November 2008

My mom celebrated her birtday today. Part of the celebration was a visit to nature reserve Overasseltse Vennen. It's a beauftiful area that I don't get to visit very often as it's quite a distance away by bike. Thankfully, we could cycle to my mom's (still about an hour away) from where we could hitch a ride on my mom's car. The Overasseltse Vennen are an area with pine forest, heathland and fens. It was quite a busy day, like it so often is on sunday afternoons when the weather isn't all too bad. Thankfully the area doesn't lose it's beauty, even though more silence would've been appropiate in my opinion. Regardless, I saw some things I really liked, in addition to my family. I saw my first Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) of this year (and heard their typical calls) and I was finally able to photograph a Fly Argaric, which I'd been hoping to get a chance at doing for a while.


I was able to add two species to my garden-birds list today! The list, that I started february 2008, contains birdspecies that were actually in our garden, not birds that flew by/over it. The two new species, Marsh Tit (Parus palustris) and Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) bring the total to 27 species:

  • Coal Tit (Parus ater)
  • Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
  • Blackbird (Turdus merula)
  • Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
  • Great Tit (Parus major)
  • Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
  • Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
  • Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
  • Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
  • Tree Sparrow (Passer montanes)
  • Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
  • Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
  • Brambling (Fringilla Montifringilla)
  • Magpie (Pica pica)
  • Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
  • Racing Pigeon (Columbia livia forma domestica)
  • Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
  • Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
  • White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
  • Common Swift (Apus apus)
  • Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
  • Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
  • Long-Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
  • White-Headed Long-Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus caudatus)
  • Marsh Tit (Parus palustris)
  • Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)

I know, that's 28 names. But I suppose the Long-Tailed Tit and the White-Headed Long-Tailed Tit are the same species but different subspecies.


Lisette and I took a walk in the forest here in Beek today. We started in 'Dal Palland', a valley 'managed' by the 'Vereniging Nederlands Cultuurlandschap', an association that works for a varried cultural landscape with respect for cultural heritage (website in Dutch). It's a beautiful valley used as a demonstration area by the association, it has lots of layed hedges and other methods of old farmyard seperation. It's where I took the picture that's on my homepage. Today I took another picture in that area, of the small swingdoor-fence that leads to the valley when approaching from the path that starts around two corners of the street we live in.
Dal Palland is only a small valley, but you can walk right into forest Duivelsberg from it. A beautiful forest with a number of small fields and acres and mutiple streams, hosting many rare plant species. The second picture below shows one of the fields and the beautiful autumn-colored trees of the forest.
We walked over to a place where we'd seen what's called a 'Duivelsei' (devilsegg) in Dutch a couple of times before. This devilsegg we assumed was of a Stinkhorn. There were three of them, but we'd missed the 'grown-up' Stinkhorn that broke out of the first egg. We've walked over to this place a couple of times to see how things were going. It wasn't looking too great anymore today, but it had finally broken out. I just realized I never placed a picture of the egg in my diary. I've put one on the misc. page of the pictures section if you want to see how this mushroom starts out.
Also saw another Fly Arganic. Not in a great shape like the one I saw november 2nd, but still nice to see. Just like Goldcrests, the tiny birds (weighing a mere 4 grams!) I saw in our front garden november 3rd, and see regulary in this area (it helps to know their call if you want to see them). I wasn't able to photograph one in our garden unfortunately, but I managed to get one on today. They're very, very energetic... That means they pretty much never stop moving. I've tried to photograph one before, but this is the best I've been able to get so far. Don't look at or something like that or you'll laugh at my attempt... :/



Another walk in the forest today. We crossed the street and started on the path I photographed the last time we were there (see the first picture in the entry above). Only a couple of meters up that path I heard and saw Fieldfares. There are a couple of old apple trees on the sloping field next to the path and the Fieldfares were enjoying the apples that were left high up in the trees. Fieldfares are really beautiful birds in my opinion. I did my best to take some pictures, but I'm not too satisfied with the results. The picture below is a so-called crop (I've cut off a bit on all sides), it's the best of the set I took. We didn't see too much beside this. A Goldcrest at distance, some Marsh Tits at distance and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker, also at distance. But the forest was beautiful and it was nice and quiet. :) Oh, we did see something that was impressive... We heard a swooshing sound, like a BIG gush of wind passed, looked up and saw a small flock of pigeons pass over the trees at mindnumbing speed... It made me think of a bit in the BBC series Life Of Birds, in which Peregrin Falcons practice hunting for these kind of pigeons making unbelievable twists and turns... Highly reccomendable to get that series on DVD, excellent stuff!
Also, I took a quick picture of the Bloody Dock (Rumex Sanguineus) in our back garden today. Compare it to the picture in the september diary where I wrote about this plant investing in leafs so heavily. I hope it was able to produce enough reserves to florish again next year!
Oh yeah, nearly forgot... There's also a short video of the Fieldfares on the videos page of the pictures & videos section. Poor quality though... :(



It snowed today. Quite a bit even. Lisette and I took a (short) walk through Dal Palland while it was snowing. Some pictures from that walk can be seen below. I also added two pictures taken in our garden. One of the Birch tree trunk as it looks so nice with it's 'head' covered with snow. :) And another of the tree tops that can bee seen from our back garden as they too looked very nice covered with snow.



A small tribute to my walking shoes! They're awesome... I've had them for ehm... About 4 or 5 years? They have been mistreated pretty badly, having been submerged in salt water (and not rinsed off afterwards) and mud (on numerous occasions). But they're 100% waterproof! :) And of course I've walked miles and miles on them. They're still really comfortable and I'd buy the exact same ones if these should ever fall apart, which I can't imagine.
Oh, and what's also really awesome about them is that no cow ever had to suffer for them! They're NOT made of leather. The hardness of these shoes prove there's no need to use leather for shoes, something most people seem to be very sceptical about.
I got them from Vega Life, a Dutch vegan shop, but they were made by Ethical Wares. Thanks to both these companies for these wonderful shoes!!! :)