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Terschelling - BirdForum Opus



One of the islands forming the Friesian chain, Terschelling, like Texel to the south-west, is an excellent birding locality with a good range of breeding birds and a wide variety of migrants.

About 30km long and less than 5km wide, this long narrow island is largely farmland but there are also woods and conifer plantations, and some built-up areas. Around the fringes of the island are dunes and sandy beaches, saltmarshes and mudflats.

Much of the island is protected as nature reserves and the far eastern and western tips are uncultivated and have been allowed to revert to nature..


Notable Species

Of the breeding birds harriers are of particular note with most of the Dutch population of Hen Harrier found here, good numbers of Western Marsh Harrier, and sometimes also Montagu's Harrier. Eurasian Spoonbill and Black-tailed Godwit also nest as well as Common Eider and Spotted Crake, Pied Avocet and Kentish Plover.

Breeding passerines include Bluethroat, Bearded Tit, and Marsh Warbler and Icterine Warbler, Red-backed Shrike nests in very small numbers and Common Rosefinch is a recent colonist. Both Long-eared Owl and Short-eared Owl breed on the island.

Regular migrants seen on Terschelling include most of the waders seen in northern Europe but the island is especially noted for passerine migrants which can occur in large numbers during the right weather conditions. Grey-headed Wagtail, Ring Ouzel and Ortolan Bunting can be seen amongst commoner migrants such as chats, warblers and flycatchers. In autumn Richard's Pipit is regular as is Yellow-browed Warbler.

In winter the farmland provides hunting grounds for Rough-legged Buzzard and Peregrine Falcon and the shorelines have Snow Bunting and Horned Lark. Dark-bellied Brent Goose winter in good numbers and often include Black Brant and Red-breasted Goose.


Like other migration watchpoints Terschelling sees rarities on a regular basis and in recent years these have included Short-toed Eagle and Red-footed Falcon, Arctic Warbler, Radde's Warbler and Dusky Warbler and Lesser Grey Shrike.

Vagrant waders also occur with recent records of Great Snipe, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Greater Sand Plover. Probably the most productive time to visit Terschelling is during the autumn when the greatest variety of birds is present.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Tundra Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Red-breasted Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, European Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Arctic Skua, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Skylark, Horned Lark, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Richard's Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, Bluethroat, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Yellow-browed Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red-backed Shrike, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Common Rosefinch, Common Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Snow Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Reed Bunting

Site Information

Birding information is available from the nature centre at West-Terschelling.

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

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Access and Facilities

The island is reached by ferry from Harlingen which must be booked if taking a car.

A popular tourist centre, Terschelling has plentiful accommodation ranging from campsites and youth hostels to guest-houses.

Contact Details

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External Links

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Content and images originally posted by Steve