Monday evening news broke of a Pied Wheatear near Zoeterwoude. It was initially misidentified as a Desert Wheatear but the stunning pictures taken by its proud discoverer Adri de Groot readily gave it away as the 20th Pied Wheatear for the Netherlands. More importantly it would be a nice boogey-bird for yours truly! However news came out late in the evening, so it first needed to be rediscovered next morning…
First I’ll tell you a little something about this little bird.
Pied wheatear is a wonderfully active passerine with a striking tail-pattern that hunts for insects on the ground or from an exposed perch. It breeds in arid rocky desolate semi-dessert around the Black Sea and winters in East Africa.
So how the hell does it turn up in the Netherlands?…in November?! Well that is the awesome thing about the tail of autumn, those far eastern vagrants that need to come from really, really fucking far, find their way to Northwestern Europe in November, driven by cold-spells, long periods of easterly winds or a generally messed up sense for orientation.
Hoping that it would indeed be rediscovered in the morning I brought my binoculars along to the library where I was working on a report on my recent internship… I was just starting up my computer when I received the liberating text-message that it had been rediscovered by its initial discoverer; Adri de Groot!
Within 20 minutes I was at my car and another half an hour later I was enjoining this fantastic bird flickering about on a pile of reed as it hunted for small insects. FANTASTIC! My 406th species for the Netherlands!
Picture by Max van Waasdijk (http://www.maxbirding.com/)
This picture captures the charactar and incredible tameness of the bird; Picture by Max van Waasdijk (http://www.maxbirding.com/)
Around half past 11 AM I was back behind my computer fully motivated of course by this very successful twitch!