Kingfisher and brimstone butterfly


Brimstone butterfly, 29 August 2015

This photo shows a male brimstone butterfly in the gardens of Sperwershof in ‘s Graveland in the Netherlands. We went there on 29 August 2015.

Before we arrived there, a group of white wagtails on a meadow. And grey lag geese.

A bit further, a kingfisher fishing in a ditch.

A dragonfly sitting on a pole: a male vagrant darter, aka moustached darter?

Brimstone butterfly, on 29 August 2015

As I said, at the Sperwershof a brimstone butterfly.

This is a brimstone butterfly video.

As we go back, nuthatch sound.

Along the bicycle track, big parasol mushrooms grow.

Belgian judge arrested for recording police


Belfry of Bruges

Photography is not a crime … however, also in Belgium some police seem to think differently about people recording what they do. Even if a photographer is also a judge.

In the night of 26-27 August 2015, in a street in Bruges, Belgium, there was trouble between English Manchester United and Belgian football supporters. Many people living there made videos with their smartphones of police arresting football fans.

Including local judge Jan Nolf, who lives in that street as well.

Translated from Mr Nolf’s blog today:

No policeman objected to the filming or photographing.

Except suddenly that one, and then just when I wanted to make a picture of the lighted Halletoren [or: Belfry], right in the line of the street into view above the forest of white police helmets.

Now I will tell you literally about the “conversation”:

“Stop filming”.

“I do not film, I am photographing” (while I was putting away my photo equipment into my right pocket).

The masked policeman gets close to me. “Stop filming!” Since my photo equipment was already in my right pocket, I answered somewhat puzzledly: “I did not film, I took a picture.”

It seems like under his helmet he is deaf, because he repeats “Stop filming,” making me wonder what is really his intention.

So I ask “Why?”

The gruff answer is again: ‘Stop filming “- while I still have my camera in my right pocket (my iPhone during the whole scene remained in my left pocket).

I answer calmly shrugging my shoulders: “I did not film but I do not really agree that it is illegal.”

The man immediately shouts out a command and three helmeted and masked policemen frogmarch me away to the other side of the street … There they put me against the wall immediately with my hands on my back firmly enthralled with narrow straps.

Then I am led to the queue for the bus for the arrested people from Manchester.

Before I step on the bus, I ask the police three times if they realize what they are doing. They look at me and do not answer. Nobody asks for my ID.

The whole scene is too crazy to be true and that keeps me calm all the time in an unlikely way. I do wonder what will happen to me on the bus.

Judge Nolf ended up being freed without charges. He will lodge a complaint about this police behaviour.

Red-necked phalarope, ruffs and marsh harrier


Red-necked phalarope, 23 August 2015

On 23 August 2015, after what happened in my earlier blog post, still in North Holland province in the Netherlands. A flower bulb field was under water, for biological pest control. That attracted birds like this red-necked phalarope.

Red-necked phalaropes are smaller relatives of grey phalaropes which we had seen in Svalbard. Both Eurasian phalarope species are rare migrants in the Netherlands.

Ruff male, 23 August 2015

There were also a common sandpiper and ruffs on migration there. This photo shows a male ruff, with still remnants of his mating season collar around his neck.

Ruff male, on 23 August 2015

Ruff male, still on 23 August 2015

Not far from Callantsoog village, another field with a low water level attracted ruffs.

Dunlin, 23 August 2015

And dunlin. They still had some black feathers on their bellies, but not as many as in their mating season.

Turnstone, 23 August 2015

And a few turnstones.

And a ringed plover.

And some little stints.

Wood sandpiper, 23 August 2015

And a wood sandpiper.

Shelducks, wigeon and mallards, 23 August 2015

A bit further on a bank, juvenile shelducks resting. Behind them, two wigeon. Still further behind them, mallards.

A dozen oystercatchers.

We went back south, to the Harger- en Pettemerpolder reserve.

Marsh harrier, 23 August 2015

A male marsh harrier flying there.

Marsh harrier male, 23 August 2015

A bit further, a beautiful great egret not far away. However, the battery of the camera was finished.

Spoonbills and whinchats


Spoonbills flying, 23 August 2015

This video shows spoonbills flying over the wetland near the Nauertogt road near Koedijk village in North Holland province in the Netherlands. We went there, and to other nature reserves in that area, on 23 August 2015.

