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Biking and birding on Texel and a visit to Ecomare

Posted on July 4th 2008 by Arthur in Birds, Life in Holland, Nature

Last Wednesday we went to Texel for the second time (last time was in April last year). We took the train from Leiden to Den Helder and then the 9:30 Teso ferry to Het Horntje on Texel. It was a beautiful day for bicycling around Texel: 30oC and sunny.

IMG_8872.JPG

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Canoeing in Biesbosch National Park

Posted on May 18th 2008 by Arthur in Life in Holland, Nature

Last weekend on Friday 9 May we drove down to the Biesbosch National Park south of Rotterdam and rented a canoe for a few hours of canoeing.

Canoe trail

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Our visit to the Caves of Han

Posted on May 8th 2008 by Arthur in Nature, Travel

Last week on Wednesday 30 April we drove to France and stopped in Han-sur-Lesse in Belgium to visit the Caves of Han or Grottes de Han.

Cave ticket center

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Hurrah! Six new tigers at Ranthambore

Posted on April 22nd 2008 by Arthur in Nature

Here’s some good news: six new tiger cubs were sighted at India’s national wildlife sanctuary Ranthambore this year. This brings the total number of tigers in the park to 38! 😀

In March 2006 we were fortunate enough to see tigers at Ranthambore on our vacation in Rajasthan. That was such an exciting moment; the park is beautiful and even without seeing tigers we would have had a great visit, but all of a sudden an adult tiger crossed the road just in front of our jeep:

Tiger in Ranthambore

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Audubon’s ‘The Birds of America’ at Teyler Museum in Haarlem

Posted on December 7th 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Life in Holland, Nature

Vogels van FormaatToday we visited Teylers Museum in Haarlem to see one of the rarest and most expensive books in the world: “The Birds of America” by John James Audubon (1785 – 1851). The exhibit “Vogels van Formaat” (that runs from 3 November 2007 to 20 January 2008) has on display an original copy of the huge book. It consists of five volumes depicting all birds of North America (as known at the time) in actual size on beautiful dramatic paintings by Audubon.

Approximately 200 sets were thought to have been created in the early 1800’s, but only about 130 are still known to exist. One of these was sold by Christie’s in New York in 2002 for 8.8 million dollars! Teyler Museum bought the first edition book when it came out for 2243 guilders and has owned it since. Throughout the time the book is on display, the museum opens a different page in each book every day.

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Jumping whale

Posted on November 21st 2007 by Arthur in Nature

The Humpback Whale that we tried to see on Sunday was seen again the last two days at Zuidpier. On Monday it even made a big jump that was caught on camera. Have a look at the great pictures and video at Inge’s web-log.

(Almost) whale-watching in IJmuiden

Posted on November 18th 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Life in Holland, Nature

Today we visited IJmuiden after seeing on waarneming.nl that for the last three days they have been spotting a Humpback Whale just 20 meters from the South Pier. We weren’t lucky today and didn’t see it, but we did see some great birds, including three new lifers (Black-legged Kittiwake, Red Knot and Pomarine Skua)!

Black-legged Kittiwake

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Yolanda and Shark Reef at Ras Mohamed National Park

Posted on October 19th 2007 by Arthur in Nature, Scuba Diving, Travel

On Sunday 14 October we had our fourth diving day in the Red Sea (see our photo album of this trip) with Colona Divers and our guide David took us to Yolanda and Shark Reef for our first dive of the day. It took about an hour for our boat to arrive there from the Travco jetty in Sharm El Sheikh. The famous dive site (which is often listed among the top dive sites in the world!) is located at the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Ras Mohamed National Park, where the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba flow into the Red Sea:

Location of Yolanda and Shark Reef Map

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Old-fashioned cans with pull tabs, still used around the world after 30 years

Posted on October 18th 2007 by Arthur in Nature, Shopping & Stuff

Old-fashioned pull tabI still remember the old-fashioned pull tabs on pop cans that were introduced in March 1963 by the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. You put your finger in the ring and pulled the tab off. Unfortunately, these pull tabs were an environmental disaster; pets and wildlife died from digesting the sharp things, as did a few people who dropped them into a can and then accidentally choked on them. The hazardous tabs wound up on beaches, where people cut their feet on them, and littered roadsides and damaged garbage disposals. More »

Storks falling from the sky at Sharm El Sheikh sewage ponds in Egypt

Posted on October 17th 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Nature, Travel

Yesterday we visited the sewage plant North East of Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt to look for birds. We had a very hard time getting there as our taxi driver didn’t speak English (see the directions below), but the visit was well worth all the trouble. We saw many birds, including thousands of White Storks!

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