The weather forecast for the Easter weekend looked good. Wind from the east with reasonable temperatures every day. Normally this guarantees nice numbers and rarities. Monday and Tuesday before the Easter weekend there had already been significant migration so the expectations for high numbers of birds were somewhat tempered.
Saturday at 4 o'clock in the morning we got up to make sure that we were present at the Kamperhoek at first light. At dusk we arrived at the migration site and the equipment was set up; telescopes, parabola for sound recordings, preparation of the tablet for counting and comfort in the form of chairs. Not many birds flew for the first hour. Nice was a male Hen Harrier that flew by high. In the second hour a White-tailed Eagle was noted and a Pied Wagtail stayed briefly on the migration site. However, the numbers were still on the meager side. Only after 9 o'clock groups of Meadow Pipits started to fly. From 9 to 10, 1,981 were noted. The following hour we even counted 2,526. In the end, a total of 6,590 Meadow Pipits were counted. Despite the favorable conditions, few birds of prey were seen; 1 Western Osprey, 5 Eurasian Sparrowhawks, 12 Western Marsh Harriers, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 White-tailed Eagles, 3 Common Buzzards and 3 Common Kestrels. Also nice to mention are 4 Ring Ouzels. Generally an entertaining count without large numbers and rarities. For an overview of the count click here. After the count we visited a Red-necked Grebe that was nice to watch. Then we drove to Garderen where an Italian Sparrow was discovered earlier this week. If this is accepted, it will be a new species for the Netherlands.
Sunday morning we were present again with the first light. The wind was a little less windy than yesterday and the temperature was slightly higher. A Eurasian Bittern welcomed us with his courtship call. The first hour some Western Yellow Wagtails flew, but not much else happened. The second hour a male Red-crested Pochard was seen. Not a real special feature in the Netherlands, but this species is hardly ever seen on the Kamperhoek. This also applied to 2 Spotted Redshanks who crossed the Ketelmeer between the wires of the high-voltage pylons. Just like yesterday, the Meadow Pipits started migrating later. Today 5,850 copies were counted. No real birds of prey either today; 2 Western Ospreys, 5 Eurasian Sparrowhawks, 5 Western Marsh Harriers, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 White-tailed Eagles (plus 3 more local birds) and 3 Common Buzzards. We did have more varieties of birds than yesterday. For a complete overview of the count click here.
On Monday we were again with the first light at the migration site. Around 6.50 am we saw a compact group of white birds. These turned out to be 7 Western Cattle Egrets. The birds stayed in a tree on the Kamperhoek for a short time before continuing their journey. They have been seen before at the Kamperhoek but for me these were the first. Also, the number of 7 is a new daily record for the migration site. The other heron species also did well today with 29 Grey Herons and 64 Great Egrets. Slightly more birds of prey than the previous days; 27 Eurasian Sparrowhawks, 14 Western Marsh Harriers, 1 Red Kite, 1 Black Kite, 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Common Kestrels, 3 Merlins and 1 Peregrine Falcon. A nice number of 22 Ring Ouzels. For a complete overview of the count click here. At 1 pm we stopped counting and drove to Woerden for a Western Subalpine Warbler discovered there. We didn't have to wait long before we saw this bird too.
Despite the fact that there were no real high numbers of birds and rarities flying at the Kamperhoek, it was a very pleasant Easter weekend. Hopefully we will get a few nice days before the spring migration is over.