|Bar-headed Goose with Greylags (and Ruddy Turnstone) in The Netherlands, where this introduced and well-established species is largely ignored by local birders but ticked by visitors.|
Marcel's scorn is rooted in a major cultural difference in the birding scene in Holland. Probably uniquely, the Dutch don't recognise naturalised introductions as part of their avifauna. Unlike all other 'advanced' birding countries in Europe, they don't even have a Category C as part of their national list (nor in fact a Category D for species of uncertain origin, but that's another story), From a purist's point of view ignoring these species might therefore seem justifiable, but in practical terms does it make sense? Like many other western European countries, there are significant populations in the wild of birds derived from introductions or escapes. Like it or not, they have become part of the national avifauna, and in some instances - for example Barnacle Goose - the division between wild and feral birds actually seems pretty blurred.
|Alexandrine Parakeets in Oosterpark, one of several Amsterdam sites where the species occurs in numbers.|
I may have shunned them last time I was here, but now it was time to put pride to one side and get the job done. And with the help of Marcel, who despite misgivings kindly staked out the Bar-headed Goose prior to my arrival, I'd got off to a good start. After a second helping of the rubythroat, I had to complete the task on day 2 with the help of Waarneming.nl, where news of Black Swan sightings revealed one close to my route back to Amsterdam, and in the city itself I scored with Alexandrine Parakeet in Oosterpark thanks to a tip from Laurens Steijn (this species is also possible in Vondelpark and Beatrixpark, and several other localities).
|Game, set and match! A Black Swan with its Mute cousins completes the Dutch plastic fantastic overnighter.|