20180210 Oostvaardersplassen birding tour

As I drive to Arnhem to pick up Max and Liz, who are on a European tour (UK, Netherlands and Germany) to see historical sights of WWII and also wanted to do some birding, it’s very misty. This creates a wonderful atmosphere with the old buck trees and mist while I pass the National Parc Hoge Veluwe.

We meet in front of the hotel before we head to the Oostvaardersplassen as they wanted to see a variety of wintering birds. Luckily it’s getting clearer and by the time we arrive on the first spot we have a good view on the large number of diving ducks.

From the dike we scan the water with the telescope and the binoculars I brought with me for them. Hundreds of Tufted Ducks, Common Pochards and Coots are right in front of us. Within these flocks we see some Gadwall, Mallard and Northern Shoveler.

At the next site we see a nice flock of Common Goldeneyes together with some female (types) Smew. A Little Grebe is hunting in the shallow water while the Great-crested Grebes (in summer plumage) are tackling the deeper water.

From the car we check the fields where we find a wintering mixed flock of Northern Lapwings and Golden Plovers. A group of Fieldfares looks for worms close to the reedbed where a pair of Stonechats keep an eye out on any other insects.

We planned to walk to a hide but some Beavers have been very active and the path to the hide is flooded by the dam they’ve build. We have to do it with sightings of a Jay, Great and Blue Tits and impressive woodworks of the Beavers.

There is a special area created for wintering birds of prey (actually it’s a vole’s paradise where these birds prey on) Here we see many Grey Herons, Great Egrets, Common Buzzards, some Kestrels and the target two female Hen Harriers. Sadly we can’t find the Rough-legged Buzzard. In the fields we also see a mixed geese flock with Greylag, Barnacle, Greater White-fronted, some Egyptian Geese and near them a dozen Roe Deer.

We make a toilet stop at the visitors center and from here take a walk into the national parc Oostvaardersplassen. In the willows we see a pair of Willow Tits, a flock of Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits and on the ground a Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock and many Blackbirds are foraging. We continue our way and in the open area we see the large number of Red Deer and a large flock of Chaffinches. After 10 minutes of waiting we finally get a glimpse of the Bearded Tits but they keep low.

We check some more lakes and see a flock of 20 hunting Smews with some of the arty drakes. While we had a whole afternoon ahead of us Max suddenly asks me if I can drop them of at the train station as it turns out the have to be back at a sudden time in Arnhem. Even when I try to convince them to visit the Long-eared Owl roost which I had in mind as a icing on the cake at the end of the tour they still want to get the train. They are already very happy with all that they’ve seen and want to come back again to see more in the near future.

After we’ve said goodbye at the train station I go to the sites I had in mind to show them and also do some recon of sites for future tours. In these hours I see three White-tailed Eagles (two of them in an air combat), a Caspian Gull, Water Pipit and a large flock of Dunlin and Eurasian Teal. At one of the recon sites I get relative close to some Smew and Goosander and as I drive home along the IJsselmeerdijk I see more Smew, two Red-breasted Merganser and a pair of Marsh Harriers.

Still we record 70 species of birds. Eight species I see at the planned afternoon locations*, the Long-eared Owl roost not included.

UK NL Latin
Little Grebe Dodaars Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great Crested Grebe Fuut Podiceps cristatus
Great Cormorant Aalscholver Phalacrocorax carbo
Grey Heron Blauwe Reiger Ardea cinerea
Great Egret Grote Zilverreiger Ardea alba
Mute Swan Knobbelzwaan Cygnus olor
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
Wigeon Smient Anas penelope
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
Goldeneye Brilduiker Bucephala clangula
Smew Nonnetje Mergellus albellus
Red-breasted Merganser* Middelste Zaagbek Mergus serrator
Goosander Grote Zaagbek Mergus merganser
White-tailed Eagle* Zeearend Haliaeetus albicilla
Marsh-Harrier* Bruine Kiekendief Circus aeruginosus
Hen Harrier Blauwe Kiekendief Circus cyaneus
Sparrowhawk Sperwer Accipiter nisus
Buzzard Buizerd Buteo buteo
Kestrel Torenvalk Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon Slechtvalk Falco peregrinus
Water Rail Waterral Rallus aquaticus
Moorhen Waterhoen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Meerkoet Fulica atra
Oystercatcher Scholekster Haematopus ostralegus
Lapwing Kievit Vanellus vanellus
Golden-Plover Goudplevier Pluvialis apricaria
Snipe Watersnip Gallinago gallinago
Dunlin* Bonte Strandloper Calidris alpina
Common Gull Stormmeeuw Larus canus
Great Black-backed Gull Grote Mantelmeeuw Larus marinus
Herring Gull Zilvermeeuw Larus argentatus
Caspian Gull* Pontische Meeuw Larus cachinans
Lesser Black-backed Gull* Kleine Mantelmeeuw Larus graellsii
Black-headed Gull Kokmeeuw Larus ridibundus
Stock Pigeon Holenduif Columba oenas
Wood-Pigeon Houtduif Columba palumbus
Collared-Dove Turkse Tortel Streptopelia decaocto
Greater Spotted Woodpecker Grote Bonte Specht Dendrocopos major
White Wagtail Witte Kwikstaart Motacilla alba
Meadow Pipit Graspieper Anthus pratensis
Water Pipit* Waterpieper Anthus spinoletta
Wren Winterkoning Troglodytes troglodytes
Dunnock Heggemus Prunella modularis
Blackbird Merel Turdus merula
Fieldfare Kramsvogel Turdus pilaris
Song Thrush Zanglijster Turdus philomelos
Robin Roodborst Erithacus rubecula
Stonechat Roodborsttapuit Saxicola rubicola
Bearded Tit Baardman Panurus biarmicus
Long-tailed Tit Staartmees Aegithalos caudatus
Marsh Tit Matkop Poecile palustris
Great Tit Koolmees Parus major
Blue Tit Pimpelmees Cyanistes caeruleus
Nuthatch Boomklever Sitta europaea
Treecreeper Boomkruiper Certhia familiaris
Jay Gaai Garrulus glandarius
Magpie Ekster Pica pica
Jackdaw Kauw Corvus monedula
Carrion Crow Zwarte Kraai Corvus corone
Raven* Raaf Corvus corax
Starling Spreeuw Sturnus vulgaris
House Sparrow Huismus Passer domesticus
Chaffinch Vink Fringilla coelebs
Brambling Keep Fringilla montifringilla
Greenfinch Groenling Carduelis chloris
Siskin Sijs Carduelis spinus
Goldfinch Putter Carduelis carduelis
Reed Bunting Rietgors Emberiza schoeniclus

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