Menu Close

100 species: a flying start!

It is 2019, and that marks the start of my 100 bird species in Voorschoten project! This year I will attempt to spot one honderd different species of birds in one of the smallest townships of the Netherlands.

There have been sightings of over five hundred different species of birds in the Netherlands. About half of those species resides here year-round, or migrate here regularly during the summer or winter months. The other half consists of rare or vagrant birds. Seeing any large number of species requires a lot of knowledge and planning. On some of the most bird-rich places here, like the island of Texel, more than one hundred birds can be seen in a day during spring migration! This is, of course, exceptional. Some native species only live near the shores, or in dense forests. So finding a hundred different species on just twelve square kilometers is going to be quite a challenge!

It is however, not impossible. Over two hundred species of birds have been seen in Voorschoten in the last century. Of course, some of these were brief sightings (of rare species), but still; there have been plenty of species here, so seeing one hundred of them should be possible. Last year I already started preparing by scouting birds and locations, and as you will read, that has most certainly paid off!

The first two days of 2019 proved to be pretty productive. Some species did not come as a surprise. Year-round residents like coal tits, blackbirds and collared doves are usually easy to find. Nearby polders harbour greylag and greater white-fronted geese. A group of starlings were busy foraging in the high grass. My first surprise came when I was scanning a group of wigeons, and found a little grebe! This is only the second time I’ve seen one of the small grebes in Voorschoten, so that’s a good start of the year!

Goldcrest, blue tits and nuthatches make their appearance in a nearby park. A firecrest shows itself briefly, as do a group of hawfinches that fly by. Mixed groups of chaffinches and bramblings search the ground for food. Blackbirds and robins sing their songs and forage, busy as ever.

It also seemed to be a good day for raptor sightings; up to four buzzards, a sparrowhawk, a goshawk, and a kestrel. Especially the goshawk was a nice bonus. Getting pestered by nearby magpies and crows, it stayed put in the top of a tree. After a couple of minutes, it had enough, and flies off.

After two days of bird spotting, I’ve managed to spot 47 different species, with nearly forty species a day! The highlights were the little grebe, nuthatch, and hearing a raven calling. Some common species, like the wren, or black-backed gulls, are still absent from the list, so there is still a lot to see!

Total number of species: 47 / 100

New species: 47

  • Blackbird
  • Black-headed gull
  • Blue tit
  • Brambling
  • Buzzard
  • Carrion crow
  • Chaffinch
  • Coal tit
  • Collared dove
  • Coot
  • Cormorant
  • Dunnock
  • Firecrest
  • Gadwall
  • Goldcrest
  • Goldfinch
  • Goshawk
  • Great crested grebe
  • Great spotted woodpecker
  • Great white egret
  • Greater Canada goose
  • Greater white-fronted goose
  • Grey heron
  • Greylag goose
  • Hawfinch
  • Herring gull
  • House sparrow
  • Jackdaw
  • Jay
  • Kestrel
  • Little grebe
  • Long-tailed tit
  • Magpie
  • Mallard
  • Mew gull
  • Moorhen
  • Mute swan
  • Nuthatch
  • Raven
  • Robin
  • Short-toed treecreeper
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Starling
  • Tawny owl
  • Tufted duck
  • Wigeon
  • Wood pigeon