Posts tagged short-eared owl
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.

I could not fit more than 3 Short-Eared owls in 1 picture at a time, so here goes: the 3 highest birds are SE Owls, the 3 lowest birds are 1cy Hen Harriers.

Short-Eared Owl over the dike.

Short-Eared Owl. The same bird as in the previous photo.

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!

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

A first for De Vulkaan

What. A. Day. It already started off very nice with a probable Barn Owl in the morning, but little did I know it would be this good…

Only highlights and some images that pale in comparison with the spectacle of today: 60 000 Chaffinch, 8/9 Short-eared Owls, 89 Great Egrets (for a few hours the new Dutch record), a few groups of Bearded Reedlings, 2 Great Grey Shrikes, 2 Osprey, 2 Richard's Pipits, 3 Olive-backed Pipits, an extremely late Caspian Tern and above all: I discovered the first-ever Pallid Harrier for De Vulkaan (and made good on my promise to do so). What an insane day!

All the results can be found, as usual, on Trektellen.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus

Great Egret (Ardea alba)