Bird Photography Tour at Nieuwkoopse Plassen and north of Amsterdam, Saturday 13 May 2017

Guide: Menno van Duijn

Male Marsh Harrier patrols over his territory just after a Red Kite passed by.

Ramesh and I meet in the lobby of the Tulipp In hotel at Schiphol at 07:00. From here it's a 20 minute drive to the Nieuwkoopse Plassen. On the way we stop to photograph Great-crested Grebes with young on their back. This was one picture Ramesh hoped for so the day couldn't have started any better for him.

The next stop at the reserve, a Common Whitethroat is singing at the car park, in the distance we hear a Icterine Warbler while a Sparrowhawk flies overhead.

In the wind-free corner Avocets are foraging with some Black-tailed Godwits, Wood- and Common Sandpipers. A Savi's Warbler starts his rattling song while Common Swifts, Barn Swallows, House and Sand Martins feed on the erupting insects. From every stretch of reed we hear and see Sedge- and Reed Warblers.

The hatching midges attract many birds including a flock of 75 Black Terns in their summer plumage. On a track around this lake a Northern Lapwing chick finds it a good idea to forage next to the track, oblivious to his screaming mother that tries to scare off any person walking past.

The typical Dutch weather throws a heavy shower over us which we just have to endure. The good thing about this is that as soon as it dries it triggers songbirds to become active. A beautiful singing male Bluethroat perches perfect on a old broadleaf cattail. Only when I see the picture on the large screen I notice the spiderweb completing the picture! Left of this male Bluethroat a Grasshopper Warbler climbs up and starts singing and on the right side a Savi’s Warbler does the same, it couldn’t be better morning (minus the rain shower).

After a coffee break with some biscuits we head to Amsterdam. A pair of Common Terns make us pull over on the side of the road. A intruding male tries to seduce the female with a fish. Every time he wants to offer this to her, she lands on a pole next to the road where we are standing. As soon as she does the “married” male tries to land on her balancing, holding off the other male and then flying off again.

Just after 12:00 we arrive at Durgerdam where we first have lunch. In the old restaurant we enjoy a home-made burger and fries, with mayonnaise of course while looking out over the bay where a dozen of Great-crested Grebes are chasing and fighting. We drive over the small roads looking for the breeding Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings and Redshanks.

We also stop over at a reedbed where Marsh Harriers breed. Quickly we see a raptor flying towards us but only as we point our lenses to it, it turns our to be a Red Kite (scarce in the Netherlands)! It flies by perfectly being mobbed by the local breeding waders. A minute later both the male and female Marsh Harrier arrive and land in the reedbed where they are nesting.

We succeed in finding the Black-tailed Godwits standing on their lookouts poles while the young forage in the higher grass. Even better is that four recently hatched Common Redshanks are running through the grass catching insects allowing us to take pictures of both the chicks and the parents out of the car. Let's hope the farmer waits two more week before cutting the grass down.

Around 16:00 it starts to rain again and we head back to Schiphol. In total we’ve seen 101 species of birds while the focus was on photography. We only visited marshland, meadows and sub-urban habitat. The weathers changed constantly from rain to sun from 6 to 16 degrees and from no wind in the morning to 4 bft in the afternoon.

