Long-tailed Jaeger adrenaline shot

On 23 June 2020, I conducted a breeding bird survey at the Nijenburg Estate between Alkmaar and Heiloo. I started my walk at 05:00, heading for a small reed bed where I had found a Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus, a Savis Warbler Locustella luscinioides, a Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris and a Water Rail Rallus aquaticus on 2 June (click here for a sound-recording I made). It was turning into a lovely, calm and sunny morning, when I reached the furthest point of my route about an hour later. Here I noted some gulls and other birds on a mowed field. I scanned the field with my binoculars and then, all of a sudden, a spectacular bird zoomed by. Was it some kind of falcon!?... My adrenaline soared, I grabbed my camera, lost view of the bird... and panicked! Fortunately, within a minute the bird reappeared and I managed to get a few distant record shots of it.

Even though the photos plainly showed an adult Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus, I just could not believe it. A bird this beautiful turning up out of the blue, how fantastic is that!? To my delight and that of several visiting birders, it stayed in the area until about 10:30. I had a smile on my face the whole time!

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Published 24 June 2020