2003 was only nine days old when the first rarity appeared, a male Canvasback discovered at Castricum (Noord-Holland) by Cock Reijnders from Castricum. On May 1st an Audouin's Gull was discovered in Zeeland, the second new species for the Netherlands (I missed that one, it stayed only for two hours!), the third new species was a Trumpeter Finch on May 31st, the fourth a Blue Rock-Thrush and the fifth was a Western Orphean Warbler! Also worth to mention were the second record of Atlas Chaffinch and the first subspecies records of Eastern Black Redstart and Hornemann's Redpoll (I failed to see the Redpoll). With 5 new species and two new subspecies in one year makes 2003 the best year, only equalled by 1967, 1974, 1986, 1987 and 1995 (cf Zeldzame vogels van Nederland / Rare Birds of the Netherlands by A.B. van den Berg & C.A.W. Bosman, 2001)

Group of birders (most right is me!) at the Canvasback (photo by © Leo Boon from www.cursorius.com)

Canvasback (now considered to be most likely an escape)
Atlas Chaffinch
Trumpeter Finch
Blue Rock-Thrush
Eastern Black Redstart
Western Orphean Warbler

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