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PeterHG's seventh Big Year


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Congrats on your twitch Peter - an on passing #50, well done! Sorry to hear about South Africa, at least you have Portugal lined up. Excellent birding there as we both know - have fun!

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nicely done on a local 50! love that tufted duck with its golden eye

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Dave Williams

50 quality shots!

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Thank you @Galana @michael-ibk @xelas @TonyQ @Kitsafari @Dave Williams.


We were asked to look after a house of friends of ours for a few days, as they were away for a break in warmer parts of Europe. Well the main opbjective was looking after the rabbit in the garden. They ,live in the west of the country and their garden is visited regularly by this exoctic invader. We don't get them where we live, but in some areas their numbers have risen dramatically over the last few decades. 


53 /NL 53. Rose-ringed Parakeet. Roelofarendsveen, March.



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We took the opportunity to visit the pier of IJmuiden, stretching some 3 kms into the sea and on account of that sometimes produces coastal species not easily seen elsewhere.


54 /NL 54. Common Guillemot. IJmuiden, March



55 /NL 55. Sanderling. Nearly always present there.




56 /NL 56 Common Scoter. Distant, but unmistakable




Ruddy Turnstone (already counted). You cannot miss them over there.



57 /NL 57. Purple Sandpiper.






Quite happy with this flight shot. There were two sandpipers 'browsing' the tops of the basalt blocks. When they reached the edge of a block they would wait a few seconds and then take off to fly to the next block, one or two metres away. The photo above is just befor take off. The flying distance was too short to allow the AF to lock on, so I pre-focused on the bird at the edge (using back button focus), moved my camera a little to the left to where the bird would fly past and took a short burst when the sandpiper actually flew by. I missed the first bird (my ageing reflexes...:)), but I grabbed the next one.



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could you have tried "pro-capture" @PeterHG- indeed have you tried it much?

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52 minutes ago, Towlersonsafari said:

could you have tried "pro-capture" @PeterHG- indeed have you tried it much?

Yes, I could have and in fact, I briefly thought about using it. The reason I didn't was that I didn't have much time. Setting up pro capture would have required me to take off my gloves and adapt the settings. I think I would have missed the opportunity then. I have used it from time to time, though not very often. It is pretty good for when birds take off and land at an angle perpendicular to the camera. Here are some examples when I did use it.






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Thank you @PeterHGvery nice photos indeed! I think  the new olympus  om1 that I have not been drooling  over at all, makes it easier to use as well as having much better tracking . I have tried  a few times to use procedure to try to take photos of flying butterflies  but I need to try harder!

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The Godwits are back, most of them passing through, but some will stay. I just love hearing their sound again!


58 /NL 58. Black-tailed Godwit. Arkemheen, March.



Edited by PeterHG
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Some of the winter guests are still around as well, but not for long.


59 /NL 59. Common Goldeneye. Arkemheen, March


the male


and the female



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A few more from the local park.

60 /NL 60. Western Jackdaw. Amersfoort, March. Very common, so not thought of capturing one, until now.




61 /NL 61. Dunnock. Amersfoort, March. Not uncommon at all, although last year I didn't even manage a photo. We used to get them in our garden, but not for the last few years, unfortunately.





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Peter, you are doing so well with local birds. Always tack sharp photos. A real pleasure to watch and a hard target to meet.

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excellent additions as always Peter. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you @xelasand @Kitsafari


We had decided to try and grab a little sunshine and somewhat higher temperatures and booked ourselves a week in Portugal near Santiago do Cacem, south of Lisbon. As it happened we left the Ntherlands on a bright sunny day and arrived in Portugal, greeted by rain. We still had a good time, though photography-wise it was mostly too grey for decent photos. Monte Horizonte was the domain where we had rented a little bungalow. It's a nice, rather remote area with six holiday cottages, each having plenty of space. On the grounds we saw our first addition for the BY. Rather a special bird for us, but in Portugal you see them everywhere.


62 /PT 01. Corn Bunting. Alentejo, March




Another bird we saw regularly was the Serin. I never managed a decent photo, though, so this one will have to do.


63 /PT 02. European Serin. Santiago, March




Also on the grounds, but only seen once:

64 /PT 03. Cirl Bunting (female). Santiago, March




And a nice surprise.

65 / PT 04. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Santiago, March





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We took a drive to the coast the next day. Very grey again, but we walked on a deserted beach with only a few Gannets as company.


