Texel 19/04/04 to 23/04/04
The island of Texel forms part of the Dutch Wadden Islands, which are situated in the Wadden Sea a 20 minute ferry ride from the Dutch mainland, which is accessed from the port of Den Helder a 1 hour drive from Schipol airport.
Although Texel is ideally suited to a fly drive holiday with all the
main car hire company’s situated at Schipol, none driving birders
are also catered for with a train service from Schipol to the ferry
at Den Helder. Once on the Island all the birding spots are easily accessible
by bike, which can be hired all over the island.
Accommodation on the island caters for all tastes from 5 star hotels to small family run guesthouses, camping sites and self-catering facilities.
Vast dune systems run the total length of the west coast and are edged with large tracts of pine forest. The East coast has extensive man made sea defences and being the more sheltered of the coasts, holds large numbers of ducks and grebes especially in the winter.
The island is dissected by various sized drainage canals and ditches, with many freshwater pools dotted about providing excellent feeding and bathing areas as well as high tide roosts for thousands of ducks and waders. The Wadden Sea around Texel is rarely deeper than 5 meters and consists in the main of fluvial sediments, ideal habitat to provide year round food for hungry waders.
Because of its location Texel is an all the year round birding destination. Spring can provide many migrants through the island and because of its size many of these birds are concentrated into confined habitats. Summer brings many breeding birds with large colonies of terns, gulls & Spoonbills as well as many waders. Bittern also breed and we have yet to visit the island when one or more of us have not seen at least one. Winter sees the island full of over wintering waders, ducks, geese and thrushes.
The trip report below covers our latest trip to the island, which took place in April 2004. The bird list consists only of birds seen during the trip. The predominant weather was dry & sunny, with a strong west, to south-westerly breeze. Tuesday 20th was heralded by a sharp ground frost, the only one of the trip.
As stated above we have now visited the island in all 4 seasons and it’s obvious that the island is an all round birding destination, each season having something different to offer. The lasting memory of this trip will be the cacophony of sound made by the many displaying waders and terns that breed on the island.
Bar & Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Redshank & Curlew all compete to outdo each other with the backdrop of booming Bitterns. The trip provided 84 species, which is a fair return as only 3 days were devoted to serious birding, the other 2 days, were taken up with travelling.
Although passerines are on the island at this time of year, they appear to be few and far between, and require a good deal of searching out. Several falls however were noted with these occurring towards the end of the week. These included; Blackbirds, thrushes, Ring Ouzels, Wheatears, Pipits & various Hirundines.
Schipol is only 1 hours flying time from most
British Airports and Texel can be reached within a couple of hours of
landing. The island is a very popular birding spot for the Dutch but
seems to be almost totally ignored by the British.
Pat and Judy Hayes
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