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A windy visit to the South Pier of IJmuiden

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2006 at 10:10 pm CET

On Saturday we drove to IJmuiden (25 km west of Amsterdam) and walked down the South Pier, which stretches 3 km into the North Sea. It was very windy and cold, but the pier was filled with dozens of fishers and birders, and we saw some new birds ourselves.

Bird's eye view of IJmuiden

We had only been to IJmuiden twice, in 1999 and 2002 when we took the DFDS Seaways ferry here to Newcastle upon Tyne. You can see the docks of DFDS on the photo above, and the ferries pass through the two piers on their way to England.

IJmuidenThis day we decided to come here after seeing reports on of Little Auks at this location. And we were very lucky, because we actually did see one Auk. It was very cute, and a half-dozen enthusiastic birders with HUGE camera lenses were stalking the Auk as it bobbed around on the waves in front of them:

Birders pointing their cameras at a Little Alk

Here are three pictures of the Little Auk (Latin: Alle Alle; Dutch: Kleine Alk).

Little Alk

We walked for about two hours from the parking area to the end of the pier.IJmuiden

Besides the Little Auk we also saw many Purple Sandpiper, a Guillemot, which looked very much like Auk but with a longer beak, an Eider, and several Ruddy Turnstone. There had also been sightings of seals the days before, but unfortunately we didn’t see any.


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