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Spring in my ‘Dutch backyard’ (2016)

Last year I made a report called: ‘Spring in my ‘Dutch backyard’ (2015)’. When I go out photographing in my own country I make only a few photographs. Most of the time it is a short trip or just a visit to the national park near my home. Not really enough to make a trip report about it. Making a report about all the short photographical outings in spring is something I will continue to do from now on.

Before starting this report I want to tell that I have moved to Haarlem in spring. One of the things I really like about it is that I live very near Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland. Besides having a great opportunity to see wildlife, I also started monitoring reptiles and amphibians in this area. I am still learning how to get around and to find the great spots to photograph animals in the area. That is why I did not make as many good photos as I wanted. I think that will be a good goal for next year.

This spring I also went to Southern Portugal and Spain and the Białowieża Forest in Poland. You can click on the links to read the reports if you like. With this report I want to show you that photographing wildlife does not always need exotic locations. The Netherlands is small (everything is close to my home) and nature is very fragmented like ‘backyards’.
Going out to photograph is one of the great things to do in weekends. Especially with friends. It is one of the good ways to escape from the busy life as a biology teacher.

Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland

As I told you I recently moved to Haarlem. Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland is very close to my home. I can get there by bike. I also monitor amphibians and reptiles in this area. This area will be a great source for new photographs in the future.

Sand Lizards

One of the very photogenic animals in this area is the Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis). I did not photograph many green males this spring. In Nationaal Park Zuid-Kennemerland they are very shy compared to the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. I did not visit the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen during spring this time, so less green Sand Lizards in this report.

Male Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis) Male Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis) Male Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis)

While photographing a Sand Lizard there were also Black-necked Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) in the water of the lake. A very beautiful and exotic looking bird. Most people don’t even notice them.

Black-necked Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) Black-necked Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) Black-necked Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis)

Short walks in the evening

Having a lot of beautiful nature around has many perks like having very short walks, because we do not have to take a big effort to get there. After a long day working inside a school, with good weather, it is great to go out.
During one of the short walks Yara and I found this little Common Toad (Bufo bufo).

Common Toad (Bufo bufo) Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

During the same walk to also saw this Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis) basking on the path just before sunset. A nice place to get yourself killed when you are a Slow Worm.

Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis) Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)

Weekend Zuid-Limburg

Last year I went to Zuid-Limburg to have a great weekend with friends and see some animals. This year we did it again. Not just for animals, but also to play with waterballoons. Some animals only live in that part of the Netherlands (and of course surrounding countries). The Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina variegate) is one of them. Last year we also saw some of them, but I was not happy with my photos. For this year I have two photos that I like. On one of them he looks like a “beachgoer on a lazy day”. The yellow belly is also visible. It does look exotic, but this is really in the Netherlands.

Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina variegata) Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina variegata)

Another beautiful species living in this part of the Netherlands is the Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricians). Too bad, not with eggs on the back this time. You can not be lucky all the time.

Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricians) Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricians) Midwife Toad (Alytes obstetricians)

On Saturday I compensated the lack of reptiles by photographing flowers with bees. I love the colors.

ZuidLimburgJuni20160611-6 ZuidLimburgJuni20160611-7

Under a pile of wood we did find some Alpine Newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris).

Alpine Newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris)

On Sunday Yara found a beautiful Alpine Newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris) for me to photograph. After photographing it started raining, again.

Alpine Newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris)

The only reptiles we saw were Common Wall Lizards (Podarcis muralis). We were hiding for the rain and Dieuwertje found a lizard hiding for the rain in a crack.  It might not be the best photo ever, but I like it because it shows their natural behavior. I also like the natural frame around the animal.

Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen

Another area near my home is the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. I went there only twice this year so far. On our first visit, 16 July and summer already, Yara and I went there together. We went looking for European Tree Frogs (Hyla arborea). I did not find one, but Yara did. She found a very young individual. As you can see on the photos it still has remains of a tail.

Juvenile European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea) Juvenile European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea)

I had searched for a while and started photographing the juvenile, when two other men started to search and found this adult one in seconds. It was like he had one in his pocket.

European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea)

On the way back I saw a male Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis). The pose was quite funny. It looked like a lizard burrito with the head sticking out of the leaf like that.

Male Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis)

On Sunday 31 July Yara and I went to the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen again. While being there looking for European Tree Frogs (Hyla arborea) Yara’s parents had joined us. For her parents it was the first time seeing tree frogs. Yara, Yara’s dad, and I were photographing tree frogs. It is definitely not as easy as it seems. We were having fun, and the results are very pleasing.

Juvenile European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea)
Juvenile European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea) Juvenile European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea)

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© 2020 Nature & Wildlife Photography by Ronald Zimmerman

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