Het Gooi is the area between the Dutch capital city Amsterdam and Utrecht. It has a reasonable quality of landscape. This means: many forests, heathlands and freshwater lakes. All to Dutch standards of course. None of the mentioned reserves is larger than 5 square km.
Formed during an ice age
Geographically the Gooi is the norternmost part of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht hill range) that is nowhere any higher than 50 meters at most (!). The Utrechtse Heuvelrug and the Veluwe are remainders of the second-last ice age (Saale/Riss glacial), when part of the country was covered by glaciers from the north. As the enormous masses of ice moved on, they shoveled the ground upwards hence leaving these gentle slopes in the landscape. (on the country map at the start of this trip report you see them as yellow formations).
Because of this pleistocene origin Het Gooi lies beyond sea level. Being so close to two important cities, it's a popular place for people to live, resulting in capital villa's all over the area. The nature reserves are managed by (and in possession of) 'the Goois Natuurreservaat', a foundation with a long history.
World's longest ecoduct
One of the main threats to nature and biodiversity is fragmentation by built-up areas and infrastructure. To mitigate the barrier effects of roads to wildlife, a growing number of wildlife passages, such as ecoducts, has been realised in the Netherlands over the last decades. In may 2006 our Queen Beatrix opened in Hilversum the world's longest ecoduct called Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo. It measures 800 meters and within less than one month the first roe deer spontaneausly crossed this bridge. Today it is one of the best places to spot them.
In Het Gooi some of the finest houses of the country are situated, like this famous one called Trompenburg.
This picture points out the problem here. The freeways A1 (Amsterdam-Amersfoort) and A27 (Utrecht-Almere) cut the landscape to pieces. Thereby isolating populations.
And the second issue: very intensive recreation, such as here on the first sunny Sunday in February.
Nevertheless there are still some species out here. Like this common newt (Lissotriton vulgaris). It is still abundant around ponds and ditches. They are highly adaptable.
And the grassfrog (Rana temporaria) is doing well too. This male is basking on the eggballs in Bart's garden pond.
Bart Siebelink newt kamsalamanderhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/859.jpg
A rarity is the warty newt (Triturus cristatus). It was close to extinction in this area, but nowadays it is going somewhat better, especially since many new reproduction pools were created over the last decade.
Can you see the tiny holes on top of some warts behind the eye? These are openings of the glands that secrete the skin-toxin.
Traffic still causes many victims each early spring... Fortunately Bart could save this couple.
Alas, there was no rescue for these two poor creatures...
© Bart Siebelink-KP-Netherlands2010-3-2http://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/908.jpg
Neither for this little lady. Her eggs are tragically spoilt on the road surface if it was caviar.
But many do make it to the water. The amphibian migration is always the first photographical highlight of the year. No matter how wet or how late it gets...
It feels so good picturing these animals. Nearly no one notices them, because everybody is asleep at this time.
In April mosquitoes discover that the mating frogs are an easy target for getting fresh blood.
Couple of grassfrogs at night. I (Bart) wanted to portray them as if they were painted by Rembrandt (want to see if I succeeded? Look for the full comparison on Barts profile page unter the button Team).
© Bart Siebelink2011-4http://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/912.jpg
the Gooise matras
Amfibieëntrek ©Bart Siebelinkhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/868.jpg
Common newt on a wet road.
Watersalamander goud ©Bart Siebelinkhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/899.jpg2011
Change of light. This golden glitter and glamour light matches het Gooi better than the cool led light of the former slide. In the end it all comes down to taste.
The nature bridge, just after it had been opened by our queen Beatrix in may 2006.
Achtertuin 3 ©Bart Siebelinkhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/870.jpg2010-2
A view from the slope of this nature bridge on a summer evening. The light on the horizon is a railway supply company that used to be an ecological barrier but that is also solved by this bridge.
154 FFB Indirect-Ree-BartSiebelinkhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/900.jpg
Today this ecoduct and surroundings is one of the best places in the Netherlands to spot roe deer from nearby.
Also on a small scale level measures are taken to enable small animals to get across the roads safely. Here they can pass under the cover of a series of tree trunks.
The heathlands are grazed by Scottish Highlanders, preventing the heatherfield from becoming too grassy.
Hooglander Bart Siebelinkhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/903.jpg
Same subject, but now even looking like a tundra landscape.
Many people appreciate to have a forest just around the corner.
© Bart Siebelink2011-2http://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/911.jpg
The viviparous lizard still inhabits very small patches of heather that are surrounded by forest. They only occur where the grazing is not too intensively.
Achtertuin ©Bart Siebelinkhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/909.jpg2010-2
Some wet areas were developed in the dry parts of this region. This is not only profitable to amphibians, but also to many plant and insects like dragonflies and damselflies.
© Bart Siebelink calamita rugstreeppad 2011http://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/910.jpg
And in the end it will be in favour of the natterjack toad, witch is not common in het Gooi.
Kikker © Bart Siebelinkhttp://www.klooiplek.eu/images/trips/preview/913.jpg
and he watches for more females yet to come