Category Archives: Bird Hide

Returning to an old haunt

During our recent trip to the Netherlands, Arthur and I twice visited one of our old birding grounds, Starrevaart. We primarily birded the lake from the hide “de Vogelknip.”

In preparation for the trip, I checked the blog of a Dutch birder who frequently visits Starrevaart. I was shocked to read that the bird hide there had burned down in June 2009. It was a total loss! But then I was pleasantly surprised to read that a new hide was built just a few months later. Phew! It’s a sturdy little hide, very similar to the previous one. A nice addition was a site-specific bird ID poster.

Interior Vogelknip
Brand new shutters. See the shiny new latches? They all worked! (That won’t last)

Starrevaart Poster
Some of the birds you might see from de Vogelknip

Of course, the wonderful view as just about the same as we remembered it.

View from Starrevaart bird hide
What the birds see

View from Starrevaart bird hide
Looking northeast

Great Crested Grebe
A Great Crested Grebe living up to its name

View from Starrevaart bird hide
Greylag Geese, swimming and landing; looking west-southwest

Mute Swan
Three Mute Swans

View from Starrevaart bird hide
More Mute Swans; looking northwest

It was great to go back to one of our old regular birding spots and sit for a while, quietly watching the birds. One of my favorites was a Great Crested Grebe having a nap on the choppy water. I also took a short video of this weary bird.

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What a bird blind should be

One of the last places we visited on our auto-tour of the Oostvaardersplassen on August 14 was a blind called de Grauwe Gans (the Greylag Goose). This little palace of birding is everything a bird blind should be, in my opinion: functional, comfortable, and perfectly located to view birds. While this blind is very nice, it’s not atypical of Dutch or European bird blinds I’ve visited. I have not seen anything like it in the U.S., so far.

Grauwe Gans vogelkijkhut
The path leading to the bind is bordered by a privacy fence

Grauwe Gans vogelkijkhut
The blind is octagonal, with windows on six sides

Grauwe Gans vogelkijkhut
A small utility shelf is made extra handy with bird ID guide images right on the shelf surface

Grauwe Gans vogelkijkhut
The view from the blind

I’ve created a Flickr pool for photos of bird blinds or bird hides. There are 279 photos in the pool now, and I’d love to have more! Please have a look and submit your appropriate pictures to the Bird hides / bird blinds pool on Flickr.

A very short video ‘tour’ of the blind

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Birding around Flevoland, part 3

During our day birding (or should I rather say our day of visiting bird blinds?) the Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland, we stopped at six different spots to watch birds along the Oostvaardersdijk (see part 1 and part 2). After Julianapad, we headed inland to the Grauwe Gans (Greylag Goose) blind. We spent a lot of time here watching the shorebirds and waterfowl.

View from Grauwe Gans blind
The view from the blind

A small flock of feeding Pied Avocet was particularly entertaining. There was a large flock of Eurasian Spoonbill – most were napping, but a couple of begging babies amused us while annoying an adult bird. Pied Wagtails, Green Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers spent time close to the hide.

Pied Wagtail

Common Sandpipers
Bathing Common Sandpipers

Green Sandpiper
Handsome Green Sandpiper

You might notice I haven’t said too much about the blind. That’s because I’m saving it for another post! šŸ™‚

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Birding around Flevoland, part 2

After visiting the Lepelaarplassen and stopping a couple of times on the Oostvaardersdijk to view birds (see part 1), Arthur and I continued on to a few bird hides around the Oostvaardersplassen. Along the dike, decorative metal fences pay homage to the birds of the area.

Dike fence

Dike fence

Our first stop was the hide along the Julianapad on the northeast side of the Oostvaardersplassen. Most of the hides and observation points in this area are very nicely signed. This illustration gives you an idea of the birds you might see from the hide.

The hide at the end of the path is an open building, with lots of openings facing the water at different heights.

Julianapad hide

Julianapad hide

Unfortunately there were hardly any birds to view from the hide. I didn’t mind too much, as there were birds to watch inside the hide.

Julianapad hide

There were half a dozen Barn Swallow nests in the rafters of the hide. Most were empty, but two held nestlings. Parents provided food to the nestlings in the blink of an eye. Youngsters also sat in one of the windows, watching adults outside hunting and begging when the adults approached them.


Begging Baby Barn Swallows

Barn Swallow juveniles

After this, we headed back to the car to visit, you guessed it, more bird blinds. Read all about in Part 3.

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Birding around Flevoland, part 1


On August 14th Arthur and I rented a car in Roosendaal, bid his family adieu, and headed north. We drove to Flevoland for some birding around the Oostvaardersplassen. The red area on the small grey map shows approximately the area we visited.

Regular readers of this blog (if there are any?) might remember that I’m a big fan of bird blinds or hides. I guess that means I prefer to be a lazy birder. Let the unsuspecting birds come to me, I say!

Anyway, the Oostvaardersplassen area is full of blinds, and we spent the day checking out the birds from several of them. You can click on the image below to see the Google map of the blinds. It’s pretty neat; when you click on satellite you can see the little round blinds sitting next to the water. There are actually more bird observation points in the area; I just focused on the full-on blinds and the points we visited.

Bird blinds in the Oostvaardersplassen area (we visited the blue & fuchsia spots)

Our first stop was the Lepelaarplassen. (On the map above, it’s the blue marker on the far left.) On the trail to the blind, songbird activity was slow, though we did see a couple Common Redstarts.

We also saw a group of birders who took it upon themselves to create their own blind. The birder palaces already in place aren’t good enough for these folks, noooo! šŸ˜‰

Blinded Birders

As we approached the (official) blind, named after the Eurasian Spoonbill (“de Lepelaar”), the trail itself was blocked off from view of the water. I think we took these pictures as we were leaving — but you get the idea. All the better to hide the birders!

Trail to de Lepelaar

Trail to de Lepelaar

There was plenty of fowl on the water, although nothing out of the ordinary. Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Greater Scaup, Mallard, Northern Shoveler and Little Grebe were present.

Northern Shoveler

In a bird blind

After snapping some photos, we were on our way to the next stop – observation points along the Oostvaardersdijk, which lies between the Markermeer and the inland lakes (Oostvaardersplassen). These are the pink points on the Google map. Here we saw a few species of gull and tern, and lots of fowl.



Our next stop was, you guessed it, another blind. Read the continuation in Part 2 and Part 3.

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BPW: Napping Great Crested Grebe

On August 15th Arthur and I visited one of our favorite birding spots, Vogelplas Starrevaart. We spent some time watching birds from the blind. This Great Crested Grebe having a nap on the water was one of the birds we saw.





Bird Photography Weekly is a regular collection of user-submitted bird photos from all over the world. The new edition comes out every Sunday. Go have a look at this weekā€™s submissions!

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Bird Hide Created For Wheelchair Users

The Dutch organization Natuurmonumenten has created a bird hide which is accessible for wheelchair users, in cooperation with the Friese Poort College in Drachten. The hide is located by the Zuidwest (southwest) lakes in the Fochteloƫrveen natural area.

The construction is large enough to be sure that wheelchair users can move around the hide easily. The lookout points are on different levels so wheelchair users can use them as well as bird enthusiasts who arrive on foot.

Four students worked for approximately two months to build the hide, which was tested by wheelchair users and a forest ranger soon after it opened. Some users reported difficulty entering the hut, so the students will adjust the doorway for better future use.

The Fochteloƫrveen is already equipped with a wheelchair accessible path and observation tower. Natuurmonumenten is organizing an excursion to the park for wheelchair users on 17 June.


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