First off, sorry for the silent treatment, but it’s been a busy week…
Wednesday, February 25th
Today I had an interview with freelance journalist Anna Mees. She wanted to write a human interest peace and since I’m doing my biggest year in 2016, there was a lot of interesting stuff to talk about.
She decided that she wanted to do the interview in the field so I opted the to do a loop by car around the Oostvaardersplassen.
We left Amsterdam Sloterdijk station around 10 AM and headed straight for the Pampushaven to scan through some rafts of diving ducks. Although there was nothing out of the ordinary swimming among the Tufted Duks (Kuifeend), it was great opportunity to talk about the importance of the Ijsselmeer-shore for wintering ducks.
Next up were the Lepelaarsplassen where we hiked to the observation hut. In the hut we had a long talk about my plans for 2016, briefly interrupted by a stunning male Bullfinch (Goudvink).
Contradictory to the weather forecast it started raining heavily just when we stopped at several regular haunts for White-tailed Eagle (Zeearend). Instead we gazed over the barren plain that once were a lush swamp. Staatsbosbeheer really failed in managing this used-to-be rich ecosystem in my opinion. Check this video called De Nieuwe Wildernix and you’ll understand why…
We made some final stops to look at some Tundra Bean Geese (Toendrarietgans) and then quickly drove to Zeist where I dropped Anna of at the train station and picked up Camilla at here internship at Vogelbescherming Nederland to have dinner at my folks in The Hague.
Thursday , February 26th
Today Camilla and I had a long stroll through my old local patch; the ‘Haagse Waterleidingduinen’. As always it was great with about 65 species. Best was a group of 15 Common Mergansers (Grote Zaagbek), my first Woodlarks (Boomleeuwerik) for 2015, several Goshawks (Havik) and a beautiful perched subadult Peregrine (Slechtvalk).
We walked back over the beach where Camilla saw her first Harbor Porpoise (Bruinvis) swimming just 20 meters from shore! For the complete ignorant among us, Harbor Porpoise is the smallest dolphin species occurring in the North Sea.
Friday, February 27th
Today I had an interview with Hans Roozekrans, as he had to do a human interest peace for his journalism studies in Rotterdam. Like Anna he wanted to do the interview in the field so in the afternoon we drove to the Starrevaart near Leidschendam, where thousands of gulls, ducks and waders gather every evening to roost.
Upon arrival we immediately notched up the best species for the day; 4 Glossy Ibises (Zwarte Ibis) foraging in the fields along the highway A4.
Glossy Ibises among Oystercatchers and Black-tailed Godwits
The interview in the observation hut was really cool as there was a lot to see and identify. While rattling on about identification features, my biggest year and all the cool stuff my hobby has to offer we easily notched up 50 species. Best were 3 first winter Caspian Gulls (Pontische meeuw), a local scarcity in the form of a Smew (Nonnetje) and a group of about 20 Black-tailed Godwit (Grutto), that had just returned from there wintering grounds in Africa.
We quickly walked back and forth to the Meeslouwerplas where a Horned Grebe (Kuifduiker) gave a great performance. For Hans however this rarity was eclipsed by two displaying Great Crested Grebe (Fuut) that copied each other’s every move with the preciseness of a pair of professional figure skaters.
We finished the day of with some final looks at the 4 Glossy Ibises that came to roost next to the observation hut.