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Migration site Culemborg; good location for migrants following the river
Migration site Culemborg, located in the "Redichemse Waard", is a very good location to observe migrating birds during spring and autumn migration. The site has two posts: one in the west for spring migration and one in the east for autumn migration. The site is located next to the river "Lek" and therefore ideal to observe migration over land by songbirds, like finches, swallows and pipits and migrants following the river, like gulls, terns and waterfowl.
Spring migration is often relaxed and low to medium numbers of birds pass overhead, especially compared to autumn migration. Swallows are often seen is small flocks, like Barn Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin. Pipits and wagtails, like Meadow Pipit, can pass overhead in huge numbers. Thrushes can be seen in small numbers, like Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare. Sometimes small flocks of Ring Ouzel can pass overhead or even land near the post. Due to its location next to the river, species like Osprey can be seen often. Also harriers, falcons and buzzards, like Marsh Harrier and Eurasian Hobby, can pass through the area while (partly) looking for prey. If you're lucky, a Merlin passes you by. Waders are also often spotted, following the river, like Ruff and Whimbrel.
Autumn migration can be very exciting. Huge numbers of migrants can pass overhead in a single morning. Waterfowl can be seen following the river in large flocks, like Bewick's Swan, Northern Pintail and Eurasian Wigeon. Many species of predatory birds pass overhead, especially later in the morning, like Osprey, European Honey-buzzard and Hen Harrier. If you're lucky, a White-tailed Eagle can be spotted. Large numbers of Northern Lapwing roost in the area on the dams or pastures adjacent to the river. Scarce species that follow the river are Little Gull and Caspian Gull. Huge numbers of songbird pass the area, like thousands of Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and thrushes. Also large flocks of Common Wood Pigeon are often seen, flying in large bubble shaped patterns.
The site ifself consists of pastures with scattered trees and bushes. In spring, many species of common songbird breed here, like Greater Whitethroat and Common Chiffchaff. The fences surrounding the pastures are a good spot for European Stonechat and Whinchat. Near the river, Common Kingfisher and Common Sandpiper are often present and can pass you very close by. If you're lucky and quiet, a beaver might swim in front of you following the river. On the other side of the river, Northern Goshawk breeds in the forested patch and can often be heard calling.
The area is fairly easy accessable. The western post is very easy to reach and a small trail leads to the post on the river dike. You'll have to climb a cattle fench first. The eastern post can be reached by climbing over two fenches (small, wooden steps are made to make your crossing easier), surrounding a fairly wet, wetland-like area. After much rainfall, this part can be very wet and sometimes the post is even unreachable. Just walk to the other post to observe migration.