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100 species: it’s only February…

When it comes to birding, February is usually a bit of a strange month. Most wintering birds are leaving the Netherlands, or have already left; most wintering geese have left the polders. Many of the summer migrants start arriving in March, but there is always a change of spotting some early migratory birds. Groups of lapwings have already started to settle in the polders, and the first groups of oystercatchers are also back again.

Last week, I speculated on some migratory birds that might fly over Voorschoten this spring. One of my predictions seemed to be accurate already, since I spotted Voorschoten’s first spoonbill of this year. In other parts of the country, the first black-tailed godwits and redshanks are starting to fill the grasslands. Hopefully, some of these birds will pay a nice visit to one of the local polders!

Some species might have been here year-round, but have a more summery feel to them. Like the stork, the meadow pipits; species I have already seen this year, but showed themselves nicely last week in the warm morning light.

While I was looking for some of these summering birds, I stumbled upon a bunch of small, interesting birds, feeding in the tree tops with a group of siskins. More about this encounter in my vlog [Dutch only].

Accurately identifying redpolls can be a tricky business. There is still some debate around the taxonomy of (lesser) redpolls, but for now, my guess is that it were two lesser redpolls. The common redpoll only visits the Netherlands during the winter months, while the lesser redpoll is a year-round resident (all be it in small numbers).

Het juist determineren van barmsijzen is helaas soms een lastige toestand. De grote en kleine barmsijs worden in Nederland als twee aparte soorten gezien, en het is nog even afwachten om welke van de twee soorten het hier precies ging. Het is waarschijnlijker dat het kleine barmsijzen zijn; die zijn het gehele jaar aanwezig, en de meeste grote barmsijzen zijn in februari al weer weggetrokken naar het noorden. Voor nu dus even een waarneming met een kanttekening, wordt hopelijk vervolgd. A sighting with a side note for now.

Still, little reason to complain; it is only February, and I’m on three-quarters of my challenge!

Total number of species : 75 / 100

New number of species: 4

  • Lesser black-backed gull
  • (Lesser) redpoll
  • Oystercatcher
  • Spoonbill