Friday 13 June 2008

Dutch birding again.

After our trip to the eastern and northern areas of Holland we returned to the old favourite of Vogelplas Starrevaart just on the outskirts of the university town of Leiden, with the sunshine out and the students there was lots to look at!!! we had once again stopped illegally overnight in the car park at the reserve, we knew we were chancing our arm as there is a no "camping" by law, strictly enforced by the locals, who report your number plate to the local police, as we found out!! and you can not exactly hide a blooming great motor home round a corner?

As with other mornings it was up at first light, not that we could have slept in with the Garden warbler bursting forth from the tree next to us. And very obliging he was to.

Where once upon a time it was difficult to see Great white egret in Holland it was, at least on this trip becoming common place to see them going over, in keeping with many reserve around Holland the water levels were being kept unusually high to reduce the impact of Algal bloom and this was impacting on the Wader sightings, with only 650 Black tailed godwit on the water!! Only!
of course there were the usual Avocets breeding and Black necked grebes, which kept their heads down, with only one sighting as it scuttled back into the reeds. There were of course Redshank and the spotted variety along with Sandpipers common and Spotted with the odd Wood sandpiper and Marsh Sandpiper around, and oddly enough none of them paid any heed to the Marsh harriers at all but let a Buzzard appear and they were up as with the Peregrine and Sparrowhawks of course.

They seemed more bemused by this Ketsrel as it eat its breakfast on a newly installed bus thingymajig at the Dunes near to Waasenaar, were we went for our lunch at the pancake house in the woods, in fact sitting outside listening to a Golden oriole as we eat was very good, and the local Crested tits were performing well.
Odd! you get stringy bits in Beef as well as Vole!!!
Tree pipits were also, or at least seemed to be all over the place singing from any perch that did not have a Nightingale or Wood lark on.

but this one was a bit of a poser and did not budge even when a bunch of grannies on racing bikes cackling like old hens bounced and jiggled their way along.
The extent of cycle paths around and through the reserve is extensive and if you want to go, do it as it is probably the best way to go birding and the assistance you get from people wanting to show the latest rare! Yellowhammer, yes not to common, is brilliant.
Another poser, they just do not move away. We had found it hard to clock a Stork during the first 4 days but we were not watching the motorway lamps, we were looking in the fields, stupid us, everyone knows they nest on the lights or at least this one and his mate were trying and had all ready dropped several large sticks on to the traffic below before they gave up and wandered of.

the ability to access these sites without the very British "Permit required" was and has been for a long time fantastic and many of our sites could learn a thing or two I am sure! mind you you do have to contend with Burgers on the hoof at a lot of them, this one was very interested in what I was doing on my knees , with horns like that you don't stay on your knees to long.
The knowledge of their wildlife and the environ is more pronounced in Holland than anywhere else I have been to around the world, except perhaps Belize where they are interested so they can eat it? you think the Cantonese are bad!!!
and finally a Banded demoiselle you would be right in thinking that Holland has an abundance in Odonata et al, in fact things we used to see regularly years ago are still, at least here, flourish.

there it is all up to date with whats going on here anyway, and if you decide to do some Dutch birding watch out for those damn Drempels they ruin your suspension if you don't see them coming, Ouch!
thanks for looking

Thursday 5 June 2008

Hoge Veluwe and Harriers!

Friday morning saw me walking around the Staarravarte in the province of Zuid Nederland watching Marsh Harriers and Bluethroats performing over the expansive reed beds, a Bearded reedling carrying food whizzed past and dropped into the patch I was watching not to be seen again.
The weather front moved through really quickly and the sun shone for the whole weekend
and the birds performed, as this Gadwall did, no fear, not like the visitors to this shore.
With the Sun out it was up top to dry out and warm up a bit. As did the Reed Warbler below.
Even the Black tailed Godwits took part in the early morning sun, the fields were full of them calling and feeding young .

The Harriers were also feeding their first brood, their movements were constant through out the day passing close in to the bank, as they quartered the reed beds.

One of the more endearing species here is the Bluethroat, these were also feeding their first broods and making countless moves around the surrounding areas, this one was one of the more showing birds there, singing and preening out in the open.
The terns at oostervaardenplassen were well showy and still pair bonding as this picture shows
again Marsh harriers around the fringes and at about a Kilometer was a magnificent "Flying Door" White tailed sea eagle which dwarfed the harriers and crows as they mobbed it.
A cycle ride around the Hoge-Veluwe produce Red and Roe deer and two magnificent Boars but at a distance that now pictures were taken. But to me a much more special sighting was the one that follows, this Sundew was set for breakfast for the next week at least!

By no way have I done all the sorting so drop back from time to time to see additions.
Thanks for looking