woensdag 19 oktober 2011

17 oktober 2011 - Friesland & Groningen

Last night i picked Stan up from Schiphol, and after a 'traditional' Dutch dinner of nasi and quite a few Belgian blondes and tripels we made plans to visit Lauwersmeer.
First good bird of the day was a Hawfinch which flew over the house in the morning, later followed by several Great Egrets along the journey.
Once by Lauwersmeer we soon saw 2 Rough-legged Buzzards by Jaap Deensgat, a distant Great Grey Shrike by Kollumerwaard, 300+ Bewick's Swans at Oude Robbengat
From there we headed towards Paesens seeing 2 more Rough-legged Buzzards along the way. The first was initially being buzzed by a Hen Harrier. The awful photo below shows the white lump of a Rough-legged sat in the field while 2 Hen Harriers (beautifully out of focus fly past)

and a slightly closer one of a Hen Harrier

Below are 3 photos of the same Rough-legged Buzzard

And then a second bird appeared

as well as plenty of Common Buzzards

There were great numbers of geese around in the fields, with thousands of Barnacles and Eurasian White-fronteds already

It was then time for refreshments with a small helping of whipped cream, flavoured with apple cake and hot chocolate! The weather was now so balmy that we sat outside, confident that Olive-backed Pipits were going to appear and eat our crumbs....they didn't!

We then returned to Ezumakeeg seeing at least 3 more Rough-legged Buzzards (7 for the day)

A second Great Grey Shrike

More Bewick's Swans

Raptors had been a feature of the day already and we had already had 3 sightings of White-tailed Eagles (2 ads and a juv) before 2 birds appeared again, plus 2 Marsh Harriers, a Hen Harrier, 1 of 7 Peregrine seen during the day. The Eagles caused massive panic in the wildfowl.

and the Shoveler and Lapwing were constantly flushing

On one occasion due to this young Goshawk

We waited on until dusk to enjoy the spectacle of the roosting Barnacle Geese, which were very impressive

but personally overshadowed by the Starlings.....no idea what sort of numbers are involved here but it's in the tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands....amazing stuff!

Not sure those last 2 photos do it justice?
Also noteworthy as we left were a small group of Fieldfare and Redwing which landed in the reeds right next to us, only to burst out again as they realised we were there!
On the drive home in the dark we also had a close up encounter with a Woodcock at the side of the road, all in all a quite superb day and full of great birds!

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