Rotterdam area

Rotterdam is an ideal place to start from for a day in the delta, province of Zeeland. From the city you can go south and visit a selection of the best birding spots in the Netherlands. These sites are especially good for aquatic birds like waders, ducks and geese. But also close to the city are some typical “old” dutch landscapes with a large variety of species all year round.

Just within an one-hour drive you can be surrounded by thousands of geese and ducks in the Winter period. The majority are Barnacle and Greater White-fronted Geese but with luck you can see Red-breasted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose or Pink-footed Goose. More to west there are many wetlands which also attract large numbers of wintering Brant, Dunlin, Spotted Redshank, Redshanks, Bar-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers and Curlews. These birds form the main diet for Peregrine and Merlin which keep their eyes on them from a nearby pole or pile of earth. Along the seaside Snow Buntings, Shore Larks and Twites can be found where the grass starts to grow. And where the fresh water flows into the sea it offers a lot of food for fish which in their turn attract Great Crested, Black-necked, Red-necked- and Slavonian Grebes, Red-throated, Black-throated and sometimes Northern Diver. The rich waters with scalefish are a important for Common and Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and Goldeneye. At the shoreline you can find Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones and Common Plover.

Visiting the same areas in Spring and you’ll find a complete different set of birds. Often some wintering birds are still hanging around but the foraging geese are replaced by displaying Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings and Redshanks. The wintering ducks in the streams have made place for summer visitors like Gargeney, Shoveler and Shelduck while the Great Egrets are replaced by Spoonbills. In march/april you can still see some of the divers and grebes but now in their summer plumages and some goes for the Purple Sandpipers and Turnstones. Other waders that arrive in april and may like Knot, Curlew Sandpiper and a keen eye might find Little Stint and Temminck’s Stint. Besides these aquatic birds you can hear a different sound from the marshlands where Bluethroats, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and Marsh Warblers are singing. The dunes are the place to look for migrants in this time of the year with Northern Wheatear, Whinchat, Ring Ouzel, Stonechat, Common and Lesser Whitethroat.

When all the Summer visitors have settled and the eggs have hatched it all about feeding the young. This is not the easiest time to see the birds because they're not so obviously singing at their perches. They only do this early in the morning so you need to start early or focus on larger birds. There is a colony of Spoonbills and Little Egrets just outside Rotterdam and White-tailed Eagles have settled in the Biesbosch national parc a couple of years ago which is not far from Rotterdam. This is a beautiful area with lots of wildlife including Beavers.

As Rotterdam is also close to the coast it offers a good start point for different options depending on the Autumn weather. South of Rotterdam you find the artificial created land called the Maasvlakte. This is a rarity hotspot due to it's position out to the west and the light of the harbor attract birds at night that are lost at sea. The few bushes on the plain have delivered rare birds like Raddes-, Dusky-, Arctic, Booted and Greenish Warbler and most of the time you'll find Redstarts, Firecrests, Spotted Flycatchers, Blackcaps and trushes here. On the open fields you see over a dozen of Northern Wheatears and walking through the higher grass you can flush Short-eared Owl or other migrants. Because it almost the most western point of the Netherlands it also good to spot seabirds four species of skuas are seen here every autumn with Great and Arctic being to most common. Also Sooty and Manx Shearwater can be seen here as well as Leach Storm-petrel and Sabine's Gull on a good stormy day. But there are far more local sights worth to visit in autumn.