Birding Netherlands Schiphol Layover - guide Menno van Duijn

It’s -4 degrees, windy and dark as I pick up Stephane at 7:15 from Schiphol airport for an Airport Layover Tour of 6 hours. We head south for our first stop near Leidschendam. With the first light we walk to the lake where thousands of Greylag-, Greater White-fronted-, Canada- and Barnacle Geese stayed for the night. On the small island we see some Great Egrets, Grey Herons and a Glossy Ibis waking up. A dozen Little Grebes hide under the overhanging branches.

As we scan the Wigeons, Pintails, Gadwall and Tufted Duck we also spot a pair of Goldeneyes and Common Pochards. We turn around and a Water Rails runs over the path, overhead Blue and Great Tits look for insects in the top of the trees and a Wren scans the lower levels for something to eat. In the distance we hear the call of a Water Pipit.

We scan the smaller lake that’s frozen for most of the part where the ice skaters make their round. A Northern Goshawks passes by making the hundreds of Curlews alarming. On the open water Northern Shovelers are foraging with some Mute Swans, here two adult Bewick's Swans are very alert by the increasing number of ice skaters and quickly take of.

We stop over to photograph old windmills in the winter setting and after a minute a White Stock flies over. Here we also add Green-, Gold- and Chaffinch to the list and some garden birds like Blackbird, Robin, Collared Dove, Stock- and Wood Pigeon.

Near Rotterdam a Red-breasted Goose is present but despite scanning the flocks of thousands Greater White-fronted and Barnacle Geese we can’t locate the bird. But we are very happy with the 66 Pink-footed Geese. Probably due to the cold and the activity at the farm the Little Owls doesn’t show itself. A pair of Long-tailed Tits help easing this dip. In the area we spot several Common Buzzards and Kestrels.

After missing the Little Owls we try two roosting sites for Tawny Owls but the birds are probably trying to stay warm in the tree holes. A walk through the park results in Jay, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Nuthatch and many Ring-necked Parakeets.

As we have to be back at the airport at 13:30 we starting to head north, taking the tourist route. In a smaller flock of White-fronted- and Greylag Geese we spot two Tundra Bean Goose. In the streams some Teal are looking for food together with Moorhens, Coots and Grey Herons.

At the last stop we directly see a flock of 15 Tree Sparrows and a dozen Chaffinches. After a few minutes we find the Little Buntings and a scan over the field before we step into the car gives us a view of a pair of Stonechats.

We are exactly on schedule as we start the car at 13:00 to drive to Schiphol where we arrive 20 minutes later. The checklist shows 67 species of birds of which Stephane has seen 61 according his E-bird App. “That are more species of birds I’ve seen on a full day birding in Ghana where I was the days before”.

UK NL Latin
Little Grebe Dodaars Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great Crested Grebe Fuut Podiceps cristatus
Great Cormorant Aalscholver Phalacrocorax carbo
Grey Heron Blauwe Reiger Ardea cinerea
Great Egret Grote Zilverreiger Ardea alba
White Stork Ooievaar Ciconia ciconia
Glossy Ibis Zwarte Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Mute Swan Knobbelzwaan Cygnus olor
Bewick's Swan Kleine Zwaan Cygnus bewickii
Tundra Bean Goose Toendrarietgans Anser rossicus
Pink-footed Goose Kleine Rietgans Anser brachyrhynchus
White-fronted Goose Kolgans Anser albifrons
Greylag Goose Grauwe Gans Anser anser
Canada Goose Canadese Gans Branta canadensis
Barnacle Goose Brandgans Branta leucopsis
Shelduck Bergeend Tadorna tadorna
Wigeon Smient Anas penelope
Gadwall Krakeend Anas strepera
Teal Wintertaling Anas crecca
Mallard Wilde Eend Anas platyrhynchos
Northern Pintail Pijlstaart Anas acuta
Shoveler Slobeend Anas clypeata
Common Pochard Tafeleend Aythya ferina
Tufted Duck Kuifeend Aythya fuligula
Goldeneye Brilduiker Bucephala clangula
Northern Goshawk Havik Accipiter gentilis
Buzzard Buizerd Buteo buteo
Kestrel Torenvalk Falco tinnunculus
Water Rail Waterral Rallus aquaticus
Moorhen Waterhoen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Meerkoet Fulica atra
Lapwing Kievit Vanellus vanellus
Curlew Wulp Numenius arquata
Common Gull Stormmeeuw Larus canus
Herring Gull Zilvermeeuw Larus argentatus
Black-headed Gull Kokmeeuw Larus ridibundus
Stock Pigeon Holenduif Columba oenas
Wood-Pigeon Houtduif Columba palumbus
Collared-Dove Turkse Tortel Streptopelia decaocto
Kingfisher IJsvogel Alcedo atthis
Greater Spotted Woodpecker Grote Bonte Specht Dendrocopos major
White Wagtail Witte Kwikstaart Motacilla alba *
Grey Wagtail Grote Gele Kwikstaart Motacilla cinerea *
Meadow Pipit Graspieper Anthus pratensis
Water Pipit Waterpieper Anthus spinoletta *
Goldcrest Goudhaan Regulus regulus *
Wren Winterkoning Troglodytes troglodytes
Blackbird Merel Turdus merula
Robin Roodborst Erithacus rubecula
Stonechat Roodborsttapuit Saxicola rubicola
Long-tailed Tit Staartmees Aegithalos caudatus
Great Tit Koolmees Parus major
Blue Tit Pimpelmees Cyanistes caeruleus
Nuthatch Boomklever Sitta europaea
Treecreeper Boomkruiper Certhia familiaris
Jay Gaai Garrulus glandarius
Magpie Ekster Pica pica
Jackdaw Kauw Corvus monedula
Carrion Crow Zwarte Kraai Corvus corone
Starling Spreeuw Sturnus vulgaris
House Sparrow Huismus Passer domesticus
Tree Sparrow Ringmus Passer montanus
Chaffinch Vink Fringilla coelebs
Brambling Keep Fringilla montifringilla *
Greenfinch Groenling Carduelis chloris
Goldfinch Putter Carduelis carduelis
Little Bunting Dwerggors Emberiza pusilla

* heard only