I’m starting to get quite a backlog of little birds that I still need to identify, but in the meantime, it was a beautiful morning to ride across the Dutch countryside, and I caught some interesting scenes of birds we’ve already seen.
First, I finally found a mute swan with cygnets, and these ones sure don’t look like “ugly ducklings.”
Here’s a grey heron with a crayfish it just snagged out of a little canal.
And here’s another grey heron that just snagged a duckling.
Just as I was thinking to myself “hmmm. I haven’t seen any wild mammals yet,” a pair of hares reminded me that I have been seeing some European hares (Lepus europaeus), and here’s one of them. They look a little lankier than the eastern cottontails we’ve seen in Estabrook.
Finally, here are a pair of white-bellied barn swallows pausing for a second after foraging over a canal and before swooping up under a little bridge to feed there chicks. By comparison, the ones I’ve seen nesting under the Port Washington Road bridge and foraging over the Milwaukee River in Estabrook Park have a distinctly “off-white” or “tawny” bellies.
You can just make out a beak full of bugs on the one below.
I read, in the usual spot, that “the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. In fact, it appears to have the largest natural distribution of any of the world’s passerine, ranging over 251 million square kilometres globally.”