Back in action after a brief Dutch Delay

Sorry about the pause, but I’ve moved into a new place again, I hope for the last time on this trip, and I don’t have to commute across the open fields between Rotterdam and Delft any more. Instead, I’ve now gotta decide to ride out there on purpose, ideally before work, and this was the morning that I finally got around to it.

Before we get to today’s pictures, however, I did manage a couple from a long bike ride out to Maasvlaktestrand on the coast this past Saturday with an old buddy. Here’s my best shot yet of a barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis), named after the barnacle from which there were believed to have come, if you can believe it. I’ve glimpsed one or two around here before but hadn’t been close enough for a presentable image until we came across a bunch on the berm between the bike path and a canal on the way back inland. I am astounded to read that they bread on the east shores of the Barents Sea and only winter here, unless they’ve gone feral. Cool.

The only other image I managed on that entire 90-km ride is this little holly blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) on a bush in downtown Rotterdam. I read that “in Europe, the first generation feeds mainly on the holly species Ilex aquifolium,” commonly known as common holly, English holly, European holly, or occasionally Christmas holly, hence the name I suppose, and it “is the national butterfly of Finland.

Meanwhile, it turns out that there are two stork chicks in the nest I finally spotted last weekend, both with black beaks, and they are growing up fast.

So fast, in fact, that here’s Mom or Dad, with a bright red beak and legs “from carotenoids in the[ir] diet,” getting some “me time” on a nearby chimney.

Back down on the water, there were a bunch of common cormorants, I counted six together at one point, all fishing in a canal together, and here are two of them. Their beaks are a bit bleached out in the image by the bright morning light.

Just above the cormorants, it appears that a pair of white-bellied barn swallow chicks have fledged, but were still lolling around expecting to be fed.

Lastly, the great crested grebe chicks continue to hatch, and here are a pair getting a ride on Mom or Dad’s back.

Sunset isn’t until after 10pm around here these days, and sunrise is before 5:30am, which doesn’t leave much time for my beauty rest, so we’ll just have to wait and see how often I make it out to the country side. The weather looks good for tomorrow, so wish me luck.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

3 thoughts on “Back in action after a brief Dutch Delay

  1. Hi Andrew,

    Great photos and story as always. I have missed seeing you in the park so downloaded Cornell’s Merlin on my phone. Today I saw a turtle laying her eggs and there is a Wood duck with ducklings on the pond. You can see one egg in the photo.


    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  2. The storks and grebes are awesome! Two questions for you, Andy. First, it seems you’ve sorted the bike situation. What are you riding? Second, do you have a phone app for identifying birds? I’m also looking for a bug app.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      I have borrowed a Batavus Stratos from the bike lab. It’s like a sporty station wagon.

      I was using Merlin by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, when I was state-side, mostly for sound ID, but I didn’t realize there was a “Western Europe Data Pack” until your question prompted me to check. I’m downloading it now. Thanks! I have yet to find the equivalent for bugs. Good luck!


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