An overview of daily short bird trips in 2012

17-12-2012 Monday: Dusky Warbler in Geestmerambacht

For a few days now a Dusky Warbler is present near Heerhugowaard. This past weekend I had no time but today after work there was a chance to visit the bird, provided he was still there of course. In the afternoon I arrived at the place and the bird was not yet reported. It was raining heavily and the rain radar did not promise any improvement. Rainwear was put on and the camera was protected with a plastic bag. The telephone was used for navigation during the short walk, and at the marked place I saw two birders standing. They had seen the bird briefly so apparently he was still there.

After a fifteen minute wait one of those present birders heard the Dusky Warbler call on the other side of the bush. Quickly I ran to the other side, the bird called occasionally and showed his self occasionally. Photo opportunities were few and it took a while before the first reasonable plates were made. A dog chased the bird to the other side of the path. Quickly we found him back and now the bird was frequently completely open to see. It was still raining plenty and despite the bad light a nice series of photos was made.

The Dusky Warbler grew my year list to 322 species! This is equalling my personal record that dated of last year. I wonder if in the next two weeks another specie will turn up.

02-12-2012 Sunday: Northern Raven and Caspian Gull

No real plans today but the sun was shining beautifully so I made an attempt for two months species, the Northern Raven and Caspian Gull. I started in the Keent where I encountered a lone Water Pipit. The bird was put on the photo and I drove on to the Kraaijenbergse Lakes. Target specie was the Caspian Gull and after some driving around I found an adult specimen. There was not much to see around the lakes and I decided to drive to the migration site in the Maashorst. Passing the Hofmans Lakes I drove to the migration site and when entering the Palmventseweg I saw a large group of Yellowhammers. The edges along the grain fields are beginning to pay off. Also a juvenile Hen Harrier was hunting over the left over grain pieces. I decide to wait and that was ultimately rewarded with 2 Northern Ravens that flew over the car.

30-08-2012 Thursday: Baird’s Sandpiper at Wassenaar

Yesterday a Baird’s was reported in Wassenaar and there were some beautiful pictures too. Reason enough to take my camera with me to Amstelveen and have a try after work. The bird was reported early in the morning so it looked good. The first pictures appeared on the net and the tension rose with me. Finally I could finish my day and drove to Wassenaar.

The ride did not last long but during the walk it started to blow and it started to rain. It was a stiff walk but returning birders assured me that the bird was still there and was tame. For me now lay the dike and almost right behind I saw a group of birders standing. The familiar face of Peter Doorn stood between them. The camera was placed in position and the photo session began. I already had the Baird’s this year but he still counts for my monthly list.

28-08-2012 Tuesday: Eurasian Dotterel still present at the migration site

The yesterday discovered Dotterel was found again at the migration site by Wim Gremmen. Around 7 o'clock, my phone went: He's still there, sounded a somewhat excited Wim on the other side. I had to go to work but still saw an opportunity for a photo.

Quickly I stood at the migration site where Dotterel nervously paced up and down. I managed to make zome nice photo’s. The bird began to cry and doing stretching exercises, and shortly thereafter he flew high and disappeared on the horizon. Back at the migration site I stayed another half hour. Everything looked like it could be a good day. I said goodbye to Wim and drove to Amstelveen. When I came back in the evening at the migration site it showed that not less than 6 Tawny Pipits were seen. 2 of the Tawny Pipits were still present but unfortunately no photo opportunity. It seems that the migration season has really begun.

27-08-2012 Monday: Evening Count at the migration site Brobbelbies

A beautiful evening for a count but expectations are not high. At 17.30 pm I start the count and it looks like a nice evening. A Painted Lady flies by but poses shortly for a picture. A Sparrowhawk who has just eaten a meal is flying right over the migration site. The juvenile Goshawk also tries to outwit a meal but probably has an empty stomach the coming night.

Alwin Borhem and Henk vd Acker strengthen the migration site and together we count on. An adult female Marsh Harrier is picked up and Alwin spots a Swift. It remains very quiet and at the end of the count we wait for any Nightjar we sometimes see on the road at the migration site. Unfortunately, we do not see Nightjar but suddenly we hear the cry of a Eurasian Dotterel on a ploughed field behind the migration site. It's too dark to search for the bird so hopefully he's still there tomorrow.

24-08-2012 Friday: Quiet day on the migration site

Late August and it starts to get interesting at the migration sites in the Netherlands. Yesterday we had the first Tawny Pipit but we are still waiting for the first Dotterel, today seemed like a good opportunity. The first hours were very quiet with only the occasional Yellow Wagtail. A little after 10 am Wim Gremmen discovered a Black Stork, the bird swoops low and probably stayed overnight in the Maashorst. Around the migration site everywhere there are Whinchats and a Northern Wheatear sits a short time on the road. From the corn the cry of a Willow Warbler is heard. It remains quiet and occasionally groups of House Martins and Barn Swallows fly over. The hope is for the afternoon, perhaps the raptors will have a go. Unfortunately that did not happen. Well did we see a juvenile Honey Buzzard, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, 1 Hobby, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Buzzard. It is waiting for better times. For a complete overview click here.

