Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Another day at the office

But almost immediately after I left Kornwerderzand there was this strange bird flying above the Afsluitdijk. It reminded me shortly of a Green Sandpiper with the white belly and black underwings but the erratic flight soon confirmed it to be a pratincole!
The next exit was a few kilometers away so I needed some minutes to turn and take the secondary road but luckily the bird was still there, hunting for insects above the dike. No real camera so only some records shot with the phone, but it was really close! There was direct sunlight on the underwings frequently and they were clearly black; Black-winged Pratincole!

After a few minutes I lost the bird when I was checking if there were any useful images on the phone.

Afsluitdijk km 98.4

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

update soon

busy times, crashed computer and other priorities
Below is a Common Loon at Quabbin Reservoir, Boston, from last June.
Several of these brilliant birds showed really close, more soon!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

and more Red-footed Falcons!

Another 4; a migrating female almost hit my car close to Makkum and late in the afternoon we found 3 hunting birds during an excursion along the IJsselmeer-coast (on the Makkumer Noordwaard, together with at least 2 Ospreys!).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

more falcons from Fochteloerveen

Interesting small Kestrel with short rounded wings and short tail, this falcon also hunted on dragonflies while migrating east.
Apparently the length of the outer primaries are diagnostic for Common Kestrel, but it looks rather smaller (lesser:-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Falco vespertinus

It is party again at Fochteloerveen! The easterly winds have brought Red-footed Falcons and this evening at least 9 were present! (8 females and 1 male). More images soon, also from Helgoland last weekend. Again without albatross.. 

Monday, March 28, 2016


Impression of yesterday afternoon at Eemshaven, the early migrants start to arrive! The few bushes left in the area were occupied by many Robins, Chiffchaff and few Song Thrush, Redwing, Goldcrest and Firecrest, and some of them were confiding tame.

Chiffchaff with 2 Robins in the background
This Chiffchaff appeared very grey, almost like a Garden Warbler. The bird did not call so cannot be identified with certainty but it looks very Siberian.
same bird, note the blackish feet
Firecrest is always nice!
different bird in better light
note the flaming colour of the centre crown
same bird
and then 2 Cranes approached from the south, luckily they could gain some height before crossing the windmills
Cranes really do not like flying over the sea but the strong southern wind forced them to cross the Wadden Sea. They left towards Borkum

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Days are getting longer and the sun feels warm again, spring is coming! I have not been birding a lot but did see a Barn Owl in my barn. Even more surprising was a Bittern that flew over the garden last week! I had never heard the barking flight-call before but it is very typical. Today Song Thrush claimed my garden again, there were 2 singing together in what seemed a song battle. Maybe that is why he ignored me, never saw them this tame (outside Helgoland that is:-)
in the plum tree, only few meters distance
these birds produce a lot of sound!
ambitious branch collecting
more realistic sized branch:-)

Meanwhile in the front garden... I collected some 7m3 of firewood last week, including some really big trunks. halfway cutting and splitting now.

And a picture from a boat trip on IJsselmeer last weekend; bird island the Kreupel. The birding trip was organised by Fogol and included several talks and pitches about nature restoration around IJsselmeer, and I was invited to present the FishMigrationRiver. Bird island the Kreupel has been constructed some 10 years ago and is a real bird-magnet. It is situated several kilometers from the coast so only visible by boat. We saw huge numbers of Scaup and several other species of duck. The Velvet Scooter was the bird of the day

Sunday, January 31, 2016

winter update

Do not expect the Rubythroat here, I refuse to twitch the holy grail in an ordinary garden setting:-) It is winter so birding is slow, and weather is hard. The daily provided food attracts a lot of birds in my front garden; up to 70 House Sparrows, 15 Ringed Dove, both 10 Great and Blue Tits, 6 Blackbirds and a few Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Robin.

see below for the origin of those branches:-)
The flock of Long-tailed Tits is still roaming through the village but the flock size has decreased significantly. Maybe the Sparrowhawks took some, at least 2 visit the area daily. This weekend I had the chance to photograph one of them.
in the back garden
only few meters distance in the front garden
At the beginning of the year there were some exceptional black ice-conditions in the North. It rained ice for days and it was even possible to do ice-skating on the road! The ice put so much weight on the trees that the 3 biggest of the village fell down, simultaniously, with a loud bang!
view from my window, with a length of 30 meters this tree crashed 3 gardens

same tree, different view
this one fell in opposite direction, crashing 2 gardens
view from the car's window, it took more than an hour to get the frozen doors open

More about the life-cycle of wood later:-)