The winter of 2018 had some good birds, like an immature Ross's Gull at Vlissingen in January and February. Also in winter was a small influx of Arctic Redpolls. March was quite cold and the first half of April either, but then it started to get warmer and the first new bird appeared, a male Cirl Bunting at Budel NB, a very much appreciated bird as I missed the one on 4 May 2011 at West-Kapelle Zld. On 11 May my second new species for 2018 appeared, a Black-headed Wagtail was discovered at Lentevreugd, Wassenaar ZH. On 14 May a Eastern Bonelli's Warbler was found at Heemskerk NH, together with a hybrid Bonelli's x Wood Warbler and another very elusive Cirl Bunting. A Bearded Vulture visited the country between 27 May and 1 June and spent the night ast Schoorl NH, but I was just too late to connect with this bird. A Lesser Spoted Eagle eluded me again and was seen in Friesland on 11 May. A summer-plumaged Great Knot (third record) was seen on Terschelling between 16 and 19 June.
A Spur-winged Plover stayed at Slootdorp NH between between 16 July and 8 August, but was not accepted as a wild bird. Nearby was a short-staying Franklin's Gull on 14 July at the Dijkgatsweide, Wieringermeer NH. Best birds in autumn were a Cory's Shearwater flying south on 25 October and seen from several locatoins along the Dutch coast, a Red-eyed Vireo between 27 to 30 oktober on Texel NH and a Grey-cheeked Thrush on 5 November was found in Den Haag ZH and was brought to a bird hospital. After its recovery it was released on 20 November in front of a happy few. In December a yellow wagtail was found at Rhoon ZH and it was thought it could be a Eastern Yellow Wagtail, but the final result of DNA-Analysis revealed it had Citrine, Western and Eastern Yellow Wagtail genes.

28 January 2018, 1st winter Ross's Gull at Vlissingen Zld; © Jan van der Laan.

Cirl Bunting
Black-headed Wagtail

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