A Travellerspoint blog

Het Zwinpark with Dad

Knokke, Belgium & Retranchement, Netherlands

sunny 25 °F

On our first day here in Brussels, my dad and I awoke extra early to take the train to Knokke by the coastline and the bus to the Het Zwinpark to hopefully find some lowland European lifebirds! Please excuse any typos as I am posting this to keep from falling asleep too early due to jet lag…

Target birds today included: White Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Meadow & Tree Pipit, Spotted Redshank, European Stonechat, Eurasian Curlew, Common Snipe, Taiga Bean-Goose, Common Shelduck, and others…all would-be lifers!

As the sun was still in the process of rising (!) at 9:30am, we were treated to silhouetted birds to start our hike, such as this EURASIAN JACKDAW:
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Female COMMON BLACKBIRD:
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GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was nice:
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GREAT TIT, male:
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And its relative, the BLUE TIT:
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EURASIAN MAGPIES:
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My first lifer of the day came in the form of a EURASIAN CURLEW with its impressive diagnostic decurved bill! Very cool!
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Nice looks at EUROPEAN ROBINS today:
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There were some paler BARNACLE GEESE mixed in with the GRAYLAG and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE:
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My second lifer of the day: beautiful looks at a pair of WHITE STORKS! Awesome. This is the species featured in the fable of storks delivering families’ babies.
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GREEN-WINGED TEAL and EURASIAN COOT:
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A lone WESTERN CATTLE EGRET was also nearby:
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My third lifer came in the form of a REDWING, a subarctic Robin-like thrush that winters in Europe. Cool!
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More Curlews with a mixed flock:
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At one point, this COMMON BUZZARD flushed out of the trees and away from us:
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EURASIAN WIGEONS:
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Lifer #4: COMMON SNIPE!
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CANADA & GRAYLAG GEESE:
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NORTHERN PINTAILS, NORTERN SHOVELER, GREEN-WINGED TEALS, EURASIAN WIGEON, and a Canada Goose:
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More Graylags:
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DUNLIN with the Teals:
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More great views of European Robins!
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COMMON CHAFFINCH!
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Another Barnacle Goose flying over:
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Red Fox hunting with NORTHERN LAPWINGS in the foreground:
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Lapwings with oxen in the back:
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Lifer #5: EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHERS!
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Here’s one with a COMMON REDSHANK:
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CARRION CROW:
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Lifer #6 for the day: MEADOW PIPITS!!!
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SONG THRUSH:
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COMMON CHIFFCHAFF, slightly out of season so cool to see!
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EURASIAN JAY:
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DUNNOCK:
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BLACK-HEADED with a EUROPEAN HERRING GULL:
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My seventh lifer of the day came in the form of a beautiful pair of COMMON SHELDUCKS!!
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Then, I spied another lifer: PIED AVOCETS in a mixed feeding flock — awesome! Lifer #8 for the day!
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At the back right hand corner of the flock is a larger shorebird with a longer bill — that would be my lifer SPOTTED REDSHANK, my ninth life bird for the day! Now, just one more to hit double digits!
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Another beautiful Great Spotted Woodpecker on the walk back from the beach:
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The pond by the visitor’s center was fairly productive with EURASIAN MOORHEN:
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Alongside TUFTED DUCKS:
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And a LITTLE GREBE!!! This bird I only also saw at the London Wetlands, where I also happened to be birding with my dad.
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Another look at the Tufted Duck before continuing on — it was a long walk today — 7.98 miles to be exact, and in 25-degree temps with a chilling 15mph wind!
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We even briefly ventured into the Netherlands when I discovered on google maps that one of the park’s trails crosses the Netherlandish border! Of course we had to go, and we didn’t even bring our passports! :)

This EURASIAN KESTREL made use of that wind, hovering in place, looking for Meadow Pipits on which to prey:
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BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (white in nonbreeding plumage):
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EUROPEAN SHAG Cormorants with COMMON POCHARD (front) and COMMON SHELDUCKS (back):
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And a nice close look at my lifer from earlier, the Pied Avocet:
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The final tenth life bird of the day was a flyover EUROPEAN STONECHAT, a brief but clinching look in the appropriate habitat! Awesome!

What a day of birding — the most lifers in one day since my first day in Switzerland last summer, also with Dad!

Bird-of-the-day to the Eurasian Curlews which in my opinion were the most stunning birds seen today, followed by the Pied Avocets! Great to catch up on these more marine-adjacent european species, finally!

Stay tuned for more!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1185 Species (10 lifers today: Common Shelduck, Pied Avocet, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Snipe, White Stork, Redwing, European Stonechat, & Meadow Pipit)

Posted by skwclar 21:11 Archived in Netherlands

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Comments

Amazing! 10 in one day! Great pictures, thanks for sharing. So nice to share your experiences with your day!!

by Cristen

What an awesome report, Henry! I love all the photos - great birds, and some I recognize my trips to that area. Did you see any Stabyhouns when you ventured into the Netherlands? :-) Just kidding. But keep your eye out - You can spot them in Brussels as well.

by Susie Nies

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