Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas birding highlights

A good tradition, birding Afsluitdijk between Christmas and newyear. We chose to ignore several new birds for our Dutch lists, bought 3 breads and were aiming for Iceland Gull. The Glaucous Gull was still present in Harlingen but seemed a bit lazy, it preferred swimming instead of flying to the bread. Later on the day it was caught by hand so it may have been in bad condition.

Social pressure resulted in twitching the long-staying Lesser Yellowlegs but it was well worth the visit, an extremely confiding bird!
More birders than birds at Vatrop, actually only 1 bird present!

A Grey Phalarope was displaced by the storm several weeks ago, and was also still present along the IJsselmeer. Simply amazing that these tiny birds prefer to winter on the open ocean.
Of course we did not find any Iceland Gull at Harlingen, Kornwerderzand, Breezanddijk and Den Oever. We did see 10-thousands Greater Scaups, Snow Bunting, several Red-throated Divers and 2 Black Brants.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Grey Phalarope

One of my favorites, this tiny pelagic arctic wader. Full series tomorrow!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Watch your Tits!

Grey-alu left, white-red-yellow right.
This Great Tit was ringed as a juvenile in Vierhuizerbos (Lauwersmeer) in spring 2013 and is now in my garden. Sightings of ringed Great Tits are very welcome at the University of Groningen!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Finally a true Northwestern! The day after (South-)Western force 10-11 there was still a good force 8-9 at Lauwersoog on friday. The combination with spring-tide caused exceptional waterlevels and the harbour was almost submerged. In fact there was no low tide at all for at least a full day. The waders and ducks must have had a hard time with the tidal area's being unavailable for feeding.

Besides a few Kittiwakes, a Little Gull and a distant Great Skua there were not much seabirds on the move. But the storm was impressive!
Gulls sheltering for the storm, Piereneind in the background.
Wigeon and Teal
The result of spring-tide and NW-storm.
Oude Robbengat in snowstorm.
Horizontal snow at Vlinderbalg

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hawk Owl - Zwolle

Amazing bird, a long way from home but is does not seem to bother at all. It only cares for mice and completely ignores the birding-circus around. It attracts hundreds of admirers a day, for over a week now. I chose for digiscoping to get a better perspective.

Those were the days:-) 25 birders enjoying the first twitchable Hawk Owl. A one-day-stayer @Dwingeloo 2005.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


And not much happening here...
So some images from the archives, this time of the year in 2008;
Northern Long-tailed Tit, december 2008 Pieterzijl
Hume's Leaf Warbler, december 2008 Sneek

Nutcracker, november 2008 Delfzijl (canvas-prints available:-)
Gyr Falcon, november 2008 Dollard

EDIT: something IS happening in Zwolle; Hawk Owl! coming hours will be an exciting chase in the dark.

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!!