Dutch great egrets, grey herons and other birds counted

Will the great egret surpass the grey heron? Photo by Albert de Jong

On 18-19 January 2014, there was the mid winter bird count in the Netherlands, like in every year.

All figures are not in yet. So far, 3,2 million birds were counted.

One remarkable result is about great egrets. A few decades ago they were very rare birds in the Netherlands. However, since 1980 this species increased greatly in Europe. Now, about 2,800 great egrets winter in the Netherlands. Maybe even more this winter. In this winter bird count, great egret numbers were 60% of grey heron numbers. While grey herons used to be much more numerous. People think great egrets in western Europe benefit from better conservation and from global warming. When will great egrets surpass grey heron numbers?

There used to be more white-fronted geese than barnacle geese wintering in the Netherlands. However, this winter barnacle geese may overtake white-fronted geese.

As for raptors: peregrine falcons have surpassed hen harriers which used to be more numerous.

No short-eared owls have been counted so far. However, three usually extremely rare snowy owls were counted.

The mild winter weather so far means relatively many little grebes and northern lapwings.

Winter weather and Dutch birds: here.


24 thoughts on “Dutch great egrets, grey herons and other birds counted

  1. The Great Backyard Bird Count in the U.S. and Canada will be over the Valentine’s Day weekend (I think the exact dates are the 14th to the 17th). You can google it for more information and want to participate. I am planning to do so. I also do feeder watch and I think they are still taking sign-ups for that. Counting birds is a very important activity.


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