vrijdag 26 februari 2010

Quality birdwatching from my attic

With the cranes of yesterday still roaming in my head I woke up around eight o' clock. I walked towards my window and opened the curtains: hmm the weather seemed quite pleasant. Then I noticed lots of geese passing by, distant as well as close. My bins were still lying in my room so I grabbed them. Suddenly I saw a group of large birds flying past. I watched them with my binoculars: 12 Bewick's swans! Great, another new houselist species! I identified them as Bewick's swan because of the following features: small swans, short neck (opposite of Whooper swans) and their fast wing-beats. They were flying in a north-easterly direction. This was a nice wake-up call! I decided to take my breakfast upstairs and to check all the birds passing by. There was lots of migration of geese, especially Greylags and White-fronted geese. Furthermore I had 3 Hawfinches, 1 Mistle Thrush (new houselist species aswell!). The highlight of 1.5 hours migration counting was a Red Kite! I discovered this raptor while watching some incoming geese from the west. The bird was distant but I could see its distinguishing characteristics, the forked tail, the bent wings plus the typical kite flight: a slow and rolling way of flying. It was being mobbed by a Sparrowhawk. This was around 8.45. Half an our later this bird was presumbly seen on the Braamberg by Maarten Kaales (www.birdalerts.nl).
Around 9.30 I saw a possible crane, but it was too far away and flew too high to be a 100 percent sure. It was a large, grey bird but yeh... This bird was first trying to find thermal and after this it left in a easterly direction. It's a pity that I could not fully ID this bird.

Above you can see the view from my attic

donderdag 25 februari 2010


This morning I was checking a few sightings on waarneming.nl and I noticed that there were Cranes on the move. I had often dipped Cranes in the past and last year I was lucky to have a group of 52 cranes near Deventer, this was not in the borders of my county however. See the link: http://waarneming.nl/waarneming/view/41949643. So as I already said I've always been unlucky with cranes, until today... At around 2 p.m I decided to check the air for cranes. I was sitting in my attic, a splendid place for watching migrants passing by. In the past I've had Storks, Red Kites, Great White Egrets, Marsh Harrier, Buzzards, Honey Buzzards and so on passing by, as well as some smaller migrants, such as Wood Lark, Yellow Wagtail, Thrushes etc. The only species which was missing on my ''houselist'' was Common Crane.
Well, after ten minutes I discovered 4 large birds flying west of our house. Those large birds were ofcourse quickly ID-ed because what else can large grey birds, with tall legs and long necks be? Cranes! (Demoisselle crane perhaps?) Following them through my scope both my dad and mom had a good view of them aswell. Still enjoying my new houslist species I heard a Grey wagtail calling on the rooftop, I failed to find it however.
Nearly 5 minutes later I saw another big flock of birds coming from the west again, this can't be true was what I was thinking on that particular moment. It was! 41 cranes were heading to us, and a few minutes later they passed our house, calling openly! Magnificant birds. I even succeeded to take a shot with 100mm focus on the group, I'll attach the photo later.

There's not much that could ruin my wonderful day anymore I hope!
Last shot is taken with 100mm.

woensdag 24 februari 2010


Today and also yesterday the wieather was better than what they'd predicted before. The forecast was mostly showers etc. but it wasn't that bad!
Yesterday in the afternoon we went to the IJssel, near Deventer to check for Little Owl and the first Black-tailed Godwits. We drove a small retour (by passing het Apeldoorns kanaal). While driving along the canal we immediately discovered the longstaying Bittern again. It was wandering actively along the canalbank, the bittern was diffucult to see however because of all the reed which was situated in front of the bird :') Sometimes the bird climbed up the bank and took the posture of a pole ''the paalhouding'. A significant characteristic of Bitterns, which is always fun to notice. They think we're stupid and that we're not aware of the fact that they're standing there, that does happen occasionly though, haha. While we were observing this Bittern we could really see the protective colouration of the bird as it was sometimes invisible. After our Bittern sighting we moved on towards the IJssel. Arriving at the Yperenplas I noticed some waders standing along the edge of the pond. 7 Black-tailed godwits. The first ones of this year, always fun to see. A Little Owl was sitting in a willow, sadly enough when I wanted to take a shot it dissapeared in its hole, what a scaredy-cat.

