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The Netherlands July 2017 (1 Viewer)

seedyrom

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ANN AND ROLAND GO BIRDING IN THE NETHERLANDS

JULY - 20017

TRAVEL

We flew from Manchester to Amsterdam return with KLM. No problems.

CAR RENTAL

We rented a Volvo from Green Motion. It was a bit bigger and newer than we would have

liked but served us well though Roland hated the 6 gears and the fact that the car kept

telling him to put the car into 6th! Petrol was a little more expensive than at home.

ACCOMMODATION

We stayed at the Mercure Hotel in Zwolle. The hotel was lovely. Our room was a little on

the small side but we were only there to sleep so that didn’t really matter. If you agreed not

to have your room cleaned, you were given 5euros per day to spend in the bar or restaurant

so we did that. Breakfast was brilliant – a fabulous buffet. The evening meal was expensive

compared to what we normally spend at home but the food was good quality (except for

the fish and chips). Eating out was very expensive wherever we went and the hotel was a

convenient place to eat. We would certainly recommend the hotel as a base and would

happily stay there again.

Zwolle itself is a nice little town but the parking is horrendous and expensive. It is better to

park on the outskirts and walk in.

BIRDING

We planned our birding round information gleaned from Birding Netherlands

(www.birdingnetherlands.com), Birding Holland (www.birdingholland.com) and from the

Ramsar Sites Information Service.

Our first morning looked pretty dismal as we headed towards Oostvaardersplassen, one of

Europe’s largest and most important wetland reserves. This is an area of shallow lakes,

pools, marshes, reeedbeds, salix woodland and grassland within seasonally flooded

agricultural land. It is popular with birders, cyclists and walkers. We headed straight for the

Visitor Centre (De Oostvaarder)which is well set up with a shop and café plus information on

the area. We left with a sheet of A4 about the De Zeearend (the Sea eagle ) Walking Trail (1

euro) and went straight to the hide round the corner which was empty apart from a couple

of nesting Barn swallows. There was very little to see: a distant Spoonbill and a few Greylag

geese was about it. We set off to follow the 5 kilometre walking route but the heavens

opened so we retraced our steps and decided to explore the reserve by car, making stops

wherever we could. At the Oostvaarders Nature Observation Centre on the other side of the

reserve we had a coffee and a snack. There is a good hide there but, again, there was little

to see. As we headed back towards Zwolle, we decide to investigate the sign to the Nature

Park near Lelystad and what a surprise that turned out to be! Not only did it start to clear up

but we got free entry to a wildlife park – the ticket barrier wasn’t working but it only cost 3

euros to go in anyway! There was a big visitor centre with displays, a restaurant etc and the

park was divided up into areas where you could (allegedly) see such animals as

Przewalski horses Pere David deer, Bison, Elk etc. It was close to feeding time for the Otters so
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we headed off in that direction first. There were lots of them but not all kept together

because the adult males fight with each other so they were quite spread out in allocated

sections. The keeper was very informative and chatty. We then had a wander round the rest

of the park. Well, not all of it but as much as we could manage on foot and in the time we

had! There are several walking and cycling tails to follow too. Unfortunately we didn’t see

any of the animals but we did see quite a few birds and enjoyed watching the nesting

White storks.

On the other days and in pleasant weather conditions we explored the areas listed below.

We enjoyed several walks of varying lengths and whilst we didn’t see a lot of birds, we did

enjoy ourselves. We also found the changing landscape interesting as contrary to belief, it

varies a lot and there are many small towns and pretty villages to explore. We found all the

Dutch people we came across to be really polite and friendly. Everyone said hello which was

really nice.

Wieden – Characterised by shallow freshwater lakes, reed beds, fens, wet meadows,

transition mires, quaking bogs, forested peatland and numerous canals created through

peat extraction activities in the 18th and 19th centuries Lots of walking/boating possibilities

with beautiful small villages and houses.

Weerribben – Low-lying peatland formed by bogs, marshlands, wet meadows, pools,

channels, heathland, and woodland. Great walks.

Engbertsdijksvenen. One of the last remaining raised bogs in the Netherlands with dry

heathland, birch forests, ditches and drainage channels. Fascinating.

Sallandse Heuvelrug – a National Park founded in 2004 with hills in it!! Forest and

heathlands. Very busy at the weekend round the Visitors’ Centre . Beautiful heathlands and

scenery. Nijverdal nearby is a pretty town with some good restaurants and a fantastic ice- cream/chocolate shop 

Naardermeer –A complex of shallow, freshwater lakes, pools and canals, fens, reedbeds,and

swamp forests surrounded by wet meadows and marshland.

Rottige Meenthe en Brandemeer – An open landscape of seasonally flooded agricultural

land with small ponds and canals made by peat excavations in the past.

We also made a return visit to Oostvaardersplassen to complete the walk. This time the sky

was blue, the sun was shining and I managed to get my head sunburnt! The walk was lovely

though we did miss the turning left along the boardwalk as there was no sign. Instead we

went straight on. This takes you to another hide and if we hadn’t gone wrong we wouldn’t

have seen our only lifer of the trip namely a Lesser spotted woodpecker.  Wonderful

views, We also had Bluethroat and Redstart on the approach road seeing others during the

course of the day. I was amazed to see an Otter in the water near the Visitor Centre :0

Again, there was little to see from the nearby hide but there were lots of Barn swallows

plus Grey heron, Robins, warblers, Chiffchaff in the trees and bushes round there. In fact,

we heard Chiffchaff absolutely everywhere we went in the Netherlands!! There were also

wild horses (Konik ponies) on the reserve.

A word of warning though – this walk is VERY popular and you get loads of noisy joggers and

families with children though they don’t all do the full circuit!

One place we didn’t go to but which I would have liked to visit was Hoge Veluwe National

Park in Otterlo. It was 18euros60 each to go in plus parking. It would probably be worth it if you
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wanted to visit the museums as well as go birding the park but we just wanted to go birding and

ruled it out at that price. Maybe next time and at a different time of year!

We also managed to visit MacDonald’s in Almelo, Preston’s twin town. We are not fans of le Macdo

but do enjoy McFlurries and buy one in every country we visit if we can! Florida is still winning hands

down a) on quantity and b) on cost!!

FULL BIRD LIST

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Common Swift Apus apus

Common Tern Sterna hirundo

Common Wood-Pigeon Columba palumbus

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca

Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula

Eurasian Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra

Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula

Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Eurasian Magpie Pica pica

Eurasian Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Eurasian Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea

Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia

Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

European Greenfinch Chloris chloris

European Robin Erithacus rubecula

European Serin Serinus serinus

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris

European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola

Gadwall Anas strepera

Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Greylag Goose Anser anser

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
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Ann and Roland Go Birding in The Netherlands July 2017.pdf
Displaying Ann and Roland Go Birding in The Netherlands July 2017.pdf.
 

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