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Introduction

Birdwatchers have a funny – perhaps hilarious for the rest of the world – way of showing off. It is known as ‘gripping someone off’. The principle is simple. There is the ordinary: “What a pity the Great Knot took off, just minutes before you arrived. By the way, did you see that European Bee-eater at the car park?” And for those who are not so much into rarities: “While I was doing a waterbird census the other day, I witnessed a Northern Goshawk catching a Eurasian Teal. Then, out of nowhere, a White-tailed Eagle showed up, stole the goshawk’s prey and started eating it right in front of my camera. I particularly like the shot with the Red Kite in the background.” Obviously, I too have to play this game. Bragging, however, has not been the motive for writing this blog. It was more about reliving the experiences and recording them while I still remember. I apologize, if you nevertheless feel gripped off when reading on. 

Systematics
The systematics of bird species in this blog follow van den Berg (2018). Scientific names are given in Appendix 1; for taxa not listed here scientific names are given only the first time these taxa are mentioned.

References
The episodes in this blog are based on true stories and real people. Besides my memory and, more importantly, my notebooks, the main source of information has been Dutch Birding – the journal that has played such an important role in the way I look at birds. In this blog I often refer to articles from this journal.

Acknowledgements
I am grateful to Magnus Robb for offering generous suggestions for the improvement of this blog.

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Published 6 March 2018