2019 is already over and it is time for an overview. It was an exceptionally good year for our Dutch list. We took it a bit easier with the annual list, but ended well over 300 species. The website has also been modernized and given a new look.

We start on January 1 with a Hume's Leaf Warbler that was close to Uden in Sint-Oedenrode. A good year species and one that was missing on my "January 1 list" which is now at 174 species. Other than that, there were only a few other birds in the area and with only 25 species a quiet New Year's day compared to previous years. The Spotted Nutcracker who had been in Wageningen for a while was done for the monthly list and of course it also counts for the annual list. The usual winter species such as Black Brant , Light-bellied Brent Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose and Bufflehead were done. On January 20 we were allowed to add an Olive-backed Pipit to the monthly list. A few days later we visited an Oriental Turtle Dove which was found in Limmen. January remained very calm and the year list stood at 85 species, this has been higher 😉.

Not much was worked on the annual list in February. The development of the new website took a lot of time and I wanted to be ready before we left for our New Zealand trip this month. Until February 11 we were back in the field and visited the Ferruginous Duck that appeared again in the Zuid Willemsvaart near Veghel. While we were standing there, a Little Bustard was reported in Hillegom. A good species that also counted for the monthly list. On February 15 we made a tour through the province of Zeeland for some other species such as Greater Flamingo , Black Guillemot and European Shag . On the way back to Uden, a Western Cattle Egret was reported about 1.5 kilometres from our house. Of course we also had to do this one. There was no further birdwatching in the Netherlands in February. On February 21 we left for New Zealand where we tried to score as many species as possible in 3 weeks. On March 15 we boarded the "Spirit of Enderby" for the Western Pacific Odyssey. A sea voyage that starts in New Zealand and sails along the east side of Australia and ends in Japan. Along the way Norfolk, New Caledonia, The Solomon Islands, Micronesia and various Japanese islands such as Chichi-jima, Haha-jima, Torishima Island and Miyake-jima Island are visited. A journey of more than 9600 kilometres. On April 15, we flew back from Tokyo to the Netherlands. A great experience and many new species have been added to our world list. Our year list remained at 117 species before we left.

After some rest days we picked up the thread again in the Netherlands. The weather forecast was perfect for a long weekend at the migration site "De Kamperhoek". On Friday, April 19, we were at the migration site early in the morning. The year species literally flew in and the nicest species of the day were Eurasian Dotterel , Black Kite , 3 Western Ospreys , White-tailed Eagle , Eurasian Penduline Tit and 57 Ring Ouzels!! Also, 21.320 Meadow Pipits were counted. Click here for an overview of the count. The next day we were there again with ideal conditions. Also now the Meadow Pipits flew very well and we counted 31.511. A Montagu's Harrier counted for the year list. The Ring Ouzels did well again with 49 copies. Click here for an overview of the count. The weather remained good and the next day again we were on the migration site with first light. It was also a great day with good species and numbers, 2 Western Ospreys , Red Kite , Black Kite , White-tailed Eagle , Rough-legged Buzzard , Eurasian Dotterel , Eurasian Wryneck , 12 Merlins , Great Grey Shrike , 14 Ring Ouzels , 2 Tawny Pipits and 26.016 Meadow Pipits !! Click here for an overview of the count. The next day also promised a lot and we were back on the migration site with first light. And again the birds flew very well with species such as Purple Heron , Pallid Harrier , 2 Red Kites , 3 Black Kites , White-tailed Eagle and 38.159 Meadow Pipits . Click here for an overview of the count. After this long weekend, the year list had risen to 171 species. On April 25 the first new specie for our Dutch list became a fact. A Calandra Lark was found near Goedereede and after a quick ride we could add him to our list. On April 26 a singing Ortolan Bunting was nicely photographed in the Maashorst. At the end of the month the year counter stood at 185 species.

