After a week of interrupted nights, early starts and a lot of traveling back and forwards to Noord Holland, I was more than ready for a lie-in this morning. Instead, I left the house at 5.15 to join a couple of my colleagues for a visit to the Oostvaardersplassen, a nature reserve in Flevoland province (about 100 km NE of Delft).

When we arrived at around 6.30, the sun was still just below the horizon, and as we had hoped, the clear sky had led to a misty morning, with the temperature just below zero. We parked the car by the side of the road and waited for the sun to come up, enjoying the bird song and fresh air.

Our next stop was a bird hide, where we lined ourselves up, 100-400mm lenses at the ready, and brought out breakfast. Thanks to the foresight of Arie, who was smart enough to realize that I wouldn’t have prepared anything, I tucked into cheese and salami sandwiches and fruit juice. Although it’s still early in the season, and according to Arie, fairly quiet, there was plenty to see.

Aside from the ducks, swans and geese, we also saw a great white egret (zilver reiger), a pair of grebes (fuut)and a grey heron (blauwe reiger). Sadly, no sign of a kingfisher (ijsvogel). No great bird photos to show, but at least some for the record.

After leaving the hide, we drove to the visitor’s centre, stopping to photograph the wild ponies, and another (the same?) egret. Walking down to another hide, we spent some time with another herd of ponies, and then managed to track down a great spotted woodpecker (grote bonte specht) and a white wagtail (witte kwikstaart).

We ended the morning with a cup of coffee and browse around the visitors centre, before heading home around 11.30.

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