It has been a year of great contrasts. The loss of my wife in May, of course, plays the leading role. After I tried to pick up life as well as possible and did a lot of birding. This has helped me and the birds have exceptionally contributed. 2013 was what birds concerned for me the best year ever. This retrospective will therefore mainly be about the birds and the record attempt of Pieter will not be forgotten.

The year went fast and our annual Big Day on January 1 was back on the program. The team this year consists of Alwin, Pieter and Maartje and myself of course. With Pieter and Maartje I celebrated New Years and they stayed over in Uden. Alwin would pick us up at a quarter to seven in the morning. A little drowsy because of the necessary drinks I was outside around quarter past six to put some tuff in the car when I heard 2 Robin's singing in full, the first specie of the year was in the pocket.

Boxing Day I spent with Pieter and Maartje. During the day birding was followed by a dinner in Huizen. Target species were a Little Stint at the Putten, Red Phalarope in Andijk and an, at Christmas Day reported, American Wigeon in Elburg.

The end of the year is fast approaching and there were a few species that we had to do for the monthly list. The Two-barred Crossbill and Lesser Yellowlegs in the north of the country were the targets this weekend. Pieter also needed a Parrot Crossbill and we were able to combine this nicely. Saturday morning at 7 am I picked up Pieter and Maartje in Huizen.

Sunday 24 November at about half past five came the report of a Northern Hawk-Owl through waarneming.nl. At the same place about a week and a half ago also a Northern Hawk-Owl was claimed. The observation had my attention and I advised Pieter to keep an eye on. The evening continued as normal until about eight o'clock when David Uit de Weerd reported the Northern Hawk-Owl as certain via DutchBird Alerts.

The Northern Hawk-Owl discovered in Germany was still there last Friday. We agreed that we were going to make an attempt Saturday were it not that late Friday evening a report came in of a Blyth's Pipit. The bird sat on Texel and the observation was accompanied by proper evidence photos. The plans were changed and it was Saturday to Texel.

Early November and in the province of Zeeland were some very good species for the month list, such as: Long-legged Buzzard, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Wiskered Tern, Red-necked Phalarope, Black-winged Stilt. There was also a Desert Wheatear present at Westkapelle that still counts for the year list. Sufficient reasons to spend a day with Pieter and Maartje in the province of Zeeland.

Thursday late afternoon a Pallid Swift was discovered by Lars Buckx on the island of Vlieland. The observation was accompanied with beautiful pictures so that the identification was not in doubt. Contact was sought with Pieter and we really wanted to give it a shot, although we do not consider the chances very high. With 11 others a speedboat was booked that would bring us to Vlieland at 8 o’ clock.