Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Rough-Legged Buzzard nearly on my garden list! 17th october

On the 11th 10,000 buzzards passed over falsterbo (with 500 red kite)
On the 12th it was 355 rough-legged buzzards
and on the 13th not less than 1202 rough-legged buzzard!!

I first planned to go on the coast on sunday but Saturday late afternoon the first big flock of common buzzard arrived in the north of Belgium. It's very cloudy (nearly dark!) at home thus I didn't see anything. more than 1000 buzzard passed a single spot in Netherland in 3 hours!! I decided to just watch the sky near my home on Sunday...

Sadly, unlike most of Belgium, It was still very cloudy here on Sunday...

In one hour in the morning :

27 greylag goose
1 sparrowhawk
116 lapwings
117 skylark
3 wood larks
9 meadow piptit
27 white wagtail
1 grey wagtail
3 song trush
29 redwings
24 starlings
34 chaffinch
4 brambling

It was niet good for raptors then I decided to return to my home and wait for a little sun...and on the way at 300m from home, a buzzard passed nearly over my head very low to the south. A beautiful 1cy Rough-Legged Buzzard !!! Only my second in Belgium and a Self-found tick! about 15 were seen that day in Belgium!!!

In late morning, it's finally sunny during one hour but there were very few raptors (100 to 350 common buzzards on other spots...) :

1 hen harrier
5 buzzards
1 sparrowhawk
20 great cormorant
232 skylarks
3 woodlarks
10 meadow pipits
8 white wagtail
12 redwings
25 chaffinch
2 brambling
1 great tit
9 coal tits
1 siskin
1 hawfinch (flying north)

in the afternoon (again cloudy) I watched the resting birds in the fields :

at least 7 common buzzards
2 sparrowhawk
200 lapwings
100 lesser black-backed gull
40 white wagtail
5 coal tit
15 goldfinch
3 reed buntings

and during this time on migration :

1 merlin
19 skylarks
28 meadow pipit
24 white wagtail
6 reed buntings

On monday it's finaly sunny but there were only the last buzzards...

In 3 hours of skywatching I saw :

1 hen harrier
12 common buzzard
2 sparrowhawk
10 lapwing
44 skylarks
8 wood lark
4 swallows
11 meadow pipit
9 white wagtail
2 song trush
3 blue tit
3 tree sparrow
132 chaffinch
11 linnets

Thursday, 14 October 2010

big loose in Zeebrugge 7-10th october

Looking at the chart, there were easterlies from Friday to Sunday and thus I went to Zeebrugge from Thursday afternoon to Sunday!       

