zaterdag 7 juli 2012

Fritillaries and a Snake Consuming Raptor!

I had a good sleep-in this morning and woke up around 11:00. You would say that's too late for a real birdwatcher (or birdringer) to do some proper birding but well, I gathered all my courage and decided to cycle 15 km to the National Park Hoge Veluwe. I didn't feel like cycling but it was good weather and a target species was awaiting me!

Yesterday afternoon a Short-toed Eagle had been discovered on the Deelense Veld at the Hoge Veluwe; the same place where I saw the Red-footed Falcons this year. Two Short-toed Eagles were present at the exact same place last year, but for some reason I was being a lazy bastard and didn't see those... However, it is never to late for a rematch! So I had a go for it.

I left our house at 14:00 and around 15:00, 8,20 euro lighter I arrived on the Deelense Veld. I only saw one other birdwatcher present there, Dick van Houwelingen, whom I joined. He said he had seen the bird drop in the heath 10 minutes ago, so all that needed to be done was waiting. It only took 10 minutes before we saw a large raptor circling low, quite distant however, and the heat waves didn't make this any better. We were pretty sure this was the Short-toed Eagle but a better view was needed. As requested, the Short-toed Eagle came our way and as I had cycled towards the bird, the bird flew past, showing really well through my telescope. It did some hunting above the heath, without succes. It disappeared to the North and was out a view for a while. I wanted to do some butterfly watching but a better photo of the Short-toed Eagle was still needed... I waited, and after some time the eagle came into sight again. This time quite close, and with a nice sun shining on the bird. I was only to take some recordshots, but that's good enough for species #210 in my county! It's only my second Short-toed Eagle in the Netherlands, but that's mainly because my dad and I refused to twitch one, haha.
Recordshots of the Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Deelensche Veld, NP Hoge Veluwe; I stood here while observing the Short-toed Eagle

I cycled south to the Eikenhoutbergen where I saw some nice butterflies. Some rare butterfly species occur here on the Hoge Veluwe, that are almost impossible to see outside this National Park. I found the ones I was looking for quickly:
 Heath Fritillary/Bosparelmoervlinder; quite a few seen
Dark-Green Fritillary/Grote Parelmoervlinder; difficult to capture on photo as these were flying all the time

There were also some other butterflies to be found:
Small Copper/Kleine Vuurvlinder
After some more skipper checking I believe both are Large Skippers/Groot Dikkopje

On my way back to home I was cycling through the woods and as I stopped to drink some water I saw something running next to the cycling path: a young Meadow Pipit! What the hell was it doing here all alone? It must have walked away from its nest.. Anyway, I did a good deed and brought the bird back to the heath where it -hopefully- will be reunited with its parents, as I put it on the ground it started feeding, so there is hope!

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), not yet able to fly..

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