October 2010

Strange sounds were coming from the bat box this morning. I tried to capture the sounds on film, but no luck. They were chirping sounds, no idea what they meant. While listening and looking up there I noticed a Peacock (Aglais io, Dagpauwoog in Dutch), hiding from the poor weather under the boarding of the gutter. It's those kind of places were butterflies disappear to when the weather changes (though usually a bit more covered I think).

I got out of bed this morning and peeked out the window from behind the curtains, as I do pretty much every morning in the weekend (I get up so early on weekdays there's nothing to see but darkness). In an instant, I saw a yellow bird flying away from somewhere near our back garden. It happened fast and I didn't get a good luck, so I'm not sure where exactly it came from, but regardless, what bird is yellow? The first thing that came to mind was a Domestic Canary (Serinus canaria domestica, Kanarie in Dutch). I went downstairs, took my binoculars and walk toward the corner of the Plataanstraat, the street around the corner. It didn't take long before I found it, a Canary indeed! I went back home, got my camera (stupid that I didn't immediatly take that along of course...) and walked back to the corner of the Plataanstraat. But the Canary was nowhere to be found. It'd have been nice if it had sat down on our bird feeder. It would have been a garden species I wouldn't see again soon I'm sure. Perhaps it was on the feeder just before I saw it flying away when I got out of bed, but I'm not sure.
Later today I went for a nice walk in nature reserve Millingerwaard with friend and biologist Kim. Great weather, a beautiful nature reserve and good company, so it was an excellent walk! For me, the most spectacular thing was seeing two Hobbys (Falco subbuteo, Boomvalk in Dutch), of which the second one was hunting for dragonflies. Awesome... I could follow it well and using my binoculars I could see it must've caught a mating tandem as it caught something, moved it's head toward it's claws and began tearing off the wings. But then a dragonfly fell from it's claws and flew away. The Hobby kept eating though, so there must've been two!
Kim was impressed by seeing Honeybees (Apis mellifera, Honingbij in Dutch) nesting in the wild in a hollow tree. That same hollow was used by Hornets (Vespa crabro, Hoornaar in Dutch) in a previous summer, but we both had never seen Honeybees nesting in the wild before.
Kim told me what we heard at one point were Long-winged Coneheads (Conocephalus fuscus, Zuidelijk Spitskopje in Dutch). After looking around a bit I found one which I was able to photograph pretty nicely.
Also took a picture of a very nice scene that, of course, looked nicer in real life than on the picture below. The plants growing in the water in the front are Common Mare's Tale (Hippuris vulgaris, Lidsteng in Dutch). Such gorgeous plants... I just though I took a picture once that shows them better and took a look in the pictures and videos section. The pictures there were taken in the Millingerwaard area as well, but somewhere else and in September 2008. Take a look at the pictures here on the second page of the plants pictures section. Back to the picture below though, the reddish plants in the background must be some kind of Docks (Zuring in Dutch), I think probably Marsh Dock (Rumex palustris, Moeraszuring in Dutch), though we also saw Water Dock (Rumex hydrolapathum, Waterzuring in Dutch)... Either way, it looked very nice...


Lisette and I went for a walk on the forested lateral moraine (the 'hill' that runs along the edge of Beek and Ubbergen). After crossing the street and starting to walk up the path heading into the forest, I started looking for mushrooms. I'd just read a bit about a 'pink stinkhorn' (Mutinus ravenelii, Roze Stinkzwam in Dutch) that I'd seen beside that path once. Didn't find that one again, but I did see some other very nice mushrooms. Earthstars! Probably Sessile Earthstar (Geastrum fimbriatum, Gewimperde Aardster in Dutch). I'd never seen Earthstars before, even though they aren't all that rare. I'd been hoping to see them some time for a while though, so I was quite excited to find them. Real beauties.
That was also pretty much the highlight of the walk, even though it was of course nice to be in the beautiful forest again.
Almost forgot! I also took a couple of pictures in the back garden before our walk in the forest. A couple of the mushrooms that appeared in our back garden last year have appeared again. See also the Ocober 2009 diary, I wrote a couple of entries about them, starting on October 23rd. Like I wrote on October 31st in that diary, these are probably the fruit bodies of Shoestring Rot (Armillaria ostoyae, Sombere Honingzwam in Dutch). Not by far as many as last year though.
Also in the back garden, the fruit of the Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium var. tatula, Doornappel in Dutch) is starting to look more 'mature' (compare to the picture in the diary entry for ).


I tried photographing garden birds again today. I took a couple of pictures of a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus, Pimpelmees in Dutch) that had something strange hanging from it's behind. No idea what it is though...

With much appreciated help from Lisette I took down the Swift nest boxes today. Read about it here in the Swift diary.

I've added a bird species to the garden visitors list today! When I was in the back garden at one point I thought I saw a Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea, Grote Gele Kwikstaart in Dutch) flying by. I certainly heard a wagtail calling. So I went upstairs to have a better look over the flat roofs and quickly spotted it. Indeed a Grey Wagtail. And not just one, there was a second one around as well! The bird guide says they're pretty common on flat roofs in villages and cities in this time of year. In the breeding season they're bound to fast-flowing water which means they're not common in the entire country at all in that time of year. A nice species to add to the list counting 35 now!

Again with much appreciated help from Lisette I put the Swift nest boxes back up today. Read about it here in the Swift diary.

I increased the space where plants can grow a tiny little bit today. I removed a tile on the edge of the terrace and filled the hole with soil from the vegetable patch. Some plants came along. Two small Salsifys (Morgensterren in Dutch) I think, one of which was damaged a bit while transferring the soil. Two other plants are some kind of Compositae, not sure of what species exactly. I guess the Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea, Hondsdraf in Dutch) growing nearby will be one of the first to reach this new patch of soil by itself.
The little pond is close to where I removed the tile and as I was photographing what I think is a beautiful patch of moss growing on the side of the pond, I noticed a Red Slug (Arion rufus, Gewone Wegslak in Dutch) on leaves of Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus, Gele Lis in Dutch) inside the pond! I guess it was just taking a risk for a nice meal?