The best birds in winter included the Little Whimbrel Numenius minuta found near Schagen NH on 23 December 2019 and stayed in the general area till 16 january 2020. Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the country was closed and birding was severely discouraged and records of rare birds were suppressed. A Franklin's Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan was present near Zoeterwoude ZH between 16 and 19 March 2020 and a Black-throated Thrush Turdus nigricoliis was found in the city of Utrecht between 31 March and 3 April 2020. The best bird in that period was a White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii in the Voordelta ZH, but all details are still kept secret! Two Oriental Turtle Doves Streptopelia orientalis were present this winter: one at Alkmaar NH between 14 February and 23 March and one at Sneek Fr between 30 January and 11 March. Spring was quite exciting, with two satelite-tagged Bonelli's Eagles Aquila bonelli, one in Friesland a few days in the end of March (seen by no-one) and another on 17 April 2020 at Sint Kruis in Zeeuws Vlaanderen Zld and on 23 April at Breskens Zld and subsequently on 24 April near Egmond aan Zee NH flying north to Texel NH and seen there the next day on 25 April. On 13 May a Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis was seen at the Hoge Veluwe Gld, but was only seen by a few birders. However on 21 May another was found in Zeeuws Vlaanderen Zld and stayed the night and was seen by hundreds of birders the next day before it disappeared. Several Booted Eagles Aquila pennatus were found and one bird stayed for three days on Vlieland between 21 and 24 May. A white wagtail Motacilla alba ssp discovered on 27 May at Rockanje ZH showed almost all characters of Amur Wagtail Motacilla leucopsis and was still present on 11 June. Also unprecedent was an influx of Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum, with at time of writing consisting of 20 birds at least. On 11 June a Green Warbler Phylloscopus nitidus was found on Texel NH that stayed for a few hours only. On 17 June the first new species of the year was found, a Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata was seen by two observers only on the island of Rotummerplaat Gr as this island is not accessable. On 11 July a group of seven Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber at Durgerdam proved to have two birds ringed in Spain in 2010 and 2019. Then, a real mega appeared, when an Oriental Plover Anarhynchus veredus was found on 15 August at Domburg Zld, being the first for the Netherlands and the fourth for Europe! Highlights in September were the third Rufous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes, at Almere from 14 to 16 September, a Sociable Plover Vanellus gregarius at Arnhem Gld on 27 September and an Arctic Warbler Phyyloscopus borealis at Katwijk aan Zee ZH from 28 September to 30 September. On 2 and 3 October a White's Thrush Zoothera aura was seen at Haamstede ZH, making a lot of birders happy. On 25 October a Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata was seen on Texel (see link below) and on 28 October the third Little Swift Apus affinus for the Netherlands was seen on Vlieland Fr. I was there too, but failed to connect with the swift! October saw also an influx of Red-flanked Bluetails Tarsiger cyanurus in The Netherlands.

10 June 2020, birders at the Green Warbler, Krimbos, Texel NH; © Laurens Steijn / Birding Breaks.

Green Warbler
Oriental Plover
Blackpoll Warbler

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