Tuesday, October 29, 2013


So in the end, the Pallid Swift was a Pallid Swift. After this ID-challenge everything else must be easy. Today we had the chance to test this in the field at the Ganzenpoel (Drents-Friese Wold). And indeed they are easy when seen well!
First distant views. A little Zeiss-illusion may be involved but this bird was indeed much bigger (-billed) compared to the surrounding Crossbills

Female Parrot Crossbill with 2 Commons

Male and female Parrot Crosbill; note thick neck and huge bill.
The same male Parrot Crossbill with 2 Commons.
Female Parrot Crossbill
Flight views of the same female Parrot Crossbill
Possibly the same female, note how the impression of the bill changes with angle.
Immature female Parrot Crossbill

The same immature female Parrot with 3 Commons. Note size, head and bill shape.
Easy so far. After studying the pictures at least 4 Parrot's were present (2ad + imm.female and the male). Now here is the complicating factor (no strange calls heard by the way), unintentionally photographed;
Note clear (& whitish) wingbars and edges of tertails.

Probably the same bird with it's bill closed now. Compare bill-shape with the Commons
The same bird lower right, the bill again.

The wingbars are surely not wide enough for Two-barred and the shape does not fit, but there may be some TBC-genes in this bird!

Yesterday's storm; ocean swell and spray at Tjeukemeer. Driving through Noordoostpolder was beyond fun although very impressive! 1000-s of trees have been blown over in the North with windforce up to 12 Beaufort!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The swift - the underwing

An additional image from the Lauwersoog-bird. The pale-tipped median underwing-coverts should confirm the ID as a Pallid. A hint of pale scaling on the undeparts can also be seen. A better picture from the finder FJ here; http://waarneming.nl/fotonew/1/5728801.jpg

I think the pekinensis-option can be exluded by the absence of a clear-cut white throat and on the upperside there is no contrast between the inner and outer wing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

swift reference

Unfortunately most pictures are from spring, anyway;
May 2010, Lauwersmeer

May 2010, Lauwersmeer
August 2010, Madeira
June 2010, Portugal

June 2010, Portugal

June 2010, Portugal

June 2010, Portugal

June 2010, Portugal

June 2010, Portugal
May 2010, Helgoland
June 2011, Lauwersmeer
March 2010, Israel (Pallid for sure!)
May 2012, Lauwersmeer

May 2012, Lauwersmeer

May 2012, Lauwersmeer

May 2012, Lauwersmeer

Friday, October 25, 2013


Pallid and Common Swift identification is a challenge. This bird was flying at Lauwersoog today, in late afternoon and in very bad light. My opinion is that swift-ID is very difficult:-)

And for comparison some Common Swifts at Lauwersmeer in spring.
in extreme light; strong sun with dark sky in the background

note scaly underparts
I just wish I were on Kringel today.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Have you been birding if you did not see a single bird, even if you were looking for them? If so, I have been birding and fishing:-) by boat the last 2 days on Lauwersmeer. Excellent autumn weather and the arriving Bewick's Swans provide the typical end-of-october atmosphere. Their trumpeting and barking calls are priceless!
Bewick's Swans in very bad light
Bewick's Swans in perfect light

After a loudly calling Yellow-browed Warber in the vegetation between Vlinderbalg and Oude Robbengat, the greatest surprise of saturday was a flock of intermediate-sized black birds approaching over the water. Their flight with fast wingbeats alternated with short glides is typical of cormorants but without a close look I called them Ibis, for fun. Seconds later we realised that indeed 11 Glossy Ibisses were approaching!


The birds continued eastwards and what might have been the same flock; 10 birds turned up sunday afternoon in Wremen (close to Cuxhaven). Many Ibisses were seen in the western part of the Netherland last weeks but this flock is the biggest ever in Groningen.

Barnacle Geese were mass-arriving and other interesting birds were several Hen Harriers, Peregrines, and a Merlin chasing prey above the boat. I like october.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Helgoland again

A short visit with many birds, this pipit being the rarest. And with a bit of fantasy it looked like something very rare indeed. Actually it was showing the same skulking behaviour and favoured exactly the same spot as the holy grail in 2007. But with many tourists and birders walking the beach it soon flew and confirmed it's identity by call; Red-throated.
Red-throated Pipit, 5-10-2013 Nordstrand

A good number of Yellow-browed Warblers was remaining from last weekend, although many of them may have been fresh arrivals. With limited time I did not put to much effort in photography but this bird on Oberland was cooperative.
Yellow-browed Warbler, 5-10-2013 Oberland
Yellow-browed Warbler, 5-10-2013 Oberland

Several Mediteranean Gulls were on show with at least 3 together at Kringel.

MedGulls, 5-10-2013 Kringel
Saturday was entertaining, but things changed overnight. No wind at all and just after 10pm clouds and fogg came in. Calls of Song Thrushes and Redwings broke the silence and migrating birds were starting to show in the beam of the lighthouse. First light at sunday-morning confirmed a major fall of thrushes and flocks of up to several 100s filled the sky. The first hour there must have been many 1000s migrating, landing and taking off again, very spectaculair! And indeed, there was a huge Thrush amongst them, but too far and not enough light for ID...
first light with excellent fall-conditions; a clear sky to the north and east with low clouds and rain on Helgoland

After a few hours the weather cleared, most thrushes had left the island again but now Chiffchaffs started to wake up. At least 100 were estimated in Mittelland alone. A Raddes' Warbler was seen typically briefly. Several more Yellow-broweds, MedGulls, Firecrest, a flock of Shorelarks, a Crossbill and a late Turtle Dove were the highlights.
1st.-winter MedGull, 6-10-2013 Dune Aade

Redstart, 5-10-2013 Grosse Treppe
Great-spotted Woodpecker, 6-10-2013 Dune Golfteich

a late and contrasting Sedge Warbler in last light at Grosse Treppe, 5-10-2013