The arise of the Lauwersmeer National Park
With a size of 60 square kilometers (about 40 square miles), the National Park Lauwersmeer is one of the biggest nature reserves in its kind in the Northern part of the Netherlands.
After the closure of the former Lauwerszee from the Waddenzee in 1969 the saltwater changed into freshwater. And because of the changing of the water there is a great variation in vegetation, that resulted in a true paradise for the birds. The reserve is located at the borders of the Groningen and Frysian provinces.
Since 1969 there are 336 different species of birds observed in this reserve! In spring and summer, there are breeding over 100 different kinds of birds including the White-tailed Eagle. In autumn there are many kinds of birds passing by at their journey to the South, and in winter there are many winter guests. There is a big herd of Scottish Highland Cows and Konik Horses in the reserve, they keep the grass and bushes low and the fields open.
The White-tailed Eagles of the Lauwersmeer
With a little luck we’ll see the Eagles flying and feeding, they breed in this National Reserve. And one of their youngster is now with a partner in the Zuidlaardermeer area!
Where are we going with the Birding tour Lauwersmeer?
The Lauwersmeer is outstretched and when people are unknown in this area they can easily miss the nicest birding spots. There is not only the Lauwersmeer but also the Lauwersoog harbor and the dike at the Waddenzee with nice observation ability. It is impossible to visit all these nice places and observe the birds in a half a day trip as you will understand. Therefore I’ve divided this birding tour into two pieces. You have the choice, you can book the Birding Tour Lauwersmeer for the Eastern side (Groningen) or for the Western side (Frysian) each is a half-day trip. When you book the excursion for a whole day we will visit both sides. In both cases, there is plenty of time to observe and eventually photograph the birds.
Birding Tour Lauwersmeer Groningen side
This birding tour starts at the excellent bird-watching shelter Jaap Deensgat. From here we will go upwards to Lauwersoog harbor and the sluices of the Lauwersmeer where this birding tour ends. During this birding tour and if the season is right we will visit the salt marshes. In winter there is a big chance to find the Hooded Crow and Snow Buntings there. There are also lots of different kinds of ducks, herons, and stilts to expect. At our trip upwards to the Lauwersoog haven, there are different kind of reed birds and water birds to find. And when we are lucky we will see the Kingfisher hunting for prey. The whole year round there are different kinds of raptors in this area like harriers, falcons, and buzzards.
Birding Tour Lauwersmeer Frysian part
The Birding Tour for the Frysian part takes off at the nature campground de Pomp, We will start here with a walk and visit the observation hill. From there you have a very beautiful sight over the fields with reed. This is the area for the Marsh Harrier and it is here that there is a change for the White-tailed Eagle to show up. During this birding tour, we have the change to spot a Kingfisher. From here we go to Ezumakeeg and the sluices and Lauwersoog harbor. During the winter there are thousands of Geese feeding in the meadow here, among them regularly a Red-breasted Goose. During the spring and summer, this area is for the stelts. From the Waddenzee dike, you will have a nice view on the see, and when the tide is low you will see the stelts seeking for food.
The sluices from the Lauwersmeer and the Bantpolder
This is the last part for the Birding Tour Groningen part and the last stop for the Frysian part. At this point, we take a look at the sea dike to the Waddenzee. Depending on the tide this is the place to be for the see birds and different kinds of stelts.
Of course, shall we visit Lauwersoog harbor in both birding tours. Whole year around you can find nice birds here. During the winter period, we will often find the Purple Sandpiper here. And there are also many Turnstones to observe. It is very nice to see how they feed between the Basalt blocks at the shore. And in this harbor, there are regularly rare species to spot. Like rare Seagulls and other birds from the sea and oceans. And nearly every day there are Seals hunting for fish in the harbor. This is the end of the Birding Tour Frysian part.
Food and drinks
During the Birding Tour Lauwersmeer, there will be coffee and tea with a local titbit.
What can you expect from this Birding Tour Lauwersmeer?
- There is a Swarovski spotting scope for general use;
- The guide is well known in this area and also knows the hidden birding spots;
- Year-round good birding opportunities;
- Very nice bird observation possibilities;
- Different biotopes, therefore many different birds;
- The possibility to borrow a pair of binoculars during the birding tour;
- The guide is a very experienced birder and she can point them out for you;
- Good photographing opportunities during the tour;
- You can make your own choice where you want to do the birding tour;
- Food and drinks included;
- This birding tour is fitted for experienced and unexperienced birders;
- This birding tour is also suitable for people who are not good in walking long distances;
- Free parking for your car during the birding tour;
- The ability to ask questions about the particular birds during the birding tour;
- You will get a full list with the spotted birds by e-mail;
- An unforgettable birding experience in the Netherlands.
I am very excited to take you with me and show you all the birding secrets in this reserve. It is easy to book your own Birding tour at a time and date that suits you. In the last step of the booking process there is a comment field. It is there that you can type your preferred option to take the Groningen or Frysian part of the birding tour. When you book this tour a whole day we visit both sites of the reserve.
TIP from the guide!
When you can’t make a choice or you have no preference which side to take the tour from the Lauwersmeer, I advise you to choose in the morning the Groningen side and after lunch the Frysian side. This because of sunshine, in that case, we mostly have the sun in our back. It is then easier to observe the birds and they are nicer to photograph if you wish.
Your Guide: Andrea de Vries
Ann Vansant Roberta Newton (verified owner) –
What a wonderful experience to bird with Andrea at Lauwersmeer. We were her first English speaking tour and she had translated a potential species list into English. Her knowledge of the locations of the birds, and bird song make her an exceptional guide and teacher. We were impressed with her itinerary, so we were able to identify over 85 species. When we visit the Netherlands in the future, we plan to schedule tours with her. We highly recommend her to birders regardless of their level of expertise.
Greensboro, NC, USA