On Thursday, there were few birds but a yellow-browed warbler was found by Johan Buckens in The Hedge of Heist. I decided to not search it because it’ll be difficult to relocate and I thought I'll see several the next three days! Result of the afternoon : 6 green sandpiper (from the train), 8 chiffchaff, 1 fire and 20 goldcrest, 25 song trush, 36 robins, 1 late pied flycatcher, 7 dunnocks and 5 siskins.
On Friday, it’s still dark when I arrived in Zeebrugge but I could already heard lots of call of song trush, firecrest and robin. I walked along the jetty, more than 10 birds in the very little shrubs (goldcrests, robins and 1 reed bunting) wow looks good! In the bushes on the beach of Zeebrugge and the parking of the station, lots of goldcrest, robin, song trush, chiffchaff,…Then I did the line of trees near the Strandwijk tram stop : nothing! Birds are really coming from the sea! A Barred warbler was found in the bushes on the beach of Heist and I decided to have a quick look.  En route a red-backed shrike was also found near the beach of Heist. When I arrived I immediately saw Patrick Beirens taking pictures of the shrike and he told me that he hasn’t seen the barred warbler and that someone claimed a red-breasted flycatcher in The Hedge of Heist. I decided to go first in the Hedge but like other birders no flycatcher… I went to the beach of Heist, It’s incredible, maybe 40 birds in that little bush, mostly goldcrest and robin but no barred warbler. Strange hundreds of birds and still no yellow-browed warbler found anywhere…. I went to the beach of Duinbergen and in the park behind thinking that there will be lots of birds there too and maybe no birder... in fact there were very few birds there but at least 5 other birders! still no YB warbler anywhere and I decided to do the best spot for this species, the Fishers Cross Park. This park and also the nearby Navy base park were full of goldcrests also somes chiffchaff, 2 wilow warbler, 10 blackcap, 1 garden warbler, 1 reed warbler and 3 common redstart but still no YB warbler...I thought that maybe no birders went to Blankenberge yet and decided to go there... And finally a Yellow-Browed was found in the little Sea-Life Park in Blankenberge when I was waiting for the tram. When I arrived , the finder  was still there and said to me that the bird has just flew behind somes little shrubs. We searched but didn't found the bird again and I thought the only place it could be are the shrubs behind a see it better I went nearthe swimming pool and saw 4 dead song trushes along the windows, sad view! But there was also a little bird...I went closer : shit it's the YB warbler!! fucking swimming pool!!!!!!! I Finally went to the dunes between Blankenberge and Wenduine in the evening…lots of birds there too : goldcrest, chiffy, robins,…and then : oh that's a flycatcher! shit it flew off after half a second and was against the sun…but that looked good for a red-breasted. The area was really difficult to see and after somes times I decided to phone Johan and Billyan not normally accessible place..what to do ? waiting here that the bird come again in the little shrubs or find a way to enter the area ? I waited a bit but the bird didn’t show again and I found a way to enter the area a few hundreds meters from the sightings. I phoned Johan Buckens and Billy but they were already at home thus I’s alone and the sunset was in 1 hour…I didn’t saw anything else than robins, song thrushes and goldcrests…shit !
dead yellow-browed warbler, Sealife - Blankenberge :-(
Goldcrest, Beach of Heist
Willow warbler, Navy Base - Zeebrugge
Result of the day : 1 red-backed shrike, 1 dead YB warbler, 5 coal tits, 1 reed warbler, 30 chiffchaff, 2 wilow warblers, 10 blackcap, 1 garden warbler, 20 firecrest, 200+ goldcrest, 30 redwings, 150+ robins, 3 common redstart, 5 brambling and 5 siskin + somes migrating skylarks, meadows and 1 tree pipits
Saturday was the same as Friday but with a bit less new birds and nothing of note. No more common redstart but my first 2 fieldfare of the autumn.
friendly Siskin, dunes between Blankenberge and Wenduine
Goldcrest , dunes between Blankenberge and Wenduine
Sunday, I was with Jean Wauters and Christine Leroux, Very few new birds exept somes song trushes and redwings. I just saw 4 late northern wheatear in the Front Harbour, a species I hadn’t see the previous days. There were also somes big groups of migrating cormorant. In the Afternoon I finally went to Uitkerkse Polder to see the Cattle Egret that's there since mid-september. The team of Peter Adrieans, Hans Matheve and Pieter Vantieghem had more luck with late tawny pipit and lapland bunting in the Zwin and a Richard’s pipit in the back harbour...
migrating Great Cormorant, Sashul - Heist

Goldcrest, Navy Base - Zeebrugge

Cattle Egret, Camping - Uitkerkse polder - Blankenberge

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Visible Migration, 4-5th october

Weather was bad on Monday and Tuesday with lots of clouds but there was a huge migration (mostly of finch) and birds where flying very low due to the clouds.

I counted the migration near my home, between 10 and 12:00 on Monday :

1 RED-THROATED PIPT!!! (Self-found tick!)

75 great cormorant
18 greylag goose
1 sparrowhawk
334 lapwing
98 skylark
20 swallow
166 meadow pipit
3 grey wagtail
19 white wagtail
40 song trush
3 chiffchaff
32 blue tits
76 starling
8 tree sparrow
6-10,000 chaffinch
14 brambling
86 siskin
22 greenfinch
65 linnet
1 hawfinch
16 reed bunting
1 yellowhammer

also somes raptors in the fields : 1 Merlin, 1 Marsh harrier

also between 18:00 and 18:30 :

1 snipe
2 tree pipit
35 meadow pipit
3 white wagtail
31 chaffinch
28 linnets

and also a groupe of 60-70 meadow and a tree pipit in the field!

on Tuesday, 8-11:00 :

291 lapwing
12 snipes
1 collared dove
452 skylark
13 woodlark
1076 meadow pipit
14 tree pipit
74 white wagtail
3 grey wagtail
348 song trush
3 chiffchaff
19 blue tit
3 jay
158 starling
5 tree sparrow
10-15,000 chaffinch
24 brambling
54 siskin
63 goldlfinch
84 linnet
19 reed bunting

Now, it's time to go to Zeebrugge to search siberian passerines for a few days with these easterlies :

Saturday, 2 October 2010

First Yellow-Browed Warbler, 28th september

I wanted to see my first Yellow-Browed Warbler of the year before october like I managed to do each year since I search siberian passerines on the Belgian coast.

