maandag 21 oktober 2013

Combo Twitching - Daurian Shrike & Black Guillemot

Together with my dad, Jurgen v/d Meer and Maarten Kaales we decided to have a twitchday on yesterday. Last time we did it was very succesfull with Steppe Grey Shrike and two Olive-backed Pipits, so our expectations were high :)

On Saturday the 19th of October a group of birders discovered a Daurian Shrike near Vinkeveen, in the western part of the Netherlands. The previous years we've had good twitchable individuals (mostly on the isles) but this is still the 12th record orso for the Netherlands. I'd never seen one before so this was our target species number one.

We arrived at Waverhoek around 7.20 and it would still take half an hour to be able to scan de area for the shrike. During the sunrise we walked to the location, observing hundreds of geese and ducks departing from the lakes nearby. Also many Snipes. Arriving at the location we were the only ones present. As the light got better we started scanning. One hour later we still didn't have the shrike, and a group of ca.30 twitchers had gathered. We decided to go to IJmuiden since we could always do the bird on our way back home. As we walked back the same way we came we didn't find the shrike and got in the car. We drove away when I suddenly see a small group of people actively staring through their scopes and photographing something... a quick look from the car reveals the shrike! It had been present along a path where most of the twitchers had walked past during the morning when heading for the ''old location''!We had walked another path (so no blaming us for not finding it earlier haha).

The bird showed wonderfully, shifting between perching in a reedbed, some small bushes and undergrowth. Initially there were some doubts about the ID of the bird (either Red-tailed or Daurian). In the end the conclusion was Daurian Shrike.

Observations on the shrike: small shrike, lightbrown plumage, crown seemed a bit darker, with a more greybrown tinge, faint barring on the underparts, no barring uppertailcoverts, eye-stripe brownish, reddish orange tail. Amongst others light tips on greater coverts and pattern of tertails make it a 1st-winter. In active tail-moult. 3 old feathers with 7 new ones growing.
Daurian Shrike (digiscoped by Tammo)
Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus), 1st winter

Next stop was the Zuidpier near IJmuiden. The last time I visited the place was already two years back. It was pleasant birding there. We soon located the Black Guillemot that has been present  there for a while, great bird and great views! 
Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle), first winter

Other birds observed: 1st winter Shag, Rock Pipits, Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Pontic Gull, Yellow-legged Gull.
Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata)
 Gannet (Morus bassanus)
 Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima)
It was a fantastic day, great company and wonderfull birds!

zondag 13 oktober 2013

Ignored by Waders

Have you ever felt ignored by birds? Well I have! Last week when I was strolling along a shoreline of a large recreational lake a small group of waders, excisting out of 2 Ruff and 4 Dunlin landed in front of me and started foraging along the shore. I looked for tactical place and positioned myself there. Slowly they started foraging towards me as if I wasn't there. It was really great! Curious birds that didn't care of my presence. In harsh/cold conditions I can imagine that birds will be tame but not when the weather is just standard.

Below the result of my small fotoshoot with the birds:
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
 Dunlin (Calidris alpina), one individual had what it seemed like a longer bill and weird colouring on the bill (as you can see in the above images)

zaterdag 5 oktober 2013

Lanceolated Warbler! 4th record for the Netherlands!

I was awake in bed early this morning when I suddenly saw my phone lightening up: a call from Bram! ''I think I just caught a Lanceolated Warbler''!!!! Whaaaat? Seriously? He was serious... As soon as I could I alerted my dad and 45 minutes later we arrived at the Ooijse Graaf near Nijmegen.

The 4th Dutch record, the second ''live'' sighting of this species; earlier records were 2002 (one ringed along the Dutch coast), 1958 (found dead), 1912 (found dead). So an extremely rare catch!

 Lanceolated Warbler (Locustella lanceolata), 1st winter
  Lanceolated Warbler (Locustella lanceolata), 1st winter with Grashopper Warbler (Locustella naevia)
 Open wing photo of the Lanceolated Warbler
Many thanks to Bram!!