Highland cattle and stonechat


Highland cattle, 10 July 2016

After 9 July 2016 at the nature reserve Huis ter Heide in the Netherlands, we went there again on 10 July. We saw, eg, these highland cattle.

Before that, we had seen a hare. At lakelets, an Egyptian goose among scores of gray lag geese.

At the Leikeven lake boardwalk, about ten white wagtails, both adults and juveniles.

A skylark sings.

A grey heron flies.

In the grass, a cinnabar moth caterpillar called ‘zebra caterpillar’ because of its yellow and black stripes, crawls.

We arrive at the Vossenbergvennen lakes.

A lesser black-backed gull swims there. Unfortunately, beautiful Huis ter Heide is close to a landfill; which attracts gulls.

A male stonechat sits on a bush.

A white stork.

Huis ter Heide, 10 July 2016

We continue through this beautiful scenery.

And meet highland cattle (see photo at the top of this blog post).

Finally, a meadow brown butterfly.

Butterflies, damselflies, birds and flowers


Map butterfly, 9 July 2016

After we had arrived at Huis ter Heide near Tilburg in the Netherlands on 8 July 2016, on 9 July we went to that nature reserve again. First, we saw this map butterfly, on a very young oak tree.

Sounds of a green woodpecker and a chiffchaff.

In a Rauwe Vennen lakelet, a flock of gray lag geese and two grey herons.

We arrive at a bigger lake, the Leikeven. On and around the sandy footpath near this lake, thousands of Crabronidae wasps have their nests.

Leikeven, 9 July 2016

People can walk across the Leikeven on a boardwalk.

Coots swim. A young black-headed gull.

Marsh St John's-wort, 9 July 2016

In the shallow water grow plants; like marsh St John’s-wort.

Marsh St John's-wort, Leikeven, 9 July 2016

Also spoonleaf sundew and shoreweed.

Many common blue damselflies. Sometimes sitting on shoreweed, sometimes on other plants, sometimes flying.

White wagtails on the boardwalk.

Not far away, two adult great crested grebes and their four chicks swim.

Mating common blue damselflies, 9 July 2016

On the boardwalk, this ‘tandem‘ of mating common blue damselflies.

We see many more common blue damselfly tandems. Though, at first sight, there are more males than (less conspicuous) females. Along a common blue, a smaller, reddish damselfly flies. Maybe a small red damselfly.

Common blue damselflies, 9 June 2016

Near the end of the boardwalk, hundreds of common blue damselflies, sitting on plants and flying.

The next lake is Plakkeven. From a birding hide, we see a moorhen.

On the footpath, a male black-tailed skimmer dragonfly.

In the Bodemven lake swim little grebes and mallards.

Finally, three parasol mushrooms.

Stay tuned, as on 10 July we went to Huis ter Heide again.

Osprey nest, flowers, spoonbills in Dutch Biesbosch


This 12 June 2016 video is from Biesbosch national park. For the first time ever in the Netherlands, as far as is known, an osprey couple built a nest there this year. It is said that three young birds have hatched.

You cannot see the young ospreys yet on this video, filmed at about 450 meter from the nest. However, at about 30 seconds into the video, you can see a young osprey defecating, in a curve over the side of the nest. About ten seconds later, the male bird arrives, to bring fish to the nesting female and the youngsters.

In the video, you can also hear edible frogs call.

On 18 June 2016, we went to the Biesbosch, to see the ospreys and other wildlife.

Biesbosch, 18 June 2016

Water and land interlock in the Biesbosch estuary scenery, creating opportunities for many wildlife species.

As we arrive, we see a male roe deer and a flying common tern.

We hear a Cetti’s warbler sing.

A sedge warbler.

Male and female reed bunting.

A male marsh harrier.

An osprey flies. A lesser black-backed gull tries to drive it away, though ospreys eat fish, not birds.

Crow garlic flowers.

A willow warbler sings.

Swifts flying.

A wren flies across a ditch. Beneath it, a coot couple and their three chicks swim.

A spoonbill foraging.

Tufted ducks.

A greenfinch sings.

Common bird's-foot trefoil

Yellow flowers: common bird’s-foot trefoil.

Two great crested grebes.

Hare's-foot clover, 18 June 2016

Pink flowers: hare’s-foot clover.

We arrive at the ospreys’. One of the parents sits on the nest.

This 4 June 2016 video by Luuk Punt is called Ospreys feeding their chick. First time seen in the Netherlands ever.

A cuckoo calls.

A juvenile white wagtail. Two little ringed plovers on the bank.

Two Egyptian geese flying.

Canada geese.

A northern lapwing. A great egret.

