Eurasian Pygmy Owl - Glaucidium passerinum

On a Sunday afternoon on 10 February 2008, Joey Kuipers and his father Coen Kuipers discovered a Eurasian Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum in the Leenderbos, a patch of forest south of Valkenswaard in the province of Noord-Brabant (southern part of the Netherlands). They put details plus photographs of this owl on the internet-site, and it was quickly noted by the Dutch birding community. Several birders living in a radius of c 100 km were able to get there before dark. The next day, Monday 11 February, the bird was still present and could be well observed by c 200 birders. The next day, however, it was gone. This disappearance caused many heated debates whether the bird had disappeared by disturbance or just moved on by itself. I was lucky enough to be there on Monday at first light and had wonderful views of this very cute little bird.

11 February 2008, Valkenswaard NB; © Cor Hopman.

11 February 2008, Valkenswaard NB; © Wil Leurs/Agami.

11 February 2008, Valkenswaard NB; © Roy de Haas/Agami.

It was accepted as the third record for the Netherlands (cf Dutch Birding 30: 67-73, 2008); previous records were on 4 October 2002 at Sumarreheide, Friesland (picked up alive an released later) and on 10 December 2005 at Bakkeveen, Friesland. The bird at Bakkeveen attracted a crowd of c 300 birders the next day, but it was not found, making this the biggest dip in birding history!

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