Arriving in IJmuiden the next morning, it was still raining 🙁 We were collected from the ferry terminal by Lin, a local guide who we had been introduced to by the ORCA wildlife officers from the ferry. As we headed north Egyptian Geese were around the grass verges near the port, Cormorants were perched atop most of the lampposts, Common Buzzards were on roadside fences and we saw one lingering Spoonbill. Our destination was the reserve of Zwanenwater, where Lin is a volunteer. As we walked through the reserve the high pitched ‘seep’ of Redwings was a constant backdrop, Song Thrushes were flushing from every patch of cover, every bush seemed to hold several Robins and a Common Redstart flicked up from the path in front of us. We were then taken on a tour of the off-limits areas of the reserve by Fred, another of the volunteers.
Stonechats were seen along the track and there was an impressive spread of Grass of Parnassus.Despite the rain we managed an impressive haul of raptors; Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Osprey were all seen well but, most impressive of all, the real highlight for both of us was the views we had of Northern Goshawk. The birds quartering the dunes in search of rabbits and small birds came as a bit of a surprise, but not as much as the two birds that were perched on dead trees overhanging the lake. Fred explained that they sit there and watch the ducks, before swooping down and taking them off the water. We didn’t see that, but we did manage some distant images of one of the birds. All too soon we were on the ferry again and heading back to Northumberland, making plans to return to Holland in the spring.