Red kite, grey heron, yellow wagtails


Sedge warbler, 17 April 2017

On 17 April 2017 we were still in the Westbroekse Zodden nature reserve. Where we saw this sedge warbler.

Red kite, 17 April 2017

Then, a red kite flying overhead. A rare species in the Netherlands.

A grey heron flying.

Great crested grebe, 17 April 2017

Two great crested grebes swim.

Great crested grebe, on 17 April 2017

A lesser black-backed gull flies. One would expect this species closer to the North Sea.

Grey lag geese, 17 April 2017

Grey lag geese flying.

Yellow wagtail, 17 April 2017

Five yellow wagtails, and a white wagtail, on and around the footpath.

Female gadwall, 17 April 2017

Male and female gadwall ducks flying.

Finally, two stock doves.

Mute swans, whimbrels and flowers


Mute swans, 17 April 2017

This photo shows a mute swan couple. We saw them on April 2017, along the Bert Bospad, a nature trail in the Westbroekse Zodden nature reserve in Utrecht province in the Netherlands.

Westbroekse Zodden, 17 April 2017

The reserve is old peat land, which is being restored now.

At the entrance, barn swallows flying. An Egyptian goose in a meadow.

Lady’s smock flowers. An oystercatcher.

A meadow pipit flying and calling.

A northern lapwing.

Mute swan, 17 April 2017

A mute swan sitting on its nest.

Whimbrels, 17 April 2017

Thirteen whimbrels flying past.

A redshank lands.

A great crested grebe. A reed bunting.

Little ringed plovers flying.

Tufted ducks, 17 April 2017

A tufted duck couple.

A chiffchaff sings.

Edible frog sound.

Marsh marigold, 17 April 2017

Marsh marigold flowers.

Slender cottongrass, 17 April 2017

Lots of slender cottongrass.

Buckbean, 17 April 2017

And buckbean flowers.

Gray lag geese.

A buzzard flies.

Five white wagtails.

A great cormorant sitting on a leafless tree.

A sedge warbler sings.

A common tern flies. The first one I have seen this spring!

White stork, 17 April 2017

And a white stork flying.

Thanks to my fellow Bert Bospad hikers, makers of these photos! Stay tuned, as there will be more on this blog about Westbroekse Zodden wildlife.

Cuban blue-winged teal and black-necked stilts


White ibises and great egret, 12 March 2017

Still 12 March 2017 on the islands north of Cuba. After we had seen the flamingos, tricoloured heron and Ernest Hemingway sculptures, there were still these two white ibises and this great egret along the mangrove coast.

And red knots. Short-billed dowitchers. Lesser yellowlegs.

Reddish egret, 12 March 2017

And a reddish egret.

Palm warbler, on 12 March 2017

On a shrub, this palm warbler.

Black-necked stilts and turtles, 12 March 2017

We continued to a lake, where there scores of black-necked stilts; and freshwater turtles as well. I think they were Cuban sliders; an endemic species of Cuba.

Black-necked stilts and turtles, on 12 March 2017

Greater yellowlegs were also present.

Black-necked stilts and blue-winged teal, on 12 March 2017

Besides black-necked stilts, and a common gallinule, there were also various duck species; like blue-winged teal.

Shovelers, 12 March 2017

And shoveler ducks, both males and females.

Stay tuned, as there were not only birds in Cuba on 12 March, but on 13 March and after as well!

Cuban flamingos, tricoloured heron and Ernest Hemingway


Flamingos, 12 March 2017

We saw these beautiful Caribbean flamingos on 12 March 2017 off Cayo Guillermo island north of Cuba, after seeing a piping plover and egrets earlier that day.

Flamingos, Cuba, 12 March 2017

Before we saw the flamingos, we had seen a yellow-crowned night heron. And two black-necked stilts.

We reached the bridge to Cayo Guillermo.

Hemingway sculpture, 12 March 2017

On the bridge, statues commemorating the stay of United States author Ernest Hemingway in Cuba. Hemingway‘s books Islands in the Stream and The Old Man and the Sea are inspired by the islands north of Cuba.

Near the bridge, royal terns. And a ring-billed gull. And red knots.

Spotted sandpiper, 12 March 2017

And this spotted sandpiper. Not really spotted yet, as it was still in winter plumage.

Tricoloured heron, 12 March 2017

A tricoloured heron.

White ibises, 12 March 2017

Two white ibises flying. White ibises are locally called ‘coco’. Cayo Coco island is named after these birds.

Kite surfers and brown pelicans, 12 March 2017

A bit further, two kite surfers and two brown pelicans flying.

A snowy egret.

Stay tuned for more 12 March 2017 Cuban birds!

