Photos from May and June 08

Some of these are just photos from my neighborhood, but the ones in the park are photos from the Gaasperplas, and an unsung strip of forest along the Reigersbospad. Unfortunately, this little bit of greenery may go the way of the bulldozer before too long.

queen's day

Queen's Day is the holiday in the Netherlands. Officially it is the Queen's birthday, but the current Queen has fixed Queen's Day to its current date, 30 April. On this day the Queen makes a visit to a couple of small towns in the Netherlands, and everyone wears orange (the flag is red, white and blue, but the family name of the royal family is Orange). Orange cowboy hats were particularly popular this year, much to my amusement. There's really nothing quite like seeing great flocks of obviously-European people wandering the streets in orange cowboy hats. I'd be surprised if they ever saw a cow up close. This photo was taken at a free concert on the Museumplein. It is the biggest part of the Queen's Day celebrations in Amsterdam. This year the weather was a bit dodgy, so the crowds stayed pretty thin.

Perhaps the more striking thing about Queen's Day, and much harder to capture in pixels, is that it is basically National Garage Sale Day. They call it the vrijmarkt or free market, and it basically means that anyone is free to sell anything (except food and alcohol) without a license or tax. Nearly every sidewalk in the city is covered in blankets, folding tables, and tarps to keep off the rain, with the usual garage-sale miscellany of scratched children's toys and 70's LPs. Any photo just looks like a few blankets with junk on them. It isn't until you've spent an hour walking around the city that you really have a sense of the scale of it.


I like wisteria. This picture would look better without the Netherlands flag... but the Wisteria blooms around Queen's Day, there's nothing for it.


It is kind of amazing what grows out of the tiny garden plots at the front of houses. This one is heading straight for the hooks on the roof (just in case you missed it in my 2003 photos, the hook is for raising and lowering furniture through the windows. The windows are large and the stairs are small - it's a quite efficient way to do things.) I may go get better pictures of this house later on, but this was the best one I got this day.


I think the flower is a hollyhock. In any case I like the balance of concrete, brick, wood, and flowers in this photo, with the greenery dividing it nicely.

yellow ornamental flower

While stuck waiting outside for a few minutes, I took the chance to get some photos of the ornamental flowers. I really love the shadow cast by the stamen in this photo.

rose and bee

The wild roses were in full bloom. Robbert talked me into trying to photograph the bees... much to my surprise, one of the photos actually worked.

blackberry blossoms

This one didn't... the bee flew away. But it left a nice shot of the blackberry blossoms. Once again, the shadows are what make this shot for me.


I was quite surprised to see a familiar face among the weeds. This could be a wild European columbine or an escaped domestic variety.

ugly ducklings

What's that weird duck? I was crawling around in the mud trying to get pictures of water lilies, when I noticed a funny-looking duck not too far away. After a few minutes I figured it out.

closer swans

A close up of two of the swanlets.


We did finally come across a few fungi, growing in a massive pile of cut wood that was piled up to create habitat for the sort of things that live in woodpiles.


These might be Mycenas. They were certainly small enough. Somehow, though, I think they're one of the many species of minute inky caps that grow here in Europe.


These are almost certainly some kind of Coprinus (inky cap). The old ones were dry instead of inking, but I think they were just being sneaky.


Roadsides, highway medians, and other ugly places are spattered with red and orange poppies at this time of year.


I finally got a needle fly to hold still for a moment! These guys are also called simply libelle in Dutch. The common name does not distinguish them from dragonflies.

water lily

I did, eventually, get a good water lily picture.

water lily

Even two. This one is just blooming.

wild rose

More wild roses.


An inchworm inching its way down a thread. Getting this picture in focus was a trick.


A true dragonfly this time.


The play of the light through the water and the green plants below was really lovely. The picture, of course, does not do it justice.


But you *can* see the enormous school of tiny fish in this shot! The school extended for at least 10 or 12 feet along the bank, I couldn't really see where it ended.


We weren't the only ones with an interest in the fish. We spent quite a while watching this grebe dive after the fish. I even have a photo of him swimming underwater, but unfortunately it is pretty much impossible to see him in the photo.

poppies and thistle

Poppies and a thistle.


More wildflowers.


I think this flower is a bluebell. In any case, I really like the way the light is coming through the veins in the petals.

purple flower

A small (~5 mm) purple flower.


By the time we headed home it was the bunny-ing hour. Most of them headed for the trees as soon as they saw us, but this one was still young enough to watch us for a while first.


Eventually he did get nervous and headed off, though.

In order to see the next set of photos, move the mouse so that the arrow on the screen moves into the blue field that says next page. The arrow might change into a hand when you do this. Once it's inside the blue field, press the left button on the top of the mouse.

On to ladybug photos
Back to index Want to use these photos? Click here for legal stuff and contact info.