December 2009

It's taken some time before this first entry. I'm not sure, I guess I just didn't see all that much nature-related stuff which I wanted to write about. There are still lots of birds birds visiting our bird feeders, when there's something to eat in there that is... They empty them so fast that I don't always immediatly fill them up when they're empty, it'd cost me a bit too much...
After my visit to Copenhagen this weekend (click for an impression of that) I was able to finish the work I was doing on my Swift nest box camera setup. There are two nest boxes under the roof gutter, one of which is fitted not only with a high tones speaker (tweeter) to play Swift calls, but also with a mini infrared camera. The cables of this camera used to run through a pipe in the wall ending up in a socket in the second bedroom. Wouter, Lisette's brother, recently helped by drilling a hole through the second bedroom's floor. I drilled a hole through the living room floor (which is wooden, not concrete like the second bedroom's) and now the cabled run through both holes, ending up in the crawlspace. There they enter a pipe in the wall ending in a socket under the desk in the livingroom. Yesterday I finished work on the cables, fixing plugs on the cable ends. It was a bit scary to connect the power adapter for the first time, as I once made a mistake with the connection of the cables destroying one of those mini infrared cameras. There was nothing I could do but to just do it, so I did. And the first thing I saw was a very pleasant surprise!

Quite some snow fell yesterday... Everything looks nice with a layer of snow on it doesn't it? A spider's web in the corner of two walls in our back garden showed it's strength by carrying quite a lot of it. A Blackbird (Turdus merula, Merel in Dutch) was drinking water from a tiny patch of icy water in the 'marsh' (a cement tub filled with sand and water). During a walk in the nearby forest I took some nice pics (among which a nice variation on the Dille flower picture below) which I've put on the Landscapes-page in the Pictures and videos section.


Even more snow fell today. A thick layer covers everything, making the pond and marsh invisible. Insect eating birds will have a difficult time now, which explains why most of those are migratory. A lot of species switch though, eating insects in the summer and seeds in the winter. But of course there are also birds that eat seeds all year round. I think both birds on the pictures below, a Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs, Vink in Dutch) and a Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris, Groenling in Dutch) eat both insects and seeds, but mainly seeds in the winter. The female Chaffinch was searching for seeds of the Perennial Wallrocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia, Grote Zandkool in Dutch). I hope she didn't eat all as I'd like to see this plant again next summer. The flowers smell delicious, like most flowers of plants in the family of cabbages or mustard (Brassicaceae) seem to do (like the deleciously smelling flowers of Black Mustard (Brassica nigra, Zwarte Mosterd in Dutch) and those of Rapeseed (Brassica napus, Koolzaad in Dutch). And as Perrenial Wallrocket is a very close relative of Rocket or Arugula (Eruca sativa, Rucola in Dutch), the leaves taste rather nice as well.
We went for another walk in the forest nearby today where I took a picture of the edge of the forest in Dal Palland, the very nearby (5 minutes by foot) valley. I think I have done so before, but it's just such a nice sight. What I'm pretty sure are Goat Willows (Salix caprea, Boswilg in Dutch) cause a very beautiful golden line in the canopy.

Edit: stupid of me... The Perennial (overblijvend in Dutch) Wall Rocket is, if all goes well, of course going to return to our garden next year! Seed or no seed, the plant's there to stay for a couple of years. :)


I finally managed to record the Great Tit (Parus major, Koolmees in Dutch) entering the Swift nest box today! I'm so glad!!! I started recording around a quarter passed 5 as it was starting to get darker. After about 20 minutes the Great Tit entered the box. It looked around a bit and went to sit in it's usual corner. After a couple of minutes it transforms into a round ball of down with a tail sticking out. Quite amazing. Must be great insulation as even though the nest box provides some shelter, it's probably still very near or just freezing in there.

As cute and nice it was to see the Great Tit enter and turn into a ball of down, as sad it was to watch the next recoring... Here in the Netherlands people can buy fireworks for New Year's Eve, and they do so massively. It's legal to start at something like 2 in the afternoon, which some do, but most wait for 12 'o clock of course. So I started recording about 5 minutes before 12 'o clock. Due to a technical problem there isn't any sound, which I feel very very sorry for, but you can see quite well when sounds could be heard. The first couple of bangs just before 12 don't seem to really wake the Great Tit, but when it all goes at 12... Well... Take a look for yourself. More than enough reason to ban the sale of fireworks in my opinion...