Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Escape from traffic jam

This morning I got stuck in a horrifying traffic jam. After sitting in my car for more than 20 minutes I was still within a 1-kilometer range from my house. Outside it was a few degrees below zero. The sun just came up and I saw that the sky was clear and that there were plenty left-over patches from last Sunday’s heavy snowfall. Suddenly I was thinking: “What the hack am I doing here?” I took the next turn and went home. Since I had no work appointments this morning, I could easily take half a day off (lucky me, yes I know).
Again, I went to the “Strabrechtse Heide” and enjoyed the landscape and the light.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Fair Fieldfare

Another digital souvenir from Terschelling was this proud Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris/Kramsvogel). As all thrushes, Fieldfares are alert and rather shy, however, this 1-st year bird could be approached with a car, serving as a mobile hide.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Toys on the beach

This week I stayed a few days on Terschelling; a good place to forget about all the things that kept me so busy lately, to refresh my mind, and to get new inspiration.
In winter, Sanderlings (Calidris alba/Drieteenstrandloper) are always present on the beach on the north-side of the island. Usually they run like mechanical clockwork toys along the water-line, parrying waves and picking up small animals thrown up by the sea. But sometimes they need a short rest break. They seem to sleep, but one bird kept a keen eye on me (who is that bloke crawling to us?).

Friday, 7 November 2008

Invasion of the Nutcrackers

Nutcrackers (Nucifraga caryocatactes/Notenkraker) occur in areas with spruce forest, for nesting and rich supply of arolla pines (or hazel) for winter food stores. Nuts and seeds are cached in the ground layer during late summer, and nut depots are memorized in detail and can be re-found in winter with great accuracy (without a GPS :-), even beneath thick snow cover.
Central European breeders (race caryocatactes), which are vigilant and shy, are mainly residents. In some years, when arolla pines are in short supply in the far northeast, large flocks of the slender-billed race (macrorhynchos) migrate in autumn from Russia and Siberia all the way to West Europe. These birds are often remarkably tame. This bird stayed near Horst, Limburg for 2 weeks could be approached to less than 5 meter, and seems to be part of the 2008 invasion.