Amsterdam and Schiphol Area

Being one of the most busiest and crowded parts of the Netherlands it doesn't mean there's nothing to see or to do. Just outside the city one can venture out over large beaches, ride through old meadows, scan lakes or walk between old trees in small forests. If you have a couple hours between flights why not try to see a White-tailed Eagle? But if you have a full day you can see up to 100 species of birds within an one hour range from Amsterdam.

In the winter large numbers of geese winter north of Amsterdam. Within the thousands of Barnacle Geese that stay just outside the city with luck one can find a Red-breasted Goose. If you would head a bit further north, the plowed fields feed many Bean Geese with mainly Tundra Bean Geese but quite often with Pink-footed Geese or Taiga Bean Geese. The last years Whooper Swans forage here as well with the Bewick Swans. Later in the season a small number of Lesser White-fronted Geese stop over before they head to Scandinavia and Russia. Along the IJsselmeer thousands of ducks spend the winter, mainly Tufted Duck and Common Pochard but also Greater Scaup and with luck rarer species like Ferruginous, Ring-necked Duck or Lesser Scaup. A visit to the Oostvaardersplassen (one hour of driving) in winter can add White-tailed Eagle, Bearded Tit and Willow Tit to the list. IJmuiden is also just a one-hour drive and is one of the best sites for seabirds. Purple Sandpipers, Rock Pipits and Turnstones are always present at the pier. Keep an eye out at sea for Red-throated Diver, Guillemot, Razorbill, Gannet and Shag.

In spring the meadows around Amsterdam are teeming with Lapwings, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks and Yellow Wagtails. Just north, along the IJsselmeer you can find Mediterranean Gulls, Red-crested Pochards and Spoonbills. In may many warblers can be seen and heard like Sedge Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Marsh Warbler and Reed Warblers. A trip to the Oostvaardersplassen is almost guaranteed for Bluethroat, Savi's Warbler, Bearded Tit, Spoonbills, Great Egret en good chance for Bittern. To the west it's good too look for passerines like Ring Ouzel, Whinchat, Redstart and Grasshopper Warbler in the beautiful Dune landscape. With good days you could be lucky with Wryneck, Common Rosefinch or a Bee-eater.

In summer one can visit the sites mention in spring but it might also be worth heading to the bulb fields. In late summer farmers set these lands under water to clear them from parasites and bacteria which might effect the bulbs next season. Many birds are attracted to these field mainly waders, gulls and terns. Species to look for are Curlew Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank and wagtails. Every year Gull-billed Terns stop over here to feed their young. Other scarce birds one might expect are Red-necked Phalarope, Marsh Sandpiper or Caspian Tern.

Autumn can be challenging, mainly due to the changing conditions. It can be extremely good or very difficult. We mainly focus on the coastal site where the larger concentrations of birds. In the west IJmuiden and the surrounding dunes are always promising. With winds from the west you can find seabirds like skuas (all four species), shearwaters, gannets, auks and petrels. Scarce birds like Red Phalarope, Little Auks, Sabine's Gull and Puffin are annually recorded. With calmer conditions it's also good migrating songbirds, there's a good chance for Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Shore Lark and Yellow-browed Warbler. It's also a hotspot for rare birds several Desert and Isabeline Wheatears have been recorded, Booted Warbler, Siberian Stonechat and even Harlequin Duck, Forster's Tern and Ross' Gull. The Oostvaardersplassen and especially sites along the IJsselmeer are worth visiting for migrants and the local species.