Winter birds in Holland

To: birding-aus <>, "," <>
Subject: Winter birds in Holland
From: Vader Willem Jan Marinus <>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 13:42:05 +0000

A week ago I wrote about the first days of the new year in Tromsoe, at 70* N: 
very little daylight, few land birds, and a year list after a few days of all 
of 8 bird species. In the days after that I saw one Great Tit and 2 Blue Tits, 
as well as a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings, so the list grew all the way to 
11 bird species. And then I flew to Holland to visit Riet and celebrate my 
sister's 80-years day.

I have described Riet's home and garden before. It is a house in a row, with a 
small garden in front and behind, and neighbours on one side who have no 
interest in gardening, so have paved over most of theirs. She lives in the 
village of Odijk close to Utrecht, almost in the middle of the Netherlands, a 
low-lying area of fields and orchards, with the small river Kromme Rijn, which 
was the main outlet of the Rhine in Roman times, but which now is a backwater. 
It is a green village, and the first impression of a birder is always the large 
number of Blackbirds (there may be tens of large lawns), and of Jackdaws (There 
may be hundreds in the air at the same time---Jackdaws are extremely social).

Riet's back garden is maybe 10x5  sq.m, with a small lawn in the middle, and 
lots of plants--she is an avid gardener. There is a quite large, though heavily 
pruned oak in a corner, a holly and an Amelanchier, and the fences towards the 
neighbours are totally overgrown with ivy. She feeds the birds in winter.

Compared to my much larger garden in Tromsoe there are amazingly many birds in 
Riet's garden. There are always a few Blackbirds--even though the dominant male 
tries to chase all the others away---, a few Great and Blue Tits and several 
House Sparrows and Chaffinches (almost all males).There are also very 
frequently Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves, as well as Jackdaws and Magpies.In 
the one day that I ave been here,  I have additionally seen Tree Sparrows, 
Greenfinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, while Riet tells me that there are 
also regularly Robins, Winter Wrens, Nuthatches and now and then Long-tailed 
Tits. And I have seen Carrion Crows, Jays, Black-headed Gulls and Greylag Geese 
fly over the garden. The weather is cool, with light nightfrost last night---it 
rained the day before.

I walked around the village this morning, and that adds quite a number of 
further birds: in the Kromme Rijn there are Mallard, Pochard, Coots, Moorhen, 
Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe and Dabchick, as well as the by now omnipresent 
Egyptian Geese., and Black-headed and Common Gulls. On the soccer fields a 
loose flock of Redwings and Song Thrushes foraged, and a tight flock of Siskins 
swept into an alder tree.  A pair of Dunnocks was bathing in a gutter, 
discovered while I was admiring a flowering Hamamelis in a garden in the middle 
of the village. So my year list climbed from 11 to 44 bords, 'without really 
trying'. And the coming weekend will no doubt augment that with another 25 or 
so, even though it will mostly be filled with family business.

The difference between 70 and 53*N is enormous, and that is most evident in 

Vader, Tromsoe Museum

Tromsoe, Norway



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