Parallel Worlds…

After taking pictures in the countryside and writing to you about it on Saturday, I went on a big bike ride to run some errands, so Sunday morning I needed a break from my bike saddle. Luckily, I’ve gradually noticed a big chunk of forest right in the northwest corner of the TU Delft campus, and it took me only about 10 minutes to walk there. It turns out to be a huge cemetery, surrounded by a moat except for one short gated part, and the gate was not locked. I haven’t been in a forest this deep and peaceful since following the Milwaukee River through Estabrook Park. Sweet!

I could hear birds, of course, but they hide a lot better in the leafy treetops than big birds can in the fields or on the water, so it took me a while to find them, but I did manage to spot a couple.

I’m thrilled to finally be able to show you a European robin (Erithacus rubecula). It is a lot smaller than the American robin and not even in the same family. The Pedia of Wik claims that “the distinctive orange breast of both sexes contributed to the European robin’s original name of ‘redbreast’,” since “orange as a colour [sic] name” was “unknown in English until the 16th century, by which time the fruit had been introduced.” Further, “in the 15th century, when it became popular to give human names to familiar species, the bird came to be known as robin redbreast, which was eventually shortened to robin.” Etymology seems almost as fun as entomology.


Here he is singing a very different tune. I think John Gurda would be pleased.


I was stunned to see a Eurasian creeper (Certhia familiaris), which looks identical to the brown creepers (Certhia americana) we have in Estabrook. Sorry about the blurry image. The tree had a lot of leaves along its trunk, and the little rascal was fast. See how nicely the leaves over its head are in focus?


I’ve got one more butterfly from Saturday, an aptly-named “large white” butterfly (Pieris brassicae), also called “cabbage butterfly”, “cabbage white”, or in India the “large cabbage white”, just to be explicit. It is a close relative of the smaller “cabbage white”(Pieris rapae), we see in Estabrook Park, but it is noticeably bigger.


Here’s a grey heron fishing on one of the several canals that crisscross the TU Delft campus.


Finally, here’s one more look at one of the amazing peacock butterflies from Saturday.


Google maps thinks the cemetery is about 11.5 acres, almost the same size as Downer Woods on the UWM campus, and the total area bounded by roads is a whopping 23 acres, about the same as “the entire Downer Woods area“. Quite the little accidental urban nature preserve.

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.

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