The clouds were pretty low and grey this morning but at least they weren’t leaking, so I rode out to the countryside to see what I could see, and I was soon greeted by this young great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) rustling up some breakfast in a birch tree that has seen better days.
With the red patch on the top of its head, instead of on the back of its head, it almost tricked me into thinking it was a lesser spotted woodpecker instead, but then I read that lessers don’t also have a red patch under their tail. Gatcha, big guy!
The similarity between the two black-and-white woodpeckers here reminds me of the hairy and downy woodpeckers in Estabrook Park. Oddly, it is the downy and lesser that are in the same genus, Dryobates, while the hairy and greater are each in separate genera, Leuconotopicus and Dendrocopos, respectively. Curious.
Anyway, moving on, I spotted one of the white storks, before I even reached their nest, with what looks like a beak full of dead grass.
And I guess it really needed that because off it went.
I didn’t get to see what happened to the clump of grass, but at the nest today you can really see how much smaller the chicks are than the adults, half-sized or less, even though they already have adult-looking white and black plumage.
Meanwhile, in the canal right behind me, this pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae), based on the light stripe down its back, stopped singing when I approached, but did let me see what it looks like, for the first time.
Check out the reflection in its pupil of me standing on the edge of the canal. Ha! My first Dutch self-portrait.
In another canal, I spotted a new duck, which appears to be a “Swedish Blue” domestic, and who perhaps is on maternity leave from some nearby barnyard…
’cause she had some ducklings in tow. I wonder if they know.
Closer to shore, where the water is a bit shallower, a smaller group of common redshanks (Tringa totanus) was up to the same thing.
To round up our wader count to five, here’s one more grey heron behind some tall grass on the edge of a canal.
Finally, on my ride back to Delft, I captured some images, at last, of an elegant common tern (Sterna hirundo) as it hovered briefly over a canal to fish.
I see that the forecast is for rain all night, but back to partly cloudy by sunrise, so maybe I’ll have another chance to get some pictures this weekend. Wish me luck.