With a long weekend ahead and what reasonable predictions of wind I will spent most of the Easter weekend at the Kamperhoek. Saturday morning I get up at 5.45 am to a carpool place in Huizen where I pick up Pieter & Maartje. Half an hour later we arrive at the migration site where Ico already listed the first birds. The wind is due north and it feels very cold. The car is parked in a way so that we can shelter behind it. The telescopes are prepared and counting can begin.
Saturday morning I arrive at 6.45 pm on the Kamperhoek. Ico is already there and he is counting with open trunk lid. This, however, offers little protection for the strong wind which is directly south. I put on my winter coat and that is certainly not a luxury. It feels cold and it's completely cloudy. In any case, it is dry and visibility is good. There are already quite a few numbers of birds migrating and especially the numbers of Wood Pigeons catch the eye.
In the first hour we see groups that is more autumn like and in this hour we count 1011 copies. We also see groups of Reed Buntings that cross the Ketelmeer. The local male Peregrine chased with great panache a young male, the female watched the spectacle from a distance. Above the IJsselmeer, 3 Storks are picked up and an hour later a group of 6 Storks are seen. A Red Kite passes right above the migration site and despite the poor light a picture is made. An hour later another Red Kite is seen. The first Little Gull of migration season is seen between a group of Black-headed Gulls and occasionally a Marsh Harrier passes the migration site.
After noon a young White-tailed Eagle is suddenly seen which likely came flying from the IJsselmeer. The bird is right in front of the migration site for a while and can be viewed with the scoop beautifully. The bird has a flawless dress thus we keep it at a second calendar year bird. Due to the distance and poor light there is no photo opportunity. The count lasts till 14:00 o’clock and most striking species is the Wood Pigeon with 1624 copies. For a complete overview of the census click here.
Sunday morning I’m present again and somewhat before seven I park the car on the embankment. While preparing the telescope I see the first groups of Reed Buntings fly over. There is a moderate southeast winds, it is cloudy but the visibility is good. The Reed Buntings migrate brisk in the first hour and 240 are counted. There also fly reasonable numbers of Starlings and other songbirds. It seems to be a completely different day than yesterday. In the second hour the Reed Buntings remain to migrate well and now there are 241 listed. Later in the morning the numbers of Lapwings start significantly to increase. The Skylarks fly in groups regularly over the migration site. Around 12:30 pm, a Red Kite is observed. An hour later, at distance 2 White-tailed Eagles are seen with the telescope, we see that it is an adult bird and a third calendar year bird. The immature bird is clearly a different bird than yesterday, the one yesterday had a flawless dress while the garment of this bird has deteriorated. The White-tailed Eagles fly away eastwards.
Around 13:00 pm I must go home and just after I drove away Mervyn called on the phone, there are 2 Red Kites flying that should be close to you. I stop and see that indeed 2 Red Kites are flying pretty close to me and the head to the migration site. It has been a great migration count weekend and spring has clearly begun, though you would not say that if you look at the weather. For a complete overview of the census click here.
A new month and there are still a few new month species to be done. This is always combined with a nice daytrip. Together with Pieter the species were selected and combined with a nice route. Target species were chosen as follows: Ferruginous Duck, Glaucous Gull, House Crow, Common Guillemot, Surf Scoter and American Wigeon. At 7 o'clock in the morning we met at a carpool near the town of De Meern and drove to Alphen aan den Rijn for the first species, the Ferruginous Duck.
During a dinner with Pieter and Maartje at Marc's BBQ on Friday evening, the options for Saturday were discussed. Because it is quiet in the Netherlands with regard to birds we opted for a day trip to the east of the country. First we will drive to Losser to see if we can get the present Bittern before the lens. I did not see the Eagle Owl at Winterswijk and we could combine this.
2 weeks ago the pelagic was cancelled and also for Sunday, the replacement date, the forecast did not look good. Thus I was surprised when I received an email Saturday afternoon that the pelagic was on. At half past eight in the morning the boat left from IJmuiden. My alarm clock was set at 6:30 because I wanted leave Uden in time because snow was predicted. The ride went well until Amsterdam, here obviously it just snowed and the A9 was fairly full of snow. 2 cars stood against the guardrail and gently I continued the ride.
Friday a Surf Scoter was found in the province of Zuid-Holland near the Brouwersdam. A beautiful bird to visit the next day. It was a female and so far I had only male birds. Pieter and Maartje had been there on Friday but wanted to see the bird again. Saturday morning we met at a car park in the town of Made.
In Geestmerambacht near Alkmaar a Dusky Warbler was still present and this counts for the year list and I also needed him for the month list. On the Internet was further sought to combine this with a route through North-Holland. Together with Pieter a journey was mapped out and we agreed to meet at 7.45 am in a parking lot in Amsterdam. In time I arrived the next morning at the appointed place and in the dark we headed for Geestmerambacht.
Finally a weekend without gray skies but with sunshine. A good reason for yet another day to go. A list of target species was made and together with Pieter & Maartje early Sunday morning we drove to the beach at Ter Heijde. Around 8:30 am we parked the car and began to walk towards the beach. There was a strong east wind and it was -4 degrees, the wind felt this more as -10! But with a blue sky and a chilly sun, it looked lovely.