Seeing all those pigeons in Amsterdam, one would think that the sole object of bird watching in the fine city is the pigeon. Nothing can be farther from truth.
To get away from all the usual birds that throng the city, and find some variety, it is necessary to move away from the bustling city and go birding in the many parks scattered around Amsterdam. Get down to Vondelpark, Flevopark or Rembrandt Park (among others) and get your binoculous on! The best time to reach these scenic parks abounding in greenery is either in the early morning or around midday.
Vondelpark is by far the most famous of the parks in Amsterdam. This wonderful park is compared to the famous New York City landmark of Central Park. The size and shape are very similar between the two, but Vondelpark isn’t particularly central, although the location is still really handy for most visitors.
Once in one of these parks, you will be astounded by the number and quality of birdlife right in the heart of Amsterdam. They s are home to an extensive array of birds such as Garden, Marsh and Reed Warblers, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Common Whitethroat, Greenfinch, and Blackcap.
Another interesting place to visit is the Kinseldam, which is an extensive rocky dam wetland along with IJdoorn,which offers nesting ground as well as shelter to Black-tailed Godwit, Little & Great Ringed Plover, Common Redshank, Eurasian Spoonbill, White-fronted Goose, Barnacle Goose, Avocet, Little Grebe, Goldeneye, Great Black-backed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Fieldfare and Scaup. The two fine birding locations are just a fifteen minutes drive from Amsterdam.
The grasslands around Fort of Krommeniedijk have a profusion of meadow birds. With the arrival of spring, certain areas surrounding the fort are kept deliberately flooded. These regions attract a host of migratory birds and they love to sojourn there for a while. The wet region welcomes numerous special birds such as large crowds of Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits, wild geese as well as ducks. This fine bird sanctuary is just 27 kms away from Amsterdam.
Another haven for birders is the Naardermeer,a protected area, this it is necessary to acquire a special permit in order to visit it. It has been preserved as a reserve because since 1906 it remains a major region for birds, and now includes a number of habitats comprising of pools, lakes, swamp forest, willow thickets, reed beds as well as canals. The area abounds in birds such as Purple Heron, Bitterns, Black Tern,Garganey,Great White Egret and others. In the summer birds like Northern Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Warblers like Savi’s, Grasshopper, Reed and Sedge Warbler arrive in droves.
If you can go a little further, and drive the 40 kms that it takes to reach Oostvaarderplassen, which is maintained as a fine nature reserve in the Netherlands. This reserve consists of both dry and wet lands. In the wetlands known as Markermeer, molting geese often arrive to feed. This nature preserve is home to such varied birds as Cormorants, Barnacle geese, Spoonbills, Great Bittern and White Herons.
To make things easier for you and not wasting any time by going on a possible wild goose chase, it is advisable to seek the services of a seasoned bird guide or join one of the many conducted birding tours available from within Amsterdam parks or contact a speciaized agency.
The Rose-ringed Parakeet, a wholly exotic bird is seen in large numbers in and around the city of Amsterdam. Primarily a bird of India, parakeets are highly adaptable and could withstand the frozen winters of the foothills of the Himalayas. This has made them acclimatize themselves to the bitter winter in Europe. According to a recent report in De Staadard, they spread to Holland from the neighboring Brussels where some of them were released. Soon the enterprising birds spread to Holland too and once here, they established themselves without more ado. However, it is not all rosy as these highly competitive and hardy birds pose a threat to smaller birds native to the area. Besides, they reproduce rapidly and prolifically and have no natural predators of kind.
Birdwatching tours to Oostvaardersplassen, Kinseldam and Ijdoorn: http://www.birdsnetherlands.nl/daytours2.htm
For customized birding tours anywhere in Amsterdam and roundabouts: http://www.birdingholland.com/