After a reasonable number of reports off Cinereous Vultures in Belgium and the Netherlands we also got a chance to add this bird to the Dutch list.
There seems to be something going on with Cinereous Vultures this year. It started in Belgium with the report of a Cinereous Vulture a few weeks ago. This bird spent a few days in the Mechelen area and turned out to be wired. This bird could be followed and he also flew over the Netherlands near Budel but was not noticed by anyone. This bird is now in Sweden. A second bird was then observed on May 20 in Belgium, this bird appeared to be ringed. The bird was also seen by some birdwatchers on May 21 near Maastricht. This bird also appeared to be ringed and was later observed in the south of Belgium.
Another Cinereous Vulture was reported on May 24, but now in the north of the Netherlands near Groningen. This bird flew up around 10 o'clock and disappeared out of the sight from the birdwatcher’s present. This bird turned out not to be ringed and therefore had to be different from the one previously seen in Belgium. At half past nine in the evening a Cinereous Vulture was reported in Overijssel. A few photos appeared on the internet that were sufficient to ensure that we had to be near Hellendoorn early in the morning where the bird had been reported. A precise location was unfortunately not available.
An appointment was made with Alwin at 8 a.m. at a carpool location near the A50 to the A1 exit. Well on time we continued our way towards Hellendoorn. Along the way a spot was chosen to wait until the Cinereous Vulture was reported or that we saw it ourselves. The app group of Dutch Birding was opened and would provide us with the necessary information. We parked our car in an elevated area from which we could see the entire Sallandse Heuvelrug. The report via the app group with a photo of the Cinereous Vulture and a location raised the adrenaline level considerably and the poured coffee ended up on the road. The route was entered in the navigation system and we appeared to be close by. After a ride of about 5 minutes we met the discoverer Tom Schoonhoff and he pointed us to the tree where the Cinereous Vulture sat. No one else was there yet. The bird was passed on DBalerts and through the app group an exact location was shared via Google maps. It wasn't long before it became quite busy with birdwatchers who were also in the neighbourhood or on the way.
The Cinereous Vulture sat quietly in the tree and occasionally the feathers were polished. It was clear to see that this bird was not wearing a ring and that it could be the same as that of Groningen. The tree stood near a motocross terrain where a race would start at 10 am. The expectation was that he would flew up at 10 o'clock. This turned out not to be the case and it took till almost half past eleven before the bird took the wings. In about 15 minutes the imposing bird had gained height and disappeared in a southerly direction. The bird was observed in Belgium later in the day. Photos showed that it was indeed the same bird as in Groningen. If the Cinereous Vulture is accepted then my Dutch list rises to 450 species. For Maartje this is specie number 438. The day was not over yet and, on the way, home a Corn Crake in Zwolle and a Melodious Warbler in Sint-Michielsgestel were visited.