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The best places to spot birds at the Marker Wadden

When constructing the Netherlands’ youngest mudflats on the Markermeer, not only were the birds taken into account, but also the bird lovers. On the Marker Wadden, beautiful spots have been created especially for bird spotters, so that they can observe the many special birds at different heights. We will be happy to explain the best places to be found on the various nature islands!

Viewing huts and watchtowers on the Marker Wadden

Around the Marker Wadden islands, floating silt quickly sinks to the bottom and the water becomes clear again for the first time in years. This allows the light to penetrate much deeper into the water, which in turn allows algae, water fleas and other insects to grow.

They are a true banquet for the small fish that have also returned since the arrival of the islands. These small fish attract large fish and, of course, many species of birds. This makes the Marker Wadden a true bird watching paradise. It is not without reason that several observation huts have been placed in special places, and you can also literally gaze out from the observation tower.

Bird watching hut ‘Lepelaar’ (Spoonbill)

This bird-watching hut is situated at a height of 3.5 metres, where you have a perfect view of the stopover of all the migratory birds that land on the Marker Wadden in the spring and autumn. These birds soon realised that the Marker Wadden was an excellent roadside stop on their long journey from North to South or vice versa.

Not only migratory birds but also Sparrowhawks, who in fact live around the corner and nest on Lelystad’s television tower, like to score a takeaway meal here.

‘Duikeend’ (Diving duck) lookout

In the diving duck hide, you are at eye level and first row to see the whole food chain ‘live’. De verschillenden eenden duiken letterlijk voor je neus, naar hun voedsel. From this viewing hut, it is a true spectacle to witness at close quarters.

Not only do you see Crown Duck, Crested Duck and other ducks with trendy names showing off here. If you are patient, birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon can also pass by and catch a nice fish.

Lookout ‘ Aalscholver’ (Cormorant)

This screen, in fact a large wooden fence, is located in the middle of the largest island and near the harbour where yachts and traditional sailing ships can moor. From behind this screen, you have an amazing view of the island, the Markermeer and the approach routes of dozens of different birds. More than 20 different birds a day are easily counted here.

Watch Tower ‘De Steltloper’ (The Wader)

Watch tower ‘De Steltloper’ is the highest point of the Marker Wadden. From this striking tower you can oversee the entire archipelago and have a fantastic view of the Markermeer. On a clear day, you can even see Enkhuizen and Almere from here.

Hiking tours of the marker Wadden

If sitting still for hours is not your thing, don’t worry, you can follow various walking routes around the islands. You decide for yourself how long, for example there is a walk of more than three kilometres and also if you prefer to count butterflies instead of birds, you can indulge yourself here.

  • The bird’s flight route’. This tour is literally a bird’s eye view of the island, you can enjoy a wide view and get an idea of the island. On the way, you will also come across two viewing huts. There is also a longer tour of seven kilometres.
  • The coastal route’. This route takes you along the edge of the island, ‘the coast’. One moment you are walking in silence with a view of the Markermeer and the next you are in the midst of a colony of birds. The walk ends at the lookout tower, which is well worth climbing if you still have some energy left.
  • The Butterfly Route’ In this walking route of over four kilometres, two butterfly trails of 500 metres have been laid out. At the start of such a journey you start the app: ‘Butterfly count‘ and keep track of how many butterflies you see. In this way, you help with important research on the island, to see how nature develops here.

The Island Pavilion on the Marker Wadden

The island pavilion is a multifunctional place. It is set up as an information centre where you can also sit on the terrace with an amazing view and score a souvenir for the home front as proof of your visit.

Well worth it! If you are hungry after an afternoon of walking, spotting or sailing, the island pavilion offers delicious snacks and drinks.

How to get to the Marker Wadden

Would you like to take a closer look at the burgeoning nature in this newest part of the Netherlands? Then there are two options to get there:

  • Natuurmonumenten’s ferry from Lelystad. You book your ticket online and sail in about 45 minutes to the main island of the Marker Wadden.
  • Book a day or multi-day trip on a sailing ship from Enkhuizen and discuss in advance with the skipper a visit to the Marker Wadden. Sailing on a classic sailing ship on the IJsselmeer and Markermeer is an adventure in itself.
  • Sail your own yacht from a port city around the IJsselmeer or another port in the Netherlands to the Marker Wadden Sea. You can also stay overnight in the harbour for a fee. Don’t forget to report before you set sail to the islands.

You are guaranteed to see a lot of natural beauty and birds along the way. A nice bonus is that, in addition to a visit to the Marker Wadden, you can also visit many more great places along the IJsselmeer. A visit to the other Wadden Islands is also an option. For more information, please contact us!

This post is also available in: Dutch German