On May 7, Teun van Kessel discovered a Richard's Pipit on our own migration site "De Brobbelbies Noord". A very difficult specie for the month of May and he counted for our monthly list. In addition to a number of year species, the Dutch Birding spring weekend did not produce much spectacular. A Great Skua still counted for our monthly list. On April 13 we visited a Broad-billed Sandpiper in the Liendense Waard near Batenburg. We saw 4 Broad-billed Sandpipers more this month, including 2 in the Strabrechtse Heide that also counted for our Brabant list. In the following 2 weeks the species kept coming in, Common Crane , Black-winged Stilt , Terek Sandpiper , Whiskered Tern , White-winged Tern , Red-footed Falcon , Iberian Chiffchaff and Little Crake . On April 25 we were early morning in the Hellendoorn neighbourhood, posting for a Cinereous Vulture who must have landed into an unknown location the previous evening. The Cinereous Vulture still counts for our Dutch list so it had to be done. We were looking for an elevated location for a good overview and it wasn't long before the Cinereous Vulture was found by some one else less than 2 kilometres from our position. After a short drive the bird was not too far and nice pictures could be made. On the way back to Uden, a Melodious Warbler was visited near Den Bosch. The month was not over and we saw Glaucous Gull , Black-crowned Night Heron , Common Rosefinch and Baillon's Crake . A Pied Crow was visited on May 30 in Leen in the province of Groningen. If the Pied Crow will be accepted then this is a new species for the Netherlands and of course for our list. For the time being we will count it for a while and wait to see what the CDNA will do with it. The month of May was great for our annual list that had risen to 240 species.

The month of June was kicked off on the fifth with a Pygmy Cormorant in the Keent. A new Dutch specie for Maartje and a new Brabant specie for me. Earlier in the morning of the fifth we saw a Griffon Vulture near Sint Anthonis, also nice and close to home. On June 14 a Woodchat Shrike was found in Oostkapelle. We visited the bird and it was nicely photographed. The following day was devoted entirely to searching for an Eurasian Hoopoe in Reusel. The Eurasian Hoopoe still counts for our monthly list and we were very happy when we found the bird at the end of the day. A tour through the province of Limburg yielded European Bee-Eater , Eurasian Treecreeper and Corn Bunting , the Corn Bunting also counted for the monthly list. A Cirl Bunting was discovered near Nederweert on June 21. This may well be the bird of last year but we were happy to see it. A Red-breasted Flycatcher was visited on the Hoge Veluwe on April 24. A successful visit to a Short-toed Snake Eagle near the migration site "De Hamert" was roughly interrupted by the report of a Grey-headed Lapwing in Workumermeer. We were still on the migration site during the report and that meant that we first had to walk half an hour to get back to the car. After that a long nervous ride to Workumermeer started, which did not go without obstacles. Fortunately, everything worked out well and we could also add the first Grey-headed Lapwing of the Netherlands to our Dutch list. June was not over yet and on the 30th we saw a Zitting Cisticola in Beugen, again nice and close to home. The counter now stood at 259 year species.

The month of July was very quiet. We started again on July 14 with our counts on the "Brobbelbies Noord" but also on the migration site not much happened this month. The only new year species was a Red Crossbill, so the counter stood at 260 year species.

Fortunately, more happened in August and we kicked off the month with a Black Stork on the migration site. On August 11 an American Golden Plover was visited in Polsbroekerdam, which also counted for the monthly list. On August 15 we saw a Stilt Sandpiper in the Ronde Venen, which also counted for the monthly list. On August 15 a real Western Sandpiper was found in Westhoek (Friesland). The identification of the bird was made positive by photos in the evening and we hoped that the bird would still be there the next day. Early in the morning the next day we left for Westhoek where there are thousands of wading birds at this time of the year. The expectations were honestly not too high and the adrenaline level rose to great heights when the Western Sandpiper was reported (still) en route. The accelerator pedal was pressed a lot deeper and half an hour later we also saw the Western Sandpiper beautifully through the telescope. Unfortunately too far for a photo, but that didn't spoil the fun for this new Dutch species. The month of August also yielded species such as Gray Red-necked Phalarope , Gull-billed Tern and Turkestan Shrike . At the end of the month the counter stood at 269 species.

