By Roger White
Published by the author, 2019
Pbk, 207pp; many colour photographs and maps
ISBN 978-0-9571695-3-1; £24.95
The Netherlands is very popular with birders, featuring an array of highly sought-after breeding birds that are rare or absent in the UK. Winter brings huge numbers of waders, ducks and geese, including small numbers of Lesser White-fronted Anser erythropus and Red-breasted Geese Branta ruficollis. Lying on the Northeast Atlantic flyway, the country is host to vast numbers of migrants passing through en route to and from wintering areas in southern Europe and Africa, bringing with them many rarities for which the country is becoming increasingly renowned, and adding yet another aspect to the birding possibilities here.
This attractive pocket-sized guide introduces 85 of the most important and productive birding sites throughout the country and provides visitors with up-to-date information on where to go and what to expect. Following a brief introduction, short chapters discuss the regions and provinces and a useful map shows the approximate locations of the birding sites within the country. A short species summary follows, briefly outlining species’ status within an essay-like format.
The remainder of this guide is dedicated to the individual sites. Each account begins with a detailed description of the area, typically highlighting the character of the site and important landscape features. This is followed by access details, parking arrangements, trails to follow and some of the more worthwhile places to pause and take in birds. For larger sites, such as the island of Texel, multiple birding locations are included within the main site; in Texel’s case this amounts to 23 sites, each with a short description, and most include GPS coordinates. A list of the species of particular interest follows, primarily those that are the most highly sought-after by visiting birders.
Coloured maps are included for the main sites and show the locations of the better birding spots and trails within them. These help to set the scene and provide useful information on distances and landmarks to look for. Colour photographs, taken mainly by the author, illustrate particular landscape features and some of the birds to be expected.
Following this, a series of photographs feature examples of the terrain and habitats to be encountered, and a number of suggested itineraries for short breaks from a single location, some being accessible using public transport from the larger conurbations. This guide concludes with a list of Dutch bird names, their English equivalents and the scientific names (on p. 195 note that Kleinst Waterhoen is in fact Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla, not Little Crake P. parva), and references include links to useful websites.
This guide has been thoughtfully designed to ensure that visitors can fully benefit from the author’s vast experience of the country. Whether you are visiting on a day trip, an extended weekend or taking a longer break, this guide provides an indispensable companion to the best birding sites and what you can expect to see at each.