2006 saw the best spring in Dutch Birding History. From the end of April till the first half of June there was always a report of a rare bird. It started with two White-throated (Italian) Wagtails on 16 and 22 April, followed by the first bang, on 28 April a Green Heron near Amsterdam, next a Song Sparrow on 30 April (location was off-limits, only c 15 birders saw this one), an influx of Slender-billed Gulls on 6 May, then the fourth new species for the Netherlands, a Solitary Sandpiper on 14 May, possible Heuglin's Gulls on 20 May, 4 June and 28 June, a White Pelican in May and June, a Baikal Teal on 15-21 May, an elusive Lammergeier on 17 May, plus several niceties like Pallid Harrier, American Golden Plover, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Roseate Tern, Short-toed Eagle, Rufous-tailed Thrush, Bonelli's Warbler, Citrine Wagtail and Collared Flycatcher.

Autumn was quite good and although I missed the Pallid Swift Apus pallidus of Vlieland on 20-21 October and a claim of a Smithsonian Herring Gull Larus smithsoniansis on 27 October at Westkapelle, Zeeland, two Crag Martins Hirundo rupestris at Hoorn, Noord-Holland (a 20-minutes drive from where I live) and the second record of a Little Swift Apus affinus (only seen bij two birders) at IJmuiden, Noord-Holland made the year complete. With no less than seven accepted new taxa (the Smithsonian Herring Gull is still under review), 2006 is now the most productive year in history in the Netherlands!

Group of birders at Slender-billed Gull (photo by © Jan van der Laan)

Green Heron
Slender-billed Gull
Solitary Sandpiper
Baltic Gull
Baikal Teal
Crag Martin

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