יולי 19, 2021

12-14 Jul 2021 Post-wedding birding

Jelmer and Nicole were getting married in Drenthe, in dwingelwaard NP, and since I'd never been in the Netherlands in the summer, I decided to get in some birding!
The morning after the wedding, having been woken up at an ungodly hour by the roosters, I gave up on sleep and went for a little walk. I was hoping for an Icterine warbler or perhaps one of the cranes that are known to breed in the park. I struck out on both, though it was a nice little walk, with swifts overhead and the repetitive song of chiffchaffs up in the trees, which would prove to be the sound background for the next 3 days.
The next morning, having picked up my rental, the proper birding began at Diependal. I started on the wrong path, and walked down in the sun for a while, picking up lovely yellow wagtails singing in the fields and a friendly yellowhammer, I finally turned around and made my way towards the hide. The underground access tunnel was as remarkable as advertised, feeling like a sinister war era bunker, leading to an elevated tower that provides a great view over the reserve. There were 6 benches and most were already occupied by other birders. The one I sat in gave me a view of a pond with a number of waterfowl, and I finally picked out a distant family of Red-necked grebes, the main draw of the reserve, as this is one of the few (the only?) places where it breeds in the NL. After a while, I realiezd that there was a much closer family on another pond, as well as some Great Crested grebes. While both families of Red-necks had one chick each, the Great crested had 3! After a while, I went for a walk along a the interface between the reedbeds and the fields, hoping for a Marsh warbler. I got my hopes up a few times but after reviewing the recordings I got, decided it was only Reed warblers.
I made my way north, out of Drenthe and into Groningen province, to the Onnerpolder. At a stop a bit before the end of the road, a black tern zoomed past me, the species I had been hoping for. I realized there were 2 birds and that they foraged on a regular circuit, so I positioned myself by a pond very near the road where they kept coming back, where I got some point-blank views (and a bloody hard time getting sharp photos as they zoomed past!). At the ponds at the end of the road, there were a number of ducks, breeding gulls and a lovely breeding plumaged Black-necked grebe.
After lunchtime, I headed northeast to the famous Lauwersmeer, in Friesland /Fryslân. The weather had been deteriorating and I suddenly hit a massive rainstorm, with incredibly dense rain and cars driving no more than 30 kph. Fortunately I came out the other hand, and it was barely drizzling when I got to the shore. There were large numbers of waders, particularly ruffs, some of them still showing remnants of their remarkably variable breeding plumage. I got excited as I soon spotted my first Spotted Redshank in the distance, not knowing that I'd soon see several more under much better conditions. Along the road to the "hide", there were large numbers of barn swallows and sand martins, which surprisingly perched on the road, or on the low fences when a car went past.
Indeed, the density of insects was through the roof, with waders picking them off just above the surface. Among the many ruffs, I picked out a few curlew sandpipers, godwits and the beautiful spotted redshanks, some still adorned in their black summer finery, and others completely grey already. At this close range, the long fine bill with a very slight droop at the tip was obvious, as well as their tendency to wade in the water up to their breast. The path to the hide was seriously overgrown, and I had to hold up my camera in front of me to avoid getting stung by the shoulder high nettles. There turned out not to be a hide at the hide, just some viewing spaces between the high vegetation. Surprinsingly, a dead tree just a few meters away harbored a number of reed buntings and sedge warblers, which were completely unperturbed by my presence, although I was in full view of them. Throught, the sedge warblers were actually remarkably confiding, often coming within a couple meters of me and perching in full view, and I couldn't be sure if they were fearless juveniles or parents defending their brood or both.
After a night in the tiny village of Anjum, I spent a couple hours

פורסם ב יולי 19, 2021 10:00 לפנה"צ על־ידי thibaudaronson thibaudaronson | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

יוני 15, 2021

13/14 June 2021 Looking for a bunting...

Valensole..

פורסם ב יוני 15, 2021 07:06 אחה"צ על־ידי thibaudaronson thibaudaronson | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

מאי 27, 2021

A lost American!