The First YB warbler fas found Friday 24th september. During the weekend, the strong wind prevented us to search for passerines. The weathear looked very poor for the next weekend and there were lots of birds on monday (incl 4 YB warbler in Zeebrugge) thus I decided to go to Zeebrugge on Tuesday afternoon, the only time I had...I had only 5 hours to see a YB warbler and I didn't know if someone else was searching. I managed too found 1 at the Water Tower (maybe the same as the previous day). There were lots of other birds too :

60-70 robin
1 common and 1 black redstart
70-80 song trush
1 garden warbler
15-20 blackcap
5 willow warbler
30 chiffchaff
15 goldcrest
10 firecrest
5 pied flycatcher
lots of great, blue and some coal tits
10-15 brambling
26 siskins
1 hawfinh !

Friday, 1 October 2010

Seawatching in Northern France 24-26th September

Hi all,

There were again strong NW winds in the North Sea. It's the best seawatching condition for us! It was thus easy to know what to do this weekend : The Clipon (Dunkerque) of course! I was there on Saturday from sunrise to sunshine. The strong wind arrived on Friday late afternoon and the local seawatchers had already great sightings :  6 sooty, 14 manx and 2 balearic shearwaters, 3 leach's storm-petrel, 2 pomarines, 1 long-tailed and 51 arctic skua in a few hours.

On Saturday, the numbers were not very high but the quality was there with lots of good birds very close. That's the advantadge of a big jetty, the disadvantadge is that we are also close to the waves and this time, we had a really huge one, far bigger than the other just after the passage of a sabine's gull...we were soaked through the skin had to run after somes bags that were carrying by the several tens cm of waters, juste before they fell into the sea! There was lots of water on the jetty and we had to run after somes bags and other stuff before they fell into the sea! My camera was out of my bag, I tried to protect it and miraculously it still works well!!

A video of us watching the sabine's gull along the jetty juste before that huge wave :

Here are the totals (1st number = Clipon, 2nd = Cape Gris-Nez) : 

Red-throated Diver            20          36    (good numbers for september!!)
Great crested Grebe           8            5
Red-necked Grebe             3            1
Black-necked Grebe          1
Fulmar                               32           5
Sooty Shearwater            74          17
Manx Shearwater              10          10
Balearic Shearwater                          4
Leach's Storm-Petrel      21           3       (we expected bigger number of this species)
British Storm-Petrel         1                     (very well seen, my best sighting of the species here!)
Gannet                             1457      3590
Brent Goose                     187        184
Shelduck                             5           12
Wigeon                              27          44
Gadwall                                            2
Teal                                   43           5
Pintail                                 3           13
Shoveler                             5            2
Eider                                 43          24
Common Scoter               353        702
Red-breasted Merganser                  4
Peregrine Falcon                1             1
Oystercatcher                   21           29
Ringed Plover                                   6
Grey Plover                      62            2
Knot                                  5
Sanderling                         50            3
Purple Sandpiper               1
Dunlin                               61           57
Bar-tailed Godwit            162
Curlew                             12            2
Redshank                          1
Common Sandpiper                          1
Turnstone                                         2
Red-necked Phalarope   1
Grey Phalarope               2             1
Pomarine Skua                19            19
Arctic Skua                     102          169
Long-tailed Skua            9              4
Bonxie                            162          309  
Skua sp.                           6              2
Mediterranean Gull           1
Little Gull                        47            42
Sabine's Gull                  7              6
Kittiwake                       108           224
Sandwich Tern               275           428
Common Tern                695           466
Arctic Tern                     18              13
Little Tern                       1               2
Black Tern                     36              8
Guillemot / Razorbill       17             17

Manx shearwater - Clipon - François Doyen

Gannet - Clipon - François Doyen

intermediate phase Northern Fulmar - Clipon - François Doyen

Sabine's Gull just before the huge wave - Clipon - François Doyen

There was still good sightings on Sunday morning but also lots of rain :

Fulmar                           64        2
Sooty shearwater         7         8
Manx shearwater                       3
Balearic shearwater                   1
Leach's storm-petre     3         1
British storm-petrel      1        1
Gannet                                   1700
Common scoter                       806
Grey phalarope            2
Arctic Skua                   37       56
Long-tailed skua          3         2
Bonxie                          71      140
Sabine's gull                 2         7

More very good pics will probably appear one day here : and!/pages/Seawatch-Clipon-Gris-Nez/124337474283129?ref=ts