Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Afsluitdijk - Black Tern arrival

Without doubt the greatest news was the birth of our son Siebren a month ago, but I will stick to birds here:-)
I drive the Afsluitdijk almost daily for work and last days it was obvious that Black Terns are arriving. A large part of the European population gathers along IJsselmeer/Afsluitdijk after breeding (and before they migrate South), and today I took my bike for a closer inspection. Highest numbers were present between Breezanddijk and Den Oever.
Black Terns above the Afsluitdijk (statue of Lely in the background)
The terns were feeding low on insects before the weather cleared and soon I found what I was looking for; a fine adult White-winged Tern!

Although the tern was already moulting towards winter plumage it was rather easy to pick out thanks to the pale upperwings and white rump.

From the underside it rather resembles a moulting Black Tern but note that the flight feathers are very pale (the primaries and secondaries).
And of course there were many Black Terns within photographic range. Below a juvenile, note the brownish back, dark spot on the breast-side and pale fringes along the coverts on the upperwing.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

More gulls from Madeira

An Iceland Gull at the Ribeira Brava river mouth was even more surprising than the Ring-billed Gull. Both species have the status "occasional" in Madeira. Note that it is a second-winter/3rd calender year (pale iris). Date of observation Feb. 2nd.

and some more images of the Ring-billed;

more occasional (and exceptional!) records soon

Friday, February 9, 2018

Ring-billed Gull at Funchal

The highlight of a rather windy and rainy week on Madeira. This first-winter was competing for bread with the feral pigeons in Funchal harbour on the 6th (and was still present 2 days later). More pictures soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pallas Warbler - Castricum

lightness in the dark forest! (and in-between heavy rain..)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Helgoland - the highlights

a tame Little Bunting, Unterland Ort

Dusky Warbler in very dull light, Helgotick 1!
Arctic Redpoll, self found and the first of a small influx. Helgotick 2!
Siberian Chiffchaff, several were present
Red-flanked Bluetail in typical Helgoland habitat
the -not- the Desert Warbler rock, I will try to add a picture of the -not- the Dusky Thrush bush later

Monday, November 6, 2017

Helgoland again

Some more pictures of not the Desert Warbler soon. We had a great weekend anyway!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cuxhaven-Helgoland, seawatching again!

Several days of NW-storm caused a severe ocean swell, a trip to remember! The depart of the ferry from Cuxhaven was delayed several hours in hope for better weather so we had some time for seawatching from the mainland. The Elbe is a famous trap for seabirds and even without telescopes we soon saw the first Leach's Petrel. Several other Leach's followed and we also saw some Arctic and Great Skuas before we left the harbour with the ferry.
Leach's Petrel in the Elbe-estuary

Only minutes after departure there was a petrel rather close to the ship, and it showed the typical flight of European Storm Petrel, which was soon confirmed by the pictures. Great start!
note the diagnostic white line on the underwing
the rather distinct upperwing pattern resembles Leach's but indicates this is a fresh immature plumage

At almost the same time a slender and dark skua appeared next to the ship, a dark phase Long-tailed! Soon afterwards both birds were also reported from mainland Kugelbake (but they must have distant views).
juvenile Long-tailed Skua. Note the small bill with long dark tip, the boldly striped underwing and uppertail
the very long and blunt central tail-feathers and contrasting undertail-coverts
and the white pattern on the upperwing is limited to only 2 primaries

Then we left the sheltered and shallow Wadden Sea. There was a severe swell with a wave height of 4-5 meters. For many people this was not good and chumming started:-) About halfway we saw several Arctic, Pomarine and Great Skuas and several Little Gulls.
Pomarine Skua

Pomarine Skua - same bird
same bird again

Arctic Skua
Arctic Skua - same bird

And then there were no birds anymore, until we entered Helgoland-harbour. The whole trip lasted about 4 hours.. More from the island soon.
immature Shag at the harbour-entrance