Oystercatchers of Vlieland island, research

This video shows an oystercatcher in Norway.

From the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands:

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) populations in the Netherlands have dramatically declined during the last decades. CHIRP (Cumulative Human Impact on biRd Population) aims to determine which pressures in breeding and wintering areas cause the observed negative population trend. In winter, the Wadden Sea harbours large numbers of oystercatchers. Despite the vast amounts of shellfish available on the mudflats, oystercatchers encounter multiple difficulties in their wintering areas. For example, food stocks become more limited by fishery and the increase of the Pacific oyster. Furthermore, the Wadden Sea area is used for many different recreational purposes, causing disturbance of waders from the land, water and air. Walkers, cyclists, boats and airplanes are a few examples of disturbance sources present in the Wadden Sea. Disturbance might have direct energy costs for oystercatchers if the birds need to take flight or indirect costs if the foraging efficiency decreases due to a more alert state of the bird. Ultimately, this might affect body condition and survival of wintering oystercatchers.

The Vliehors is a large sandflat located at the western half of the Wadden Island Vlieland. The sandbanks serve as high tide roosts for large numbers of waders that forage on the tidal mudflats south of Vlieland. However, the area is owned by the military airforce and in use as training ground for helicopters and jet fighters which practice by shooting and throwing bombs at specific targets. During this research, we aim to study how disturbances like military air force planes affect the behaviour and time budgets of oystercatcher.

For this project, wintering oystercatchers at the Vliehors are equipped with UvA-BiTS GPS trackers during the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The GPS and accelerometer data will be linked to disturbances that take place on the Vliehors. Besides the activities of the military airforce, those disturbances include walkers and cyclists on land in the weekends and hand-raked cockle fishers on the mudflats with settled weather conditions. The frequency and effects of these disturbances will be recorded during the winter seasons. Linking field observations to GPS and accelerometer data will then yield valuable information on how different disturbances affect spatial distribution and time budgets of oystercatchers.

Young spoonbill saved from drowning

Young spoonbill saved on Vlieland

Translated from the blog of wildlife warden Anke Bruin-Kommerij on Vlieland island in the Netherlands today:

Yesterday, at the end of a hot working day, our colleague Pieter Schaper was called by Gerda Stel. She saw a young spoonbill in distress near Pad van 20 footpath on the mudflats. The bird had its leg stuck in a breakwater and it was rising tide …. So, speed was needed and then you just have to have Pieter! He did not think twice and went in his working shoes on the mudflat in order to save the young spoonbill. This rescue succeeded, but the work shoes were still not dry today.

First peregrine falcon nest on Vlieland island

This video says about itself:

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) at beach, timid about taking a bath

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) at the beach tentatively approaches the water and comes back out before finally deciding to bathe.

Peter de Boer (of Dutch Sovon bird research) and Dutch Vlieland warden Carl Zuhorn write today of the first time ever, as far as is known, that a peregrine falcon couple has nested on the island. This species is still rather rare in the Netherlands: about 150 couples.

The nest is on the Vliehors sandy plain, in the west of Vlieland.

The couple started breeding about 10 May 2016 on the sandy ground. One young falcon, a female, hatched. Her mother had been ringed: she was born on 21 May 2010 on Trischen island in the German Wadden Sea.

The parents fed their daughter mainly carrier pigeons, starlings and waders. Remarkable that carrier pigeons were the main prey in this area with many waders.

On 1 July 2016, the young peregrine was ringed. She fledged on 18 July.

First great black-backed gull nest on Vlieland island

This June 2015 video is about a great black-backed gull couple nesting for the first time ever for this species on Vlieland island in the Netherlands.

Warden Anke Bruin-Kommerij writes today about this new nesting species for the island.

They nest in Kroon’s polders.

Great black-backed gulls started nesting regularly in the Netherlands in 1993. In 2014 there were some 60 nesting couples. They have nested on Texel, Terschelling, Ameland, Griend, and Rottumeroog islands, Zeeland province, along the IJsselmeer lake and in the Lauwersmeer national park.

Rare fungus discovered on Vlieland island

Microglossum rufescens

Translated from the Dutch Mycological Society:

Jan 13, 2016 – Due to the continuing mild weather until the end of December 2015 people could search for mushrooms. Also on Vlieland where an enthusiastic mushroom loving woman on Boxing Day on the road side along the road near the Kroonspolders found extremely rare earth tongues.


She was there looking for the rare olive earth tongue (Microglossum olivaceum), which had been found there in 2011. The earth tongues she saw now looked a bit like that species but were different. They had to be a different earth tongue species. Further identification by two mycologists found that it was Microglossum rufescens, a species that is extremely rare and does not even have a Dutch name. In November 2014 this species of earth tongue was first found in the Netherlands on an old graveyard in Zutphen. The discovery on Vlieland makes it the second site in the Netherlands.

Siberian peregrine falcon on Vlieland island

This 27 December video is by Carl Zuhorn, made in the Meeuwenduinen sand dune valley on Vlieland island in the Netherlands.

It shows a young individual of the North Asian subspecies of the peregine falcon species: Falco peregrinus calidus.

This subspecies is very rare in western Europe.

Unique fungus discovered on Vlieland island

Ramaria roellinni, photo by Leif Stridvall

Translated from the blog of Ms Anke Bruin, warden on Vlieland island in the Netherlands:

Rare mushroom found on Vlieland

November 26, 2015

Did you know that we have here on Vlieland two volunteers who work together on mushrooms in the sand dunes?

Sjoukje Mulder and Joost van Bommel delve for mushrooms and chart them in the coastal strip (the dunes next to the sea). Recently, on their way back, Sjoukje saw near Pad van 30

a cranberry field

a special mushroom. Initially it was registered on http://www.waarneming.nl as strict-branch coral fungus. One expert thought he saw something else and after microscopic examination it turned out to be Ramaria roellinni. And that is very special: recently this mushroom was discovered as a new species for the Netherlands; and now also on Vlieland. There is no Dutch name for it yet.