Category Archives: Birding in Holland
Yesterday I flew back from Brazil to Amsterdam. As the plane was approaching the airport, I could see the amazing colored flower fields we have at the moment. A tourist attraction that brings many to the Netherlands. This morning I wanted to go out for some minutes, so went and had a look. This Blue-headed Wagtail (Gele Kwikstaart) stood out between the red flowers, and flew up every now and then to catch an insect. Fun to watch and frame !
The last days have been pretty hectic, and it was hard to find time for going out. Since everyone needs some fresh air, I managed to get away every now and then – but had to stay close to home. Meaning spending some time in the woods around here, and visiting the dunes close to Den Haag. Luckily I was able to improve on the Nuthatch (Boomklever) shot, albeit in an uncommon pose: standing up instead of glued upside-down to a tree trunk . Also I saw quite some Stock Doves (Holenduif), that are not that bad when you spend some time appreciating their color pattern… And I heard many Common Chiffchaffs (Tjiftjaf) singing their distinctive song.
Two weeks ago we spent a weekend with friends in a cottage in the woods. I brought the camera, hoping to frame some birds. I did, but every time missed out on the Nuthatch (Boomklever), because it was either too quick, or I was too late. Probably both at the same time . Anyway, this week I found one that I could photograph, as well as some Woodpeckers (male and female) (Grote Bonte Specht). And this morning I also could frame my first Blackcaps (Zwartkop) of the season. Not a bad result, although I am still working on the perfect Nuthatch shot :~( .
Last week I spent much time among plovers and stilts, in open areas. This weekend however I found myself mostly in forested areas, one close by and another in eastern part of Holland. As one can expect, this made for different birds: more tits, woodpeckers and the like ! Who knows what is next ? I hope for Cranes (Kraanvogels) in Sweden …
Finally over the last days there has been some activity in the area. Even though it still feels like winter, more and more birds are becoming active – building nests, mating and well, just being there. Yesterday I spent some time in the fields again, and saw many different birds. The biggest surprise was probably a Brown Hare (Haas) running after some Common Snipes (Watersnip). The latter were abundant, but hiding most of the time, only by the end of the day they showed themselves. Without a camouflaged shelter however, they can not really be approached – alert as they are by nature. While lying motionless in a wet field, a White Wagtail was hopping around me, however most of the time too close to focus :~( …..
Even though the temperatures at night are still well below zero and Easter will be colder than X-mas this year, the birds decided they start preparing for spring. The Magpies (Ekster) behind our house are busy building their nest – sometimes carrying the craziest branches to their nest… Two White Storks (Ooievaars) are collecting nesting material in front of our house every morning. Other birds, like the Black-tailed Godwits (Grutto) seem to have stopped for some feeding days, whereas the Little Ringed Plovers (Kleine Plevier) probably already look for breeding grounds. All in all birdlife seems to finally get into motion .. By the way – as I am writing this blog, snow is falling again… Spring ?!
Although I bought an angle-viewfinder a while ago, I usually forget that I own one. This more often than not leads to me lying flat on the ground, with my neck bent in a very unpleasant way. Both yesterday and today I found myself in this situation. Neck bent, camera lifted with one arm in front of me, crouching along a river bank or in a muddy field. People that see me walking home afterwards, will probably see me a homeless person, carrying a very big camera.. errr… . Anyway, I got some low-angle shots to add to my collection, among them this greedy Grebe with a freshly caught fish. And that was worth the sore neck
Due to the cold temperatures in this part of Europe, most passerines haven’t arrived yet – and those that did probably went back where they came from …. With not much time on my hands I ventured out several times, staying close to my home. So that’s when you end up with …. ducks.. To my surprise, this morning I found seven Garganeys (Zomertaling). They were – as usual with this species – very shy, but I could make some distant shots. Usually they arrive when summer’s coming, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for that !
At the moment I have a rather busy schedule, so not much time to spend on photo projects. However, when I can, I quickly venture out for some birding in the area – or to see some ‘specials’. Earlier this week I did my yearly check on a Tawny Owl (Bosuil) and yesterday I hurried towards a place where the rare Falcated Duck (Bronskopeend) had been sighted. Originally from East-Asia, this could very well be an escape. However since nothing really indicates so, me and many other birders hope that it will prove to be a vagrant visitor ! This morning I paid a quick visit to the harbor, to check upon the Kestrels’s Place (Torenvalk Nestkast), that Wim van Yperen has had installed as a replacement for the previous and recently destroyed nest this couple used. Both male and female were present – as was Wim. Click on this link to see more about this project. Last but not least a stop at another rare visitor: Glaucous Gull (Grote Burgemeester) that has been hanging around here for some weeks now. And now ? Back to work .
Opening the curtains this morning revealed a sunny day, with a tiny amount of fresh snow on the fields – an ideal day to start with a drive around the farm fields. Soon enough I spotted some Hares (Haas), but they were not in an amorous mood, so I made some okay shots, but – alas – no chance of framing them while ‘boxing’. When the sun disappeared I decided to head for home, but suddenly there was rather heavy snowfall. Opting what to do, I decided to quickly check upon some Grebes (Fuut) that I had seen beside the road. Lying on the snowy ground, I – for the first time – was able to frame them with snow on their backs instead of little chicks . After work (the sun was shining again), I made a short tour again, and had short opportunities with (among other species) a Smew (Nonnetje), Common Buzzard (Buizerd) and after teaming up with Fred, I saw my first Stonechat (Roodborsttapuit) of the season. All in all an interesting day .