UK NL Latin
Great Crested Grebe Fuut Podiceps cristatus
Great Cormorant Aalscholver Phalacrocorax carbo
Grey Heron Blauwe Reiger Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron Purperreiger Ardea purpurea
Great Egret Grote Zilverreiger Ardea alba
Little Egret Kleine Zilverreiger Egretta garzetta
White Stork Ooievaar Ciconia ciconia
Spoonbill Lepelaar Platalea leucorodia
Mute Swan Knobbelzwaan Cygnus olor
Tundra Bean Goose Toendrarietgans Anser rossicus
White-fronted Goose Kolgans Anser albifrons
Greylag Goose Grauwe Gans Anser anser
Canada Goose Canadese Gans Branta canadensis
Barnacle Goose Brandgans Branta leucopsis
Shelduck Bergeend Tadorna tadorna
Gadwall Krakeend Anas strepera
Teal Wintertaling Anas crecca
Mallard Wilde Eend Anas platyrhynchos
Northern Pintail Pijlstaart Anas acuta
Shoveler Slobeend Anas clypeata
Common Pochard Tafeleend Aythya ferina
Tufted Duck Kuifeend Aythya fuligula
Red Kite Rode Wouw Milvus milvus
Marsh-Harrier Bruine Kiekendief Circus aeruginosus
Sparrowhawk Sperwer Accipiter nisus
Northern Goshawk Havik Accipiter gentilis
Buzzard Buizerd Buteo buteo
Kestrel Torenvalk Falco tinnunculus
Hobby Boomvalk Falco subbuteo
Moorhen Waterhoen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Meerkoet Fulica atra
Oystercatcher Scholekster Haematopus ostralegus
Avocet Kluut Recurvirostra avosetta
Lapwing Kievit Vanellus vanellus
Little Ringed Plover Kleine Plevier Charadrius dubius
Black-tailed Godwit Grutto Limosa limosa
Whimbrel Regenwulp Numenius phaeopus
Curlew Wulp Numenius arquata
Spotted Redshank Zwarte Ruiter Tringa erythropus
Redshank Tureluur Tringa totanus
Greenshank Groenpootruiter Tringa nebularia
Green Sandpiper Witgat Tringa ochropus
Wood Sandpiper Bosruiter Tringa glareola
Common Sandpiper Oeverloper Actitis hypoleucos
Dunlin Bonte Strandloper Calidris alpina
Ruff Kemphaan Philomachus pugnax
Common Gull Stormmeeuw Larus canus
Herring Gull Zilvermeeuw Larus argentatus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Kleine Mantelmeeuw Larus graellsii
Black-headed Gull Kokmeeuw Larus ridibundus
Mediterranean Gull Zwartkopmeeuw Larus melanocephalus
Common Tern Visdief Sterna hirundo
Black Tern Zwarte Stern Chlidonias niger
Stock Pigeon Holenduif Columba oenas
Wood-Pigeon Houtduif Columba palumbus
Collared-Dove Turkse Tortel Streptopelia decaocto
Cuckoo Koekoek Cuculus canorus
Swift Gierzwaluw Apus apus
Greater Spotted Woodpecker Grote Bonte Specht Dendrocopos major
Sky Lark Veldleeuwerik Alauda arvensis
Sand Martin Oeverzwaluw Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow Boerenzwaluw Hirundo rustica
House Martin Huiszwaluw Delichon urbica
White Wagtail Witte Kwikstaart Motacilla alba
Yellow Wagtail Gele Kwikstaart Motacilla flava
Meadow Pipit Graspieper Anthus pratensis
Wren Winterkoning Troglodytes troglodytes
Dunnock Heggemus Prunella modularis
Blackbird Merel Turdus merula
Song Thrush Zanglijster Turdus philomelos
Grasshopper Warbler Sprinkhaanzanger Locustella naevia
Savi's Warbler Snor Locustella luscinioides
Sedge Warbler Rietzanger Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Reed-Warbler Kleine Karekiet Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Icterine Warbler Spotvogel Hippolais icterina
Willow Warbler Fitis Phylloscopus trochilus
Chiffchaff Tjiftjaf Phylloscopus collybita
Blackcap Zwartkop Sylvia atricapilla
Garden Warbler Tuinfluiter Sylvia borin
Whitethroat Grasmus Sylvia communis
Lesser Whitethroat Braamsluiper Sylvia curruca
Spotted Flycatcher Grauwe Vliegenvanger Muscicapa striata
Robin Roodborst Erithacus rubecula
Nightingale Nachtegaal Luscinia megarhynchos
Bluethroat Blauwborst Luscinia cyanecula
Stonechat Roodborsttapuit Saxicola rubicola
Great Tit Koolmees Parus major
Blue Tit Pimpelmees Cyanistes caeruleus
Treecreeper Boomkruiper Certhia familiaris
Jay Gaai Garrulus glandarius
Magpie Ekster Pica pica
Jackdaw Kauw Corvus monedula
Carrion Crow Zwarte Kraai Corvus corone
Starling Spreeuw Sturnus vulgaris
House Sparrow Huismus Passer domesticus
Tree Sparrow Ringmus Passer montanus
Chaffinch Vink Fringilla coelebs
Greenfinch Groenling Carduelis chloris
Goldfinch Putter Carduelis carduelis
Linnet Kneu Carduelis cannabina
Reed Bunting Rietgors Emberiza schoeniclus