22-08-2012 Wednesday: Plenty of Crakes in the "Groene Jonker"

The last two days there are Spotted and Baillon's Crakes reported in the Groene Jonker near Zevenhoven. The Baillon's still counts for the month list and there are great photo opportunities. At 18:30 I agree with Peter & Maartje. Upon arrival, they are already waiting for me. Maartje has already moved in the area because the Baillon's Crake is seen. Together with Peter I walk in the area and we join a group of birders at a place where yesterday the Baillon's Crake is seen. We wait some time, but nothing happens. I decided to get focus my attention first to the Spotted Crakes. I walk a little further and see a bird and take some pictures. I walk back and I am pointed to a young Water Rail. Also this bird is fun to shoot and more enjoyable when two Spotted Crakes appear. The birds are seen together for an hour and there are nice photos taken. The sun begins to fade and we focus our attention on the place where yesterday the Baillon’s Crakes are seen. Not without success because after some time 2 birds are spotted. Unfortunately, the distance is too far and the light too weak to make a picture.

21-08-2012 Tuesday: Queen of Spain Fritillary in my backyard

A quick check at the butterfly bush in the backyard. Besides Red Admirals and some Small Tortoiseshells I see a small butterfly. At first sight a Fritillary but which one, I'm not really familiar with butterflies. So a few quick pictures and a ring with a look on the internet to make the determination certain: a Queen of Spain Fritillary! Nice variety for the garden and according to data from definitely fun for Uden.

05-08-2012 Saturday: Black-crowned Night Heron in Grubbenvorst

Today we had the official opening of the migration season. With Champagne and snacks according to tradition, the season was inaugurated. Not long afterwards we saw an Osprey, but otherwise it remained very quiet. At noon we stopped counting and Jan Verhoeven and I left for Grubbenvorst where for a while now are 2 Black-crowned Night Herons present. There is a good photo opportunity for the birds so a good chance to try out my new lens. Upon arrival we found Carel van de Sanden who was waiting for the bird since 7 o'clock in the morning. Up to now he had not seen more than one leg of the birds. This did not sound good but after half an hour a Black-crowned Night Heron came flying and landed in front of us on a stump. A beautiful photo session followed. The Black-crowned Night Heron even counted for the year list which now stands on 289 species. After the Black-crowned Night Heron we drove to Blerick where after some searching we found a singing European Serin that still counts for the month list. Finally we did the Kraaijenbergse Lakes where the Tundra Bean Goose is still present. Also this one is good for the month list.

04-08-2012 Saturday: New 500mm!

Finally after more than six months of waiting my new 500mm lens has arrived. With a bit of nostalgia I said goodbye to my old 500mm and today picked up my new one. When unpacking immediately weight difference was clear. The new one is almost 25% lighter and one of the reasons for me to buy. Unfortunately there were no photo opportunities today but hopefully that changes soon.

31-07-2012 Tuesday: Griffon Vulture in Odiliapeel

Jan Verhoeven called that a Griffon Vulture was near Odiliapeel. A new for the year, not to mention our own region. Jan had the bird from the Brabants newspaper web page. I drove immediately to the specified location but unfortunately the bird was gone on arrival. Probably by the jets of Volkel Air Base. I drove home and later I was called again by Jan-Willem Hermans that the bird was found again. He was not far from the former place. Upon arrival at the bird sat in the middle of a meadow. I notified the bird on the internet and soon the first birders arrived. Suddenly there were 2 persons (not birders) who walked straight towards the Vulture in the meadow. The bird flew away but I found him not much later in a birch tree not far from the place he flew away. He could not be clearly seen and we had to detour for a better place. Here was the Griffon Vulture in a relatively short distance to be seen. The bird sat here for a while and decided to get even closer. He flew to another tree near us. The shooting distance was now very good for nice pictures. The Griffon Vulture is the specie 288 for the year!

30-07-2012 monday: Migration season starts at the Brobbelbies

Tonight we placed our shed on the migration site. After cleaning and some paint last week, he must be able to last us for the next 4 months. The shed has been stalled at the National Forest Organisation last winter and they have helped to get it back in place. After a short ride, he was back at familiar spot. While Marc and I placed the wind vanes Jan mowed the roadsides short. The bar table was placed and the whiteboard for the special observations was hanged. We are now ready. When we left the migration site 2 young Raven flew over that this year hatched in the Maashorst. Next Wednesday we start!

23-07-2012 monday: Maintainance shed migration site

Soon and we are in the middle of the bird migration again. Tonight we have done some maintainance on our hut. The inside has been provided of a new layer of paint . The cobwebs, and a hornet's nest was removed. The hut neatly withstand the winter. The count lists are printed, so we are well prepared. The hut is placed next Monday July 30th. We start counting at the first of August.

18-07-2012 Wednesday: Glaucous Gull

Tuesday an unexpected Glaucous Gull was reported at a few miles from my work. The bird was reported again Wednesday in the morning. Because it is still lacking on my monthly list a godsend just to score. Around 11 o'clock I had half an hour the time to visit the bird and despite the many road closures I found the bird quickly. A pure white third-year bird was present between the Gulls. Probably the bird is there for a while now and hopefully he continues to be present in the coming months! A good species for the monthlist ..

11-07-2012 Wednesday: Little Bittern

A Little Bittern is still lacking on the annual list and because I also need it in July for the month list, I decided to wait with a visit to the pair at the Oostvaardersdijk. The birds have apparently chicks because the Little Bitterns are now often seen during the day. A good reason to pay a visit after work for a try. On arrival at the dike the wind was blowing very hard and my expectations were not high. After a half hour wait, a bird came flying and landed on the spot where the nest is probably located. With the Little Bittern the annual list grows to 281 species!