Sunday, May 24, 2020

May 2020 - local patch birding

Last years were rather busy with only limited time for birding and even less time to edit photos and update this blog. But times may change:-) Yesterday evening I was on my bike riding towards the Heemskerk "waterberging" to have a check on the waders. But to my surpise I found a ringtail harrier hunting over the fields. The first observations were rather stressfull due to strong winds and heavy backlight and it was a challenge to follow the moving bird, make pictures, check the pictures for ID and give updates on the local newsgroup simultaneously. In the end the bird showed well and instead of the expected Pallid it turned out to be a Montagu's (which is even rarer in the region!). It was seen by several local birders in the last hour before dark.

Montagu's Harrier, 23 May 2020 between Heemskerk and Castricum
note that the bird is colour-ringed (but there is not enough resolution to read the inscription)

And there is more; 2 weeks ago I went for a short birding-walk on the parking at Castricum aan Zee and found a Tawny Pipit. These birds are rarely seen on the ground here in the west. Luckily it stayed just long enough to make a decent picture.
Tawny Pipit, 10 May 2020 Castricum aan Zee. The poles limit the amount of parking spaces (Corona restriction).
Tawny Pipit, 20 May 2020 parking Castricum aan Zee

Friday, October 12, 2018


A slight delay in the publication, but it is still summer today! Below images from a visit to Rottumerplaat during the last days of september. A rather strong northwesterly wind resulted in some nice observation of seabirds; 2 Long-tailed Skua's, some Arctic and Great Skua's, several Leach's Petrels and a Sooty Shearwater. Passerine migration was low but we still saw some Yellow-browed Warblers. And plenty of waders of course!
small skua swimming next to the ship in rough sea
Same bird in flight; note the cold tones, nicely barred under and upper tail feathers, white in primaries restricted to the 2 outermost.
Gulls - high tide roost
Waders gathering for high tide. We counted good numbers of Knot, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit.
Counting the other island (Rottumeroog)
One of the 2 Yellow-browed Warblers in the garden, later one of them gained height over the Wadden Sea and departed. 
Yellow-browed Warbler

Adult and immature Great Skua. They both spent some days on the beach and caused major panic over the saltmarshes. The Shellduck was caught by surprise and killed brutally by the adult. I will add some more pictures of this mean duo later.

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