A species that is doing very well in the past decades is the Bluethroat. When I came to Groningen, 20 years ago, you had to search quite hard to find them, now there is a population of around 350 breeding pairs a few kilometers away from my home. As this area, de Onlanden, is quickly becoming my local patch, it was an easy and beautiful target.
De Onlanden is a relatively new water storage area near the city of Groningen. In only 20 years an extensively used peat meadow area, characterised by mostly small-scale, wet grasslands, was turned into an important nature reserve with large reed marshes and bodies of water. Several streams flow through the area and there are some small groves.
In this time of year, the willow shrubs that can be found in the reed marshes, are very popular singing posts for the Bluethroats, who have just returned from their wintering grounds in Africa. They are often so busy attracting a female or defending their territory, that they don’t mind a photographer standing right next to them, which results in many pictures of these pretty birds all over the place. Which I’m more than happy to contribute to with this post.