The death of Mary, my wife, is still very fresh but I have to go on. My family from Scotland left Sunday and only now I realize how quiet it has become at home. Mary had insisted that I had to go on and thus was with Alwin, Pieter and Maartje a Big Day agreed in the Northern provinces. I picked up Alwin at 0:30 am in Heumen and at 1.30 am we picked up Pieter and Maartje at a gas station near Staphorst.
The predictions for the weekend were reasonable. Northeast wind on Saturday and east wind on Sunday. This, combined with the time of year (late April) can yield very good results on the Kamperhoek. Saturday morning I drove with Dirk eykemans at 5.15 am towards the Kamperhoek. First I had to scratch the ice of the windows of the car, hopefully the last night frost.
Sunday morning I drive away at 5.30 am from Uden direction Kamperhoek. I leave Uden with a clear sky and just past Den Bosch I ride into a dense fog. Mixed feelings occur in myself with the knowledge that mist is usually even worse in the Flevopolder. Yet I continue and at the pump just past Eemnes I stop for coffee. It is still very foggy and it does not look good. I continue with the smell of fresh coffee spread in the car. When I drive into the polder it clears up. I'm still not convinced by past experience but as I further drive north it even becomes better.
Again a new month and with Pieter & Maartje, Alwin and Joep was agreed to do a day of month listing. A list of target species was drawn up: Falcated Duck, Rock Pipit, Glaucous Gull, Razorbill, Northern Gannet, Kittiwake, Shag, Long-tailed Duck, Pink-footed Goose and Hooded Crow. A route along the coast, starting in IJmuiden, could yield the most species. At 6:30 am it was agreed on a parking lot at Huizen.
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.
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.