Cinereous Vulture - Aegypius monachus

On Thursday 13 July 2000 the rumour was spread a Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus was seen near Ferwerd, Friesland. Several birders from Groningen were going to take a look and in the late evening they confirmed there was really a Cinereous Vulture present feeding on dead sheep. The following days this bird was still present and although seen from far distance, this huge bird was very spectacular. It showed no wing markings or coloured rings, so it could very well be a genuine wild bird. The wings seemed to show no difference in generations, so it was possibly a second-calender year bird.

Later it became known the bird was present at Ferwerd from 4 or 5 July and it was probably seen earlier along the coast of the Waddenzee in Groningen. This bird was well covered by Dutch television and all the newspapers. It stayed in the Netherlands till at least 18 August. It stayed at Ferwerd till 24 July. Then it traveled to the mainland of the province Noord-Holland (25-30 July), next to the island Texel (30 July - 4 August). Then it traveled to Vlieland (5 August), Terschelling (5-9 August) and Ameland (9 August), back to Texel (12 August) again along the coast of Noord-Holland (12 August) and finally Zuid-Holland (13-18 August). The last confirmed date was 18 August when it was seen flying in northwestern direction from the Maasvlakte near Rotterdam.

From a video still, 14 july 2000, Ferwerd Fr; © Marc Plomp.

14 july 2000, Ferwerd Fr; © Arnoud van den Berg.

It was accepted as a second- or third-calendar year bird and the second record for the Netherlands (cf Dutch Birding 26 (2): 87-95, 2004). The first record was a female shot dead on October 12th 1948 at Beneden Leeuwen, Gelderland (cf Dutch Birding 18 (4): 166 and 170, 1996 and Ardea 43: 175-175, 1955).

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