Waterbird survey surprise

Last Thursday (17 January 2019), I spent a day counting waterbirds in the port of Rotterdam. The area is known as Europoort and is one of the worlds busiest ports. Being dominated by industry (petrochemical, iron and coal) and container terminals, it is not a place associated with large numbers of waterbirds. Nevertheless, colleagues of mine come here almost every month to do a survey. 

It was only the first time that I visited Europoort for a waterbird survey. The weather was not great, with a cold north-west wind and the occasional shower, but most of the time the visibility was good. By the end of the day I had seen over 6000 waterbirds of 29 different species. Most common were European Herring Gull Larus argentatus, Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope, Gadwall M strepera, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula and Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus. On my last stop of the day, I even added a new species to my self-found list!

Eurasian Wigeons dealing with traffic at the Nieuwe Waterweg.

Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo, European Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls L marinus resting between Hoek van Holland and  Maasvlakte.

Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla giving great views.

Common Murre Uria aalge on its way back to sea.

Hartelhaven and Mississippihaven holding a few Red-breasted Mergansers Mergus serrator and a Common Seal Phoca vitulina.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis and Gadwall side by side.

Ducks gathering at a food processing plant at Dintelhaven.

Good numbers of Tufted Ducks and Common Pochards A ferina to look through...

...and then all of a sudden I saw this beauty!

A drake Ring-necked Duck A collaris! If accepted, it will be the 44th record for the Netherlands.

Just before dark it did some wing-stretching.

Then it was time to call it a day.

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Published 23 January 2019