Friday, 29 October 2010

Stay or go?

This morning I was in doubt what to do. Drive a long way to the coast and try to find a group of Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus/Pestvogel)? There is a major invasion going on in The Netherlands. Or stay close to home and inspect a new feeding station? Since I hate the massive friday-afternoon traffic jams, I decided the latter. About 25 Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus/Ringmus) were already present on the spot. This beauty was willing to pose. I tried to get some autumn colors in the background.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Slimy stinky stuff

This Saturday I went with some like-minded members of the nature photography association Eindhoven (that I recently joined) to an old forest near Arnhem to look for toadstools. Despite the fact that the mushroom season is over the top I found some fresh ‘wanted’ species. Here are 2 of them:

  • The well-known Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus/Grote Stinkzwam). The latin name needs no further explanation. This mushroom belongs to the fungal order Phallales and is known for its foul smelling sticky spore mass, or gleba, borne on the end of stalks called the receptaculum. The spore mass attracts flies to help disperse the spores. All species of the Phallaceae family begin their development as oval or round structures known as ‘devil eggs’.
  • A yellowish slime mold, very aptly named Scrambled Egg Slime (Fuligo septica/Heksenboter). The literal translation of the Dutch name is “witch butter”, also well chosen. Formerly they were classified as fungi, but today they are no longer considered part of this kingdom.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Who's afraid of Yellow and Green?

The first bird that appeared this morning in front of a new hide was this Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea/Grote Gele Kwikstaart) in winter plumage. He (or she) walked straight to the spot where I wanted the bird to be, i.e., so that it was all surrounded by gold-tainted water (caused by the sunlit reed beds at the opposing shore).
After a couple of minutes it was scared off by a Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus/Witgatje), and flew away. Somewhat later a second Green Sandpiper appeared at the scene. Both birds stayed for more than 2 hours and I watched them washing, doing their feather care, feeding, and resting. Just before taking a bath they performed a very rapid zig-zag flight low over the water. Does anybody know the meaning of this strange behavior?
Green Sandpiper is very much a bird of freshwater, and is often found in sites too restricted for other waders, which tend to like a clear all-round view.