20180422 Spring Bird Photography Tour for 4 days

Sunday 22/4/2018
It's early in the morning as I (Menno van Duijn) drive into the center of Amsterdam and after some roadblock I reach Daniel´s hotel. Not only are the Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls active but I get confirmed why I don't like being in a city: frustrated Taxi drivers and grumpy people.

Luckily we arrive at a parking lot after a half hour and are welcomed by displaying Black-tailed Godwits, singing Savi’s Warblers and a male Ruff lands near the car as we step out, too bad that it vanished when Daniel got his camera and lens out of the car.

While the sun it getting over the horizon we walk into the wetland. Thousands of Barnacle Geese are still present and the Greylag Geese are walking around with their first hatchlings. Black-tailed Godwits, Northern Lapwings and Common Redshanks are displaying in the air and a mix of Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser Black-backed and some Mediterranean Gulls forage in the meadows.

From the reed we hear and see Sedge and Savi’s Warblers and in the distance a Bluethroat. Suddenly a Great Bitterns flies out of the reed! Northern Shovelers are chasing females on the lake where a flock of Avocets are standing in the water for a moment before an adult Greater Black-backed Gull scares them off.

We drive around the fields to photograph the Common Redshanks, Eurasian Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwits, Meadow Pipits and a Common Tern let us take a set of photos while displaying for his partner that flew by.

Daniel’s wife wanted to see the Zaanse Schans so I park the car within all the touring cars and wait for them. After that we head to Den Oever and a hour later we are sitting on the dike in the sun overlooking the Wadden Sea were the waders are roosting at the high tide.

Yellow Wagtails drop on the grass next to the grazing sheep to catch some insects before the continue their migration while suddenly I hear a “sparrow-like” call and see a larger pipit flying by with sand coloured underparts with no striping, a Tawny Pipit flies by with some Meadow Pipits!

The flock of waders in front of us, still a bit far out for any photos, is a mix of summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlins, Red Knots, Ringed Plovers, many Common Redshanks with a couple of Spotted Redshanks and Avocets. In the background we see small flock of Little Gulls on migration.

The sky is full of Barn Swallows, Common Swifts and House Martins that suddenly are scared by a passing Hobby. As we have lunch on the dike we see more raptors passing by like Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier and a Black Kite!

We head westwards and take the touristic route to check some sites. It’s a warm sunny day so there are a lot of cyclist why we only are lucky to have a pair of Grey Partridges next to the carr, all other birds are far out in the fields.

At another bird observatory point we have a large flock of Eurasian Oystercatchers and Common Redshanks right in front of us who are joined by a Northern Lapwing and a Yellow Wagtail drops by. A (distant) Northern Pintail is a lifer that was on his wish list. On the North Sea dike we find Ruddy Turnstones and a couple of Purple Sandpipers foraging on the blocks which we can approach within a few meters. Over the calm sea a couple of Eider, Great Cormorants and Sandwich Terns fly by and a Common Seal pops up his head.

We slowly head south passing the colourful flower fields and stop at a birding spot for a Marsh Sandpiper in summer plumage with the setting sun in our backs. A stunning male Pied Wagtail is hunting insect together with White and Yellow Wagtails. On the water Northern Shovelers are spinning around to stir up the mud from the bottom and Eurasian Teal are dabbling in the shallows.

Monday 23/4/2018
Today we head to the southwest of the Netherlands which is good for coastal birds. We arrive at the Brouwersdam were it’s cold and windy (like most of the time). It’s high tide and we drive slowly along the edge. We find a Whimbrel in a flock of Eurasian Oystercatchers and later a group of 50 Sanderlings, some almost in summer plumage.

All the wintering grebes, sea ducks and divers seem to have left their wintering areas as we can’t find any.

At the Prunjepolder we park the car where a Common and Lesser Whitethroat are singing. A group of Ruff (starting to get their summer plumage) fly off when a Common Buzzard flies straight over our heads.

On the lee side of the dike we get some views of Northern Wheatears, Linnets and Goldfinches.There’s a flock of Bar-tailed Godwits and Grey Plovers far out, the tide is getting our so we decide to wait for them to head out to the mudflats. We have a coffee and some biscuits and precisely when we finished this we flock takes off (because of a male Marsh Harrier) flying by at the exact line we hoped for.

Later we also spot a hunting Marsh Harrier and after we quickly turned the car we are able to follow it for a while as he’s flying parallel to the car. Daniel gets some great shots of this bird!

In the afternoon we visit a colony of Eurasian Spoonbills but the wind is not from the right corner so their not flying in as we hoped for. Still we get some shots especially from the Great Cormorants carrying nesting material.

Our last stop is at a forest close to the B&B were they are staying where a Wood Warbler has been reported and is showing well. We hear the bird calling actively when we arrive and after a couple of minutes it comes down from the treetops to forage in the sprouting leaves of some smaller trees. We get some nice views and photos in the last light of the day and get some other shots of Blue Tits and a Robin. The following day they visit the Keukenhof and are in the hands of Joost for the following two guided days of their stay

Wednesday 25/4/2018

The weather had changed to more typical Dutch weather. Grey, windy and cold. This is something completely different then the 30+ sunny weather they are used in Singapore.

Because of this we started in the more sheltered pine forest in the dunes close to The Hague. The fresh arrived summer migrant aren’t bothered by this as they are singing out loud. Species like Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Nightingale, Common Redstart and Wood Lark clearly had one thing in their mind, sing!

We tried to get views of a speciality here the Crested Tit but we failed to get some views, the bird kept calling high from the pines tops. Other tits like Great-, Blue-, Willow- and Long-tailed Tit were more easy to see.

