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100 species: reed, all about it

Time for another update on my local 100 bird species challenge! There were a lot of interesting birds to see (and hear) the last two weeks. In this week’s vlog, I search for a kingfisher, and stumble on quite a surprise. Check the video here [in Dutch]:

Overall the last weeks were full of surprises. There were some species I was certain I was going to see sometime this year, but I did not expect them in January! A group of meadow pipits were flying over an abandoned piece of grassland; my guess was that I might pick them up during the migration season and the summer. Another surprise was seeing a stork, since most birds migrate south for the winter.

The biggest surprise, however, came from a much smaller bird. During one of my cycling routes past some reed beds, I noticed a small brown bird sitting on top of a reed stem. I quickly got off my bike, got my camera out, and started shooting through the reeds. Once I got closer and got some shots, my suspicion as to what I was looking at, was confirmed: a reed bunting!

This bunting is a common sight in The Netherlands, but is rarely reported within the township of Voorschoten. I suspected this bird to be present here, because Voorschoten has one or two big reed beds that could harbor species like this. This bird wasn’t an coincidence either. A couple of days later, I found another reed bunting on the other side of the township; this time, a male bird in winter plumage!

Another surprise was the amount and diversity of geese flying over Voorschoten. Besides the common greylag geese and the greater white-fronted geese, groups of pink-footed geese, and tundra bean geese flew over. All these species of geese can be confused for one another, so properly identifying geese flying over was quite a challenge, but worth the trouble! The pink-footed goose are relatively small and have pink feet; contrary to the orange feet of bean geese, greylag geese and greater white-fronted gees. Tundra bean geese are slightly bigger, and have darker wings than pink-footed geese. Luckily some of these geese came flying by pretty close, so I was able to get some nice shots of them.

Besides the meadow pipits, reed buntings and all sorts of geese, I managed to see some more species for the first time this year. A group of marsh tits were actively foraging in the bare trees. Greenfinches used the sunlight to warm up after a heavy night of frost. And groups of redwings were scattered across the town, trying to find something to feed on. I also spotted the first lapwings returning to the polders.

There is still a lot to see, and a lot is still unseen, fortunately! I still have to get a good look at some permanent residents like the kingfisher, and the green woodpecker. Last days’ frost might just force some rarely seen birds to expose themselves a little more. Plenty of reason to go outside and find me some birds!

Total number of species: 66 / 100

Number of new species: 12

  • Greenfinch
  • Lapwing
  • Marsh tit
  • Meadow pipit
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Pink-footed goose
  • Redwing
  • Reed bunting
  • Stork
  • Tundra bean goose
  • Water rail
  • Woodcock