‘Tis the season…

I spoke too soon about the spring weather, I guess, because the cool breeze this morning cut right to my bones even with another layer on, but I should thank my lucky stars that at least it wasn’t also raining.

The chill was worth it, however, to catch a glimpse finally of the aptly-named bluethroat (Luscinia svecica), one of only eight birds pictured on the wall of the blind at Ackerdijkse Plassen, so I figure it’s gotta be special. I had already been searching the reeds for a while, had decided to call it a morning, and was walking back to my bicycle, when I finally spotted this brave fellow willing to let me have a peek.


Take a listen to the sweet song he sings to announce his arrival.


Bluethroats aren’t the only birds belting out a tune these days, of course, and here’s a European robin making his contribution to the cacophony.


I also finally captured an image of a male European greenfinch (Chloris chloris) making his distinctive buzzing sound that I’ve been hearing for a couple of weeks. We’ve only ever seen a female before, but that was back in July, and she was keeping quiet at the time.


Back to the reeds, here’s one of several reed buntings chiming in, whom we saw already last week, and who are a lot bolder than the bluethroats.


That’s it for the little birds today. Next up, we have another member of the family Columbidae, the doves and pigeons, who is brand new to us: a stock dove (Columba oenas). I first noticed a pair last weekend and thought they were just feral pigeons, like the ones you can see in just about any city in the world, but they were in an odd location, far from town, and much shyer than pigeons usually are, so they took off as soon as I stopped for a closer look, hence my lack of a picture until now.

There were two again this morning, and they appear to be nesting under the thatched eave of the windmill on which he is perched.


Bigger still are these great crested grebes, whom I almost caught in the middle of their courtship dance, but who quickly quit as soon as they noticed me watching.


Even bigger, are these nesting storks, who appear to be up to a little remodeling this morning.


Perhaps he’s the one remodeling, and she’s just trying to stay out of his way. In any case, I sure hope he can wrap that up before the stork arrives…..


Anyway, here at last are a couple of the biggest birds on the polder performing their courtship maneuver. I had stopped my bike beside the trail, and I heard a ruckus behind me, but by the time I could get myself turned around, this was all there was to see.


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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