Next stop was another forest were the birds are used to people walking around and therefore less shy. Here we found nesting Stock Doves that are using the old nest of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, as do the Ring-necked Parakeets and Nuthatches that adapt the entrance by adding clay. We also found a nest of this woodpecker itself.

After dinner we drove around in the fields hoping for Yellow Wagtails on the tulips but for that it was to windy. Instead we got Skylarks, Northern Wheatears and another Whimbrel.

Thursday 26/4/2018
The rain had moved on but the wind was still blowing fiercely. Not ideal when you’re planning to photograph marsh songbirds in the reed. Either way we tried our best because the light was just perfect.

The Reed-, Savi’s- and Sedge Warblers kept on singing only stayed low and more hidden in the reed. At calm days the often climb up to sit at the top. Even the Bluethroats kept low and didn’t perform any display flights.

So it was up to the larger birds. We did get lucky with a male Ruff in summer plumage, a Black Tern and Greater Scaup some more Northern Pintails and Eurasian Wigeons.

At the end of the day Joost brought them to their hotel in Amsterdam so they could be ready and prepared for the greaters and crazies dutch event, Kings Day!

UK 125 species 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
Little Egret Kleine Zilverreiger Egretta garzetta
Great Bittern Roerdomp Botaurus stellaris
White Stork Ooievaar Ciconia ciconia
Spoonbill Lepelaar Platalea leucorodia
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
Dark-bellied Brent Rotgans Branta bernicla
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
Scaup Topper Aythya marila
Eider Eider Somateria mollissima
Black Kite Zwarte Wouw Milvus migrans
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
Grey Partridge Patrijs Perdix perdix
Water Rail Waterral Rallus aquaticus
Moorhen Waterhoen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Meerkoet Fulica atra
Oystercatcher Scholekster Haematopus ostralegus
Avocet Kluut Recurvirostra avosetta
Lapwing Kievit Vanellus vanellus
Grey Plover Zilverplevier Pluvialis squatarola
Ringed Plover Bontbekplevier Charadrius hiaticula
Little Ringed Plover Kleine Plevier Charadrius dubius
Black-tailed Godwit Grutto Limosa limosa
Bar-tailed Godwit Rosse Grutto Limosa lapponica
Whimbrel Regenwulp Numenius phaeopus
Curlew Wulp Numenius arquata
Spotted Redshank Zwarte Ruiter Tringa erythropus
Redshank Tureluur Tringa totanus
Marsh Sandpiper Poelruiter Tringa stagnatilis
Greenshank Groenpootruiter Tringa nebularia
Wood Sandpiper Bosruiter Tringa glareola
Ruddy Turnstone Steenloper Arenaria interpres
Red Knot Kanoet Calidris canutus
Sanderling Drieteenstrandloper Calidris alba
Little Stint Kleine Strandloper Calidris minuta
Dunlin Bonte Strandloper Calidris alpina
Purple Sandpiper Paarse Strandloper Calidris maritima
Ruff Kemphaan Philomachus pugnax
Common Gull Stormmeeuw Larus canus
Great Black-backed Gull Grote Mantelmeeuw Larus marinus
Herring Gull Zilvermeeuw Larus argentatus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Kleine Mantelmeeuw Larus graellsii
Black-headed Gull Kokmeeuw Larus ridibundus
Mediterranean Gull Zwartkopmeeuw Larus melanocephalus
Little Gull Dwergmeeuw Larus minutus
Sandwich Tern Grote Stern Sterna sandvicensis
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
Common Swift Gierzwaluw Apus apus
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Kleine Bonte Specht Dendrocopos minor
Greater Spotted Woodpecker Grote Bonte Specht Dendrocopos major
Green Woodpecker Groene Specht Picus viridis
Wood Lark Boomleeuwerik Lullula arborea
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
Pied Wagtail Rouwkwikstaart Motacilla yarrellii
Yellow Wagtail Gele Kwikstaart Motacilla flava
Tawny Pipit Duinpieper Anthus campestris
Tree Pipit Boompieper Anthus trivialis
Meadow Pipit Graspieper Anthus pratensis
Wren Winterkoning Troglodytes troglodytes
Dunnock Heggemus Prunella modularis
Blackbird Merel Turdus merula
Song Thrush Zanglijster Turdus philomelos
Mistle Thrush Grote Lijster Turdus viscivorus
Cetti's Warbler Cetti's Zanger Cettia cetti
Savi's Warbler Snor Locustella luscinioides
Sedge Warbler Rietzanger Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Reed-Warbler Kleine Karekiet Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Willow Warbler Fitis Phylloscopus trochilus
Chiffchaff Tjiftjaf Phylloscopus collybita
Wood Warbler Fluiter Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Blackcap Zwartkop Sylvia atricapilla
Whitethroat Grasmus Sylvia communis
Lesser Whitethroat Braamsluiper Sylvia curruca
Robin Roodborst Erithacus rubecula
Nightingale Nachtegaal Luscinia megarhynchos
Bluethroat Blauwborst Luscinia cyanecula
Stonechat Roodborsttapuit Saxicola rubicola
Northern Wheatear Tapuit Oenanthe oenanthe
Long-tailed Tit Staartmees Aegithalos caudatus
Willow Tit Glanskop Poecile montana
Crested Tit Kuifmees Lophophanes cristatus
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
Starling Spreeuw Sturnus vulgaris
House Sparrow Huismus Passer domesticus
Chaffinch Vink Fringilla coelebs
Greenfinch Groenling Carduelis chloris
Goldfinch Putter Carduelis carduelis
Linnet Kneu Carduelis cannabina
Reed Bunting Rietgors Emberiza schoeniclus

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