Birds and big lizards of Curaçao

Cow parsley

The coast

Hide and seek

The coast

The Northsea coast. We will be visiting soon again. I haven’t had a decent walk on the beach for ages.


I saw my first Spoonbill of the year last Saturday. It was all alone, spooning away in the waters of the Bantpolder in Friesland.

Every year the Spoonbills migrate to Schiermonnikoog to breed. They fly to the Lauwersmeer to feed.

There’s a satellite tracking program so you can follow them on Google earth.

Today we drove to the ‘Kiekkaste’ bird hide in Nieuwe Statenzijl in Groningen, but it was grey and it started to rain, so I didn’t get very good pix. Going to try again tomorrow.

Vogelkijkhut de Kiekkaaste (by gwendolen)
November, 2008

Running Wild

Konik (by gwendolen)
We went for a drive on Saturday, planning on doing some birding and taking a few photos. When we arrived at the bird hide ‘Sylkajut’, we saw quite a large herd of Konik horses. We had never seen them up close before, the area they roam is quite large.

The Konik horse is a direct descendant of the now extinct European horse, the Tarpan. 250 Konik horses and an even larger herd of Highland cattle roam the National Park Lauwersmeer to keep the grass short and give plants, birds and insects the chance to settle. These animals are pretty wild and best watched from a respectful distance. Feeding and petting can interfere with their natural instincts.

Running Wild 1 (by gwendolen)
Running Wild 6 (by gwendolen)

iDentify Digitale Veldgidsen


I met Fiona Barclay of BirdGuides on Twitter a little while ago. I’d seen the lovely software they sell for iPhone and iPods and I wondered if BirdGuides had any plans to publish in other languages. So I sent Fiona a Tweet asking about the iDentify Field Guide and a few weeks later I was pleasantly surprised, when she asked me to test the beta release of iDentify Europese Vogels; the Dutch version of iDentify European Birds.

Having a digital field guide is a great help to a newbie bird watcher like myself. Spotting birds in the Netherlands is a lot trickier than spotting and correctly ID-ing birds like ostrich, emu and Southern Cassowary. (Okay, the Southern Cassowary was only half wild, I ticked it in a reserve in Queensland – from a safe distance)

iDentify’s digital field guide isn’t just a great tool for newbies, the more experienced twitcher will also like the software. And not only because bird watching with your iPhone or iPod Touch makes you look ubercool. The field guide is a complete library with illustrations and bird songs.

The guide covers 515 of the species occuring in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. All the files (1493) are labelled which makes it easy to quickly look up a bird. You can select all the songs and calls individually, which really helps if you just need to hear that particular call. As you play a track, the name of the bird is mentioned. It also shows on the screen with an illustration of the bird. Most birds have more than one illustration.

The ‘Europese Vogelgids’ fits on a 256 MB MP3 player, preferably one with a colour screen that displays album art, so you can see the illustrations. (iPod Nano, iPod Classic, iPod Touch, iPhone). The Dutch version is available at

Tiniest Tail

Tiniest Tail, originally uploaded by gwendolen.

I think this must be the youngest hyena I’ve ever seen, too cute for words. The mother was still recovering from child birth.

The gestation period is 4 months in Crocuta crocuta. Females usually bear twins although 1 to 4 young are possible. The females give birth through their penis-like clitoris. During birth, the clitoris ruptures to allow the young to pass through. The resulting wound takes several weeks to heal. Cubs are not weaned until they are between 14 and 18 months of age. Females are capable of producing a litter every 11 to 21 months. (from Animal Diversity Web)