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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.


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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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New bird in our backyard

Posted on February 18th 2008 by Arthur in Birds

Last week we saw a new bird in our backyard: a Goldfinch (‘Putter’ or ‘Distelvink’ in Dutch). It isn’t a rare bird at all, but we never saw one before in our own backyard.

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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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Year of the Kingfisher

Posted on November 29th 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Travel

We saw seven different species of Kingfisher this year, 2007, in The Netherlands (‘IJsvogel’), Egypt and The Gambia! We saw most on our trip to The Gambia in January, and most of these were Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). These black-and-white birds are very approachable. They hunt by hovering over the water and then diving down bill first directly below to catch a fish. We found this one somewhere between the towns of Tendaba and Georgetown:

Pied Kingfisher / Ceryle rudis

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Birding at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt

Posted on November 21st 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Travel

On 13 October 2007, our 7th wedding anniversary, we visited St. Catherine’s Monastery during our holiday in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. The monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is at the foot of Mount Sinai and is one of the oldest continuously functioning Christian monasteries in the world.

Arthur in front of the monastery

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Starving vultures cause panic in Pyreneesexternal link

Posted on August 7th 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Nature, News

10,000 hungry vultures are causing panic in the Pyrenees and Basque Country. They have been attacking live animals and have also been aggressive towards humans. The vultures are starving due to a new EU directive which prohibits farmers from leaving cattle carcasses on their land to rot. The dead animals must now be burned or disposed of in another way. The initiative is to prevent disease spread among cattle but the results have been devastating for the vultures. More »

Birding around Huelva in Spain

Posted on June 8th 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Nature, Travel

Last week we came back from a vacation in Andalucia in Spain. The area is perfect for birding. Highlights for us were the Purple Gallinule, Red-knobbed Coot and Azure-winged Magpie. Another great sight were the hundreds of Stork nests on almost every electricity pole along the highway between Sevilla and Huelva. Here is a list of some great places to go birdwatching. More »

New cute birds at

Posted on March 16th 2007 by Arthur in Birds, Shopping & Stuff has been updated this week with 17 new cute birds, including African Grey Parrot, Peach-faced Lovebird, Brown Pelican, Keel-billed Toucan, Osprey, Egyptian Plover and Bald Eagle. There are also some nice free graphics for use in MySpace comments. More »

134 Gambian birds added to lifelistexternal link

Posted on January 26th 2007 by Amy in Birds, Nature, Personal, Travel

We went to The Gambia for 11 days earlier this month, and saw about 150 birds, 134 of which we managed to photograph. They have now all been added to our online lifelist. More »