Studying a moult limit on a Brambling. I have no clue why some people think birders are geeks.
This website is about birds and birding, with a focus on identification, ageing, sexing, status and distribution (the latter for Dutch birds only). I do not pretend to leave any stones unturned, but I think it's worth to see what's underneath the ones I find. It's what gives me so much pleasure in birding! On this site I call in the help of friends as often as possible. My biggest dream is that this About page one day contains a series of people. Anyone with an idea is more than welcome to contact me!
Who am I?
There's photographic evidence of me with bins, aged 5 or 6 years old. Ever since I've developed a broad interest in nature, but birds have always remained a main focus. Introducing me to birding is the best gift my father ever gave me, that's for sure. Within this rather obsessive hobby, I have a lot of interests, ranging from vis migging, breeding bird censuses, ecology, world birding and searching for good birds to the occasional filthy twitch. My natural habitat is the area around the city of The Hague, mainly the dunes and the harbour (confession: I like gulls). I've got a ringing permit that I use for several projects, but mainly for breeding and migrating bird censuses in Meijendel, Wassenaar, along the Dutch west coast. But I'm not a bird ringer, I'm just a birder with a ringing license.
So I'm pretty allround, but there's one thing that plays a key role in almost everything: bird identification, incl. ageing and sexing. Since 2015 I'm a member of the Dutch rarity committee CDNA. That I find semi-rare, scarce and common birds actually more interesting than the megas (I love patterns!) is no contradiction - at least not in my head.
I love writing, and I do it often. I've published quite a few articles and notes in local, national and a few international magazines about ecology, identification, travelling, rarities, censuses and other wildlife subjects than birds. Many of my trip reports can be found online.
That I make my living out of ecology is a joy I cannot describe. I work for a water company that protects and maintains both dunes and marshes, where I - amongst other things - manage monitoring projects in a setting with knowledgeable colleagues and volunteers. Lucky me.
It's not all birds and nature though - I'm not completely alienated. My lovely non-birding girlfriend (a writer), kids and 'normal' friends keep my feet on planet earth. A love for quality music, movies and series, Belgian beers and bike racing (mostly as a spectator...) pretty much makes me Joe the Plummer in other respects.
But here, on this website it's all about birds and wildlife!
Vincent van der Spek