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

Publicado el 19 de julio de 2021 por thibaudaronson thibaudaronson


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