These weeks, the entire bird world passes through the Netherlands.  What is there to see?

These weeks, the entire bird world passes through the Netherlands. What is there to see?

Four tips for the novice bird watcher

1. Leave travel to the birds. The coast and the Wadden Islands are popular places to see rare birds, but the whole of the Netherlands is actually particularly bird-friendly country, according to Vansteelant. “Even if you live in the heart of Amsterdam, you can experience the migration and seasons in Vondel or Sarphati Park.”

2. Go to the field. Sit on a bench in front of the bush for half an hour and listen to the birds you hear. When a bird shows itself at a certain moment, you automatically associate the sound with the identity of the bird.

3. Start from the beginning. Identifying rare birds is actually something worth pursuing later. First try to identify “normal” birds. What does the bird look like and what does its call sound like? There are also apps that can help with this.

4. When? Birds migrate through the Netherlands from the end of February until the end of June. Through the website, you can find out what types of birds will arrive in the Netherlands this week.

Climate change
The early arrival of spring also ensures the early arrival of migratory birds in the Netherlands. Vansteelant: Migratory birds must ensure that their young hatch at a time when food availability reaches its peak. Over the past two weeks, all the bushes and trees have turned into leaves, which also continues the life of insects. This is happening earlier, meaning that species such as the Barn Swallow are now coming to the Netherlands a month earlier than they were a few decades ago.

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Due to the increasingly mild winters in the Netherlands, more and more southern bird species are settling in our area. Like the Seti's warbler, a songbird that until ten years ago was found mainly in Spanish and French marshy areas. Vansteelant heard six sounds in one day along Griene Dyk.

The ongoing drought in Spain is driving more southern European waterbirds to the Netherlands, such as the black-winged stilt and black ibis. “Last weekend, two black ibises were seen near Griene Dyk, which may have arrived with a group of spoonbills.” The spoonbill is another species that has become increasingly popular in the Netherlands since the 1990s and breeds mainly in the Wadden Islands. Vansteelant: The return of the spoonbill is often claimed to be a conservation success, but the spoonbill has actually done it itself. They like to breed on land, and since they found a fertile breeding ground on the fox-free Wadden Islands, things moved quickly.

Although the ibis have already left, spoonbills can still be found at Griene Dyk. Vansteelant knows exactly where they are. Through his telescope, he sees how the spoonbill moves its broad beak sideways through the water, looking for something to eat. “The spoonbill is really at its best right now, with an impressive crest and yellow on the chest and shoulders, its courtship plumage for mating season.” Just as he was about to take a photo, a spoonbill flew up. Go to Schiermonnikoog, or any other part of the swamp. 'That's how things go. There is no purpose attached to it, bird watching is just an experience and experience. It is a mindful activity.

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