vrijdag 28 februari 2014

Snowy Owls & hundreds of Cranes

Last sunday, the 23rd of February, we went to see the Snowy Owls on Vlieland! Together with my dad and Henri. They've been present there for quite some time now, and we finally had the time to visit them.

We took the ferry at 10.40 from Harlingen and arrived on the island around 11.30. We rented a bike and then headed in the direction of the owls. There was a strong wind blowing so the 6 km drive took us about 45 minutes!

Arriving there we soon found a Snowy Owl perched on a dune, quite distant though, The view through the scope was great, but there was not much activity so we looked for the 2nd bird. I soon saw on waarneming.nl that the second bird had been seen. So we headed there. This bird was much closer - but still not really active. We spend the entire afternoon with the birds, very enjoyable!

Here are some shots:
Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), first winter female, bird nr. 1
Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), first winter female, bird nr.2 - much darker and more barred
Location of the 2nd bird

The next day (monday 24th) a huge wave a Cranes passed through NL, I was birding at Radio Kootwijk, looking for parrot crossbills - only finding common -when I got lots of messages reporting groups of Cranes passing by. At that moment, I immediatly left and went to a high point with a good view to look for the Cranes: with succes!
 Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), male
Look-out point from which I saw 320 Cranes, Achterste Steenberg, Hoog Buurlo
Cranes (Grus grus), distant and close-by!

donderdag 13 februari 2014

Repeat of the Day

I went back to the woodies, spent a couple of hours with them, enjoying myself!

 Middle-spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), bird 1
 Bird 2
Also came across this Roe Deer, that didn't look too healthy after second inspection

dinsdag 11 februari 2014

Signs of Spring

As a result of the mild weather we're having, lots of birds have the feeling that it's spring already. I visited the Paleispark at Paleis het Loo this morning and had a great morning. Clear skies, with clouds every now and then, together with some slight wind gusts. The birds were in full swing: active Great Spotted Woodpeckers, most species of Tit, singing Chaffinches, Hawfinches, Mistle Thrush, displaying Goshawk and so on. Wonderful. The signs of winter were still conspicious however, with hundreds of Bramblings and Chaffinches. Also, groups of Fieldfares and Redwings were still present in the park.

My visit had a special goal: finding Middle-spotted Woodpeckers. It only took me about half an hour before I found them! I was walking along a lane with old oaks and suddenly I heard and saw two woodpeckers chasing each other. They turned out to be Middle-spotted!

The male showed well for a while, foraging in a oak at close distance. I lost the other bird as soon as I focused on the male, I presume it was a female because it was not really vocal, but I'm not sure. A bit later the male took off and started singing in a patch of oak trees a few 100m away from me. I enjoy the Jay-song of the woodpeckers, very distinctive.

Anyway, I got a couple of decent shots from the bird, if I would have my phone with me a good sound recording would have been collected as well,
 Middle-spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), male
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla), male adult winter