Hints of winter in South Holland

Things seemed to have changed here, and the main symptom is that I’m finding it a lot harder to get nice pictures of the wild creatures. I went out both days last weekend and came home with only one picture that wasn’t even worth showing. This morning was a little better, but not by much. One culprit could be the weather. It was in the 30s last Saturday and the 20s last Sunday, with ice on some of the canals. It has also been very cloudy and rainy lately. I don’t know if the critters will be like this until the spring, but I suppose that possibility exists.

In any case, the temps this morning were in the low 40s and there were even glimpses of sunshine. It was great for birding, if not photography, and I spotted 50 species. Here are the few I managed to capture on film.

Of the four buzzards I saw, three were almost in range. Here’s one by itself, about 100 yards away, on a post at the edge of a field…


And here’s a pair on a gate, about 200 yards away, and in the middle of a field. I read that “females average about 2–7% larger than males linearly and weigh about 15% more,” so that’s probably her on the right and him on the left. The fourth bird was in a tree on the far side of that same field, so I didn’t even bother wasting film.


I was pleasantly surprised to spot a lone, female northern shoveler, dabbling with a few mallards and gadwalls, and even more surprised to capture a presentable image of her. There’s just something about them that always catches my eye.


A very happy coincidence occurred when I stumbled upon a little group of long-tailed tits during one of the brief moments of sunshine with even some blue-sky in the background..


How could that face not brighten any mood, eh?


Finally, before the sun went back into hiding, a trio of blue tits were busy enough foraging on a birch tree to let me get one pretty picture.


And that’s all I managed for today, I’m afraid. The current forecast is for rain all day tomorrow, so I might not have anything more to show you, either, but I’ll check again in the morning. Sometimes the rain arrives late or leaves early, if we’re lucky. Keep your fingers crossed.

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.

%d bloggers like this: