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October: a month for birds

In October, tens of thousands of birds stop over on Texel on their way South.

Plenty of species

During this month, lots of migratory raptors will make a stop on Texel too. Sparrowhawks and the smallest member of the falcon family, the merlin, are the most common.

Not every species continues to fly South: kingfishers winter on Texel, and if it doesn’t freeze for very long, these feathered beauties will stay until March. 

Winter birds

The true winter birds also arrive in October: the first snow buntings have already been observed on the beaches. These little brown and white birds forage along the foot of the dunes. Further on, sanderlings try to stay ahead of the waves.

The first shorelarks have settled in De Slufter, where they are easy to spot. In fact, there are few places in the Netherlands where you can spot this bird so easily.

In the dunes

In October, more and more members of the thrush family, such as the redwing and the fieldfare, can be found among the dunes; they are attracted by the berries of the sea-buckthorn. Starlings make their habitat among the dunes too, and their presence sometimes produces wonderful evening spectacles as they swarm against a backdrop of the setting sun. The best chance of seeing them in flight is around the Horsmeertjes.

Sea birds

Watch out for sea birds if there is a strong wind blowing from the west or northwest; in such circumstances, you can often watch northern gannets above the surf. From the beach, you may be able to spot skua as well. These dark gulls chase other birds to steal their food.

The red-breasted merganser is yet another species to arrive in the Wadden Sea this month. This diving duck is notable for its saw-like bill, making it an excellent fisher.

Dutch Birding Weekend

October is a good month for seeing plenty of species and it’s no wonder that the Vogelinformatiecentrum, Texel’s bird information centre, hosts the Dutch Birding Weekend from 4 to 7 October. This special week welcomes birdwatchers who come to enjoy the migrating birds. Who knows, perhaps the rare red-flanked bluetail will show itself! You will be able to see migrating birds till well into November.

In October, tens of thousands of birds stop over on Texel on their way South.

 

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