Cuban piping plover, herons and egrets


Royal tern, 12 March 2017

This photo shows a royal tern flying near a beach on Cayo Coco island north of Cuba. We had arrived there on 12 March 2017 from the spot where we had seen a Cuban tody and doves.

There were semipalmated plovers on the beach. And ruddy turnstones. And a willet.

Piping plover, 12 March 2017

And a special bird: a piping plover, on migration from North America.

White great blue heron, 12 March 2017

Also, a big white bird. A great egret? No, great egrets have black legs. This one has greyish legs. So, it is a white form of the great blue heron. In the USA, these white ‘blue’ herons live in southern Florida.

White great blue heron, 12 March 2017

Laughing gull. Grey plover.

Piping plover flies, 12 March 2017

The piping plover flies away.

Great egret and great blue heron, 12 March 2017

Other birds stay. Like this great egret, and this great blue heron (not a white morph this time).

Great egrets, 12 March 2017

One great egret stays. Another one flies away.

Stay tuned for more Cuban coastal birds on this blog!

Mistle thrushes, shelducks, nuthatch


Esscheplaat river, 9 April 2017

After we had crossed the water on the ‘kingfisher ferry’ on 9 April 2017, we were in the Esscheplaat part of the nature reserve Oeverlanden Hollands Diep in the Netherlands. The Esscheplaat used to be a place where willow wood was harvested for building dikes, making baskets etc. Now, it is a beautiful riverine forest.

Esscheplaat, on 9 April 2017

Esscheplaat water, 9 April 2017

Sometimes, the Esscheplaat reminded one of a temperate version of the Amazon rainforest.

Esscheplaat willows, 9 April 2017

Some willow trees, with their twisted forms, still showed the willow growing and logging past of this area.

Much Himalayan balsam in the undergrowth.

Ground-ivy, 9 April 2017

And ground-ivy.

Mushrooms, 9 April 2017

And mushrooms.

We hear a great spotted woodpecker.

As we continue, we hear several mistle thrushes singing.

Every now and then, we hear a wren. One of the 120 Esscheplaat wren couples.

Along the water, marsh marigold flowers. The Caltha palustris subsp. araneosa form, adapted to willow growing and logging environments.

A great cormorant sits on a pole in the water.

Shelducks, 9 April 2017

Four shelducks fly overhead. Two males (bigger, with red knobs above their bills) and two females.

A jay flies past.

Green woodpecker sound. Blackbird sound.

A short-toed treecreper creeps up a tree. We are near the hut ‘Koosje’, where willow wood harvesters used to stay during the winter months decades ago.

A small juvenile common frog.

Finally, on the Esscheplaat in the morning, a nuthatch on the top of a tree.

And a male and a female buzzard circle around each other in the air.

A green sandpiper on a mudflat.

A black-tailed godwit calls.

A Cetti’s warbler sings.

A big flock of sand martins fly above the water. Apparently, they are just back from Africa. They prepare their nesting tunnels on the sandy bank for the new breeding season.

Sand martin on sign, 9 March 2017

The sand martin is also depicted on the information sign of this nature reserve (this is a cellphone photo).

In the afternoon, in the part of the nature reserve near Strijensas village, a male marsh harrier flying. A bit later, a female.

On mudflats, herring gulls and oystercatchers.

Teal swimming.

Also, a much rarer male garganey.

Northern lapwings.

Quite some shoveler ducks.

Gadwall ducks.

Three beautiful yellow wagtails. They come quite close. Unfortunately, no camera at hand.

A greenshank.

Common gulls.

Finally, whimbrels.

Reed bunting, kingfisher and great crested grebe


Oeverlanden Hollands Diep, 9 April 2017

On 9 April 2017, we went to nature reserve Oeverlanden Hollands Diep in the Netherlands. Though across the Hollands Diep estuary is the Moerdijk chemical industry, it is a beautiful area.

Oeverlanden Hollands Diep, on 9 April 2017

As we arrived at the entrance, barn swallows flying. The first ones I saw this year; probably just back from Africa.

In a lake swam mallards.

Mute swan, 9 April 2017

And mute swans.

And grey lag geese. And coots.

And tufted ducks.

Great crested grebe, 9 April 2017

And this great crested grebe.

Two grey herons flying. So does a Canada goose.

Chiffchaff and chaffinch sounds.

In a tree, a greenfinch singing.

White wagtail, 9 April 2017

In another tree, a white wagtail.

Male reed bunting, 9 April 2017

In yet another tree, a male reed bunting.

Oeverlanden plants, 9 April 2017

IJsvogel ferry, 9 April 2017

To get to the Esscheplaat part of the reserve, we need the ferry. The name of the ferry is ‘IJsvogel‘ (kingfisher). A bit later, someone (not me) sees a real kingfisher.

Stay tuned for the sequel of this blog!

Oeverlanden, 9 April 2017