Thank you for a wonderful afternoon. Ben was just great – very nice, really knew what he was talking about, where to go, and took us to many habitats so we could see the most birds. I had a great time, and I am just a general nature lover (not a serious birder). We would highly recommend Ben and Birding Holland. This was my first excursion with a private guide. It was worth every penny. It was a real pleasure to get out into the countryside, see the seaside, and to go down country lanes to see rural homes and farms – a perfect balance to our city sightseeing in the Netherlands. Thank you again.
Jennifer Bennett, Duluth, MN, USA
I had a very enjoyable day birding in the south of the Netherlands with Ben. We concentrated on woodland birding, which is not especially easy in September, but still managed to see a good number of species including some which can be difficult to find in the UK. Ben is a good birder, very good on calls, and easy to get on with. I would be happy to use Birding Holland for a future trip in the Netherlands.
Trevor Warren, UK
I had just a short time at the end of a business trip, but wanted to fit in
some birding. I was able to arrange a trip with Ben Gaxiola of Birding Holland.
Visiting a number of sites in North Holland in the afternoon, followed by others near Rotterdam the next morning, we were able to find over 100 species even in mid-April, including specialties like Bittern and Grasshopper Warbler!
Ben is an incredibly skilled birder with a particularly good ear. The sheer numbers of individuals were also a treat--we saw easily the most Common Redshanks and Shelducks I've ever seen in a day."
David Bates, Watertown, MA, USA
Thanks to Birding Holland for a great day's birding in November during a stopover before my return to Hong Kong. My flight was 3 hours late getting
in to Amsterdam and I was a little worried that this might curtail our plans. I needn't have worried, my guide for the day, Ben Gaxiola, was patiently awaiting my arrival and it seemed like only minutes before we arrived at our first birding site. I had requested that we focus on northern birds, especially geese, with my target lifer being Tundra Bean Goose and Ben had worked out a splendid itinerary in the Oostvaardersplassen and Noord-Holland which not only produced a flock of several hundred Tundra Bean Geese but also a bonus Black Brant - skillfully found by Ben - as well as five other goose species and both Bewick's and Whooper Swans. Other highlights were raptors including a Rough-legged Buzzard and a Merlin. I am also interested in mammals so we made sure of seeing the 'wild' Heck Cattle and Konig Horses with another bonus being Red Deer, several Red Foxes and a Harbour Seal.
I would unreservedly recommend Ben and Birding Holland and look forward to another enjoyable and successful day in the field on my next stopover.
Mike Leven, Hong Kong
Many thanks for an incredible few days.
Pieter’s knowledge of the area and its birds really shines through. I had my doubts about whether we’d be able to find Crested Tit and Black Woodpecker – these two secretive species required a special detour, but Pieter’s keen ear and understanding of woodpecker behaviour meant we got incredible close-up views of this most striking of woodpeckers (and a Crested Tit perched obligingly for us as we searched!).
I would not hesitate to recommend Birding Holland to anyone, especially British birders who can experience a whole new whole of birding (and Dutch birders’ food!) just a 45-minute flight away. There are Buzzards everywhere you look – and we were fortunate enough to get clear views of a perched Rough-legged Buzzard. Other star birds of our trip included Long-eared Owl, White-headed Duck, Hawfinch, Smew, White Stork and a brilliant close-up look at a bobbing Jack Snipe in the open.
The sight and sound of tens of thousands of wintering geese (SEE VIDEO1 and VIDEO2) taking off from the feeding grounds and flying over our heads will stay with me forever.
Jack Thorpe, Bird Watching magazine, UK
I would like to thank the guides from Birding Holland for making my weekend birding in The Netherlands so memorable. Thinking back, this can be attributed to your in-depth knowledge of the birding locations in The Netherlands, excellent spotting skills, careful planning and dedication as a guide. To take things a step up, I noted that Teus, Menno and Pieter had an intimate knowledge of the behaviour, habitat and calls of the birds which no doubt added quite a few more birds to the already impressive bird list.
I know we had a demanding task on our first day of birding - we went target birding for 4 owls in under 8 hours. But you did it! And not to mention showing me another 83 species in the same day and 100 species the next day! With your warm and friendly personality, you were great company and that made the experience all the more enjoyable. I look forward to birding with you again.
Ju Lin Tan, Singapore
This was a five-days trip to Holland (Feb. 2010). Our focus was definitely bird photography, and our photography guide from "Birding Holland" was Menno van Duijn. Menno did a great job in leading us to more uncommon species (like Red-breasted Goose and Oriental Turtle Dove), or in helping us locating good photo-options. As a result this gave us a few nice shots; mainly waterbirds, a few raptors, purple sandpiper (target sp.) and a few more.
103 species (countable) were recorded, not so bad for a photo-trip to Holland in February (max. 66/day). All in all a rather productive trip, and much thanks to our guide Menno, who, except for being a competent guide is a very nice person.
"Birding Holland" gives you what you ask for - no doubt!
