The first good bird in 2017 was the finding of an Blyth's Pipit Anthus godlewski in the Biesbosch NH on 8 January. On 19 February the second Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus for the Netherlands was found at Den Helder NH, followed by a Herring Gull Larus argentatus with features of a American Herring Gull L. smithsonianus at Callantsoog NH on 19-22 February. Also in the same month was on the 4th February was a Baikal Teal Anas formosa near Noordwijk ZH. March produced the second Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon for the Netherlands as well. On 17 April a most probable Black-headed Wagtail Motacilla feldegg was found on Texel NH, but it stayed not long enough to obtain good sound recordings. On 22 April a Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata was found at Wassenaar ZH. Then on 26-27 April a male Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius was found on Vlieland NH, making a lot of birders happy as the first and only one so far was in 2003. On 7 May a Slate-coloured Junco Junco hyemalis was photographed in a garden at Bergen aan Zee NH, but it was not seen by any birder. On 15-16 May a Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla was found at Lomm, northern Limburg.
The best bird of 2017 was no doubt the Atlas Wheatear Oenanthe seebohmi of Solleveld, Den Haag ZH on 22 May. May and June brought several Booted Eagles Aquila pennatus and Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus to the Netherlands as well as the odd Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga and Lesser Spotted Eagles C. pomarina. The last one is definitely my bogey bird. And the year is not over: on 12 June a Pacific Swift Apus pacificus was seen by one person at Westkapelle Zld, the second new species for the Netherlands in 2017. July produced another Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga and a Lesser Spotted Eagle. Undoubtly the best bird in August was a Brown Booby Sula leucogaster at Lopik ZH on 20 August, but it flew in record time to Germany and was not seen again. September was quiet, but ended with another mega on 27 September, an Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca at the Brobbelbies near Oss NB. The bird was rediscovered near Hasselt Ovl on 3 October and could be seen till noon of 4 October (I saw it that day) and again on 9 and 10 October. On 16 and 17 October the third Stejneger's Stonchat Saxicola stejnegeri was discovered on Vlieland Fr (I missed it on 18 October), followed by a Western Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica on Texel NH on 19 October. On 20 October an Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus was found on Vlieland Fr, for many birders a new species (I saw it in 1988).

Birders trying to get a glimpse of the Atlas Wheatear at Solleveld, Den Haag ZH; © Arnoud van den Berg.

Atlas Wheatear
Eastern Imperial Eagle

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