The lousy Bittern again

And a few Barnacle geese mixed with a flock White-fronts

maandag 22 februari 2010

Spring is coming! so is rain...

Last night I stayed at my grandparents in Ruurlo and I decided to stay there for the night. They've got a lovely garden with lots of birds.
I woke up this morning because of a Song Thrush which was singing outloud. I bet the bird already started singing around 5 am this morning.  This was my first singing Song Thrush of the year and it was also a sign for me that spring is coming! Everywhere I heard Chaffinches singing and there were plenty of other birds around. The higlight of this morning was a pair of Bullfinches feeding in a tree right in the garden. I heard them calling first and then I discovered them. The rest of the garden was filled with Tree Sparrows, Great/Blue Tits, a Robin and quite a few Greenfinches. My grandparents have got a chimney and this morning a collared dove was singing above the chimney and this resulted in hearing the collared dove sing throughout the entire room down the chimney, which was fun!
I wanted to take some shots of a singing Chaffinch in a tree close to the house so I figured the best place to take some shots of the bird was the balcony. From there you've got a perfect view all over the garden plus the neighbouring gardens. The light conditions were poor, and combined with rain it's diffucult to get reasonable shots. I will upload some shots tonight. My goal for today is to get a good shot of some Tree Sparrows, we'll see.
See some photo's below:

Also see some shots of yesterday's Bittern, Smew and Goldeneye:



zondag 21 februari 2010


This morning me and my dad went out birding again. Around eight o' clock it appeared to become a sunny morning, thirty minutes later however, everything was covered with fog.. What a pity! We still decided to go to Empe to see if the light would be better overthere. It wasn't though. While we were on our way to Empe we stopped a couple of times to see if we could take some photos of 'birds in the fog'. I succeeded to take some shots of a couple of birds.
Near the trainstation of Empe we encountered a Bittern again plus a fly-by Kingfisher.
(In the afternoon the fog was gone and we saw two Bitterns at Empe)

Below today's photos taken by me:

A foggy Buzzard:

A foggy Stork:

A foggy Fieldfare:

And last but not least a foggy Bittern:

Oh, by the way: our garden Fieldfare is still present and enjoying himself with our apples!

zaterdag 20 februari 2010

My first report

Here is it , my first blog!
After today's sightings I figured that those sightings would be a nice oppurtunity for me to start blogging.

We started the day with searching for an Eurasian Bittern along 'het Apeldoorns Kanaal'. We had a thorough search along the reedbeds, with no succes. So we decided to go to the Albaplas, this is a large pond with lots of ducks, lying next to the canal. There was nothing unusual amongst the ducks. Only a few Teals, 400 Mallards and a few Wigeons. Then suddenly my father called us! He saw an Eurasian Bittern walking along the reedbeds of the canal! It was quite close as it gave us some wonderful views. This was my first Bittern in my regione. A very nice starter for the day.

We continued on towards Empe, a site which is a good spot for Bitterns aswell. Near Empe we stopped because we saw plenty of geese flying above some land. As they landed we were getting out of the car to check them. Most of them appeared to be Tundra Bean Geese. We estimated that there were at least 1000 Tundra's present overthere. Among those Tundra's we managed to find 2 Taiga Bean Goose! This is a very diffucult bird to see in our region, so it was a nice adding to my list. Meanwhile we also heard a Golden Plover flying over, we didn't see it however.

After the geese check we continued to Empe, where I found almost immediately two other Bitterns! Seeing 3 Bitterns on 1 day in our region is not bad ;) One gave some fantastic views and we managed to take some photographs. Furthermore we saw 1 female Goosander and another 14 Smews (3 m. 11 fem.)

Another fantastic day in my region.