declining in some parts of its range. If you live in an area with an open forest habitat (urban or suburban neighborhoods with mature trees, old orchards, lake or riverside areas with large shade trees) in the eastern or midwestern states, you can put up a nest box to attract Great Crested Flycatchers. For the best chance of success, avoid placing the nest box in open agricultural areas or dense forest.

Nuthatch along the Slinge river, redstart sings


Slinge, Bekendelle, 25 April 2017

After 24 April 2017, on 25 April to the Bekendelle forest along the upper Slinge river.

Willow warbler singing.

Song thrush.

Chiffchaff.

Blackbird, chaffinch, great spotted woodpecker sound.

Ground-ivy, 25 April 2017

Ground-ivy and dandelion flowers on a fallen tree along the river.

Slinge, Bekendelle, on 25 April 2017

A bit further, a nuthatch on the lower part of another tree.

Redstart, Winterswijk, 25 April 2017

As we came back to the garden, a male redstart singing on a deciduous tree.

Long-tailed tit, 25 April 2017

Then, another bird landed on the coniferous tree: a long-tailed tit.

Birds and butterflies along the Slinge river


Slinge, 24 April 2017

After 23 April 2017, on 24 April again to the Buskersbos forest and the Slinge river.

In the morning, a redstart on the top of the coniferous tree in the garden.

As we start walking, a blackcap and a great tit near the farm.

Tulips, 24 April 2017

The tulips are still there.

A pheasant calls.

In the Buskersbos, various butterflies.

Including speckled wood.

And orange tip.

And brimstone.

The grey wagtails are still present near the Borkense baan bridge.

As I walk back, near the farm a buzzard flying. And a grey heron.

A chiffchaff sings.

Grey wagtails at the Slinge river


Buskersbos, 23 April 2017

After arriving in Brinkheurne village near Winterswijk town on 22 April 2017, on 23 April we went to the Buskersbos forest. Where the Slinge river flows, as this photo shows.

Early in the morning, there had been long-tailed tits in the garden again. A chaffinch sings. A starling on a tree.

At the beginning of the walk near a farm, two jays. A magpie.

Song thrush and chiffchaff songs.

A blackcap sings as well.

Slinge, 23 April 2017

We arrived at the river Slinge in the Buskersbos.

Yellow archangel flowers.

Wood anemone flowers.

A grey heron flies.

Pheasant and great spotted woodpecker sounds.

Buskersbos, on 23 April 2017

Ground-ivy and other flowers attract large earth bumblebees.

Buskersbos, Winterswijk, on 23 April 2017

A male mallard swims in the Slinge.

White dead-nettle flowers.

Then, a special bird: a grey wagtail on a stone in the river.

Slinge, on 23 April 2017

Goldfinches. We have left the Buskersbos and approach the Strandlodge.

Next to the Strandlodge is an open air swimming pool. It is still closed for humans: the water is too cold. Now, a male tufted duck swims in the pool. On the boardwalk, two oystercatchers. On the bank, a white wagtail and a little ringed plover.

A flock of rooks flying.

A bit later, more tufted ducks, both male and female, in the swimming pool. And a coot.

Lady’s smock flowers. A buzzard lands on a branch.

A robin.

We are back in the Buskersbos forest, and see a pondskater on the Slinge.

A great tit.

A nuthatch calls.

A wren on the opposite Slinge bank.

A goshawk calls.

Later in the afternoon, we decide to go back to Slinge; especially to the grey wagtails at the Borkense baan bridge.

Tulips, 23 April 2017

Near the farm, these tulips grow.

In the Slinge, a mandarin duck.

Grey wagtail, 23 April 2017

The grey wagtails at the bridge often have their bills full of insects.

Grey wagtail, on 23 April 2017

We see them disappear in the undergrowth on the bank. Very probably, their nest is there, and they feed the insects to their chicks.