There were good reports from Vlieland all week and weather forecasts for the weekend are great so it was decided to make another trip. This is the last weekend of the “Deception Tours” so this means that are a lot of birders on the island.
The late boat from 19:00 on Friday was booked. In Amsterdam I picked up Alwin and right on time we arrived in the port of Harlingen. The crossing was made in darkness. We had booked hotel Doniastate and after checking in we cycled back to the village for a meal. During dinner, the strategy for the next day determined. We wanted to start at the wastewater treatment where for some time a Dusky Warbler was reported. Then straight to the present Two-barred Crossbills which are still new for Alwin.
The next morning we got up at 7 pm. In the twilight we got on the bike and drove to the Water Treatment. We were the first but not for long. With a group of 7 we wait for the Dusky Warbler. It was not long until we heard the bird. We proceeded toward the sound. It was clear that the bird sat not far away, but he didn’t show up. The Dusky Warbler frequently called and moved around. Suddenly, he was briefly seen but too fast for a photo opportunity. We were still hanging around, but eventually decided to go to the Two-barred Crossbills. The first target was achieved relatively easy.
The Two-barred Crossbills were regularly seen at a pond. There was no real regularity in their visits but around 9 o'clock in the morning the chances were best. On arrival there were already some birders waiting. We added us to them and together we waited on. A small group of Common Redpolls hung around the pond but the Two-barred Crossbills were apparently still asleep. The wait was too much for the other and Alwin and I stayed behind. A Yellow-browed Warbler called back in the woods. At 9:15 a Two-barred Crossbill was heard while the bird flew behind us. The bird was out of sight but he kept calling regularly. We reported the bird and soon there were more birders. Unnoticed the bird suddenly sat at his favourite drinking spot. The bird was sitting behind a twig so once again no photo opportunities. That did not spoil the fun and for Alwin this also was a new species.
At 10 o’clock there was a "big sweep" planned on the eastern part of the island. If we hurried we could be there just in time. We added ourselves to the present birdwatchers and together we formed a line. All of the area was searched strolling. Halfway through I heard a cry that made me think of the sound between a Red-throated Pipit and Tree Pipit. The bird called again and others noticed the sound also. The hearts were beating faster because it looked very much like a Olive-backed Pipit. But the bird flew by and did land. Jurrien could take a picture but the quality was bad. Unfortunately this was not enough and disappointed we searched further. We found a Horned Lark and a Rough-legged Buzzard but the "big sweep" revealed not much more. Alwin and I cycled to the village for a reported Rosy Starling. The bird sat in a garden and was beautifully viewed and photographed. Camping de Lange Paal was the next destination and a Rough-legged Buzzard was seen half way. At the Lange Paal 2 Woodcocks and a Chiffchaff were found quickly. Alwin notified excited that a Radde’s Warbler was reported in the Nieuwe Eendenkooi. We run back to the bikes. We were not far removed from the Kooi and after a short trip we saw a small group of birders who were already there. The Radde’s Warbler was quickly seen very nice. The bird was busy looking for food and worked the same route every time. Sometimes he was very close but it was very fast for a photo. Yet I managed to take some really great shots. The Radde’s is new (and very much desired)for me! We stayed here for a while before we cycled to the Oude Eendenkooi.
A side from a few Chiffchaffs there was not much. There was a report of a Olive-backed Pipit that supposedly landed northwest of the Oude Eendenkooi. Quickly we went to the reported location and walked into the dunes. After a long search we had a Marsh Harrier and Rough-legged Buzzard but we did not found the bird. We cycled back to the wadkant and received a message of a suspected Pechora Pipit. The bird was heard at the east, and had probably landed. I put my E-bike in the boost position and was soon raced eastward. Alwin could barely keep up, and after half an hour we arrived at the spot where the bird was seen. There were several birders on the search but without success. It now began to get dark and we gave up the search. In the hotel we had a quick shower and then we had a meal in the company of Vincent Douwes and two other Friesland birders. At Aunt Pe (a pub), we celebrated the discovery of the Radde’s Warbler and after midnight we went (tired) to bed.
Day 2 began at dusk. We decided to start in the east. We sat down in the dunes in the hope of some bird migration. The wind blew very hard and groups Redwings who flew over had great difficulty to get ahead. A striking number of Blackbirds was continuously flew in from the sea. A Rough-legged Buzzard flew right in front of us. Beside some groups of Finches and Meadow Pipits it was quiet. We stayed here about 2.5 hour and about 10 o'clock we cycled back to the hotel for breakfast. During breakfast we agreed that we wanted to inspect both Eendenkooien on the island. We started in the Nieuwe Eendenkooi where yesterday the Radde’s Warbler was seen. After searching for over an hour we had not much more than a few Goldcrests. The report of a Northern Diver could not be ignored. The bird was on the North sea side at about the middle of the island. Along the way we saw two Rough-legged Buzzards and the Northern Diver was found at the site reported. We looked some more over sea and a Red-throated Diver was seen.
It was now time for the Oude Eendenkooi, here it was also limited to some Goldcrests and one Chiffchaff. Just past the Oude Kooi we discovered a Firecrest. We did not have much time left, and finally, we wanted another round at camping de Lange Paal. On the way back a sharp cry was heard. Again we both immediately thought of a Olive-backed Pipit. We looked in the direction of the call and saw a Pipit flying. The bird seemed to have landed in a tree. Carefully we walked towards the bird but he flew away while calling. Unfortunately we could not find the bird back. At the Lange Paal it was very quiet. It was time to pick up our baggage at the hotel and head for the boat.
It was a nice weekend with for both of us a new species. Unfortunately not a (certain) Olive-backed Pipit but with sufficient compensation. In total we managed to record 82 species.