In 2014 there were a lot of species still being around from the previous year. The Hawk Owl Surnia ulula of Zwolle, the Pygmy Owl Glaudicium passerinum of Lettele Ovl, the Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus of Vlieland and the Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus from the Maasvlakte ZH to name a few.
The first bang to be discovered was a Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus on 10 January at Wissenkerke Zld by Mark Hoekstein, who also found the Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitarius of 2006.
Then already on 18 January the first new species for the Netherlands was found, a long-awaited Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus at Netterden near Gendringen Gld (just 10 km from the German border!). This bird stayed into April.
Between 21 and 31 March I visited Sumatra (see trip reports section) with great success as the famous Kerinci Trinity was seen in an hour and other notorious difficult birds were seen.
On 19 April an Azure Tit Parus cyanus was seen briefly at the Brobbelbies near Uden NB, but could not be twitched. On 26 April Mario Renden found a White-tailed Plover Vanellus leucurus at Den Helder NH, the tenth record for the Netherlands. The next day Lonnie Bergman found an American Robin Turdus migratorius in the dunes of Heemskerk NH, the third new species for the Netherlands!
In summer a Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps was found at West-Kapelle, making a lot of people happy since the last and only twitchable one was in 1995. It was followed by the second Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum at the Rammegors Zld.
In October a White-crowned Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga was found at Oegstgeest ZH. It could be the first record for the Netherlands, but the condition of its feet and plumage generated heated debates about its origin.
Other good birds were a Steppe Grey Shrike Lanius lahtora pallidirostris at Den Helder, a Daurian Shrike Lanius isabellinus at Egmond aan Zee and Western Subalpine Warbler Sylvia inornata, two Isabelline Wheatears Oenanthe isabellinus and a Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis at the Maasvlakte ZH. The most intriguing sighting in that period however was the almost certain Stejnegeri's Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri in the Lauwersmeer on 28th October. Sadly, the bird stayed there for only one day and no DNA-samples could be taken.
In November at least three Pallids Swifts Apus pallidus were seen, a Lesser Scaup Aythia affinis at Flevoland, a Turkestan Shrike Lanius phoenicuroides at Castricum and a nice male Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka at Zoeterwoude ZH.
The biggest sensation appeared just north of Alphen aan de Rijn ZH, where an African Desert Warbler Sylvia deserti was found and seen by hundreds of birders.

Crowd at the Brown Shrike, 18 january 2014, Netterden Gld; © Willem Gerritsen.

Birders at the African Desert Warbler, 26 November 2014, Alphen aan de Rijn ZH; © Jan van der Laan.

Brown Shrike
American Robin
White-crowned Wheatear (considered an escape from captivity)
African Desert Warbler

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