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Full day bird photography tour at the Oostvaardersplassen
Guide: Joost Bouwmeester
Date: 27th of July 2019
At 06:00 I (Joost) picked up Anna from Texas from Utrecht. The Oostvaardersplassen is not far away from Utrecht and this is where we headed for. Luckily the heat wave with up to 40 degrees celcius had passed and it cooled down to a more acceptable climate.
We had the idea that we were the only ones as we didn’t see a person in the first hour. At our first stop at the dike we saw many Great Crested Grebes that finished breeding. A Common Buzzard was stressing out because a Northern Goshawk was near the nest.
The mowed fields were full with Black-headed Gulls, Starlings, Stock Doves and the exposed mice were thankful snacks for a dozen Common Buzzards, Grey Herons and Great Egrets. Along the way we were surprised by a Little Egret present at the harbour.
Marsh Harriers where hunting over the reedbed and some Yellow Wagtails flew by. From the same reed we could hear the Bearded Reedlings. Other species we came across where Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Greater Spotted Woodpecker. We also heard Short-toed Treecreeper, Green Woodpecker and a Golden Oriole, we had some luck to see this beautiful bird flying over the path.
In the afternoon the sky was loaded with Barn Swallows, House and Sand Martins, Common Swift and a Hobby trying to catch one of the swallows. The highlight was a pair of White-tailed Eagles that showed well on the island and made a nice fly around over the lake which was full with moulting Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard and Tufted Ducks. On our way back to the car we also enjoyed the bounty of blackberries.
Because of the low water level the pools where full with waders: Spotted and Common Redshanks, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets and three Black-winged Stilts. Due to the heat the fish where boiled in the shallow water and the smell was intense but a feast for the birds.
We slowly walked on the track between the reed hoping to see Bearded Reedling, Reed- and Sedge Warbler and maybe a Bluethroat. Despite our efforts no luck with the 32 degrees it wasn’t easy.
We had lunch at the visitor center and took a walk from here. Three White-tailed Eagles had flown by and thousands of Godwits, Ruff, Avocets and ducks darkened the sky. Here we also had some Spoonbills in the telescope. Within the large flock of Greylag Goose we found a Ruddy Shelduck.
At our last stop at the west site of the reserve we added some more birds to our list: Raven, Green- and Common Sandpiper, Barnacle Goose, Oystercatcher and Anna’s favorite: Northern Lapwing.