Sunday, 21 February 2010

After a few really good dutch beers last night we had a leisurely start this morning and headed to the Baikal Teal in the east of the country (well I think it was east) lets just come out and say it looks plastic as feck on a canal with various hybrid Mallards and such like.............but there's also Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Duck on the same canal, and everything but this canal was frozen just a few days earlier so who knows.

I'll say one thing about it wherever it's come from it's an absolutely cracking looking bird. At the same site there were Middle spotted Woodpecker and Hawfinch calling but we couldn't see either of them.

I'm really amazed how much I enjoyed all the Gooses in Holland, I'm not really a goose kind of birder but out there you can't fail to be impressed there are literally thousands of them everywhere. Next on our agenda was an area with thousands of Tundra Beans. In with these birds is a massive one which had been mooted as a middendorfi which I was keen to see, we didn't but found a pale bellied Brent instead, which is rare. We also had a Great white Egret here.

Then it was onto what for me was bird of the trip, the Oriental Turtle Dove. I've seen the race orientalis before in China, they are massive Wood Pigeon like bulky things. This though is a meena and if I'd seen this at Spurn in Oct I'd have overlooked it as a Turtle Dove so I was really pleased to get a bit of experience of this race. Jesus it was cold though!

After the Pigeon we went for a bite to eat in a dirty bastard stinking fish restaurant, I had chips and a burger surprise or something! Lauwesmeer in the north was almost empty of birds, we did have the most ridiculous views of a Bittern tho as it sat on the roadside next to the car before being flushed by a cough!!!

Today I learnt that the literal translation of the dutch name for Hen Harrier is 'blue chicken thief' which I love I think we should start calling them this all the time it's class. Also saw Black Woodpecker today fly over the motorway in front of the car! and tens of thousands of Barnacle Gooses. A few more cracking Dutch beers were consumed including some at 8%!

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