A weekend in Texel: Sheep factory (III)

We started this sunny day by a visit to the beach. It was not so warm along the shore, especially with the wind blowing hard, so we only walked in the sand, jackets and gloves on. There were people of all ages, surfers, and even a carriage pulled by two horses. Over the sea, I spotted sea birds travelling north, following the shoreline like they often do.

Once we were behind the dunes, the temperature was more comfortable, but I started to regret forgetting my sunglasses in Finland. It was one of those days when the sun, if not terribly hot, burnt the eyes.
We spent several hours at Ecomare, a center dedicated to the rehabilitation of seals and porpoises that are found stranded on the beaches of Texel. They essentially take care of abandoned baby seals, which are released into the wild once strong enough, but they unfortunately have to keep some of them ad vitam aeternam, because they are too impaired or too used to human contact. They keep 2 porpoises in their main water tank.
They also have some sea birds, included a few Northern gannets (Morus bassanus). Magnificent birds that these skilled fish-hunters; I had never been so close to a gannet, so I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures through a hole in the net, even if it felt like cheating.

Northern gannet (Morus bassanus)

On the compound, gulls roamed free, nesting nearby or on the look for some leftover food. We didn’t leave them anything :p

Herring gull (Larus argentatus)

Later in the afternoon, we drove east. At Ecomare, I had asked for information about birdwatching spots, so we had some targets. The most impressive was a huge colony of Sandwich terns (Sterna sandvicensis), but on the way, we scanned the fields in search of rarities. My highlight was the Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), a gorgeous rufous wader. Geese were also a welcome sight, as none had arrived to Helsinki yet.

Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa)
Black-tailed godwit
Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Apart from birds, those seemingly endless fields are inhabited by sheep, and it turned out it was already baby time for those fluffy white quadrupeds! Lambs bleating came from all directions, and it seemed we wouldn’t handle this overload of cuteness.

Brant goose (Branta bernicla)

In the end, we managed to leave behind this spectacle and move to the north of the island, watching the sun set before heading back to our cottage.

Don’t miss the previous instalments in this series:

A weekend in Texel

Arrival (I)
At the break of dawn (II)

See more pictures on Facebook: Samuel Bloch – Eiwar Photography

Bird inventory

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