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.
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.
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.
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.
There should be a little sun today and I assumed that the Eastern Black Redstart is still present in Rolde. A new (sub) species for me and there were good photo opportunities. Also there are many groups of Waxwings in the north and a Long-billed Dowitcher who the night before had seen briefly in the Lauwersmeer. Sufficient grounds on Sunday to drive to the north.
According to the weather reports Saturday would be bad, an ideal day to work on the monthly list. A quick scan on the net yielded the following species: Marsh Harrier, Snow Goose and Mediterranean Gull. These species were all seen in the province of Zeeland so a tour through Zealand was obvious.
November and a new month has started and the observations were scoured for new month species. On the island of Texel were some very good including the still present Steppe Grey Shrike. Pieter had the same idea so we went together. We wanted to take the boat from 8.30 am but due to some miscommunication we were in a different carpool. This gave a slightly delay but in Den Oever there were Waxwings present and now we had time to pay them a visit.
Saturday evening during our weekly dinner at Marc's BBQ a message came in of a Lesser Grey Shrike on the island of Texel. The description looks exciting but actually I did not pay attention enough. Sunday morning I wake up around 7:30 hours wintertime and with not many other options I choose to spent the day at the migration site. En route to the migration site I am called by Alwin. Are you on the way to the Steppe Grey Shrike sounds on the other side!