Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Vogels van Nederland

 Can you believe the size of this pile of onions?
As I explained to Alex, it's extra challenging to write about the birds we saw in Holland because we ended up buying a Dutch-language guide while in Amsterdam and, well, it's just that much more complicated to share our sighting of a krooneend, aka Netta rufina, aka red-crested pochard, when I have to give three names for it. That's only half the difficulty, of course; there's also the challenge of shifting photos from the iPad to Myrna. But maybe I've been badmouthing the iPad for long enough, and I should just list some birds, post what photos I can, and call it good.

So then. The krooneend was a lovely bird (far less scary than the photo below makes it look) that we saw in the Zuider zee, according to the note Scott added to Zakgids Vogels van Nederland en Belgie which fine book we bought at Architectura & Natura Books in Amsterdam early on. Flipping through that book I see we also saw a family of knobbelzwaan (Cygnus olor, aka mute swans) while cycling across some reclaimed lands north of Amsterdam; brandgans (Branta leucopsis, aka barnacle geese) on the island of Texel; grauwe gans (Anser anser, greylag geese) all over the place; dwerggans (Anser erythropus, lesser whitefronted goose) on those waterlands and nijlgans (Alopochen aegytiaca, Egyptian geese) in Amsterdam. I remember being pleased to see the brilduiker (Bucephala clangula) on a small lake outside Amsterdam as I could say, with confidence, "Hey! It's a common goldeneye," and sometimes when traveling one likes to encounter the familiar. This does not mean I was pleased to see Starbucks in Amsterdam, however.

Continuing the list which is of interest, I fear, to very few, I note that the kuifeend (Aythya fuligula, known locally as a tufted duck) and the ever-delightful wilde eend (Anas platyrhynchos, aka mallard) were both spotted. More surprisingly, as we paused on a bench before leaving the natural area by De Koog, we saw a fazant (phasianus colchicus, ring-necked pheasant) who was pretty insistent on getting his photo taken. I think we saw the fuut (podiceps cristatus, great crested grebe) on a couple of different parts of the Zuider Zee;  the waterhoen (Gallinula chloropus, or common moorhen) in Amsterdam's Vondelpark; meerkoet (Fulica atra . . . coots!) and blauwe reiger (Ardea cinerea . . . great blue herons) everywhere. Aalscholver (Phalacrocorax carbo--great cormorants) were also pretty common, and we got used to seeing scholeksters (Haematopus ostralegus, the Eurasian oystercatcher) pretty regularly as well, though that didn't stop me from snapping their photos because they are darned attractive birds. A more exciting sighting was of the kievit (Vanellus vanellus) which translates to northern lapwing; we saw only a couple of those, on a mudflat and at a great distance, as we were biking to a beach on Texel. The regenwulp (Numenius phaeopus) took off every time I tried to take its photo, but we were still able to positively identify it as, sigh, a whimbrel. Lovely bird, if not new; the same can be said of the steenloper (Arenaria interpres) which turns out to be a ruddy turnstone. I saw one lepelaar (Platalea leucorodia) from a moving Texelhopper; the single Eurasian spoonbill of the trip. Despite repeated attempts to reach them, we saw no bluethroats. I'm going back.

We saw a ton of raptors, including grauwe kiekendief (Circus pygargus, Montagu's harrier); torenvalk (Falco tinnunculus) which Scott recognized as a common kestrel; and the surely-doesn't-really-belong-there halsbandparkiet (Psittacula krameri, rose-ringed parakeet) that makes a racket all over Amsterdam's Vondelpark. Back in the world of songbirds we saw pimpelmees (Cyanistes caeruleus) and koolmees (Parus major) off the patio of our apartment in Amsterdam, as well as korsnaelboomkruiper (Certhia familiaris macrodactyla) and merels (Turdus merula); those would be the Eurasian blue tit, great tit, Eurasian treecreeper, and Eurasian blackbirds. We saw one young roodborst (Erithacus rubecula, aka European robin) in Amsterdam while the witte kwikstaart (Motacilla alba)--white wagtail--favored bicycle paths on the mainland and Texel alike. In the swallow category we saw a number of boerenzwaluw (Hirundo rustica) best known as the barn swallow. And there were crows, pigeons, doves, gulls, and terns which I'm just too tired to detail here, so instead I'm going to post what photos I can and call it good.

Egyptian geese on a family outing
Not listed above: a magpie
Young European robin
Fleeing whimbrel
Ruddy turnstone
Also not specifically listed above, a kokmeeuw or black headed gull
Great crested grebes
Red-crested pochard
Blue tit
Happy merel couple
One of a couple just-not-sure birds
Rose-ringed parakeet
Happy mute swan family
People feed the gulls on the Texel ferry. Which leads to this sort of thing.

A couple of kestrels, I think, on a barn

Ring-necked pheasant
Second mystery bird

Distant lapwing
White wagtail

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