September started off nicely with a Lesser Grey Shrike on the first in the province of Zeeland, which also counted for the monthly list. A day with a northwest wind at Westkapelle provided Black-legged Kittiwake , Parasitic Jaeger , Long-tailed Jaeger , Leach's Storm Petrel and Manx Shearwater . On September 24 we saw a Rustic Bunting in Noordwijkerhout that still counted for the Dutch list of Maartje. The migration site yielded Red-throated Pipit and Lapland Longspur . The month was relatively calm and the year counter stood at 278 species.

The month of October became one that will stay with us for a long time. On October 2, I saw a Red Phalarope fly by at Westkapelle, which unfortunately was missed by Maartje. A Sooty Shearwater was seen by both. The Dutch Birding Autumn Weekend on Texel produced a Blue-winged Teal for the monthly and annual lists. In addition, Long-tailed Duck , Yellow-browed Warbler , Rosy Starling and Snow Bunting were also added to the annual list. On October 12 a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler was visited in Zeebrugge (Belgium), which still counts for our world list. While we are there, a Myrtle Warbler is reported via DBalerts who has been caught at a ring station on Schiermonnikoog. So we knew where to go the next day. We drove back to Uden and received a report along the way from a Red-eyed Vireo that was found near the location of the Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler . We decided not to drive back. Around Antwerp another report came in, now from a Brown Shrike that was found in the Keent. Close to home and a hard new Brabant specie. Fortunately, the Brown Shrike remained steady and we were able to credit it in the setting sun. While we were standing at the Brown Shrike , a photo came through in an app group of an Olivaceous Warbler that had been photographed by the resident of a garden in Wijde Wormer. The determination was not yet complete, but it looked good for an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler . A bit of a dilemma what to do the next day. We were unable to arrange an early water taxi to Schiermonnikoog. We decide to take the first ferry that leaves at half past nine. The Olivaceous Warbler was reported during the ride to Lauwersoog. However, we stick to our plan to try the Myrtle Warbler first. Once on the island there was no sign of the Myrtle Warbler 😢. It took at least 45 minutes before the bird was reported via the "DBalerts info app". The Myrtle Warbler was about 600 meters away and a sprint was started. Arriving at the spot, the bird appeared to have disappeared again. A little further away he was found again and now we had a good view of the bird (although at a distance). This pattern was repeated several times. Each time the Myrtle Warbler flew further to be seen again unfortunately without a photo opportunity. We now turned our attention to the Olivaceous Warbler and a water taxi was arranged that would take us to the mainland at 12.15 pm. The crossing by water taxi took a little longer than fifteen minutes. We then had to drive 200 kilometres to the Olivaceous Warbler in Wijde Wormer. During the ride reports kept coming that the bird was steady in sight. Around 2.40 pm we arrived in Wijde Wormer and the Olivaceous Warbler was not too far away and a few nice pictures could still be made. By means of the photos that were made, it soon became clear that this could be an Upcher's Warbler and not a Eastern Olivaceous Warbler . Both new to the Netherlands, but a Upcher's Warbler is extremely rare in Europe. Collected DNA material later confirmed that this was indeed a Upcher's Warbler . 2 new species for our Dutch list in 1 day, that will not happen again soon. However, the spectacle was not yet over in October. On the 20th we saw a Dartford Warbler on the Maasvlakte. On the 25th we went looking for an American Wigeon in Harlingen. While we drove into Harlingen a Dusky Thrush is reported on Vlieland. This one still counts for Maartje's list and the Dusky Thrush that I saw earlier, I had only seen very briefly. So we had to take the next ferry to Vlieland. We still had some time for the American Wigeon but we couldn't find it. Fortunately we had the fast boat but despite this time saving we only had a little more than an hour of search time. However, it became a piece of cake, the Dusky Thrush quickly showed itself very nicely. 2 days later we were startled by a report of a White-throated Sparrow that was found on the Maasvlakte. We drove straight to it and unfortunately only I got a brief impression of the bird. This was made up the next day. Now Maartje also got to see the White-throated Sparrow that still counts for our Dutch list. The month ended with a Hooded Crow in Rosmalen. At the end of the month the year counter stood at 293 species.

