Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Netherlands

Off to the Netherlands for James' wedding in Arnhem.

Got a late afternoon ferry to Calais then headed overland.

Somewhere in Belgium.

This was our fourth attempt at finding somewhere to stop for the night. The first place looked fine so we parked up, only to open the door to an overpowering smell of piss! We were at the next stop some 10 minutes when a refrigerated lorry pulled up beside us and decided to put his refrigeration unit on full blast. The third place only had a few cars, no lorries no smells. Great, finally we could get some sleep. But what was that bloke doing over there? He got out as if going for a fag but didnt actually light up, just hung around the bushes. Another bloke arrived and they both disappeared. Then a couple more blokes were spotted hanging about over the other side. After an old guy cruised by and gave me the eye I had seen enough! This was not the place for us!

Got to Arnhem early afternoon. Wedding went really well, great weather, lots of great birders etc etc.
You are spared the photos here. Too many to go through!

Next morning we were off again. Off to the Dutch Birdfair to help out on the Dutch Birding stand to  sell some Catching the Bug books.
Not such great weather but the two days went really well.

Followed the signs to the toilets and ended up in a field for Dalek storage.
Was really tempted to see what the Ladies looked like but thought better of it. Actually, hanging around here taking photos wasnt without its risks!

A must have book. Roughly translated - Who's Pooh? Bit of a theme developing here.

Decided to spend a few days having a look around. Armed with some local knowledge we headed north in the direction of Lauwersmeer on the north coast.

White Storks in a roadside field 

 Ezumakeeg, late afternoon. On this spit were Broad-billed Sand, Buff-breasted Sand and Temminck's Stints

No usable pics of Broad-billed, and a not really usable pic of Buff-breast

Got lucky with this Glossy Ibis which was preening way out in the middle, got flushed and came straight over our heads. See the bit of purple sheen on the tail.

Spoonbill in failing light

White-tailed Eagle paid a visit

One of three carrot billed Terns to drop in

Same bird, a first year, you can just see the dark internal feather markings

Even more distant adult

Great White Egret in courtship colours. 

Did a loop around the top of Lauwersmeer and back down the other side. Shed loads of geese about including quite a few Ruddy Shelduck. The white birds are Spoonbills

Juv Black-necked Grebe, still with humbug face

Had to stop here for a lifting bridge and noticed some young Swallows sitting around.

They were very obliging

Some Friesian Cows in Friesland

Presumably a Friesian Goat

Friesian Sheep?

Even the horses are two tone, although I am told the Friesian Horse is actually jet black.

They like their roofs here

Many of the thatched cottages were only half finished!

Zwarte Haan, a north coast roost site, although the tide was still a little way out 

The sharp eyed may have noticed three Flamingos in there. Closer inspection revealed them to be 3 Lesser Flamingos which did get a bit nearer as the tide pushed up

There were a few Blue-heaaded Wagtails about but they were very flighty so had to settle for long distance shots.

Well marked juv

I can explain!

Ex dragonfly

Groene Jonker, home to breeding Baillon's

No Baillon's showing today unfortunately but lots of Spotted Crakes

Juv Goshawk

Couple of juv Garganey

One of those Black Horses

Leaning bridge

A quick stop for refreshments

Arrived at Hook of Holland at dusk so had to wait a few more hours to see the House Crows

 Bright lights from the Oil refinery

Lesser Black back taking in the early morning rays

After finding a couple of Carrion Crows, heard some rather higher pitched cawing which I hadnt heard before, managed to track down the noise to this bird.

No sooner had I found it, it was off. There was another bird also, but they were both very mobile.
Eventually tracked down a whole bunch of them in trees and decided to try the bread routine which worked.
There were about 7 or 8 all rather similar looking birds and this paler bodied one, which seemed a bit odd. It turns out that this bird is a recent arrival, turning up in May this year.