A congregation of Short-Eareds
I absolutely love the village(s) and area around Paesens-Moddergat in the north of Friesland. It’s the remoteness in some of the least densely-populated parts of The Netherlands, the fantastic name (Moddergat translates literally like ‘Mudhole’) and the great birding opportunities in the area that make it appeal so much. It’s hard to find a place in The Netherlands that contrasts so much with a life in the Randstad (the metropole region of Amsterdam - The Hague - Rotterdam). So whenever there is an opportunity to visit the area, I do, like today.
The intertidal area always has something interesting to offer. This time we were treated by the largest congregation of Short-Eared Owls that I have ever seen. Although initially invisible, when 4 Hen Harriers came too close for comfort, a group of no less than 10 owls took to the skies. Truly an incredible sight to behold and certainly one of the more memorable birding moments of this year.
Besides these owls, the area generally hosts large numbers of Twite as well. In previous visits I’ve once recorded over a 100 Twites there. This makes it one of the best areas in The Netherlands where this species can be found reliably.
And when a Common Snipe is about to fly over closely, it’s impossible to resist raising my camera as well. Common, indeed, but what a fantastic plumage!