dinsdag 31 december 2013

Final birding moment 2013: Hawk Owl

My last post of 2013!

This last day of 2013, the 31st o f December was spent in Zwolle, where the Hawk Owl - that has been present since mid-November - was still showing exeptionally well!

I went together with my dad. It was the 3rd visit for me, but the first visit together with my dad. We spent a few hours with the bird, photographing it from every possible angle. It perched in  a tree, a soccer goal, another tree, some poles, electricty buildings and so on - very confiding!

At one moment the bird took off from a tree, flying out of sight a few 100 metres to the north. Then a few minutes later, from the corner of my eye,  I see the bird flying towards us, with a prey! It turns out to be a young male blackbird. This is the first time (as far as I know) that the bird has been seen with a bird as prey, instead of a mouse.

The bird didn't seem to mind all the fireworks in the city, there were even some people firing carbid in the fields next to the bird!

Below the photo series: enjoy! And best wishes & a Happy New Year!

Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula), the bird with prey!
Last photo: spitting out a pellet

maandag 30 december 2013

December birding: Pygmy Owl & Parrot Crossbills!

Since the beginning of October there has been an unprecedented invasion of Parrot Crossbills in the Netherlands. Many groups of varying sizes were seen throughout the country. In my region the observations were spread rather thinly - there was a group present on NP de Hoge Veluwe but not anywhere else. I tried to see this group once and had birds, just taking off from a pine tree: not a really satisfying observation. Since you have to pay an entrance fee for the park I didn't visit them more often - I wanted to find them myself!

And thus, almost every weekend in November and December I did a lot of cycling through the forests, surrounding Apeldoorn. It wasn't succesfull until last week. My dad found some Parrot Crossbills early December, but we could not relocate this group.

Last Thursday, the second Christmas day, my dad and I did a search for Crossbills again. After a few hours searching we still hadn't seen any Crossbills. When we were close to Kootwijk there was one more place I wanted to check with my dad for Parrot Crossbills: to me this would be the perfect place for them!

Once we arrived there I noticed a Crossbill perched in a pine tree. One look through my binoculars and I knew enough: Parrots! Full of exitement we started taking photos. A bit later the bird flew off with a second one and started foraging in some pine trees further down the path. So there were two birds, a male and a female!

Finally after so many hours of searching I'd found my own!
 Parrot Crossbill (Loxia pytyopsittacus), male (photo taken by me)
Parrot Crossbill (Loxia pytyopsittacus), male and female (both photos taken by Tammo).
Kootwijk - Regelbergen - the pine forests to the right is where I found the Parrot's

Now time for another story:
Since a couple of weeks a Pygmy Owl has been present not far from my house. It had been really hard to find the last few weeks but since last weekend the bird has been observed continuously. Yesterday I visited the bird with my dad, and indeed: we had fantastic views of the bird! My second observation ever of Pygmy Owl and that only 20min from home!
Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum), last photo taken by Tammo
The group of birders at the Pygmy Owl

zaterdag 7 december 2013

Classical Redpolls!

For more than a week now a group of 30-40 Redpolls have been visiting our garden and surroundings. It's a mixed group with both Lesser and Mealy Redpolls. Today I succeeded in catching one of each species. Both were classical examples of both species! Below of short photo study of the birds:
Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret), looks like a 1cy with a moulted GC9 (see arrow), male (hint of pink in rump)
 Mealy Redpoll (Acanthis flammea), 1cy male, note the 5 retained outer-GC and tertails
I would be happy with unstreaked undertailcoverts in combination with a white rump:)
 And a nice comparison of the two species!