November started with a Jack Snipe during an unsuccessful search for the Blue-winged Teal on Texel. On November 3 a Black-winged Kite was discovered in the Keent. The second for this location. On November 27 a Blyth's Reed Warbler was visited on Texel for the monthly list. A Crested Lark in Apeldoorn was visited for the annual list on November 29. The year counter now stood at 298 species.

Normally we reach the 300 species in the month of August or September. This was clearly different now and there was still a lot of birding to be done in December to secure the 300 target. On December 1 a round was made to add Red-breasted Goose , Tundra Swan and Red-crested Pochard . This brought the list to 301 species, but a buffer had to be built if any species are not accepted. On December 3, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Black-throated Loon and 8 Short-eared Owls were added to the list. A Great White Pelican that was discovered near Halfweg in the province of Overijssel had to be done for the monthly list and also counted for the annual list. The Iceland Gull of Amsterdam was visited on December 17. On December 22, a Little Auk was credited who was sitting on the Veerse Meer. The same day we also did a European Serin in Rhenen. On December 23 birding Netherlands was shaken up by the report of a real LITTLE CURLEW !! The Little Curlew was reported in the point of Noord-Holland and we couldn't make it that day before dark. It became a nervous night with little sleep and early in the morning we drove to the spot where he was last seen yesterday. It was still dark when we arrived. It also started to rain almost immediately. Shortly after it became light the bird was seen in a flying group of Eurasian Curlews . So he was still there. It was a measly cold day and it took up till 4 o’clock for us to see the Little Curlew . What a stunner to end the year. On December 28 we drove back for any photo opportunities. We searched until noon but were unable to find the Little Curlew . We drove on to Friesland for a few more year species. Twite , Glossy Ibis and Bohemian Waxwing were quickly found there without too much trouble. On December 29, a Falcated Duck (not wearing any rings) was visited in Voorst, which also counts for the monthly list. It was beautiful winter weather and we decided to go to the Little Curlew again. Along the way the bird was reported and we were able to join the group birders on arrival. He was now beautifully in the sunshine and with the telescope to view beautifully, unfortunately too far for a photo. The day wasn't over yet and we drove on to a reported Great Bustard near Brielle. The Great Bustard still counts for our Dutch list, but the bird wore a ring and a transmitter. Later it turned out that he came from a reintroduction project from Germany and that it may not be countable. We have to wait for the real status but for now we do not include it for our list. The day was not over yet. At Neeltje Jans a Common Loon was visited who also counts for our year list. This has increased the annual list to 315 species.

It has become a very good year for the Dutch list. I managed to add no less than 9 new species. Maartje even had 12 new species! This is the thirteenth year in a row that I score over 300 species. Here is an overview of the new species for the Dutch list:

Toy

  1. Calandra Lark
  2. Cinereous Vulture (still to be accepted)
  3. Pied Crow (still to be accepted)
  4. Grey-headed Lapwing (still to be accepted)
  5. Western Sandpiper
  6. Myrtle Warbler
  7. Upcher's Warbler (still to be accepted)
  8. White-throated Sparrow (still to be accepted)
  9. Little Curlew (still to be accepted)

Maartje

  1. Calandra Lark
  2. Cinereous Vulture (still to be accepted)
  3. Pied Crow (still to be accepted)
  4. Pygmy Cormorant
  5. Grey-headed Lapwing (still to be accepted)
  6. Western Sandpiper
  7. Rustic Bunting
  8. Myrtle Warbler
  9. Upcher's Warbler (still to be accepted)
  10. Dusky Thrush (still to be accepted)
  11. White-throated Sparrow (still to be accepted)
  12. Little Curlew (still to be accepted)

Here is an overview of the lists that we keep

Toy

  • Life list Netherlands 457 species
  • Life list World 3737 species
  • Total eternal monthly list 3492
  • Year list 2019 315 species

Maartje

  • Life list Netherlands 448 species
  • Life list World 4463 species
  • Total eternal monthly list 3448
  • Year list 2019 314 species

In 2020 we will again try to reach the 300 species in the Netherlands. The eternal monthly list will go beyond the magic limit of 3500. The trip abroad goes to West Papua.