Christian Pindsle, Gunnar Numme, Sandefjord, Norway
Thanks for an excellent day of birding in January. Despite snowy roads, you managed to work out a wonderful route to see a great mix of Dutch winter birds including our target species (including a flock of 160 Smews!). The day had lots of variety and good pacing. It never felt like we were rushing and there was no long stretches with no birds. This shows your broad knowledge of the birds and their habits. You always had a location nearby for the next stop with good birds. Your knowledge included the whole of the natural world which is always a big plus.
We had always heard that the Netherlands offered wonderful winter birding and you showed us that it was true. The next time that we are in Amsterdam we will certainly find time to go birding with you again.
Ken Russell and Laurel Devaney, Fairbanks, Alaska
Pieter guided three of us on a weekend of winter birdwatching in Holland. Even in difficult weather conditions we managed to see 90+ species in 2 days including 8 geese species which were our target birds. He is an excellent guide who knows the sites and birds well. Perhaps as importantly he is also extremely good company which made the whole experience very enjoyable. We will be back, and with Pieter.
Barnaby, Andrew and Adam, UK
This was my first birdwatching holiday with a guide experience and with Pieter as guide it was worth every minute of it. I will definitely go back to Holland for birdwatching with Pieter. I prepared a list of species that I would like to see and Pieter has done some good homework and I have seen the majority of them! Not to mention that he knows the birding areas very well and updates himself every day with recent interesting bird sightings. We were out all day birding and we discussed the plan of the day every morning with Pieter giving his client all the options where ultimately the client would decide how to spend the day. We have seen almost hundred species (30 new for me) in three days with some interesting ones like Red-breasted and Lesser-white fronted Goose, Bufflehead, Rough-legged Buzzard, White-tailed eagle and many more.
Joseph Dunlop, Luxemburg
Pieter and Teus were great guides and we all enjoyed our birding in Amsterdam. We only had about 3 hours to bird between our flights, but Pieter knew lots of good places around the airport and we were all glad that we hired them. It was a productive morning birding and great to be able to see a bit of the country as well. We are all looking forward to birding with Birding Holland again, except next time we are going to arrange our schedules to give us more time!
Bryan Shirley, Payson, Utah, USA
Mammals are another dimension to Pieters knowledge and trips. He organized to take me batting, with an electronic bat detector and a cool light, and we observed and identified several species. It was an exciting night and topped off an afternoon of birding that yielded some of my most wanted birds amongst a list of 90 we tallied. So if you are after a few furry, as well as feathered European critters, I can thoroughly recommend Pieter. His enthusiasm and willingness to make the extra effort made the trip both fun and rewarding. Even if birds is your main thing an evening at a bat pond is a memorable way to finish a day.
Malcolm Turner, Queensland, Australia
I contacted Birding Holland re. seeing an Eagle Owl. Needless to say I had excellent, walk-away views with their help on a day trip from the U.K.
I would not hesitate to recommend Pieter and Birding Holland to anyone wishing to see this species (#6792 for me!)
Richard Rowland, South Yorkshire, England
Pieter is an excellent guide even to a beginner like me. The whole day tour was fantastic and he has demonstrated his great birding skills to us.
He has well trained eyes and ears which ensure we can spot all kind of birds in the area with ease. With his informative knowledge we have learned a great deal from the trip and together with a fun, friendly and talkative personality, you are always surrounded by excitement during the entire trip.
If you are a beginner, Pieter is your best choice with affordable prices and flexibility on the journey. If you are an expert, Pieter is an even better join because he knows exactly where to look for the birds you need.
P.S.: Pieter is a safe and comfortable driver too!
Leslie Tang, Hong Kong
I would happily recommend Pieter van der Luit/Birding Holland as a guide he both knows the sites and the birds, was fun to bird with, and developed and revised an itinerary that produced my target species.
Mark Gawn, Geneva, Switzerland. See tripreport on Surfbirds.
Upon realizing that I had a day+ layover at Amsterdam in early September, I researched several options for birding. I settled on Birding Holland, instead of renting a car and birding on my own, as prices were comparable, they provided a scope so I could travel without mine, they were likely to take me to areas I might not find on my own, and as most travelling birders know, it is always nice to have expert answers to all those questions that come to mind when birding in unfamiliar territory. Pieter and Remco are excellent guides, highly knowledgeable about Dutch birds, natural history and human history, and quite conversant about birds globally. While the weather varied from atrocious to almost acceptable, the birding was excellent. They are good at everything from hard-core rarity chasing and discussing fine points of hard identification to relaxed enjoyment of the abundance and beauty of Dutch birds.
Bill Tweit, Washington, USA
We had a beautiful morning birding with Pieter in Holland and even though the weather threatened us the entire time, it only rained when we were relocating to new sites. In a half day, we added over 40 new birds to our birding list with a total for the morning of over 75 species. These sightings included travelling to special locations for the Little Owl, the White Stork and the Eurasian Spoonbill. We travelled the back roads and lanes of Holland where tourists rarely visit and saw the Dutch countryside in a special way. Pieter accomodated our mixed up vacation schedule which meant he had to rearrange our birding trip to another day after a major flight delay. Pieter made the trip more enjoyable by providing wonderful Dutch stroopwafels as snacks complete with coffee and tea. We look forward to birding with Pieter again in another trip to Holland in the near future. It was really a special adventure for us. Pieter is a true birding professional and now a birding friend.
