11 June 2014, Jonelle gave birth to our wonderful son Julian. My
birding activities suddenly changed. Time seemed scarce and getting up
early to visit my local patch required planning. Carrying around
binoculars, tripod, telescope, camera, microphone and a baby proved
challenging. Keeping him comfortable and happy and looking for birds at
the same time, asked for exceptional skills.
When Julian was five months old, I decided to try my luck at a car
park. After all, birding can be done almost anywhere, so why not from
the comfort of my car, I thought. Although a car park of about 14 000
m² with no trees or bushes might seem unattractive to a
birdwatcher, this one looked promising to me. It was located right
along the coast at Wijk aan Zee, Noord-Holland, and offered nice views
over both sea and dunes. Literally, within three minutes I found a
Richard’s Pipit and a whole bunch of other great species soon
followed (even though Julian missed most of them). Between November
2014 and November 2015, I visited the car park 45 times. The time spent
ranged from half an hour to almost four hours per visit. The best bird
I saw was a Barred Warbler on 4-5 October 2015. A juvenile Great White
Pelican flying north on 29 August 2015 had possibly escaped from a zoo
in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland. Oh and the number of parked cars ranged
from 4 to 268.
As I was curious about what else might be skulking around, I placed a
trail camera in the dunes 500 m south of the car park. I chose a spot
where I had once found a Pallas’s Leaf Warbler. While
the camera on 30 December 2014, I flushed a Eurasian Woodcock
an interesting start of my new project. When I relocated the camera
another 300 m to the south four months later, because I was afraid that
curious children would discover it, a Ring Ouzel was showing in the
very next bush. By mid-June the vegetation on this new spot had grown a
lot taller than I had expected, overgrowing the camera completely.
Until then, it had captured images of 19 bird species, including Water
Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Woodcock and Bluethroat.
1 shows all 125 species I encountered from the car park (c 44% of all
species I have ever recorded in the whole IJmond region), including
some exciting ones like Olive-backed Pipit and Little Bunting during a
couple of visits since November 2015.