Baird's

פורסם ב מאי 27, 2021 05:55 אחה"צ על־ידי thibaudaronson thibaudaronson | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

מאי 08, 2021

8/05/2021 - Camargue and Crau

This was Global Big Day 2021, and actually my first time ever going out for a full day of birding on that date!
I was out of the house by 6.30 and headed to the Pont des Tourradons, in the Petite Camargue, where pratincoles have been regularly seen in the past weeks. Of course, I didn't see the pratincoles, but the place was hopping with birds and I spent a lovely couple hours there. The tamarix bushes were full of nightingales and melodious warblers, both of which were significantly easier to see than their oak-dwelling counterparts near the house. There were also dozens of stilts in the wetlands, and gulls and terns (especially whiskered terns) flying around. I also spotted a couple of singing cuckoos, in that funny cuckoo pose, with dropping wings and the tail nearly horizontal. I walked to the end of the trail and got to an open plain, where I spotted two thick-knees! Last time I'd seen some of those was in Israel, 7 years ago!
After that, I headed east, to the Camargue proper. Someone had spotted a Savi's Warbler at the Scamandre, but the reserve was once again closed (it being a holiday), and I didn't try to locate it in the endless reedbeds along the road.
So, I made my way to the Enfores de la Vignolle, where I watched waders under a baking sun and tried to locate the Broad-billed Sanpiper that had been seen - no luck there either, though I got nice close-up views of a mixed group of dunlins and curlew sandpipers, most of them coming into their breeding colors. Even better, I soon heard some Sylvia-like song coming from the salicornia bushes, and soon got my first look at a Spectacled warbler. They turned out to be ubiquitous along the road to the lighthouse and very responsive to playback. As it was getting late, I decided to head back inland and go try my luck in the Crau. Unfortunately it was very windy and besides a number of skylarks engaged in song flights as well as numerous kestrels (I couldn't find a lesser kestrel among them, though I'm sure they were there) hunting above the plains, there was very little activity. There were a number of pretty black and white butterflies keeping low - thanks to inat, I now know them to be Western Marbled Whites!
I was cutting it close (damn curfew), so I finally headed back, and got back to the house at 18:59!
All in all, a very good day.

פורסם ב מאי 08, 2021 08:16 אחה"צ על־ידי thibaudaronson thibaudaronson | 6 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

מאי 02, 2021

2/05/2021 - La Pourcaresse

A nice morning walk between Viols and St Martin. The corn bunting was singing its trills, perched in the exact same tree as last time, while a pair of Woodchat Shrikes (my first of the year) quartered over the steppe. Now that I was cued in to the Orphean Warbler's song, I could hear three or four individuals calling constantly from various corners, though they hardly ever left cover. As I recorded them, I paid more attention to the details in each bird's song. Even though the characteristic up-down rhythm is always present, even single birds actually produce quite variable songs. I also suddenly spotted a Cirl bunting in the same pistachio tree as a warbler I was following, and this time I got to hear its song, sounding much more mechanical and insect-like than the Corn Bunting's. I didn't spend much time with the Stonechat family, but I didn't see the three fledglings from last time, I hope they didn't get eaten. Not a lot of good photos, except for the very cooperative Tawny Pipit, who let me get very close while he perched atop a Buis.

And then in the evening, as I was coming back from my run, I spotted a dark raptor flying low over the garden. Probably a buzzard, but it just looked a bit different, so I raced inside and grabbed my camera. I dashed down the chemin communal and luckily caught up to it. Just as I raised my camera to it, it turned and I could see the tell tall bars and the dark carpal patch: Honey-buzzard! Last time I'd seen one here was in 2016!

פורסם ב מאי 02, 2021 07:53 אחה"צ על־ידי thibaudaronson thibaudaronson | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 03, 2021

2/4/21 - Source de la Buèges

Today we went up to the Source de la Buèges. I'm very familiar with the road that follows the Hérault and then twists and turns up to Causse de la Selle, but I think I'd never gone on to St Jean de Buèges et Pégairolles, both of them lovely villages in their valley. The Buèges forms a remarkably bright and colorful ribbon amidst the fairly parched landscape. It's very shallow and crystal clear, with amazing turquoise and regal blues shades, nowhere more so than at the spring itself. Its dreamy aspect is reinforced by large micocouliers with strangely bloated trunks and apparent roots peeking up through a carpet of moss. The river banks have a remarkable density of laurier noble, possibly the descendants of garden plants, and several butterflies were fluttering around, including the first Diane I think I've ever photographed.
Then we went west towards Arboras, on a beautiful narrow road. To the left, the slopes of the steep valley were covered in pines, with a few patches of yellower Causses vegetation on the ridge to back.
At some point, while looking for a mysterious "trou souffleur", we came by a lovely patch of Liverleaf, some white and others with blue flowers.
Thanks to our trusty book and maps.me, we tracked down the beautiful Dolmen des Thières and the great Menhir de la Baume des Moutons, which stands just over 3 m tall. And finally, after spending much time scanning the ridges, as we were passing below the Mont St Baudille, I noticed a black silhouette flying by the weather station, which turned out to be a Golden Eagle!

פורסם ב אפריל 03, 2021 05:14 אחה"צ על־ידי thibaudaronson thibaudaronson | 4 תצפיות | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

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