Stop 3 of the BTX Tour - Texel: species to expect
Utopia is known for its Sandwich terns. These magnificent and elegant birds breed here in great numbers. In 2015 and 2016 there were more than 6,000 breeding pairs. The Sandwich tern can be seen here from March to September and then migrates to Africa to overwinter there. You can get a good view of the Sandwich terns from the BTX stand. Besides the Sandwich terns, there are also many common terns, Arctic terns and little terns breeding here. The little tern is very rare but still finds somewhere sufficiently quiet places to breed in Utopia. Spoonbills breed on the other side of the dyke in de Schorren (salt marshes). The spoonbills come to Utopia every day to search for food. While they are searching for small fish, they ignore any people on the banks and can pass very close to them. You can’t get as close to spoonbills anywhere else as you can in Utopia. An excellent opportunity for digiscoping them. Over 500 pairs of spoonbills breed on Texel so there is a very high chance of seeing them. One of the most beautiful birds in Utopia is probably the avocet. It is black and white with a slender upturned beak. Utopia is probably one of the most important breeding sites for the avocet. Over 100 pairs come here each year to breed. In May, most avocets will have just hatched their chicks that, with a bit of luck, can be seen on 6 and 7 May. You will be sure to marvel at their stunning appearance through the new BTX spotting scope. There are of course also birds of prey to admire. Wherever there are such large numbers of birds, there will also be birds of prey to marvel at. Peregrine falcons come to hunt several times a day and the marsh harrier is there several times a day too. The marsh harrier also breeds on the salt marshes and makes a special daily trip to Utopia to catch one of the many young birds.
At the start of May you can still admire the last Brent geese. This small but very attractive species of goose is preparing for the long migration to Siberia to breed there. In short, at the start of May Utopia is a real birdwatcher’s paradise on the eastern side of Texel.
About the author:
Marc Plomp: I am 51 years old and I have been birdwatching since I was ten. I have been filming birds since 1995. Filming is part of my profession and I produce nature films and sell a lot of pictures with birds for other film productions. I really enjoy looking for and looking at any rare birds. Since 1985 I have been a keen twitcher and I am number 11 on the Dutch list with 468 different species of bird in the Netherlands. I come from the central Netherlands (Woerden) and 10 years ago I moved to Texel and there I started the Bird Information Centre. In the Bird Information Centre we explain where you will find which birds on Texel. We also sell the better brands of optical equipment.