Killdeer - Charadrius vocifer

On Sunday 3 April 2005 around 13:00 Ruurd-Jelle van der Leij was birding at the hide of the wetland reserve Rottige Meente in Friesland (one of the northern provinces). With Henny Brandsma and her husband they watched the present wildfowl for several hours. Around 17:15 hours at a distance of 150 m, they discovered a plover with a double breast-band and an orange rump. Ruurd identified it as a Killdeer Charadrius vocifer. He phoned a friend to check if this species was ever recorded in the Netherlands and it turned out it hadn't! At dusk around 20:00 hours the bird flew away across the near-by dike. Later that night he phoned the Dutch Bird Alert (DB Vogellijn - 0900-birding) and the next morning quite a crowd gathered to look for the bird. Around 7:30 hours, Enno Ebels - standing next to me - relocated the bird just a kilometer from the spot it was originally discovered. It stayed till Tuesday 5 April, was seen by hundreds of birders and was even broadcasted at the Dutch Broadcast Service (NOS) at prime time!

Picture taken by © Ipe Weeber from Groningen on 5 April 2005. More pictures at

It was accepted as the first record for the Netherlands. In the UK and Ireland there are about 60 records. At least 4 birds were recorded in the winter of 2004/2005 (cf Dutch Birding 27 (3): 233-234, 2005 and Dutch Birding 28 (1): 7-10, 2006).

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