Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Papenvoortse Dijk

The “Papenvoortse Dijk”, a sandy path that runs between Nuenen (the village where I live) and Helmond, is the watershed between 2 local streams. Northern Red Oaks (Quercus rubra/Amerikaanse Eik) flank this dike; the leaves have deep red colors this time of year. The ridge of sand is deposited during the last ice age about 10.000 years ago. On the old topographic map of 1704 AD this dike was clearly visible. At that time it was a local ‘highway’ for farm carts loaded with sods of turf and dung. Miraculously, this connection survived as a sandy path in todays dense network of tarmac roads.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

To eat or not to eat?

Autumn is in full swing. This morning I found many yellow funnel-shaped mushrooms submerged in wet green moss beds. After careful studying at home, I compared pictures and descriptions in several mushroom fieldguides, I could not pinpoint them down to one species. I still doubt between the tasty Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius/Hanekam) and the non-edible False Cantharelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca/Valse Hanekam). When making this photo, I used diffuse silver-coated cardboard as reflection screens to get a bit more light to the gills.
Is there an expert that could help me out with the identification?
The first comment even offers a 3-rd possibility: Jack O'Lantern (Omphalotus illudens/Lantaarnzwam) which is however very rare in The Netherlands.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Stormy weekend

Again I went a few days to Terschelling, this time to do ‘seascape’ photography. The weather gods were very cooperative. On Friday October 2-nd dark clouds full of heavy rain showers filled the sky (in autumn they develop easily above the relatively warm water of the North Sea); the waves left nice foam traces on the sand. The next day things get really rough. The first autumn storm, SW 8, caused a real blizzard with sand-rays. I looked for a foreground object on the beach to create a surrealistic scene. A beer container washed ashore perfectly matched my requirements (beachcombers probably drunk the content, sorry for that :-). But the climax was Sunday morning. The wind even deepened a little further and turned clockwise, resulting in NW 8-9. When I arrived with my bike in early morning at the coast, I could not believe my eyes. The whole beach was gone; it was completely overtaken by a turbulent sea, with tidal waves sometimes surpassing the size of houses. Large groups of stilts, notably Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica/Rosse Grutto), Knot (Calidris canutus/Kanoet), Dunlin (Calidris alpina/Bonte Strandloper), and Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola/Zilverplevier) rushed against the strong wind in front of the high tidal waves, searching for a safe place to stay. The “Boschplaat”, a high-tide (HVP in Dutch) nature reserve, actually the last 10 km of land of eastern Terschelling, was flooded. Also a few migrating Great Skuas (Stercorarius skua/Grote Jagers) passed by at close range. Impressive!
With the above pictures I want to convey my emotional experience; you have to imagine yourself the salt taste in your month, the roaring of the wind in your ears, and the lashing sand rays on your skin.