I’ve been spending way too much time watching the birdcams from Vogelbescherming’s Beleef de Lente site lately. Vogelbescherming is the Dutch BirdLife partner and Beleef de Lente roughly translates to Experience Spring.
There are six cams this season. I’ve been most interested in the pair of Common Kestrels (Torenvalken) raising six chicks. The sixth hatch was on 25 May so they should all fledge within about two weeks (typical fledge is 27 to 32 days).
Like the other cams on the site, highlights are mentioned on the left side of the screen so you can catch up on what was missed. The highlights for this nest were the laying of all six eggs (two days apart each) and the hatch dates (between 23 and 25 May).
Highlight videos are linked on the right side of the streaming cam. These are great to watch and sometimes there are cute or funny captions added by the webmaster. You can watch the chicks get ringed (zes torenvalken geringd), a Barn Owl ‘visiting’ the nest box (kerkuil komt weer kijken) and many more.
Volunteers working in the field for BirdLife Malta have faced danger as they report on illegal hunting and trapping activities. Earlier this week a car belonging to volunteers of the Spring Watch Camp was vandalized. Two tires were cut and the windshield was smashed.
In a separate incident this season, vandals left pieces of wood with nails in them along the path of volunteers’ cars, in an attempt to puncture the tires. The volunteers are reporting on direct violations to the EU Birds Directive.
A Black Lark has been spotted by British birders at the sand dunes of Winterton-on-Sea. The bird was first reported by a Winterton-on-Sea resident on Sunday afternoon. Since the sighting was posted online, hundreds of twitchers have come to Winterton-on-Sea to try and get a glimpse of the rare bird.
The Black Lark is native to Russia and Kazakhstan. It has only been seen in the United Kingdom twice before: once in 1984 and again in 2003.
Plans for the construction of a £500m onshore wind farm in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland have been rejected by Scottish ministers because of the significant adverse impact it would have on rare and endangered birds in the area. The wind farm, which would be one of Europe’s largest, had been objected to by nearly 11,000 islanders and has been in the middle of a controversy since 2005.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says the wind farm could wreak havoc on an environmentally sensitive area. The Golden Eagle is one of the protected bird species in the area.
Today we visited Madurodam, the smallest city in the Netherlands. The popular tourist attraction near the Hague is a model of a Dutch town at a 1:25 scale, composed of typical Dutch buildings and landmarks. There were a lot of Jackdaws walking around the tiny streets and buildings. This was actually quite funny to watch and with a little imagination they were like giant birds straight out of a bad monster movie.
For the third year in a row the Dutch White-tailed Eagles at Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands have successfully hatched, and this time there are two chicks. Until recently it was thought that Europe’s largest bird of prey would never breed in the Netherlands again. Twelve years ago the WWF tried to introduce the eagle back into the Netherlands, but this plan never materialized. The birds in the Oostvaardersplassen have come to the Netherlands on their own and have received much media attention.
A webcam that was placed at the nest recorded one chick in 2006 and another one in 2007. This year the eagles decided to nest somewhere else and left the cam-fitted nest. This week two new chicks were spotted by chance in photos made from a bird-counting plane of Staatsbosbeheer, an organization that controls and conserves Dutch forests. This is the first time that two little White-tailed Eagles were born at the site.
A 70-year-old Belgian was arrested by Dutch police in Liempde last Saturday for possessing 32 illegally-held birds. The birds, including Chaffinches and two types of lark, were found to be illegally ringed. The handler was fined €1250.
The birds were confiscated by authorities and will be examined. If they are healthy the birds will be released into the wild.
In recent years the Netherlands has seen an increase in illegal bird trade. In this case the police were tipped off by a citizen.
A bird’s nest in a chimney in a home in Herne, west Germany, has lead to the death of three family members. A 41-year-old woman, her 18-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son died from carbon monoxide poisoning when the bird’s nest prevented proper air circulation in the home.
Authorities revealed that there were high concentrations of carbon monoxide in the victims’ lungs. The species of bird nesting in the chimney was not revealed.
An original copy of one of the world’s most valuable books, John James Audubon’s Birds of North America, is on display at the oldest museum of the Netherlands. The exhibit Vogels van Formaat runs at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem until 20 January 2008.