All posts filed under: European Mammals

Red Deer Stags Oostvaardersplassen The Netherlands

Red deer – New wilderness # 2

The red deer rut is a spectacular phenomenon. On our last trip into the OVP (Oostvaardersplassen) we hoped to find the testosterone inflated stags competing for their harems as rutting activity normally reaches its peak when the days shorten. But hinds and stags were still in separate groups, and we therefore knew it was too early to witness the spectacle of roaring and fighting males. Due to abnormally low spring temperatures nature has simply delayed all processes, however, it didn’t stop us from chasing the deer for some nice shots.  

Konik horses fighting stallions

Konik horse – New wilderness

The Netherlands is a land of water. The country has been shaped by its force and largely exists due to sound water management. A major example is the Zuiderzee, a large shallow inlet of the North sea consisting of multiple lakes, marshes and channels. As rising sea levels and storms made it bigger over the centuries, surges and floods caused death and disaster. These perilous waters have finally been tamed by closing them off from the open sea in the 1930s, creating a manmade freshwater lake. A big block of land has since been reclaimed for farming, housing and industrial development, but when the drainage of the lowest part was finally concluded in 1968, no one could have foreseen it would become one of Europe’s most important wetlands. Too wet for construction this part was planted with common reed, providing food and shelter for numerous (near) extinct species of waterbirds. Some of these species, as for example the Grey Goose (Anser anser), Great Egret (Ardea alba) and Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea Leucorodia), returned in such numbers that the significance of this area as a major nature …