A kestrel hovering in the air. A garganey swimming. So do shoveler ducks. Some spoonbills feeding in the shallow water.

Northern wheatear, 23 August 2015

A northern wheatear on a pole.

Barn swallows fly past.

Two glossy ibises on a bank. Ruffs.

Mute swans, coots, mallards, 23 August 2015

Also many mute swans, coots and mallards swimming.

Spoonbills and great cormorant, 23 August 2015

We continue. On the opposite bank of a canal, spoonbills cleaning their feathers. And a great cormorant.

Whinchat, 23 August 2015

As we appoach the Harger- en Pettemerpolder reserve, migrating whinchats sit on wires and poles.

Whinchat on pole, 23 August 2015

White wagtails. Northern lapwings.

Meadow pipit, on road, 23 August 2015

And a meadow pipit on the road.

A common sandpiper.

Near the Hondsbossche Zeewering marine dike, Sandwich terns fly and call.

Also a common tern.

We go further north. Snipes, common sandpipers and wood sandpipers in a shallow ditch. In the background, a golden plover flock flying.

Hondsbossche zeewering, 23 August 2015

We arrive at the northern end of the Hondsbossche Zeewering marine dike, near Petten village. This photo shows the view to the south; there are major works to reinforce the dike with sand in front of it.

Beach near Petten, 23 August 2015

And this photo shows the view to the north, where the beach attracts tourists.

A hobby flying south along the coastline. Probably, all the way to Africa.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on my blog about birds in this area!

Are butterflies dangerous, see photo?


Red admiral

This photo by Stephen Bassett shows a red admiral butterfly on a sign in Axe Valley Wildlife Park in Devon in England, on 21 August 2015.

Photographers’ favourite birds, top ten list


This is a video about a great grey shrike, which has impaled a vole on a thorn. The video is from Belarus; however, the great grey shrike is also the favourite bird of Dutch photographers.

Photographer Jeffrey van Houten made a list, published today (with photos there), based on comments at the site Birdpix.nl, of the top ten species which Dutch bird photographers like to photograph most.

They are:

1. Great grey shrike

2. Bearded reedling

3. Short-eared owl

4. Little owl

5. Bee-eater

6. Cuckoo

7. Water rail

8. Barn owl

9. Long-eared owl

10. Goshawk

Spanish woman fined for photographing police breaking the law


Gag law in Spain

Photography is not a crime. Not in the USA. Not in Greece. Not in Spain. But hard line right authorities seem to be too stupid to understand that.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Spanish woman fined for posting picture of police parked in disabled bay

Unnamed woman from Alicante ordered to pay €800 under controversial gagging law for posting photo on her Facebook page

Stephen Burgen in Barcelona

Sunday 16 August 2015 12.09 BST

A Spanish woman has been fined €800 (£570) under the country’s controversial new gagging law for posting a photograph of a police car parked illegally in a disabled bay.

The unnamed woman, a resident of Petrer in Alicante, south-east Spain, posted the photo on her Facebook page with the comment “Park where you bloody well please and you won’t even be fined”.

The police tracked her down within 48 hours and fined her.

The Citizens Security Law, popularly known as the gagging law and which came into force on 1 July, prohibits “the unauthorised use of images of police officers that might jeopardise their or their family’s safety or that of protected facilities or police operations”.

Amnesty International condemned the law, saying that photographing police was vital in cases when excessive force had been used. Fines under this section of the law range from €600 to €30,000.

Fernando Portillo, a spokesman for the local police, said the officers had parked in the disabled bay because they had been called to deal with an incident of vandalism in a nearby park. A rapid response is essential if they are to catch the offenders “in flagranti”, he told local media, adding that in an emergency the police park where they can.

Asked how the photo had put the police at risk, he said the officers felt the woman had impugned their honour by posting the picture and referred the incident to the town hall authorities. “We would have preferred a different solution but they have the legal right to impose the fine,” Portillo said.

Last month two couples in Córdoba were reportedly fined €300 each for consuming alcohol in a public place, although they claimed to have had only soft drinks and a pizza.

The gagging law also prohibits demonstrations in the vicinity of parliament or the senate, trying to prevent an eviction or actions of passive resistance such as sit-down protests in the street. Offenders face fines of up to €600,000.