Then, we see about eight ruffs in summer plumage. Rare in the Netherlands!

We walk to a hide. We can see swifts and sand martins fly over the water.

Mural in hide, 18 June 2016

There is a mural on the inside of the hide: depicting a kingfisher, pintail duck, spoonbill, great cormorant, black-headed gull, wren, robin, great egret, tufted ducks and other birds.

Biesbosch museum, 18 June 2016

There was more art outside the Biesbosch museum.

Not far away, a nesting colony of many sand martins.

Biesbosch sky, 18 June 2016

Then, many gadwall ducks resting in the water.

Avocets with chicks.

A song thrush sings from a tree.

Biesbosch islet, 18 June 2016

On an islet, yellow fen ragwort flowers.

We return to the osprey nest. The female and the youngsters are inside. The male arrives, sitting on a branch.

A flock of about thirty spoonbills.

A buzzard lands on a tree.

A skylark sings.

Bialowieza forest in Poland, videos


This 11 June 2016 Dutch video shows a visit to the forest of Bialowieza national park in Poland; about its plants and animals.

This 4 June 2016 video is also about Bialowieza (the non-primal forest reserve parts).

Booted eagle and architecture in Extremadura, Spain


This video is about flowers and birds in Parque Nacional Monfragüe in Extremadura, Spain.

After 23 April 2016, on 24 April 2016 we left Extremadura.

Before we left, for the last time the cuckoo, hoopoe, blackbird and collared dove sounds.

Jaraicejo, gates next to church, 24 April 2016

We went to Jaraicejo village. Next to the church, two gates.

Around the church, as usually, domestic pigeons flying. Suddenly, a bit of a panic as a booted eagle tries to catch one.

Swifts flying.

A white wagtail on a street.

Two inhabited white stork nests on the church.

Jaraicejo, street, 24 April 2016

We walk around, looking at Jaraicejo buildings.

Jaraicejo, another street, 24 April 2016

Jaraicejo, yet another street, 24 April 2016

We walk around some more.

Jaraicejo, Extremadura, street, 24 April 2016

Jaraicejo, center, 24 April 2016

We walk back to the village center.

Jaraicejo, on a street, 24 April 2016

Not far from there, we meet an elderly widow.

Jaraicejo, inside a house, 24 April 2016

She shows us her home. Judging from the antlers on the walls, there were deer hunters in her family.

We leave, as we have to catch the bus to Madrid airport.

Extremadura, bye-bye!

Chaffinch, Sardinian warbler, bees, flowers in Extremadura, Spain


Chaffinch, Extremadura, 23 April 2016

Still 23 April 2016 in Extremadura, Spain. After the bee-eaters, spotless starlings and rock sparrows of the morning, we went to the Garganta del Cubo stream. Above the valley, we saw this female chaffinch calling from a cork oak.

Cork oaks, 23 April 2016

More cork oaks.

Extremadura path, 23 April 2016

A blackbird flies across the path.

Gum rockrose, 23 April 2016

Gum rockrose flowers.

A Sardinian warbler sings.

A nightingale sings.

Beehives, 23 April 2016

Many beehives with many bees.

Fungus, 23 April 2016

A fungus. This species was present in many places along the path, also along the road at lower altitude. It did not seem to mind stony soil.

The introduction of Eucalyptus trees to Extremadura brought also Australian fungi.

White flowers, 23 April 2016

Next, beautiful white flowers, with a beautiful blue butterfly with folded wings on them.

Garganta del Cubo, 23 April 2016

After our arrival in the valley, and resting there a bit, we walk back.

Footpath, 23 April 2016

Sometimes, the footpath goes downwards, but mainly upwards.

A cinereous vulture flying.

Rosemary, 23 April 2016

Still, beautiful flowers. Like these rosemary ones.

Lavender, 23 April 2016

And this lavender one.

Spotless starlings, rock sparrow in Extremadura, Spain


Spotless starlings, 23 April 2016

Still 23 April 2016 in Extremadura, Spain. From the hide near Jaraicejo one cannot only see the bee-eaters mentioned on this blog earlier. There are also spotless starlings like these ones, trying to squat in tunnels dug by bee-eaters in their nesting colony.

Spotless starling, 23 April 2016

Sometimes they make lots of noise and spread their wings.

Spotless starling, Jaraicejo, 23 April 2016

Spotless starling, on 23 April 2016

Sometimes they behave more quietly.

Spotless starling on branch, 23 April 2016

Sometimes they sit on a branch close to the hide.

Rock sparrow, 23 April 2016

A rock sparrow did that as well. Note also the lichen on the branch.