Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima) - Photo made at the Brouwersdam
Purple Sandpiper | Calidris maritima

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.

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) - Photo made in Hoorn

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.

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) - Photo made in Vlaardingen
Glaucous Gull | Larus hyperboreus

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.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - Photo made at Schouwen Duiveland
Short-eared Owl | Asio flammeus

2012 has past quickly but I can look back with pleasure. Again this year we began with our traditional Big Day on New Year's Day and the trend was immediately put. We were able to achieve a new record with 108 species. For 2012, the challenge was to score another 300 species and for the month we had to list every month at least 5 species. The holiday went this year, in February, to Namibia & Botswana.

White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) - Photo made in the area of Sluis
White-tailed Eagle | Haliaeetus albicilla

January 1 and the annual Big Day is back on the agenda. Last week was a reconnaissance lap held in the target province of Zeeland, this yielded not much and the expectations were therefor not high. A close examination on the Internet provided a new starting location: The catchment at St. Jansteen. The tour group this year consisted of: Pieter & Maartje Doorn, Alwin Borhem and myself of course. Pieter & Maartje celebrated New year's eve in Uden and stayed overnight. With Alwin was agreed that he would be present at 6:30 am in Uden.

Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) - Photo made in the Kwade Hoek
Lapland Longspur | Calcarius lapponicus

Saturday with beautiful weather I had other obligations, how different was the weather on Sunday. Around 7 o'clock in the morning I put my stuff in the car and it's raining. The temperature gives exactly 0 degrees, a dangerous combination for unexpected black ice. However, I have agreed with the family Doorn and I drive very carefully to Made where we agreed at half past seven. Until Den Bosch, the temperature is around freezing but later it’s up 3 degrees. Alert but relieved I drive further and arrive a little late at Made where they are already waiting for me.

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) - Photo made at the Gaatkensplas near Barendrecht
Bufflehead | Bucephala albeola

The start of a new month invites again to work on the month list for December. On the Internet was delved into the possibilities and a list was compiled: Penduline Tit, Flamingo, Caspian Gull, Mediterranean Gull and Whimbrel. Pieter also had a list drawn up and we soon found out that the same round of 17 November was the best option. At half past seven we agreed at a parking lot at Made.

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) - Photo made in Barendrecht
Bohemian Waxwing | Bombycilla garrulus

While having dinner with Pieter & Maartje options were discussed for Saturday. It's quiet in the Netherlands for birds and after going through the observations of last week it was chosen to start with the Penduline Tits in Vockestaert. From this place we would go in the direction of the province of Zeeland.