A little humour to start the week is always welcome…
On one of my favourite cycling routes, on the bank of an ancient Pingo-Ruin, Burgumer Mar (lake created in the Ice-Age) I came across this hilarious sign.
Even though I realise most of you can’t understand the Dutch language I imagine you can already grasp the gist of it’s serious yet facetious warning…I shall attempt to construct a concise translation…
Headline: SHIT doesn’t belong in the water!
Poop from birds, dogs, people and horses contains vast amounts of Ecoli Bacteria, pathogens that pollute the water in which people swim.
You can help by:
Not feeding the birds.
Cleaning up rubbish and scraps of leftover food.
Not pooping in the water youself.
Although these statements contain some truth, the natural inhabitants of this area, the birds, fish and other animals are obviously going to carry on as normal…and to be honest I’ve never seen dogs, horses or people wading out into the lake because they suddenly feel the need, so to speak. Personally if I get caught short, which has been known to occasionally happen, I find a secluded area away from the beaten path, scrape out a shallow pit with a stick, and bury it afterwards…the same as man has done for centuries past…
The real problem (and I regret to have to say this) are the chartered sailing ships, century old vessels, carrying between 20-30 (mostly German) tourists thoughout the idyllic and abundant waterways of our beloved Frisian landscape. On board there are usually a couple of toilets which are constantly in use, the contents thereof lead to one big sewage tank that has to be eventually emptied where? Yes, you get it….Into the Water! If this procedure is not carried out on time, then there is a big stinking mess in one of the sleeping chambers and that really isn’t a pleasant task to clean up… Yet as a former shipmate on one of these elegant vessels, I can tell you that the Captain of the ship generally takes responsibility under such circumstances whilst the shipmate temporarily takes control of the helm. Additionally, it is protocol to always empty the sewage tank into the water during periods of actual sailing out in open water, but when the ship is docked in a harbour alongside a whole fleet of similar vessels and the point of overflow is at hand…then you can obviously guess the immediate solution….which normally takes place in the mornings for some reason….😉
Coincidentally, and I use that word somewhat sarcastically, in the summer, the lakes here in Friesland have to endure an exponential and widespread growth of toxic algae blooms and when this happens it is advisable to not go near the water at all, let alone swim in it. Obviously, I’m not a scientist or expert in these matters, I’m just a crazy artist, so admittedly I may sometimes make connections that hold no truth.
As a conclusion, returning back to the original issue of the aforementioned sign, I have noticed in the small villages across Friesland, that the locals often disregard most propaganda such as this and they don’t let anyone dictate where or how they may walk their dogs, as they are rebellious free spirits, which is a stance that I personally love and respect dearly, that’s why I feel so at home here…
In the words of the local rebels “Ik heb er schijt aan!”
It would have been more respectful to this Ruff to be introduced in his attractive breeding plumage…but as usual I delayed…and forgot…and became more concerned with other aspects of the natural world…almost like I’m in a permanent state of distraction.
It can be difficult to fit everything in when the seasons race by so fast…
Three in a Row
Three consecutive exposures of an adult Coot with a young coot. 🙂
On the Surface
A juvenile Eurasian Coot awaiting plumage renewal which will enable it to dive beneath the surface…
For the last few years that I have been wandering around Earnewoude with a camera and without a clue, I had heard many reports about Black-necked Grebes…but unfortunately I had never managed to be in the right place at the right time…
On my arrival at the bird hide for the first time this year, I certainly didn’t expect to find this illustrious pair of jokers waiting for me…
The Elusive One
This is generally the closest that I can manage to get to a Marsh Harrier, as this raptor gracefully glides and levitates, surveying the margins of the lake for prey…he’s always there…always spectacular…yet always keeping his distance… 😉
A Questionable Tradition
Lapwings are currently gathering together in huge flocks for the winter, on the marsh and in the meadows…they can be quite a sight with their coordindated flight displays which are very similar to starling murmurations…
Unfortunately it is an old and outdated tradition here in Friesland to bring the first lapwings’ egg to the kings’ commissioner symbolizing the beginning of spring…and many disturb nests between the 1st of March and the 9th of April to compete for first place… 😐
Occasionally I can get quite close to solitary subjects such as this one wading in the shallows of the marsh, captured in the setting, late summer sun…
On a Platter
Just a few minutes after capturing the image of the buzzard that I posted yesterday, I came across this young Great Crested Grebe on the canal who seemed quite happy to float there as I took photographs…the parent bird was keeping an eye on the situation from a distance though neither bird seemed overly concerned with my presence… 😉
Avoiding the Firing Squad
The Ruddy Duck is an exotic species from the Americas that has “escaped” from private collections into Europe and has interbred with some rare species of duck and is now more often seen through the cross-hairs of a rifle sight rather than a camera lens.
In the UK this duck was the subject of an extensive cull in the nineties and unfortunately it is also allowed to shoot this very cute duck here in Friesland. This particular duck was seen on a nature reserve somewhere in Friesland 😉 where I’d like to believe that it is safe…at least for now…
It always seems to me that nature has to pay for mankinds’ pathetic mistakes…Grey Squirrels, Signal Crayfish and Rose-Ringed Parakeets are somehow allowed to live at the expense of indigenous species while ruddy ducks have to be exterminated…not to mention that ridiculous badger cull in the UK…
Seriously, these people act like they are God but when it all goes wrong their only way to accept responsibility for their actions is to cull the entire species… 😦
Mostly I’m completely aware of the photographs I take, though I can’t quite remember taking this one of a Wigeon in eclipse plumage, which was a pleasant surprise after I uploaded the days images to my pc… I know there were several species of duck that I was attempting to photograph but I just don’t recall this Wigeon… 😕
As the bright and vibrant colours of summer begin to fade, the plumage of water birds like the Great Crested Grebe, although still retaining a remnant of the breeding plumage, also begin to gradually pale into a more wintery style of raiment.
Amongst the resting lapwings and snipe on the marsh, a couple of snipe suddenly get “beaky” with each other…only the slightest of elevations was neccessary to resolve this issue. 😉
Sunny Side Up
After the recent post displaying shovelers on a cloudy day, I only thought it was fair to add one of a shoveler with some sun and colour in this late burst of summer we have been experiencing the last couple of weeks. 😉
While I was cycling to the bird-hide I was secretly hoping to maybe shooting a shoveler image or two…as I entered the hide I was astonished to find I was surrounded by shovelers!
The trick is to get them when their heads are not submerged under the water as they shovel about in the mud… 😉
Enter Stage Left
While I was concentrating on this young Coot…it didn’t take long before the parent intervened…warning the youngster away from my photographic gaze while simultaneously stealing all the limelight… 😉