zondag 31 maart 2013

Búho real

For almost a week, the Siskins were gone from our garden, but as the cold stayed (and we got some snow) the Siskins came back. On Friday several Siskins were visiting our garden again. In the early morning yesterday I opened my net in the hope of catching some more.

Due to the fact that I didn't have my laptop at home the last two weekends I failed to do an update on the Siskins. On the Sunday the 17th of March I caught the amazing number of 37 Siskins in our garden! 34 were new, 3 were retraps from early March. I didn't know I could catch so many in our relatively small garden, with a single 6m net.

So yesterday, Saturday the 30th of March, I tried again. And I was not dissappointed! I ringed 21 new Siskins, and recaptured 2. One recapture wasn't mine...! It was ringed by my trainer Hans, the day before (Fr 29-03) in his garden. His garden is only 900m away from ours, but still, a great recapture!

Catching (can you count all 8 hanging in the net?)


Then after some ringing we made a short visit to the Middle-spotted Woodpeckers near Hoog Soeren again. We had three males, showing well for a short period of time. Afterwards we visited my grandparents in Ruurlo, seeing quite a few Siskins and a Brambling in their backgarden.

And after a nice chat with my grandparents we went to Winterswijk to check out the breeding Eagle Owls in the quarry overthere. We were rewarded with lots of activity!

As soon as it got quiet the mother started feeding the two chicks (approx 8-10 days old). I'd never seen it before so it was great to see. As it got a bit darker, dad started calling in the nearby forest, making the experience complete! Wow!

Look at those eyes! Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo), phonescoped

vrijdag 29 maart 2013

Mibo's on the Veluwe

Middle-spotted Woodpeckers have been increasing rapidly in our country. At first, you had to go all the way to Limburg to see some Middle-spotted Woodpeckers, but nowadays that's not necessary anymore. They're occupying small parts of the Veluwe as well now.

Below a map with all the sightings of Middle-spotted Woodpeckers in our province Gelderland.
Distribution of Middle-Spotted Woodpeckers in Gelderland. Note the large(r) concentrations in the Achterhoek (especially Winterswijk), near Arnhem and Nijmegen.

My dad had seen one Middle-Spotted Woodpecker near Hoog Soeren last Monday, so today our goal was to get to see it(or them) again. At the location we first had one male Middle-spotted Woodpecker calling and singing. At one point a Jay started imitating the singing Middle-spotted Woodpecker! Below the recording:

Too bad of the background noise (''sound bubbles''), probably has to do with the app I use on my phone.

Anyway, after this first bird we heard some more Middle-spotted Woodpeckers calling, showing territorial behaviour. And for the next 15-20 minutes we experienced some great activity! Three Middle-spotted Woodpeckers were flying after each other, calling, singing, etc. A real treat! 
Middle-spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus medius), male

Then as we did another round we found a 4th Middle-spotted Woodpecker, foraging quite low to the ground. 
Middle-spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus medius)

Next to the Middle-spotted Woodies we had Great-Spotted, Lesser-spotted, Black and Green Woodpecker. So 5 species of Woodpecker in one day!

dinsdag 12 maart 2013

The sound of Cranes, brrr!

It's a belated blog post but I'll post it anyway because I cant leave out my recent observations of this great bird species: the Eurasian Crane (Grus grus). Last week we experienced a massive migration peak of Cranes here in the Netherlands. It started in the weekend of 2/3 March and Monday the 4th, and Tuesday the 5th of March the eastern part of the Netherlands was flooded by Cranes. I seem to have a knack of always missing Cranes when they're passing by. I didn't have luck on Sunday whilst several groups of Cranes passed by Apeldoorn. We did have a group of Whooper Swans flying over our house though, also a good bird!
 Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) over our house

Also on Monday I was unlucky until the evening. Around 17.15 I went upstairs to my attic to check the sky and search for cranes. Around 17.35 I picked up a group of 13 large birds flying appr. at 5-10 km west of our house. They were coming our way so I just had to wait until they would pass by from a closer distance. In the mean time I was sure they were Cranes and so I shouted to my dad: Cranes coming! We could follow the group for ca. 10 minutes as they passed by over Apeldoorn from west to east. They were flying above the city centre (1km from our house) and through my scope we could observe them very well. So in the end (that's what I thought) we still had our Cranes.

Then on Tuesday I had an excursion for the course I was following at the Uni. On waarneming.nl I had already noticed that also this morning the Cranes were on a roll! We had an excursion at Landgoed Middachten near Rheden, east of Arnhem. I was hoping for Cranes and we got them..!

While we were standing in the forest and the excursion leader was telling something about the trees I heard a familiar sound: a singing male Middle-spotted Woodpecker! My friends heard them as well and as we were enjoying the sound of the Middle-spotted Woodpecker I heard some trumpeter sounds far away.... And guess what: Cranes!

