Arnhem AEB413

18 October 2014, Meijendel, Wassenaar, the Netherlands

© 2018 by Vincent van der Spek

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20 Oct 2019

Sound track advice: Stormy weather - Billie Holiday 

I’ve always considered myself a birder with a camera, rather than a bird photographer. What I do is functional, not aesthetic. I’m not particularly gifted in this department, nor am I interested in learning all about camera settings.

But once in a while even an amateur like me makes a decent picture: for the first time one of my shots made it to t...

14 Aug 2019

When the ladies from bird hospital De Wulp sent me the shots of the Grey-cheeked Thrush taken into care last year, it really knocked me off my feet for a few seconds. But when Rinse and I received this video mid-July we were equally shocked: 

(video by Sharon Lexmond / vogelopvang De Wulp)

Black Woodpeckers colonised the country around 1915 and reached the western part of the Netherlands half...

27 Nov 2018

In many respects autumn was remarkably slow. But November turned everything upside down!

Like in spring (with an Alpine Swift), the girls from De Wulp delivered the highlight of the season (year!).

On 5 November Lizzy sent me a WhatsApp message. She asked if I knew which species was just taken into care. Despite the pics showed a wet and scruffy bird, my pulse raised and I missed a heartbeat or two...

10 Nov 2018

There's a big if  - but another big redpoll invasion could be in the making.

The if depends on stuff like weather conditions, and the exact turn the majority of the wandering birds in Europe will take. But it's obvious that at the moment, a higher number of birds than usual is passing through. And they are early! 

The thought alone is thrilling - two large invasions in a row would be unprecedented ...

25 Feb 2018

Eastern Black Redstart, 1 cy male, October 2008, Kazakhstan (Arend Wassink) 

Redstart articles coming up!

The ID article on Eastern Black Redstart vs. hybrids that I wrote with Nicolas Martinez (check his site for interesting info on redstarts and other stuff) for Dutch Birding is still on the desk of the editors. EDIT June 2018: it has now been published

Nicolas, Bernd Nicolai and myself (as the 3rd...

25 Dec 2017

25 December. Boxing Day! Rinse and I don't need much time to think when were asked to ring a few birds in bird hospital De Wulp. The star of the day is a Black-necked Grebe.

The poor bird has been bitten in the neck by something, probably a dog. It's recovering fast, but it still needs some time before it can be released. But leave that to the ladies!

Ageing is based on two features. The pale orang...

2 Nov 2017

Every time I get to see one of those blackish, passerine sized seabirds during gale force winds, my heart misses a beat or two. I just can't grasp how such a small bird conquers the elements with such ease.

But for a Dutch guy it's rather unusual to have a truly decent look at a Leach's Storm Petrel. Basically we only see them in the unfavourable conditions of a heavy autumn storm, w...

2 Nov 2017

There are probably not too many primary moult scores for Great Skuas from Holland. But I've got one now!

Since we usually only see them on migration, at a fair distance, and immatures are in the majority, it was quite a privilege to study an adult at close range (upper pic: Sharon Lexmond/ De Wulp).

This bird was taken into care at bird hospital De Wulp in September. Just note how bleached and worn...

26 Aug 2017

Nearly every year I manage to trap a Spotted Crake or two at my ringing site in Meijendel. Over the years I noticed a helpful ageing feature that I cannot find in the books on my shelf: feather wear. I wrote a note on ageing Spotted Crakes in summer and early autumn, that includes this feature. It should also be useful in the field! I hope it'll be helpful.

27 Jul 2017

On 14 July I stumbled upon a calling Iberian Chiffchaff (ca 45th record) in my hometown The Hague. Since calling birds are probably overlooked in The Netherlands, I wrote a short note on their calls.

Upper and lower pic by Gerjon Gelling

Quite amazing that I was lucky enough to find two of these birds within 3 months! Ageing this bird turned out to be straightforward. In July  juveniles are very fre...

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