20190325 Geese Special

Two day guided birding tour with focus on Geese
Guide: Menno van Duijn
Date: 25 and 30 March 2019

I’ve never met one person before who’s more in love with Brent as David. After we organised the tour in 2017 David returned to see his beloved Brent and hope to find his satellite-tagged birds.

David and Sherry arrived at Schiphol after just an one hour flight from London. We stopped at one of the many canals in Amsterdam to see the Iceland Gull which landed on the rooftops 15 minutes after we arrived. This almost white bird was joined by a 2nd winter Caspian Gull. We also got our first ringed goose, an Egyptian Goose got a taste for the Dutch biscuits (Stroopwafels) :)

We headed north to the Noord Holland province and had a coffee at Den Oever with Chiffchaffs singing in the background and the harbour full with Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes (no more Smew here).

At the Dijkgatsweide we got some great views of Water Pipits, a Peregrine chasing Common Buzzards, Avocets and (Icelandic)Black-tailed Godwits. We heard several Bearded Reedlings but due to the wind they kept hidden in the reed.

We went to the Dijkwielen along the IJsselmeer coast and found the Lesser Scaup in the large flock of Tufted Ducks and Greater Scaups.

Brent were the main target so we headed to the site we got some good readings in the past. The Brent were in exactly the same field and we found some birds with rings. In the flock of 800 Dark-bellied Brent we also find a Black- and White-bellied Brent.

We had very nice weather with clear skies, 10+ degrees and a mild wind. This triggered some Small Tortoiseshells into action to find a mate. In the same field a female Kestrel tried to catch some voles and was easy to approach for a photo.

After an hour we headed to Harlingen, along the 30 kilometer long dike that closes the Wadden Sea and IJsselmeer we saw Goosander and Goldeneyes from the car, from where David and Sherry took the ferry to Harlingen.


A week later I meet the happy couple again at Harlingen sitting in the sun with a fresh arrived Black Redstart singing on the top of the building.

We go the the Workumerwaard and hope to find the Red-breasted Goose which is a challenge to find in the 30.000 Barnacle Geese. We do find some rings but can’t find the needle in this haystag.

Still we get wonderful views of flock of Ruff next to the car (up to 50 birds, all males). Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage and occasionally a group of Golden Plovers fly overhead.

At the look-out point we get hear Bearded Reedlings calling from the reed and briefly see them flying. The first Barn Swallows and Sand Martins of the season fly by. And a wonderful Great Egret in his breeding plumage (black bill and green lores) stands in the field.

We have to be back in time at Schiphol so we head off towards Amsterdam.

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