zaterdag 2 juni 2012

Red-footed Falcons!

Yesterday 3 Red-footed Falcons had been found on the Deelense Veld on the Hoge Veluwe, approx. 10km south of Apeldoorn. They've been pretty rare so far this spring with only fly-by's if I'm correct. So that was a good reason to get up early this morning and look for them! There were also some other species I wanted to try for my yearlist, such as Turtle Dove and Red-backed Shrike. 

I arrived at the eastern part of the Deelense Veld, along the Deelenseweg around 8:00. The light was perfect, no heatwaves and a clear sky with a shining sun. The falcons weren't hunting yet however.. Just 500 Swifts hunting above the water. I waited and scanned for about 30 minutes and then decided to cycle on. Around 8:45 I arrived at Vliegveld Deelen. There is a small viewpoint along the road from which you can look through the woods out in the open. The site is very disclosed as it is an air base. The last years there has been a pair of Red-backed Shrikes here. Also this year they're present (at least the male). After some waiting I suddenly discovered a male Red-backed Shrike perched on a small bush. I looked at it and I quickly grabbed my scope, to find out the bird had gone again...! I waited a bit longer but I didn't see it anymore. Next stop was Deelen where some Turtle Doves have been singing. I waited on the exact spot for quite some time, but nothing. I did see and record a brilliant Black Woodpecker. This species and Pileated Woodpecker are probably one of my favourite species. So impressive!

Here is a recording of the bird calling, in a lane of beeches:


Along the road between Hoenderloo and Deelen I heard at least 4 different Wood Warblers singing. For a change, I decided to make some effort. I approached one and recorded and photographed it. It wasn't shy at all, singing above my head.

The recording and some photos:


Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), not so yellow!

I wanted to give the Red-footed Falcons another try, so on my way back I stopped at the lookout again. There were some more birders and it didn't take long until we saw a Red-footed Falcon. A first-summer female was hunting above the lake. It was quite distant but we could see the characteristics really well - lack of red 'pants', orange-tinged underparts including wing, long tailed, white-cheek, light neck and the upper part of the wing was a bit brown greyish - and every now and then it was catching dragonflies. A bit later a second individual was relocated, also a first summer female. Another interesting observation was a fly-by of a Ruddy Shelduck! Not the place where I would expect one! My dad arrived a little bit later and also saw one Red-footed Falcon. On our way back home we saw a nice Honey Buzzard on the Hoog Buurlosche Heide.

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