I've seen a few rubythroats since then in Asia, but never in the Western Palearctic. So recent news of the first-ever record for The Netherlands, a lingering male in gardens in the small Noordholland town of Hoogwoud, could not be ignored. Using Avios points and just £35, I booked return flights on British Airways from London City Airport to Amsterdam on 5th February, returning to Heathrow the following evening. With time at a premium, almost inevitably the outward flight was delayed for more than two hours, but by early afternoon I was parking the rental car in Hoogwoud full of anticipation at another overdue encounter with Luscinia calliope.
|Dutch birders and photographers focus on their target on a quiet housing estate in Hoogwoud.|
|Male Siberian Rubythroat at Hoogwoud - about the only decent image I managed on the first afternoon.|
|At times the rubythroat could be observed singing quietly, and has been heard mimicking Yellow-browed and|
Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers, instantly giving away genuinely Siberian rather than captive origins.
|This drake Bufflehead was a fine way to end an afternoon that began with Siberian Rubythroat.|