Ah, one of my favorite birds of the Netherlands is the Pied Avocet. We saw a few in mid-August during a visit to the Oostvaardersplassen.
Category Archives: Netherlands
On August 15th Arthur and I visited one of our favorite birding spots, Vogelplas Starrevaart. We spent some time watching birds from the blind. This Great Crested Grebe having a nap on the water was one of the birds we saw.
One of the best place to watch birds in the Netherlands is the Oostvaardersplassen. Arthur and I spent some time there this weekend – our first visit in about two years. This juvenile Tufted Duck caught my attention – s/he was busy hunting and feeding for at least a half hour.
Last week there were a few stories of note regarding birds in the Netherlands.
In Friesland, 2010 was a great year for meadow- and field-breeding birds like the Northern Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit. The number of breeding pairs doubled in some habitats, with huge numbers of young birds successfully fledged. The reason for this year’s huge breeding success may have been delayed mating after an unusually cold spring. (source)
Northern Lapwing, Zwaanenwater, April 2006
Another species, this time on one of the Wadden Islands, also had a record breeding season. Eurasian Spoonbills on the island of Texel had more offspring than ever previously recorded. 540 breeding pairs broke the previous record of 397 in 2009. 2010 was the third record-breaking season in a row, so the spoonbills continue to thrive on Texel. (source)
Eurasian Spoonbill, Texel, April 2007
On a less positive note, the number of captive birds of prey in the Netherlands is growing at an alarming rate. The number of permits given has increased ten-fold (anyone in the Netherlands may keep a bird of prey, so long as the bird was born in captivity). Along with this, the number of lost or escaped captive birds is a growing problem. So far in 2010, seventeen captive Eurasian Eagle-owls have escaped (that’s about the same number of wild eagle-owls currently living in the Netherlands!). The Dutch branch of BirdLife International is working towards restricting the number of captive birds being kept in the Netherlands. (source)
The Dutch branch of BirdLife International, Vogelbescherming Nederland, has an extremely popular nestcam website each spring at Beleef de Lente. As cameras are nearly shut down for the season, fans have voted for their favorite highlight clip from the eight nestcams. The Clip of the Year is called “Huiselijk Geweld” – Domestic Violence. It shows a Little Owl family dealing with an intruder – a Stock Pigeon with a nest of her own in the same box as the owls!
Unfortunately the highlight clips are not embeddable this year, but if you click on the image below you will be taken a page showing all of the best clips.
The favorite highlights from all of the nestcams are shown below the Little Owl clip. Check out the seven impossibly tiny Great Titlings in “Koolmees: Zeven snaveltjes” and two White Storks sleeping through being banded in the nest in “Ooievaar: Ringen Gorssel 2010.”
The following video profiles two companies that are marketing raptor robots. The machines are being marketed to airports as bird deterrents.
The Spanish company Bird Raptor Internacional has produced a model airplane painted to look like a Peregrine Falcon. In the clip, the “falcon” flies by a flock of gulls, who quickly disperse. I wonder if the falcon paint job had anything to do with it, though. Would they disperse if a regular model airplane flew closely over them?
A Dutch company has developed another robotic bird, but the GreenX model Bald Eagle actually flaps its wings! Developers of this model see it being used in nature films or as a spy plane. I think they should market to model airplane enthusiasts – I mean, what a cool toy!
Read more about the robo-raptors here.
My favorite nest cams over at the Dutch site Beleef de Lente start streaming today. For the season it looks like they’ll have cameras on Common Kestrel (Torenvalk), Little Owl (Steenuil), Great Tit (Koolmees), White Stork (Ooievaar), Barn Swallow (Boerenzwaluw), Eurasian Nuthatch (Boomklever), Eurasian Eagle-owl (Oehoe) (!!), and Barn Owl (Kerkuil). Those last two are new for this year and I’m really looking forward to peeking in on the Eagle-owl in the coming weeks.
UHU! [Eurasian Eagle Owl] by hans s, Creative Commons on Flickr
Usually at least a few of the nests have multiple live cameras going, and highlight videos are archived for later viewing (Iets gemist?). Nest milestones like the date of each egg and hatching are noted too (Hoogtepunten).
Even if you don’t read Dutch, the streaming cams are fun to watch and the archived clips are usually neat.
Are you looking forward to watching a nest cam this season? Do you have a favorite live streaming nest cam website? Please let me know in the comments!
About 5000 people voted for the favorite bird song of Holland and the Blackbird (Merel) came out on top. Rounding out the top five were Nightingale (Nachtegaal), Song Thrush (Zanglijster), Robin (Roodborst) and Winter Wren (Winterkoning). The survey was done by the VARA radio show Vroege Vogels (Early Birds) and they have the entire top 100 list on their website. The neat thing is that it shows a picture of each bird and even includes the song. Among the top birds are the most common back yard birds in the Netherlands, so it’s a great overview of the everyday birds of that part of the world. Let me tell you, listening to those songs made me feel homesick for Holland! Check out the site and do some online international birding!
I’ve been looking through my bird photos, trying to come up with my favorite birds of the last decade. I’m saving that list for another post, but I managed to pick out some favorite photos of birds that didn’t make my top ten list.
These twelve photos were taken in four different countries between 2006 and 2009 (since I haven’t been birding all that long and have only had my (super-zoom point-and-shoot) camera since ’06).
Can you guess what they are? They all link to Flickr where you can find out, or scroll to the end for a list.
Indian Pond Heron: Kota, India;
American Robin: Great Smoky Mountains National Park USA;
Common Coot chick: Starrevaart, Netherlands;
Black-headed Ibis: Ranthambhore, India;
Blue-winged Teal: Viera Wetlands, Florida USA;
Rufous Treepie: Ranthambhore, India;
Chaffinch: Munster, France;
Red-breasted Nuthatch: Illinois USA;
Great Crested Grebe: Voorschoten, Netherlands;
Red-shouldered Hawk: Viera Wetlands, Florida USA;
Red-vented Bulbul: Jaipur, India;
Tufted Duck: Flevoland, Netherlands.