Full Day tour Noord-Holland looking for waterfowl
On November 25th at 8 AM sharp I (Arjan Dwarshuis) picked up South-African birder Michael and his wife Chibby from their hotel in Amstelveen. Despite the heavy fog, that would undoubtedly make birding difficult at times, spirits were high!
After a 20 minute drive we arrived at our first birding site, Polder IJdoorn to try for Bearded Reedling - Europe’s only monotypic bird family. Luckily these smart-looking parrotbill-like birds behaved like clockwork and put on a lovely show. Another nice addition to the list was a Cetti’s Warbler, which even allowed for a brief view.
We headed north, while enjoying huge flocks of Barnacle and Great White-fronted Geese that flew overhead. At the Gouwzee we scored quite well, despite the heavy fog: Red-crested Pochards, Common Mergansers, Smews and Greater Scaups where all noted among large rafts of Coots, Tufted Ducks and Common Pochards. Other nice additions where Water Pipit and Fieldfare.
From here we drove all the way to Den Oever. Visibility was sometimes down to just 50 meters so we were struggling to find any birds. The Long-tailed Ducks at Den Oever harbour where not home, but luckily a male Red-breasted Merganser gave an appearance.
We made a short hike to the mudflats which produced some unexpected birds, like a lone Avocet and a flock of about 50 Black-tailed Godwits, among large flocks of Pintails and Common Shellducks. We also obtained fantastic views of Rock Pipit.
It was already 2 PM when we headed to Wieringen. And then the magic happened. First we found an obligating trio of Whooper Swans. Next up was a huge mixed flock of Brants and Barnacle Geese and just as we were about to leave I found a beautiful adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE, Michael’s most wanted bird. And it couldn’t have happened at a better moment because moments later the whole countryside was covered again in a thick blanket of fog.
We finished this wonderful day in style, with a beautiful roosting Long-eared Owl.