Leach's Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
found inland @ Amstelveen, November the 25th, 2005

Photographs by Menno van Duijn and Swen Rijnbeek

Kapser tells...

On Saturday the 26th of November, 2005, I got a telephone call from my good friend Ben. He told me our mate Swen'd had a call from a friend about a small bird that had been found underneath a tree in the Thijssepark in Amstelveen, just south of Amsterdam, on the morning of Friday the 25th. That day, a very strong northwestern storm had blown over the west of the country. Swen had been over to take a look and was amazed to find a Leach's Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa!

Of course, this small fellow had to be brought back to its typical rough habitat: the sea. Plans were made for a meeting that evening, so interested people would have a chance to see the bird. At 7 pm, Swen and the finders of the bird were joined by Menno, Ben, Rob, Kasper and Rob's family to experience this rare happening at Rob's place in Uithoorn. We were told the bird had been given antibiotics by a local vet. After that, the lot took off for Katwijk aan Zee. Over there, a difficult good-bye was followed by throwing the bird into the air, after which it left us for the dark sea, hopefully not to return too soon.

Leach's Storm-Petrels are true ocean wanderers, living on the Atlantic and Great Oceans and adjoining seas. In The Netherlands, birds are seen every year, especially with strong northwestern winds. But, virtually all observations are of birds passing by over the sea, and inland records are very rare. Birds seen here probably breed on the east coast of Canada, though some might come from the small colonies on the islands off Scotland. One might speculate on the cause of this bird's blunder... However, it must be noted most Leach's Storm-petrels that end up being taken into care by people die within 24 hours. This bird surviving for over 1.5 days in the hands of people makes this case even more special.

In response to this observation, Ruud Vlek, archivist of the Vogelwerkgroep Amsterdam, published a list of the records of this species in the Amsterdam region. With his permission, it is shown below. Note that it is just in Dutch.

In de regio Amsterdam een zeer zeldzame stormgast; Voous (Ardea 36, 1948) vermeldt vier gevallen in de ZMA-collectie; sindsdien zijn er enige aanvullende gevallen. Totaal zijn er nu 14 gevallen (waarvan 6 in ZMA, 1 in Leiden), en w.o. twee zeker ship assisted. Slechts vier vogels hebben de regio ook weer levend verlaten.

september (6)

24 sept. 1928 m. gevonden bij Aalsmeer (door L. Sillevis; balg bevond zich in ZMA, echter nu in RMNH, cat. 42).

29 sept. 1946 1 ex. langs de Diemerzeedijk (Swaab)(Ardea 36:266).

25 september 1969 vondst van mannetje juv. ('just fledged') one day before arrival Amsterdam harbour o.b. mv. "Socrates" through Channel, enige tijd aan boord; ontvangen via Artis (in coll. ZMA nr. 32359).

19 september 1978 1 ex. boven het IJ t.h.v. het Centraal Station (Hoop & Koning; Vogeljaar 27:156).

een ex. op het IJ bij de pont achter het Centraal Station anno 1980 sine dato , = sept. 1978? (Boshuizen, med. Vlek).

16 sept. 1987 1 ex. A'dam Zuid-Oost (Fred Vogelzang; Gierzwaluw 25,4: 105).

oktober (4)

30 oct. 1935 m. juv. levend gevangen (door J. Hoogenstein) achter een houten reclamebord op het dak van een tramwagen onmiddellijk na aankomst in de tramremise aan de Kromme Mijdrechtstraat (Amsterdam-Zuid nabij de Vrijheidslaan) (tramlijn afkomstig van?)(in coll. ZMA nr. 2261)(Ardea 36:266).

5 oct. 1947 1 ex. langs de Diemerzeedijk (Swaab)(Ardea 36:266)

vondst van 1 platgereden ex. op 3 oktober 1963 Westerdoksdijk (H. van Duivenbooden; dagboek A.N. Swart).

31 oktober 1995 1 ex., verm. vrouwtje Amsterdam? sine loco (nog levend?) binnengebracht bij Artis door een anonieme mevrouw, later dood overgebracht naar ZMA (coll. ZMA nr. 38814; foto's van de balg door Fred Nordheim in VWGA-archief).

november (3)

26 nov. 1928, mannetje, levend gevangen langs de kaden van het Binnen-IJ, waar de vogel tussen geloste scheepslading werd aangetroffen; het werd naar Artis gebracht, waar het na korte tijd stierf (Ardea 18: 25 noemt als datum 27 nov.; Ardea 36: 266)(coll. ZMA nr. 2260).

19 november 1998, mannetje, gevonden in Wertheimpark, Amsterdam-centrum en levend bij Artis afgeleverd, overleden op 22 november (ZMA nr. 39273).

25 november 2005, na zware NW-storm op 25-11 1 ex. levend gevonden in park Amstelveen; later losgelaten op het strand van Katwijk (foto's Menno van Duijn).

december (1)

"In December 1900 zag ik een exemplaar bij een Amsterdamsch poelier (Eykman; Tijdschr. Ned. Dierk. Ver. 2e serie dl. VII (1901) p. 43).

Leach's Storm-Petrel © Menno van Duijn
What a beauty!!! © Menno van Duijn

Leach's Storm-Petrel © Menno van Duijn

SHITE, why a white rump! © Menno van Duijn

Leach's Storm-Petrel © Swen Rijnbeek

Dying to go back to the sea! © Swen Rijnbeek

Leach's Storm-Petrel © Swen Rijnbeek

Showing its all black back © Swen Rijnbeek

Leach's Storm-Petrel © Swen Rijnbeek

Four guys in love... © Swen Rijnbeek

Leach's Storm-Petrel © Menno van Duijn

Swen and Rob enjoying themselves © Menno van Duijn

Leach's Storm-Petrel © Menno van Duijn

Our tiny hero, just before its release at the coast of Katwijk © Menno van Duijn

Bring me back to the core, please...