dinsdag 30 april 2013

Redstart from Norway!

The first CES of the year was held at my site last Sunday. At arrival, temperatures reached -3 degrees Celsius, very cold for late April! During dawn it even reached -4.. Still, birds were already active, despite the cold.

When we stepped out of the car at 5, the first bird was already singing, a Redstart. After a relatively quick set up of the nets the ringing could start. The first two rounds were quite decent with 10+ each. The first round provided a first for the site: a female Hawfinch! Only my second in hand. The rounds after were slower, but still ok. Then around 11.00 I came across a Redstart in the net. And it was ringed! While I extracted the bird I looked at the ring. It said: Stavanger Mus. Norway! The first foreign ring for my site. Furthermore we caught 2 Great Tits with unknown Dutch rings, together with an unknown Pied Flycatcher.

Blackbird 2 - 0
Blue Tit 1 - 0
Chaffinch 6 - 0 
Great Tit 10 - 8 with 2 unknown Dutch rings
Hawfinch 1 - 0
Pied Flycatcher 4 - 2 one from last year and one femal (ringed as a pullus summer 2010!)
Redstart 0 - 1 Stavanger!
Robin 4 - 0
Song Thrush 1 - 0
Tree Pipit 1 - 0
Willow Warbler 1 - 1

Total: 31 new 12 retraps = 43 birds of 11 species

 Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes), female
 Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), male; the darkest male we've caught so far..
Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), adult male

Observations included two Bramblings (a singing male and a foraging female), displaying Goshawk, singing Cuckoo, Yellowhammers and a pair of Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers showing really well.

Here is a recording of the Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla):

maandag 29 april 2013

Richard's Pipit behind the uni!

Thursday evening -after a long day studying for my upcoming math exam- I was relaxing in our garden, eating pizza and drinking a beer. The weather was great, a decent 18+ degrees Celsius. Then as I was enjoying my beer I got a message that a Richard's Pipit had been found in some fields behind the university buildings. That's only a 10min ride with the bike! I emptied my bottle of beer, grabbed my bins and camera and took off with my bike. When I arrived there, about 6 birders were already present. The pipit was foraging in a strip of grass that was not mowed next to mowed grasslands. Immediatly after my arrival I could look through a telescope and had great views of the bird. Only my second one I see on the ground! With a couple of other birders we tried to take some pics, but the bird wasn't really cooperative. I only got a flight shot. It's bad, but at least you can see the 'jizz' of the bird.
Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi), convincing right!

Then the next morning, before I went studying at uni I dropped by the Richard's pipit again. The bird was still present and showing well. It was quite cooperative, but also quite mobile. I heard calling a few times, the clear sparrow like 'tschup' call. I was just in time because not long after I'd seen the bird it started raining.


And a compilation:

The day before, wednesday evening, the 24th, I did a short round in the evening. It was pretty succesful! I was just walking in the Bovenpolder near Wageningen when a female Merlin sheared by at high speed and attacked some swallows - it failed. Furhtermore I had a male Garganey, singing Bluethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroats, Grashopper Warbler, aCuckoo and three migrating Whimbrels. Pretty nice.

 Great-crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
 Whimbrels and Curlews (Numenius phaeopus),
Garganey (Anas querquedula), male

vrijdag 5 april 2013

Birding around Wageningen

Last weekend I decided that I should bring a camera with me to Wageningen, in case I see a nice bird or something like that, I can photograph it, who knows when that can be of good use! First I was photographing with a Nikon D70s, but haven't used it since I came to use a D80. So I still had the D70 (thanks dad) at home. Together with a 400 mm Sigma lens it's an excellent and compact combination.

I was rewarded with a gift sooner than I had expected! On Tuesday, it was excellent sunny weather - and since our garden has a nice shelter - and my roommates and me were chilling outside in the sun. I had already put my bins beside my chair, just in case. And just when I let my roommates look through my bins I saw a group of large birds high up in the sky...! I quickly took my bins back and saw that it was a group of 7 Cranes! Very nice to still have a group of Cranes in the beginning of April. My camera was lying in my room, so I took a sprint inside to my room and quickly grabbed my camera. Luckily when I ran outside I could still relocate the Cranes in the blue mess.

Below a recordshot:
Cranes (Grus grus), group of 7 birds migrating over my garden

Now I know what I'll do on afternoons with great weather. I'm waiting for the Kites and Ospreys now :)

On Wednesday I had a pair of Peregrines above my house.

Today, Friday 5th of April, I did a couple of hours birding in the Wageningse Bovenpolder with two of my study friends. We birded from 8:00 to 10:00 (we had college at 10.30).

We started off with a Jack Snipe which we flushed in a wet patch. Quite a few Snipes were around as well. Soon we came across foraging Chiffchaffs , counting 15 orso. No singing birds were heard. We walked through the area seeing a female hunting Marsh Harrier. In the river the Rijn we saw two pairs of Goosanders. Meadow Pipits were singing here and there. Near a farm we had a female Black Redstart, a first of the year for me. We walked on and eventually ended at a creek where I was able to photograph this close Great White Egret:

Great White Egret (Ardea alba)

There were also two close pairs of Great Crested Grebes:
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Then in a flash I had my first Bluethroat of the year. It flew off from the water edge to the other side of the creek, landing in the reedbed. While it was flying it could see its orange T-shaped tail. Then, just after this observation we had our first Swallows. Walking a bit further along the path, we heard and saw a migrating Green Sandpiper. 
As we walked back to our bikes we had a Grey Wagtail. Then while I was having college, around 11.30 I saw another Grey Wag from the 4th floor of the Uni building, not bad. Then, at 12.50 I had another (or the same Grey Wag ) near the Uni building, showing quite well as it flew off from a pond,  calling loudly.
A pretty good April (if we leave the lack of passerines out) day! 

dinsdag 2 april 2013

Excellent Easter Ending

Yesterday I had a nice hike with my parents on the Veluwezoom. We went to the Posbank near Rheden. It's quite close to Apeldoorn but it's a place where I'd barely been before. It was nice to see a new area on the Veluwe for me. We made a hike of 14km.
 Posbank, herikhuizerveld

Koningslaan, a lane of beeches about 1,5-2km long, planted by Willem the 2nd a long time ago. Quite impressive.

Along the way we didn't have too many birds, but two Black Woodpeckers, singing Woodlarks and Yellowhammers were nice.

Last Sunday I also recorded a Jay imitating a Carrion Crow, something I hadn't heard before. These Jays keep surprising me, incredible birds!

Yesterday, I did some birdwatching with my dad along the IJssel. First we visited the Rammelwaard near Zutphen, where I had my first Chiffchaffs, foraging - not singing. Not too many birds, but the weather was great.

Then we went to the Yperenplas near Deventer. Along the way we had a nice Little Owl, also enjoying the sun.
Little Owl (Noctua athene)

Arriving at the Yperenplas we observed 10+ Smews, about 4 males and 7 females. Some came quite close to us, foraging in a small creek.
Smew (Mergellus albellus), 2 pairs

Great White Egrets were abundant, with this one landing in a meadow in front of us.
Great White Egret (Ardea alba)

Our primary reason to go to the Yperenplas was because of the reported Brant. In the first place, we were unabled to find it. The group of geese was present on the water instead on the land, which made the search more difficult. After some intensive searching, I suddenly came 3 Pink-footed Geese! A really good bird for our county! Then not much later I relocated the Brant, so in the end we had the Brant plus an excellent surprise!

Pink-footed Geese (Anser brachyrhynchus), image by Tammo Meijer
Brant (Branta bernicla), image by Tammo Meijer