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21 April 2016. Half day birding recon trip Noordwijkerhout.
The morning of April 21st I went birding at my hometown, Noordwijkerhout, to prepare for an upcoming half day spring tour. I easily found over seventy species before lunch. I got out of bed at first light, drove my car to park at the forest, which forms the border between the several bugalowparks and the actual dunes. I strolled my way to the highest dune to try and catch up with some good old spring migration. During this walk I heard the early morning songs of several typical duneforest birds, like that of the confused sounding Mistle Thrush and the almost arrogantly laughing Green Woodpecker,among many others.
In a few minutes I reached the actual sandy dunes and heard the typical musical scaled song of the Wood Larks from a distance. Several NorthernWheatears were decorating the landscape, especially the stunning pied collared males are able to fully activate my still somewhat sleepy brains on such a dreamy spring morning. A pair of Red Fox were probably searching for a well fed rabbit to feed their still blind and squeaking cubs. The chilly blowing northeastern up at my favorite stake-out dune top brought me some shivers, while the sun was still not warming up the earth. It did not however blew over the hoped for large numbers of migrating birds. I did see at least some migrating birds, like just a few Barn Swallows, House Martins, Blue-headed and White Wagtails. A group of several tens of Little Gulls gave me a nice distraction at the seaside of the counting station.
After half an hour I decided to continue walking my round back to the car. I hoped that this would bring me more species to the list, knowing that possibly migration would start within an hour after me leaving the counting station. Birds are unpredictable…but that’s why I like them so much. I had some nice views of bush loving birds like Nightingale, Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Common Redstart and Stonechat. I made my round and entered back into the forest. I kept my eyes and ears open for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Just a few weeks ago I found two very vocal pairs of this localized species in the western part of the country. As they were probably breeding by now, they remained silence unfortunately. I did find Hawfinch, another scarce breeder in the west, which seems to have found its home at the same area as the miniature woodpeckers did. A rather unexpected sighting was that of a Redwing, seemingly left by its many Scandinavian friends by now.
While walking back to my car I added some leftovers like Willow Tit and Goshawk. The one and a half hour of birding made me hungry, so I drove to the supermarket to by some croissants and had breakfast with my sweet little family. After breakfast, my lady had to do some home based office work, so I decided to give her some space and took out our 18 months old son to go out on a buggy cruise, something he is very fond of lately. After two minutes of driving, my little cub passed out, proving that he wasn’t the only one that got out of bed too soon this morning. I changed my plan into making a bulb field tour to extend my birdlist by checking out some rural species. The small polder roads were crowded with tourists, who wanted to make that unique picture of themselves and their beloved ones, posing in front of the many colors of Dutch flowers stretching out on the characteristic Noordwijkerhout spring landscape.
It was great fun to look at all those flower worshipping foreigners that were acting like blind mammal cubs, creeping and squeaking on the roads and in between the tulips, ignoring every traffic rule. I almost forgot to look for birds! This was probably the reason why I missed out on Grey Partridge, a typical but quite rare ground dwelling species in these polders. The rolled down car window at the duneforest edge while driving by, produced a few good species for the list: the maniacal laughter of two different territories of Little Grebe, accompanied by a restlessly flying around Woodcock (which will utter its highly mysterious display song here when night falls).
As my kid woke up again, I went home to get to my next meal. While enjoying a sunny lunch with my family at my mother in laws garden, one of the last remaining wintering Fieldfares paused migration in the nearby trees, calling like a heavily photographing old fashioned camera, before flying further up north. Goodbye cold Dutch winter and welcome sunny spring!
1.Great Crested Grebe
21.Lesser Black-backed Gull
29.Greater Spotted Woodpecker