66 /PT 05. Northern Gannet. Sao Andre beach, March



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The clouds lifted a little in the afternoon and we drove to along the Sao Andre Lagoons, to see what els we could find.


67 /PT 06. Iberian Shrike. Sao Andre, March. We saw them quite a few times, but mostly they were quite skittish.




We were quite excited to see our first Ibis, but, especially in the last few days, we saw many more. In Dutch this one is called 'Zwarte Ibis' (Black Ibis), but with a little sunshine this name seems a poor choice.


68 /PT 07. Glossy Ibis. Sao Andre, March.



And a definite favourite:

69 / PT 08. Eurasian Hoopoe. Sao Andre, March.




Our last addition of the day was the Stonechat. We do have them in our country, but in Portugal they are very common.


70 /PT 09. European Stonechat. Sao Andre, March.



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Great Hoopoe photo Peter!

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Is that a sunshine reflecting in the Stonechat's eye?! The Hoopoe is really outstanding!!

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Nice start from Portuga Peterl, I can’t wait to see the pictures from our day in the Castro Verde area and also from your visit to the Lezíria.

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Thank you @michael-ibk @xelas@pedro maia!


On Saturday we had arranged to meet @pedro maiain Castro Verde, to spend a day together, birding the steppe areas of the Alentejo. Again the weather was not ideal for photography, but we had a great time, with some very good species. We first drove to the deserted Casével railway station, where Pedro had promised we would have a fair chance of seeing Lesser Kestrels. On the way there however, we suddenly came upon 2 Black-shouldered Kites. Beautiful little Raptors.


71 /PT 10. Black-shouldered Kite. Castro Verde, March



When we were watching the Kites move away to more distant trees, our guide discovered another species high on the wishlist. Very distant as usual, but we got good scope views.


72 /PT 11. Great Bustard. Castro Verde, March




When we arrived at the railway station shortly afterwards there were a lot more Lesser Kestrels than we had imagined. A wonderful sight in a strange, yet attractive setting. It was pretty hard to take a decent photo of them against the grey skies, but the pressure to achieve that was high as Pedro had announced he was leaving his camera in the bag, expecting me to deliver good BIF photos no matter the circumstances :). This was the best I could manage....


73 /PT 12. Lesser Kestrel. Castro Verde, March




On the way back to the town of Castro Verde another bird-of-prey appeared.


74 /PT 13. Black Kite. Castro Verde, March. We also saw the Red Kite but very distant and I didn't get a picture.




In Castro Verde we we went to the street where Pedro had found both Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl in the same tree. Although we seached almost every tree along the street we did not find them again. After that we drove (well Pedro did....) along many of the back roads in the area. We stopped quite a few times, checking out birds we saw perched on wires or bushes that mostly turned out to be Corn Buntings. But there were others, of course


75 /PT 14. Thekla Lark. Castro Verde, March. I don't usually like to venture into lark areas and it is hard to tell and by no means certain, but I tend to put this down as a Thekla. I'll happily accept and count it as a Crested, though ;)




Not all the crows were crows. This one is quite distinctively a raven.


76 /PT 15. Northern Raven. Castro Verde, March




77 /PT 16. White Stork. Castro Verde, March. Just amazing how many storks we saw on the trip!




And then, out of nowhere, another highlight. Very high up, but unmistakeable all the same. We were overjoyed to have found this very special bird!


78 /PT 17. Spanish Imperial Eagle. Castro Verde, March




And shortly afterwards another eagle.


79 /PT 18. Short-toed Snake Eagle. Castro Verde, March




No visit to the Castro Verde area can be complete without this bird.


80 /PT 19. Little Owl. Castro Verde, March




'This is the road where I saw my first Great Spotted Cuckoo', our guide announced. The cuckoo must have heard him, because only seconds later it showed itself.


81 /PT 20. Great Spotted Cuckoo. Castro Verde, March




After that it started to rain and we returned to the town of Castro Verde. I can't thank you enough Pedro for driving us around and spending such an excellent day of birding with us! Both Jeannette and I enjoyed it immensely.





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What a spectacular display of birds Pedro has provided to you! Too bad the Owls have move otherwise it would be a "Perfect Storm" (in a very birding way).

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Wow, a lot of really cool species! Great you met up with Pedro.:)

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Super raptors, and I love the Cuckoo

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