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Oostvaardersplassen, 5600 ha wetland between Almere and Lelystad. Excursion from 09. 15 until 14. 00 hrs

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Tour date:

January 25th, 2015

Name of area visited:

Oostvaardersplassen, 5600 ha wetland between Almere and Lelystad. Excursion from 09.15 until 14.00 hrs.


Robert de Groot

Remarkable: Goshawk

Weather: Grey with intermittent rain, just above freezing. Wind 2 B from SW. Not more than 2 minutes of sunshine.

Nederlandse naam

English name

Scientific name



Great Crested Grebe

Podiceps cristatus

Somormujo lavanco


Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis

Zampullín común


Great Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo

Cormorán grande

Grote zilverreiger

Great Egret

Casmerodius albus

Garceta grande

Blauwe reiger

Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea

Garza real

Wilde zwaan

Whooper Swan

Cygnus cygnus

Cisne cantor


Mute Swan

Cygnus olor

Cisne vulgar


Bean Goose

Anser fabalis

Ánsar campestre


White-fronted Goose

Anser albifrons

Ánsar careto

Grauwe gans

Greylag Goose

Anser anser

Ánsar común


Barnacle Goose

Branta leucopsis

Barnacla cariblanca


Egyptian Goose

Alopochen aegyptiacus

Ganso del Nilo

Wilde eend


Anas platyrhynchos

Pato cabeciverde



Anas strepera

Ánade friso


(Northern) Pintail

Anas acuta

Ánade rabudo


(Northern) Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Cuchara común


(Common) Teal

Anas crecca

Cerceta común


(Common) Pochard

Aythya ferina

Porrón europeo


Tufted Duck

Aythya fuligula

Porrón moñudo



Mergellus albellus

Serreta chica

Grote zaagbek

(Common) Merganser

Mergus merganser

Serreta grande

Bruine kiekendief

Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus

Aguilucho lagunero occidental


(Northern) Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis

Azor Común


(Common) Buzzard

Buteo buteo

Busardo ratonero


Rough-legged Buzzard

Buteo lagopus

Busardo calzado


White-tailed Eagle

Haliaeetus albicilla

Pigargo europeo


(Common) Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

Cernícalo primilla



Gallinula chloropus

Gallineta común


(Common) Coot

Fulica atra

Focha común


Northern Lapwing

Vanellus vanellus

Avefría europea


Black headed Gull

Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Gaviota reidora


(Common) Gull

Larus canus

Gaviota cana


Herring Gull

Larus argentatus

Gaviota argéntea


Wood Pigeon

Columba palumbus

Paloma torcaz


Stock Dove

Columba oenas

Paloma zurita


(Common) Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

Martín pescador común



Turdus merula

Mirlo común



Turdus pilaris

Zorzal real


Blue Tit

Parus caeruleus

Herrerillo común


Great Tit

Parus major

Carbonero común


(Common) Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Estornino pinto



Pica pica



(Common) Raven

Corvus corax


Zwarte kraai

Carrion Crow

Corvus corone



House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

Gorrión común







Soorten waargenomen / Species observed

(H) = Alleen gehoord / Heard only


Locations that were visited in chronological order. Numbers in brackets correspond to numbers on the map below.

