Walk on the Wild Side

Today I went for a walk out to the polder past Spaarndam.  I went looking for wildlife.  I was pretty disappointed.

Last year I ran in this area regularly.  I saw so many ducks and geese and swans and other water birds!  It was wonderful.  I watched their young grow.  I watched them migrate.  Now that I’m a bit more mobile I decided to walk to the same area and see what was happening this year.

First of all, they’ve ruined a big area along the Spaarn where lots of ducks and geese called home last year.  I don’t know who decided this, but someone said that it was ok to first put houseboats in the waterfowl area, then, later, this ship.

Do you see any birds in the above photo?  No.  Not a one.  Last year this area was teaming with birds.  Now nothing.  It made me really sad.  Where had they gone?  I kept walking to try to find them.

At the fork in the river I turned left.  Last year, along this left fork of the Spaarn I saw not only the above mentioned birds, but also a pheasant!  Now?  Only the 2 ducks in the first photo.  What is strange is that I’ve never seen those kind of ducks before.  They were so pretty!  I don’t know if you can tell, but their bills were blue.  Do you know what kind of ducks they are?  They seemed lost.  They were alone.  New ducks in a new neighborhood that everyone else had moved out of.

I wondered what else had caused everyone to move out.  I continued walking along the main road of Spaarndam and came to a huge construction area.  They are busy with reconstruction of the locks and drawbridge.  I’m sure this wasn’t making the wildlife happy either.  When I got there the bridge was up, letting a boat go through.  These temporary bridges move VERY slowly so it was a long wait before we could cross over.  I waited with the traffic and the bikes.

I continued to walk, out into the polder.  Last year these fields were covered in geese.  Most of them were Egyptian geese and also some Canadian geese.  This year, now?  I counted about a dozen Egyptian geese.  There were also some of these pretty and fragile looking birds.

In the distance I could see a field of sheep and thought I might as well go get some lamb photos.

By this time I’d been walking for an hour.  During that hour I had jogged a few minutes just to test and loosen up the knee.  After an hour I was really ready to head home.  Walking the hour back home was long and I was a little annoyed with myself for walking so far.  DB called me while I was still 30 minutes from home wondering where the heck I was.  I almost asked him to come pick me up on his bike.  But no, I toughed it out and walked the rest of the way home.  I was beat when I got back.  Sitting here now, on the couch Sunday evening writing this, my legs really feel sore.  I’m so out of shape!  I realize that getting back to running is going to take a long longer than I had hoped.

But the bigger issue is – where has all the wildlife gone???

UPDATE:  I’ve searched around the net and I think that the lovely blue billed ducks are Greater Scaup.  Here’s a quote: “In Europe and Asia, the Greater Scaup breeds from Iceland through northern Russia and winters from the British Isles south and east through the inland seas and then along Asia’s Pacific Coast.”  You know what I think?  I think the volcano in Iceland has confused them and they ended up here.  No wonder they looked lost.

3 Comments

  1. i’m afraid that the ducks are not scaups, but tufted ducks (kuifeenden in dutch), the black-and-white one is the male, the other the female – their tufts do not show up much, a little wind will do so, and the other bird, in the meadow is a godwit (grutto – he’ll say ‘utto-utto’ in a high voice).
    too sad about the Spaarne – i’ve good memories of biking there when we still lived in Haarlem.

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