A Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) sitting on a waste basket. Isn’t he beautiful! Look at those coloured feathers and intelligent eyes.
Magpies are often maligned as pests, but they’re actually very interesting birds that are usually overlooked for both their beauty and their intelligence. They are closely related to crows, jays, and ravens; thus among the most intelligent family of birds (Corvidae). And after studying them, I’m convinced that magpies have a great sense of humour too! 🙂
Because magpies are often misunderstood, here are 3 interesting facts about them:
(ii) Magpies recognize themselves in mirrors. European magpies have demonstrated the remarkable ability to recognize their own reflections in mirrors, something that was once thought to be a defining characteristic belonging only to humans. This might not sound that amazing, but out of countless species tested, only four ape species, bottlenose dolphins and Asian elephants have demonstrated this ability.
(iii) A group of magpies is called “a parliament”. They earned this title from often appearing in large groups, looking stately and cawing at each other.
And a little flower…
Week 43! Two photographs of Grey heron (Ardea cinerea), the first one shows a juvenile individual and the second one an adult.
The grey heron is very common here in The Netherlands, also in urban environments. Here in Amsterdam, they are ever present and well adapted to modern city life. They hunt as usual, but also visit street markets and snackbars.
The rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri) is a common bird here in Amsterdam. There’s a group of them in my backyard, and they wake me up every morning! It’s a noisy species with an unmistakable squawking call. Without exaggerating, there can be 30 of them (sometimes more, especially in the winter) in one tree. They’re nice to look at, but I do wish I had mute button (or at least a snooze button) for them 😉
Here’s a cute little female, she didn’t scream but just sat there talking to herself (who doesn’t sometimes) which seem to be typical for them.
Going on an egg hunt 🙂 Happy Easter everyone!
A sweet moment between mother and child ❤
Photographed today in the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen
Despite the abundance in photographs (see previous post), I still think there’s room for more. 🙂 Even a photo of a cat! To add to the trillions out there already.
Actually, I’ve been wanting to use my new camera, Fujifilm X-T1, but due to lack of time and horrid weather I haven’t been able to get out. So, my cat Odd has been forced to model for me at home. This picture was taken in low light without flash
A Harris’s Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), photographed in Lanzarote
A male Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), photographed in wetlands outside Amsterdam yesterday
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
A Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), photographed outside St Petersburg, Russia a few weeks ago
It got its scientific name “rudibundus” which means “laughing” even though its cry doesn’t sound like laughing. The background story to the name is that when Linné named it, he used information from Ornithologia (written by Brisson in 1760) because the Black-headed gull didn’t breed in Sweden at the time so Linné wasn’t very familiar with it. In Ornithologia, Brisson described the Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) and the Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) as sub-species of the same art (Gavis ridibunda). Unlike the Black-headed gull though, the Laughing gull’s cry does sound like laughing- despite missing “rudibundus” in its scientific name.
If you only get a quick look at one of these gulls and want to know which one you saw, it might help you to know that the Black-headed Gull lives in Europe and Asia and the Laughing Gull in North and South America.