It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon in South Holland, and I’m in the library at TU Delft for the wifi and the comfortable working conditions. Despite the gloomy weather, I saw some fun scenes on my bike ride up from Rotterdam.
I was just riding a long and saw a big white bird land in the distance. I thought maybe it was an egret or even a stork, but when I finally spotted it down in a little canal between two fields, it turns out to be a Eurasian spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)! Holy Living Eating Utensil, Batman! It was about 200 yards away, so really at the limit of my gear, but these images are at least good enough for a positive ID.
In the last image above, you can just make out the little morsel, at the left end of the stream of water droplets, it is tossing into its throat. I read that their “diet consists of aquatic insects, mollusks, newts, crustaceans, worms, leeches, frogs, tadpoles and small fish up to 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) long.”
As I was intently focused on the bird, look who was horsing around in the background, a whole down of hares. Here’s four of them.
And here’s one taking a look to see who might be watching their cavorting.
Around the next corner and a bit further along, the path runs beside a larger canal, and as I rode by, I caught a glimpse of a sleeping great crested grebe. Even though I’ve gotten some pretty good images so far, I never know if I might be able to get a better one, and there is one in particular I’ve been hoping for. Well, today was my lucky day because here it is, a grebe chick on its mom’s back.
I was afraid that they’ve all gotten too big to snuggle with Mom, and this one isn’t tiny, but it’s clearly not too big yet, either.
Lastly, we’ve seen a lot of grey herons lately, and some of you may be thinking that you’ve seen enough or even too much, but this one let me get this nice portrait, so I just couldn’t resist.
Tomorrow is yet another holiday here in the Netherlands. This one is Whit Monday, the Monday after Whitsunday, also known as Pentecost, which marks the end of the Easter cycle that began with Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow, so who knows when I’ll get to take pictures again, but I’ll be sure to post them when I do.