Gene and Joanne, Humble, Texas, USA
We had two wonderful days birding with Pieter (and Remco on the first day) in the Netherlands. Not only were they very pleasant birding companions, they also worked really hard to find us as many birds as possible.
Pieter's experience and knowledge of the birds of the area is extensive. He was very generous with his time both before the trip (planning an itinerary based on our wish list, suggesting hotels, scouting, etc.) and on the birding days themselves which were, per our choice, very long; literally before dawn to after dusk. And the birds? Well, they were fantastic and there were lots of them! Highlights for us included the light buoyant flight of the three Montagu's Harriers seen, each in a different plumage; three Black Woodpeckers seen well, one at really close range; the excellent help Pieter and Remco provided sorting out all those skulking warblers, and the huge Eurasian Eagle Owl with chick. Highly recommended.
Bob and Barbara Brandriff, Berkeley, California, USA (Tripreport)
I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Seeing the birds was good, but so was seeing the countryside that you drove us through. I'm really glad that I found Birding Holland.
Valerie Glass, California, USA
Having just moved to the Netherlands, a day with Pieter was a great way to learn about birding in the area. We covered a lot of ground by going to numerous locations and walking on foot to investigate further. Birds of prey were my focus for the day but we were also able to spend a lot of time looking and listening to tits, warblers, ducks and the rest - 87 species in total!
Plenty of tea, coffee and Dutch cheeses to nibble in between. This day will definitely spur my birding interest and I'm already looking for a telescope to buy for my next trips to locations recommended by Pieter.
Björn Hauksson, Reykjavík, Iceland / The Hague, Netherlands
We wanted to express our thanks to you for our outstanding day of birding in your lovely country. Your tireless efforts to put us on as many birds as possible while we also enjoyed the sights of the countyside were greatly appreciated. We would not hesitate to recommend you to any serious birder traveling to the Netherlands. We enjoyed meeting you and sharing a great birding day with you, in our three days of birding in your country our life list grew by 45 birds, 39 of which were seen on our day with you. Thanks again!
Joe and Marcia Pugh, Decatur, Georgia, USA
Thank you very much for two truly outstanding days birding. I'm delighted with the pictures and have attached some highlights for you.
Brian Harrison, London, UK
Over the years I’ve traveled to Europe at least ten times, always finding time to bird while there. But I never could find a Black Woodpecker. Then I went birding with Pieter at “Birding Holland”. Black Woodpecker? No problem, he nailed it! Along with a couple of other long-time targets: Black Stork, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-breasted Goose, Little Bunting, Eagle Owl and White-tailed Eagle. He knows the Netherlands intimately, and is a congenial companion for a day in the field. I recommend him highly.
Professor Philip Johnson (5000+ species and counting) - Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA (Tripreport)
Pieter van der Luit and I have birded together on a Polar cruise from northern Russia to Franz Josef Land and the North Pole. During my time with him, in the field and in discussions, I was able to appreciate that he is truly an expert ornithologist, who will be a great asset in helping visitors to Holland in finding and identifying the birds.
David Brewer - Ontario, Canada
Author of the book:Wrens, Dippers and Thrashers
Pieter is an affable, humorous and very knowledgable birdwatcher who took great pride and pleasure in showing me the fantastic variety of birds to be found in Holland.
Thousands of geese of several species, 10 species of duck, Long-eared Owl and superb views of the magnificent black woodpecker were amongst the highlights.
Many years of watching birds in Holland mean that Pieter knows exactly where to look and his expert fieldcraft means you have a great chance of seeing the birds you want to see. I cannot recommend him highly enough and will certainly be back in the summer.
Jim - London, England
Having birded with Pieter, we have first-hand experience of his excellent birding skills and entertaining personality. Pieter is an excellent spotter, makes sure everyone gets on the bird, and is a fun travel companion.
Ron & Marcia Braun - Houston, Texas, USA
I thoroughly enjoyed our birding outing. We did well, and I really had a great time learning about the Netherlands. You were very encouraging about my birding and comfortable about describing what living in the Netherlands is like in 2008. I learned a lot about food, politics and birding. A wonderful first birding trip to Europe! A fun day!
The birding was a highlight of my trip in the Netherlands.
Jody - New Jersey, USA
We really appreciated our Big Day with Pieter as pleasant, knowledgable and easy-going guide.
He entirely fulfilled the promise of more than 100 species in one day, making the day even more enjoyable.
We recommend Pieter in every way, he makes birding look easy.
Karl and Nils Hammarlund, Sweden
We had a wonderful day of birding. We totally enjoyed the day, the scenery and the typical Dutch meal. Hope to see you again someday.
Connie and Wendell Neeley - Somerset, Kentucky, USA