Arend Wassink

Senior ornithological leader


Arend Wassink was born in Katwijk aan Zee, on the west coast of the Netherlands. He was keen on birdwatching and bird study from a very young age. Arend’s passion for studying birds led him to start breeding and migration surveys around his village and finally to graduate biology. However, while working for the government, he realized that a career in a regular job did not suit him. Therefore, he hit the road and began traveling abroad for lengthy periods to mainly Asian countries, but also the Middle East, North Africa, Canada, Argentina and the Antarctic. During these periods, Arend was involved in bird banding and sound recording projects, photographing and guiding. Also, his interest in bird identification led, together with some friends, to the foundation of the Dutch Birding Association (DBA) at his home.

He visited Kazakhstan many times from 1989, where he, for instance, found the first Masked Shrike for Central Asia. He published many articles on identification, migration, and the birds of Kazakhstan in Ardea, Dutch Birding, Limosa, the Russian Journal of Ornithology and Sandgrouse. Currently, he is a member of the editorial board of the latter journal and ebird reviewer for Kazakhstan. Arend was a member of the Dutch Rarities Committee for eight years. In 2015 he published The New Birds of Kazakhstan. This full-color book brings together invaluable information on the status and distribution of the birds of Kazakhstan. He is regarded as the go-to person with questions about the status and distribution of birds in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

For the last 30 years, Arend’s home is the famous bird island of Texel in the Netherlands, where he lives with his family, including his dear wife Marion, daughter Jonna, his grandchildren and dog Bommel. Being one of the leading birders on the island, he is in the field on a daily basis and has found many rare birds, like the first Isabelline Shrike for the Netherlands.

In short, Arend is an expert birder with excellent communicational skills and a good lad to have a beer with at the end of an intensive day in the field and talk birds. Arend will be leading tours in Central Asia but also trips in Russia are planned for the future.