Monitoring  a fantastic job

Monitoring of bird populations is all about detecting changes in distribution, numbers and demography. The information gathered by numerous monitoring schemes around the world helps us to understand the condition the natural world is in (and thus where conservation is needed the most). In 2016 and 2017, a large part of my job was to map breeding birds at two sites along the coast of Noord-Holland, and to compare the results with data from previous years. The first site (c 1400 hectares) was located west of Haarlem and comprised both forested and open dunes. The second (c 1200 hectares) was more open and located right up the coast some 35 km further north near Schoorl. Altogether, I recorded over 17 000 sightings of 94 breeding species. The former site held relatively high numbers of species like Tawny Owl, Marsh Tit, Eurasian Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Eurasian Nuthatch, Common Nightingale, Eurasian Bullfinch and Hawfinch. The latter scored better with for example Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Coal Tit, European Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and Common Linnet. Both held good numbers of Woodlark, Common Redstart and Tree Pipit. Scarce species included Black-necked Grebe (1 pair), European Nightjar (12), European Honey Buzzard (1), Long-eared Owl (1), Common Kingfisher (2), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (4), Common Firecrest (10), Wood Warbler (6), Common Rosefinch (2) and Lesser Redpoll (4). Also noteworthy were 34 Spotted Flycatchers, just one Common Starling and no European Turtle Doves. Waking up in the middle of the night to search for nocturnal species was great fun, albeit a bit tiring by the end of the season. Stumbling upon up to three European Pine Martens Martes martes was just one of many wonderful bonuses of this fantastic job. 

European Nightjar intobirding.com

Seeing a European Nightjar is the coolest experience – every time!

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Published 6 March 2018