Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Three Amigos in Holland!

The Pride of Hull

Cruising down the Humber Estuary, 
the iconic bridge is in the background.

I caught the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam on the 8th June. The ship was pretty full, but it was an easy crossing & I had a cabin all to myself, which happens very rarely!

Queuing for immigration in the rain!

Dawn in Rotterdam didn't look too promising. It was pouring down with rain! It took ages to get through immigration but then the rain eased up & I was cycling on one of Holland's many excellent cycling tracks. I cycled the 30+ kilometers to Den Hague very quickly through nice countryside & then called the boys to find Maarten's house. 

The start of it all!

Rob had arrived the previous day & they had both hired bikes for our little trip. However, the dirty scoundrels had a trick up their sleeves! They had hired electrically assisted bikes to motor along without much effort!

Looking towards Den Hague

This is the cycling track heading north 
along the coast.

Lots of great coastal scenery.

Amazingly, there are cafes along the cycle tracks!

Thanks Rob!

A cricket match in Holland!

Herring Gull


A very common species throughout Holland.

The 9th June, saw us cycling north along the coast, through wonderful sand dune heath land & woodland. We cycled through Noordwijk & Zandvoort, stopping at the latter place for pickled herrings! The national park just south of Ijmuiden was particularly attractive. And we saw cricket being played in Sanpoort! Lots of Common Nightingales were singing along our route. 

One of several river crossings.

Great Cormorants breeding.

Locals along the cycling track!

Holland in the summer.

We covered 60+ kilometers on the first day.

We then crossed the river by pontoon & the last 15 kilometers to Egmond was really beautiful. This was to be our stop for the night in a recreational park, which turned out to have a nice restaurant & bar!

Cycling tracks are well marked.

One of the many excellent cafes.
I saw a male Goshawk here!

Eurasian Spoonbill

Common Terns were breeding
 in large numbers here.

Black headed Gull

Avocets were breeding in good numbers.


Common Redshank

How very wise!

We continued northwards on the 10th June. Yet again both the weather & scenery were great! We came across several man made wetlands on which there were many breeding terns & Avocets.

Hattie & Maarten

A bit of sightseeing at the end of the day!

It is still light at 10.40 pm!

In the afternoon, the weather deteriorated & by the time we arrived at Hattie's house in Den Helder it was blowing a gale & quite cold. She proved to be a very welcoming hostess & we all enjoyed a nice meal at a local restaurant & a bit of sightseeing around the town.

The ferry is a large one.

My first view of Texel.

Both types of woodland were found together.

Yet another excellent cycling/walking cafe!

It is the 11th June & I was excited! I am going to Texel Island! However, the weather was pretty bad with gale force winds. We caught the ferry anyway & did a short tour of the southern bit of the island. But with sand blowing everywhere & cycling tough it wasn't a great experience. We did see a cross section of the habitats found here & there was some nice woodland. We heard & briefly saw several parties of Crossbill flying over, but because of the conditions birding was tough & we saw little. By mid afternoon we caught the ferry back to Den Helder & changed our plans a little.

The start of the dyke road.

Hundreds of Shelduck.

Oystercatcher were breeding in good numbers
 here as well.

Northern Lapwing

Still a common breeding bird here.

The area we explored over the next two days.

Mike's house.

Barn Swallow

Male Eurasian Blackbird


House Sparrow.

The weather was still pretty bad the next morning, so Hattie drove us, minus our bikes to Stevinsiuzen, which is the start of the dyke road. Maarten had arranged for us to spend a couple of days with his friend Mike who lives at Sneek. This area is surrounded by marshlands & waterways & Mike has a boat! That evening we all went out in the village for a meal.

The typical Dutch landscape!

Marsh Harrier

Common Buzzard & Marsh Harrier

Common Buzzard


Great crested Grebe

Barnacle Goose

Canada Goose

Grey Lag Goose

White fronted Goose

Tufted Duck

Common Tern

Black tailed Godwit


On 13th June the weather was amazing! No wind & blue skies! So we were up early & off we went in the boat.

Sedge Warbler


Reed Bunting

Rob & I had to stay in a nearby bed & breakfast, which turned out to be a lovely spot, complete with an active White Stork nest!

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