Schiphol airport layover, Sunday 18th of June 2017
Guide: Kees de Vries

On 18 June 2017 I went on a very short birding trip with David and his son Aiden arriving from Kenia. The aim was to see as many lifers as possible for David. He had never been birdwatching in Europe before so this was not a problem. I planned to go to the Lepelaarsplassen area which is good for common breeding birds, waterbirds and some specific species.

David and his son arrived a bit behind schedule, so we only had about 2 hours of birding time. After a smooth pickup around 08.15 we arrived at the Pampushaven around 09.00. There were common birds such as Great-crested grebe, Greylag goose, Mute swan, White wagtail and Reed warblers around, all of which we could see from the car. After this we stopped at the “Kwelzone”. From the dyke we scanned the “Natte graslanden and the kwelzone”. At this site the best seen species were Eurasian Spoonbill, Bearded reedling, but also Eurasian kestrel, Marsh harrier, Common buzzard, Great white egret, singing Sedge warblers, Northern lapwings and lots of Great cormorants.

Further on we parked along the dyke overlooking the Lepelaarsplassen. Here we had some good views of Reed bunting, singing Savi’s warbler and Bearded reedling. Other birds we saw were Common shelduck, Common pochard, Gadwall, Black-headed gulls, Lesser-black backed gulls and Common tern.

Around 09.45 we parked at the Block van Kuffler and walked towards the bird-hide which is situated in the Lepelaarsplassen. This is a marshy area with ponds, smalls canals and willow forest. In this area we were able to see and hear a lot of common breeding birds such as Tufted duck, Great white egrets, Grey herons, Common coot, Wood pigeon, Eurasian cuckoo, Great spotted woodpecker, Barn swallows, House martins, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Song thrush, Blackbird, Garden warbler, Blackcap, Common whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Great tit, Blue tit, Marsh tit, Chaffinch and Greenfinch.

Unfortunately due to our lack of time we could not stay very long in the hide, so we dipped the Kingfisher. On the way back to the car a pair of Mediterranean gulls flew over and we had some quick views of 2 Hawfinches flying by. Just before reaching the carpark some confiding Goldfinches and 2 Linnets ended our short birding trip. In total we saw 57 species within 2 hours.

Around 11.20 hours we arrived back at the airport so David and Aiden had enough time for their flight to Washington