On Saturday the 21st of September we went hiking in the Amsterdamse Waterleiding Duinen (AWD). We planned to stay there the whole day and to take regular breaks to enjoy the landscape, the peace & quite and the animals. When we entered the AWD we immediately saw a Great Cormorant. The bird was sitting on a pole near the waterside, it stretched it's wings and was warming up in the morning sun. We continued our hike through the eastern part of the AWD, a part of the park we didn't discover yet during our previous visits. There were lots of bushes with berries around, which gave it a nice red look. After about fifteen minutes we spotted the first deer of the day, it was a small Fallow Deer. Further along the hike we saw a couple of dozen of these deer, almost exclusively small herds of females with their young.
After a while we reached a spot where Red Foxes are to be seen regularly. When we arrived there were no foxes there so we decided to take a rest and try to see if we would get lucky. After a while the first fox presented itself and for about half an hour we saw two or three different foxes walking around, playing and sometimes even fighting with each other. It was very spectacular to be able to see these small predators up close. At some point one of the foxes even came very close to the small shelter where we were hiding out. We decided to give it some space while it examined our backpack. This small shelter overlooks a creek where the Kingfisher sometimes comes to fish. We briefly saw a Kingfisher before, but were still waiting for a chance to be able to observe it for a longer period of time. While we were looking at the foxes all of a sudden the Kingfisher appeared and for a brief moment we saw it flying across the creek. Although it was just for a few seconds it was the best sighting of a Kingfisher we had until that moment.
After our rest at the "fox spot" we continued on towards the dunes and the beach. After about 20 minutes we entered the dunes from where it is just another 10 minutes until we stood on the beach. We feel this diversity in landscapes is one of the most attractive parts of the AWD, besides the many animals one can see here. We hiked along the beach for a while until we reached a small pool of sea water where lots of different birds were walking around. One of these birds was the Bar-tailed Godwit, a bird we didn't see before. It resides on the Dutch shores during its migration period from the northern part of the world where it breeds to the western part of Africa where it stays during the winter period. Another bird we saw there was the Sanderling, another bird which stops in The Netherlands during its migration. Both of these Waders (or shorebirds) were walking near the edge of the water, picking up food from the sand. It was a lot of fun to see these nice birds picking up their food and walking along the beach between the larger Gulls that surrounded them.
After taking some rest on the beach we decided it was time to head back. After about 30 minutes we were back at the "fox spot" where we thought we would stay for about five minutes to see if by any chance the foxes would show themselves again. While we were sitting in the same shelter again the Kingfisher reappeared! We first saw it sitting flying across the creek a couple of times, each time hiding in the bushes after a cross. After a while it sat down on an exposed branch overlooking the water, seeing if it could catch some fish. Every now and then it dove under water, after a short while it came back up again with a small fish in its beak. We were able to observe the Kingfisher for about 40 minutes to 50 minutes, which was an amazing experience. We feel really lucky to have observed this bird from quite close over a longer period of time. We already had a great day, but this was truly the icing on the cake. After having spend so much extra time with the Kingfisher we hiked back to our car, along the way we got to see a lonely male Red Deer. We ended the day with dinner in a restaurant on the beach in Zandvoort which is near the AWD after having hiked 16,7 kilometers.
Bellow you'll find some pictures and a GPS track log:
View 2013-09-21 - Hiking @ AWD in a larger map