A group of 80 Cranes came from the south and started to look for thermal (on the edge of the moraine) right above our heads. Amazing. I ran out of the forest, leaving the astonished students behind, haha.


With my phone I record the group of Cranes calling.

Then after we finished the nice excursion (learned a lot!) we went back to Wageningen. During the day many Cranes had passed over Wageningen and I had a feeling it should be possible for me to see them still in the evening. So when we got back at 17.00, Koen, a friend from my study and I went to the dike near the river,  where you have a perfect overlook to the south.

With a beer and a few snacks we enjoyed this beautiful day and we ended the day with a group of 72 Cranes flying over Wageningen. We already heard them calling in from the east, and with nice evening light the group pursued their migration to the north-east.

I tried to take a picture with my phone through my binoculars. Below the result, you can still ID them :)
Group of 72 Cranes (Grus grus) flying over the Wageningen

zondag 10 maart 2013

Goodbye spring, Hello winter!

The title of this post were exactly the words I was thinking of when I woke up this morning. It was windy, it was snowing and very cold! Last week we had a couple of very nice days with a temperature reaching to 16-17 degrees but that has changed dramatically. Above that, they're forecasting night temperatures of -8 coming week, and that in the middle of march!

Anyway, Tammo and I went to visit the Waxwings again, this time with snowy conditions, resulting in some better oppertunities. Nevertheless, it was difficult (for me) to get sharp pictures. Check out the result below. Together with a recording.

Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

Furthermore I did some photographing of the Siskins in our garden, which are still present. I saw up to 12 birds at the same time in our garden, at least two of them were ringed. The interactions between the individuals is great to see, you can watch them for hours:)

Siskin (Carduelis spinus), 2cy

Then around 14.00 we headed off to the IJssel near Deventer. Large groups of Golden Plovers had been seen here this morning. Golden Plover is a difficult bird to see in our county, so it is quite unusual to have over 600+ Golden Plovers in the county. We saw groups of 113, 10 and 9 birds. Furthermore there were lots of Lapwings present. Among the Lapwings and Golden Plovers, Redwings, Skylarks, Starlings and Fieldfares were foraging in the fields.

At the Yperenplas we saw 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, some Smews, Great White Egrets and some Snipes. At the Bolwerksweiden we had 2 Ringed Plovers, 9 Golden Plovers and 3 Dunlin, which was a little surprise during this cold day. Not a bad day!

Golden Plovers (Pluvialis apricaria); some of them were moulting into summer plumage already, with some black on the belly.

zaterdag 9 maart 2013


Last Tuesday a group of 8 Waxwings had been discoverd in the south-eastern part of Apeldoorn, approximately 5 mins from my home:) But since I was in Wageningen the past days I didn't have the possibility to visit them.

I decided that I would give them a visit today, since it is so closeby. There was only one thing: it was raining. What a sh*tty weather! It's always like that, when you have free time it's raining! Nevertheless, around 13.00 things cleared up a little and I went there. Arriving at the exact spot I saw them immediately. There were also some other birdwatchers looking at these beautiful Waxwings.

They were initially perched high up in the tree, but every now and then they came down to feed on Cotoneaster berries.

As a result of the terrible light and the rain, most photos I took weren't really sharp. Anyway, I managed to get a few reasonable shots. I also made a recording with my phone of the Waxxies. Very nice!

Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus)

Maybe I will try and get some better photos tomorrow, when the light is better!

zondag 3 maart 2013

Siskins, always a pleasure!

It's march and this means: a chance of getting Siskins in the garden! During this time of year it seems that they're largerly attracted to peanuts instead of their usual food from the alders and birches.. My dad mentioned he'd seen a male Siskin in the garden on friday morning. Saturday morning I got out of bed early to check if there would be Siskins! And indeed, I saw no less than three birds foraging on my peanut feeder, very cool! I had only ever ringed two Siskins (March 2011, first ringing session ever in the garden) so I wanted to ring some more. I put up my net and fairly soon I caught three Siskins. Because I knew I had ringed three Siskins I could count how many other unringed birds visisted the garden. I came up to a total of six. At one single time there were about 10 present, but only in the high tree in the back garden, not near the feeders.

 Siskin (Carduelis spinus), adult male
 Siskin (Carduelis spinus), adult male; everything adult type, primaries, secondaries, tertails, greater coverts, alulas etc..
Siskin (Carduelis spinus). 2cy female, note the four unmoulted outer greater coverts, unmoulted tertails and secondaries etc. Tail was moulted. Not so pretty as the adult male..

Yesterday I bought some more peanut nets (I want them in the garden as long as possible haha). I hung two in the garden. Right now, while I'm typing this posts there are up to eight birds feeding on the peanuts, incredible!

I also took a little effort to try and photograph them. This is the result:
 Siskin (Carduelis spinus), 2cy female; note the unmoulted greater coverts & tertails
Siskin (Carduelis spinus), 2cy male; note the unmoulted greater coverts (inner two/three moulted)