My 10 Best Finds of 2021

A new year has begun, and once more I feel like birding. To appreciate the beauty of the birds, the moments of surprise and the adrenaline when seeing something special.

Below, I present my Top 10 of best self-found birds in the Netherlands in 2021.

10. Long-tailed Duck
n the morning of 2 March, I spotted a Long-tailed Duck flying north over the sea from my local patch at Noordwijk. I lost sight of it while trying to take a photograph of it... But it was an exciting moment anyway!

9. Snow Bunting
A waterbird survey at Amsterdam-IJburg on 15 February produced five Snow Buntings 
a nice species to encounter so close to the city. I observed them on a recently built artificial island (Strandeiland), where in a few years from now thousands of people will live.

8. Atlantic Great Cormorant
On 22-23 January, I identified at least two Atlantic Great Cormorants at IJmuiden. This subspecies (nominate carbo) is much rarer than the ubiquitous sinensis

7. Snow Goose
On 21 January, I found three Snow Geese while counting waterbirds from a boat on the Afgedamde Maas. They most likely belonged to a local feral population, but I enjoyed watching them nonetheless.  

6. Shorelark
On 2 January, I discovered c 30 Shorelarks along the Wadden Sea shore near Uithuizen
not only a local and scarce species, but also a very pretty one!

5. White-tailed Eagle
A White-tailed Eagle unexpectedly flying over the highway at the end of a day's birding... So cool! I saw this bird in Midden-Groningen on 2 January.

4. Caspian Gull
On 31 January, I briefly observed a 2cy Caspian Gull from our house in Hoofddorp. It was a new species on the house list.

During a cold spell in February, I was eager to find a Jack Snipe on my local patch at Noordwijk. I succeeded on the 10th and was treated to great views.

On 2 January, a flock of c 120 Twites made my day. The birds were staying along the Wadden Sea shore near Uithuizen. Although this is a well-known site for the species, I was delighted to see them.

On 16 March, I found a hybrid Ferruginous Duck x Common Pochard near Amsterdam. As the bird swam around for ages with its bill tucked into its back, it took a while before I was sure about its identity. Perhaps not 'the real deal', but certainly a rare and interesting bird!

hybrid Ferruginous Duck x Common Pochard

These are my personal favourites, but there are, of course, many more sightings to choose from. And the year ain't over yet!