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Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland

Posted on January 29th 2006 by Arthur in Life in Holland, Nature, Travel

On this cold but beautifully sunny day we visited the closest national park to our home: Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland. The 3800 hectares (~ 1500 acres) park was opened in 1995 and is one of 20 National Parks in the Netherlands. The park runs for 7 to 8 km along the North Sea coast and consists of dunes, beach, forest and historical estates. More »

Bats in the Netherlands

Posted on January 23rd 2006 by Amy in Life in Holland, Nature, News

I think bats are very cool. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen one here since I moved to Holland seven years ago. According to (“the network for information about bats in the Netherlands”), 21 different bat species have been seen in the Netherlands. More »

Rickshaw drivers guide at India bird sanctuaryexternal link

Posted on January 23rd 2006 by Arthur in Nature, Travel

Over 300 species of birds can be found in the Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur, India. As no motorized transport is allowed in the park, tourists who don’t wish to walk or cycle themselves can opt for a cycle rickshaw. More »

Coke screws environment for better market share

Posted on January 19th 2006 by Amy in Life in Holland, Nature, News, Shopping & Stuff

At the end of this month, Coca-Cola in the Netherlands will offer their products in a new type of bottle. Currently PET bottles are used, and then recycled to be used again by various bottling plants. The new bottle is meant for one-time use only. The bottles will have a deposit on them; after being returned to grocery stores the bottles will be recycled. Material from the recycled bottles will be used to make new PET bottles or other plastic products. More »

Illinois Beach State Park

Posted on January 2nd 2006 by Arthur in Illinois, Nature, Travel

Illinois Beach State Park was established in 1948 and dedicated in 1965 as the nation’s first nature preserve. Today we visited the Southern Unit of this 4,100 acres state park near the Wisconsin border. More »

Dolphin stranding at Oostvoornsemeer

Posted on December 22nd 2005 by Arthur in Leiden, Life in Holland, Nature, News

This week a White-beaked dolphin stranded in the Oostvoornsemeer, a lake south-west of Rotterdam here in the Netherlands. It is a very popular spot for diving schools, and it is where we finished our PADI Open Water Diver course this summer. Two bird-watchers spotted the dolphin and called the Eerste Hulp Bij Zeezoogdieren (EHBZ), or First Aid for Sea Mammals, who think the dolphin swam into the Rotterdam harbor last weekend during a storm. More »

Rotterdam birds inoculated against bird flu

Posted on December 13th 2005 by Amy in Birds, Nature, News

There’s a flu-shot shortage in the U.S. and here in Holland people have to jump through hoops if they want one. But a zoo in Rotterdam is doing something to protect a group even more at risk. Rotterdam Zoo “Blijdorp” has become the first zoo in Europe to vaccinate resident birds against bird flu. Penguins, flamingos and even the ducks in the ponds have been injected as prevention against the virus. More »

“Domino Sparrow” in the news again

Posted on December 9th 2005 by Amy in Birds, Life in Holland, Nature, News

The Dutch goverment has fined the killer of the Domino-Day sparrow €200. According to Dutch law, the shooter violated the “Flora and Fauna” Act because the bird was a protected species. More »

Bird watching in the city

Posted on December 7th 2005 by Amy in Birds, Nature

We live close to the center of Leiden. Our back yard is very small and paved with bricks. The idea of attracting feathered friends to our garden is a bit misguided, as there are dozens of pet cats prowling through the neighborhood. Last year we put up a substantial bird feeder in the middle of the yard, but on the first day a cat jumped into it. More »

Avian Blues

Posted on November 16th 2005 by Amy in Birds, Life in Holland, Nature

When I was in 8th grade, I had to give a speech. For my topic, I chose extinction, and I focused on the fate of the recently exterminated Dusky Seaside Sparrow. The small Florida habitat of the Dusky was destroyed when their habitat was flooded in an attempt to control the mosquito population at the Kennedy Space Center. The artificial lakes, which flooded out the Dusky nests, were later drained when a highway was built to connect the Space Center with Disney World. The last Dusky died in captivity in 1987. It lived out its last days on Discovery Island – in Disney World. More »