We had not experienced much of the bird migration this spring. We left for New Zealand on February 21 and we were back on April 15. After a jet lag and acclimatization, we were ready on Friday for a long Easter weekend at the Kamperhoek. The weather forecast was extremely good and the expectations were high.

Merlin | Falco columbarius
Merlin | Falco columbarius

Friday morning the alarm clock went off at 4 am and soon we drove to the Kamperhoek. Upon arrival there was a strong east wind. Ideal circumstances and the first birds were soon on the list. Meadow Pipits came in small groups and a number of Great Egrets were seen. After 8 o'clock the Meadow Pipit migration started to increase considerably. A Eurasian Penduline Tit was calling and a Eurasian Dotterel was seen. A striking number of Ring Ouzels were counted and the birds came in groups over the migration site. A total of 57 Ring Ouzels were counted, which is a new record for the Kamperhoek. Good numbers of Ring Ouzels were also counted on other migration sites. Later in the morning the birds of prey also started to migrate. The number of 69 Eurasian Sparrowhawks in particular stood out. In addition, 3 Ospreys, 19 Western Marsh Harriers, 2 Hen Harriers, 1 Black Kite, 1 White-tailed Eagle, 3 Buzzards, 15 Common Kestrels, 5 Merlins and 1 Peregrine Falcon were counted. The Meadow Pipits were in the majority with 21320 copies. For a complete overview of the count click here.

Montagu's Harrier | Circus pygargus
Whinchat | Saxicola rubetra

On Saturday we were back at 6 o'clock. The Meadow Pipits immediately started flying with good numbers. The Western Yellow Wagtails also came in good numbers. Ring Ouzels were also seen in groups again and a total of 49 were counted. The Meadow Pipits migration increased considerably in the course of the morning and from 9 to 10 am more than 10,000 were noted. A slim Harrier turned out to be a female Montagu's. A species that seems to be almost rarer on the Kamperhoek than the Pallid Harrier. Of the birds of prey, 1 Osprey, 29 Eurasian Sparrowhawks , 7 Western Marsh Harriers, 1 Black Kite, 5 Buzzards, 16 Common Kestrels, 4 Merlins and 1 Peregrine Falcon were counted. The Meadow Pipits did very well with 31614 copies. For a complete overview click here.

Sunday we were back again at 6 o'clock. Once again there was an east wind that was slightly less strong than the previous days. Even now good numbers of Meadow Pipits flew immediately. A Tawny Pipit came straight over us, a second Tawny Pipit was seen not much later. A male Common Redstart flew high over the migration site. A Eurasian Dotterel was just picked up before it disappeared over the Ketelmeer. A Eurasian Wryneck arrived and soon chose the high voltage masts to cross the Ketelmeer. Still 14 Ring Ouzels were counted, but the numbers seem to be exhausted. A late Great Grey Shrike who came flying in landed in the Kamperhoek and was not seen again. The birds of prey did well today with the striking species of a Rough-legged Buzzard that came straight over the migration site. Furthermore, 2 Ospreys, 50 Eurasian Sparrowhawks , 12 Western Marsh Harriers, 1 Red Kite, 1 Black Kite, 1 White-tailed Eagle, 13 Buzzards, 33 Common Kestrels, 12 Merlins and 1 Peregrine Falcon were counted. Fewer Meadow Pipits than yesterday, but there were still 26016 noted. For a complete overview click here.

Western Yellow Wagtail | Motacilla flava
Pallid Harrier | Circus macrourus

Because the weather forecast remained good, we were on the migration site again on Easter Monday at 6 am. The count started with a Purple Heron and a Black Kite, a not-so-bad start. The Meadow Pipits also immediately flew very well. Until 12 o'clock, it was really only the numbers of Meadow Pipits that came through. A slender Harrier changed this, but due to the distance, we could not complete the determination. A second slender Harrier came closer later on and this was unmistakably a Pallid Harrier. In addition, 44 Eurasian Sparrowhawks , 7 Western Marsh Harriers, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Red Kites, 3 Black Kites, 1 White-tailed Eagle, 2 Buzzards, 17 Common Kestrels and 6 Merlins were counted. Today no Ring Ouzels were seen, apparently there numbers are up. No fewer than 38159 Meadow Pipits were counted. For a complete overview click here.