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21 May 2019

Mixed picture of bird species in nature area Kinderdijk

Every year volunteers of the bird and nature protection group NWVA map the bird population in Kinderdijk. The year 2018 gives a mixed picture.

“It is Saturday morning, half past five. A lot of people still lay in bed at this time but I am already slowly rowing through the Nederwaard. The oars are making the first little waves in the water, it is very silent in the Nederwaard at this time. Birds are singing everywhere around us. I want to cheer but I have to be quiet. It is not going to be more beautiful than this.”

Enjoy

These are the mornings that Richard Slagboom enjoy the most. The resident of Nieuw-Lekkerland, owner of ecological research/advice office Arvalis Nature & Landscape and volunteer of the bird and nature protection group NWVA, is one of the nature experts who investigate the nature area in Kinderdijk yearly, commissioned by the Rivierenland District Water Board. Both winter birds and breeding birds were counted at different moments last year.

The reed is only entered for the counting of the purple herons. (Photo Richard Slagboom)

The reed is only entered for the counting of the purple herons. (Photo Richard Slagboom)

A part of Kinderdijk is a protected nature area because of the presence of seven species of birds: purple heron, spotted crake, snor, black stern, wigeon, gadwall and shoveler. There is an conservation objective for these bird species. The 2018 report of the NWVA gives an variable image of the unique birds that are living in Kinderdijk. While one bird species is prospering, it’s not going very well with the other one.

The quality of the water is going backwards and the people who are responsible for the report are worried about the reed in the Higher Bassin of the Overwaard, just like they are worried about the pressure of the growing tourism in Kinderdijk. However, it is very difficult to regain the reason why it is not going well with some of the birds. For example, the spotted crake has not been seen for 2 years now, while the shoveler has been seen more often nowadays. And what about the greylag goose: last year there are counted around 1800 breeding pairs. The cetti’s zanger and the marsh warbler, with a territory of 21 and 17, did it also very well in 2018. The amount of nests of the purple heron dropped from 196 in 2017 to 142 in 2018.

A nest of purple herons.

A nest of purple herons.

Little bittern

One of the most exciting observations was at the end of June. A lot of different sources has seen the little bittern, a small kind of heron that was already seen in the Alblasserwaard about a month before. Richard Slagboom says that the volunteers collected very unique information about the counts: “This information is necessary to protect this beautiful place even more in the future.”

The author

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