The trip started in Amsterdam. We drove out of the city and over the ‘Hollandse Brug’, the bridge that connects the mainland with the newly created polder of Zuid-Flevoland. This polder was created in 1968. By now over 250.000 people live in the polder. But there is still a lot of space for nature. Next to Almere we see the first birds, Gadwall and Tufted Ducks, Mallard and Coot. From there we take the SouthWest dike and check first whether any birds are on the open water. Great Crested Grebe, and in the far distance some Goosander. From there we continue along the western edge of the polder. In Pampushaven, a remnant harbour from the time that the polder was built we look at the many Tufted Ducks. Some more Goosander, even several Smew, male and female. One flock is almost only consisting of Common Pochard. A blue flash sprints low over the water, Kingfisher. We drive onwards; to the NE. A dark bird sits under a Carrion Crow in a tree, when it flies off we notice stubby wings, long tail and brownish grey body, Goshawk, young.
Kwelwater (15): A stop to listen for Reedlings, unfortunately we do not hear or see them. Rain at that moment makes it an endeavour for the brave to stay outside the car for long. A Great Egret makes this not a useless stop. We then continue towards the marina (near 18). Black-headed Gulls on the jetty together with some Common Gulls. More Goosander and of course Tufted Duck and Coot. Near the pump house we check for more ducks. But the flock only has species that we already have seen before on this trip.
Parking Zuid (16): Another reed bed, but few birds, the shallow water has been frozen over. We quickly continue.
Parking Noord (17): A check for the nest of the White-tailed Eagle does not reveal the birds. It is quite hazy, and even the nest is not more than a dark grey blob against a lighter grey background, but in the telescope there is no doubt that it is the nest. We scan the horizon to the east of us, but the tops of all the branches do not have Eagles either. On the open water to the west Cormorants can be seen, Smew as well as Goosander are fishing here.
Grote Zilverreiger (14): The short walk towards the hut goes through a quiet reedbed. Only Blue Tit calls and gives us short views, the water in front of the hide is frozen, not a single open patch, our chance for Bittern, exists. So we quickly go back to the warmth of the vehicle.
Keersluisplas (9): That is the shallow water to the south of the dike which sepatrates two polders. The lake on the north is not frozen. Smew and Little Grebe, Coot and Tufted Duck make use of that.
Poelruiterhut (6) and Krakeendhut (5): Newly created and landscaped area. In a tree next the canal that borders the north side, we see a Rough-legged Buzzard. It takes a while to be sure, but we even are able to see the feathered tarsi, a character that gives the bird its name. Also when it appears to lose its equilibrium for a moment it spreads wings and tail, the tail having a black terminal band and a light coloured base. The dark chest/belly patch is more difficult, as the bird is facing away from us. But we can see the edges of it.

Grote Praambult (8): Last stop before going back. The evidence of overgrazing is clearly visible. Also a White-tailed Eagle is visible, only just, in the distance. We see a Buzzard fly past it, the marked size difference makes it clear that it really is an Eagle. Closer by another Common Buzzard is being chased by a Raven. The Raven is very persistent, and the Buzzard has to fly off. It seemed smaller even than the Raven. Two Whooper Swans are feeding in the pond nearest to the observation point.

After that we drive via Dodaarsweg. The reason for this is that the clients are architects and they want to see the way the farms are organised. The decision proves to be a good one; in the reserve set aside for Harriers, some larger groups of geese are grazing. We add Barnacle Goose, Tundra Bean Goose and Greater White-fronted to the list. Several Buzzards are waiting for a feeding opportunity. Another Kestrel hovers over the field. Lapwings take off, the one Golden Plover that flies off is not seen by the clients. When Lapwings are still around the weather will not be bad in the days to come. If the weather worsens, the Lapwings will move in front of the frostline to the south.
The traffic on the way back is dense, but we reach the city centre in good time.

If you want to read more or see more pictures? Books about the “ Oostvaardersplassen”:

Title: De Oostvaardersplassen, voorbij de grenzen

van het vertrouwde. Fotography: Ruben Smit.

Text: Rinske Hillen and Jan Daan Hillen, in samenwerking

met Frans Vera. ISBN 978-90-816300-1-6.

Title: Oostvaardersplassen, nieuwe natuur op oude zeebodem. Samenstelling: Bremer, P., Berg, L van den, Euverman, G., Wigbels, V., Tempel, J. Publisher : Staatsbosbeheer

ISBN: 90-805009-2-5
Observation points in Flevoland, near the Oostvaardersplassen area.

Excursion executed by:

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