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  • Photograph of Smew

    The unique drake Smew by Lars Petersson.

    HOLLAND

    Best Wildlife in Holland

    Mammals
    Red and Roe Deer.

    Birds
    The species listed below are usually present during the northern winter (Nov-Mar).

    Specialities
    Barnacle, (Tundra) Bean, Brent (mainly dark-bellied bernicla), Greylag and (Greater/Eurasian) White-fronted Geese, and White-tailed Eagle. Also a good chance of Lesser White-fronted (a small wintering flock from the former reintroduction programme in Sweden) and Red-breasted Geese, Rough-legged Buzzard and Black Woodpecker, and an outside chance of Snow Goose.

    Others
    Bewick’s and Whooper Swans, ducks including Smew, Great White Egret, Hen and Marsh Harriers, (Northern) Goshawk, (European) Golden Plover, (Northern) Lapwing, (Pied) Avocet, Crested and Willow Tits, Short-toed Treecreeper and Hawfinch. Also a chance of Red-crested Pochard, (Eurasian) Bittern, White Stork, Little, Long-eared, Short-eared and Tawny Owls, Great Grey Shrike, Reedling, Firecrest, Snow Bunting and Twite. For all the latest news on birds and other wildlife see Dutch Birding.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Holland

    Best Times for Wildlife in Holland

    The northern winter is when the geese are present, usually in their largest numbers from late November to late February. In normal winters geese usually congregate in the north during the early winter, in Friesland and Flevoland, and move southwest by January to Zeeland, but their movements are closely related to weather conditions.

    Recommended Books etc. for Holland

    Collins Bird Guide by L Svensson et al. Collins, 2010 (Second Edition).

    Birds of Europe by L Jonsson. Helm, 1999.

    Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by S Aulagnier et al. Helm, 2009.

    Mammals of Britain and Europe by D McDonald and P Barrett. Collins, 2005.


    Apps etc.

    Collins Bird Guide.

    Where to watch birds in Europe & Russia by N Wheatley. Helm, 2000.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Europe? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Holland

    Many trip reports, some for Holland, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Holland. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Holland' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Holland

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Holland

    Some Organized Tours to Holland

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours to Holland include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.