Seawatching, Feb – Apr 1991
Sula , Volume 5 - Issue 2 p. 77- 78
There was an almost daily coverage in these months in Noord-Holland (NH) at Hondsbossche Zeewering (Hbz) and Egmond aan Zee (Egm), From sites in Zuid-Holland (ZH), data were collected at Bloemendaal (Bloem) and Scheveningen (Schev), but only in Feb. The main events in these months were the coldrushes in the first half of Feb, the massive numbers of Eiders and scoters along the coast and the northward migration of Little Gulls and terns in Apr. From the 3rd until the 12th of Feb, temperatures were constantly below zero. The Wadden Sea, Ijsselmeer and inland waters were nearly completely icecovered and these conditions (breed wintering grebes, ducks and waders to depart in southerly directions or to the coast. Movements of Great Crested Grebes were not particularly impressive, but on several days over 1000 birds were seen. Hundreds of Curlew were seen every day during the spell of cold weather at Hbz and Egm, many more at Schev. On the 3rd, 1186 individuals were counted here. Massive cold-rushes of Oystercatchers were reported (e.g. 4900 S, Schev 10 Feb), over 1500 Knot were seen on 7 Feb, (Egm), 4000 on 8 Feb (Hbz). Many diving ducks were entering coastal waters, but also dabbling ducks like Wigcon and Shoveler (including 165 on 6 Feb, Egm) were seen in considerable numbers. The largest numbers of Pochards (550) and Tufted Ducks (850) were spotted on 6 Feb at Schev. On the 12th (when temperatures raised), more than 1400 Scaup and 150 Pochard were seen at Hbz. The best day, however, was the 10th at Schev wnen 1000 Goldeneyes and 5500 Smew (another 630 the following day) flew by! The number of Smew seen (at Schev only!) is a large part of the European population and well in excess of the 2500-4000 Smew wintering on the Ijsselmeer this year (MP). Moreover, the Smew on the Ijsselmeer did not even leave the area this winter. Evidently, the Smew seen in the cold-rush must originate from other, as yet unknown wintering grounds. After the period of hard weather, some passage of returning grebes, geese, Curlew and Golden Plover (e.g. 1900 on 26th, Schev) was recorded.
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