Ridderkerks Dagblad | The 5 most beautiful bird watching on IJsselmonde Island

IJsselmonde Island is the surprisingly varied and undiscovered area close to Rotterdam. Between residential areas you can enjoy walking, cycling, sailing and bird watching in beautiful nature reserves. Birds of all kinds have made the unique humpback whales, storm forests and landscaped gardens their home. Experience IJsselmonde lights the most beautiful bird-rich nature reserves on the island for you. Beautiful hiking routes through these areas can be found on the website www.ontdekijsselmonde.nl under ‘routes’. Bring your binoculars and discover what unique birds live here!

1. Crezeepolder

On the east side of IJsselmonde Island you will find the bird-rich Crezéepolder. In this place, potatoes were grown until 2015, after which the dikes were breached and the polder with unique flora and fauna was created. In recent years, dozens of species have made the polder their home, including rare birds. Here you will find the Mongolian pipe, the black-headed sparrow, the black stork, the marsupial and the short-eared owl. The kingfisher also comes by. Close to the polder you will find Ridderkerkse Gorzen (also worth a visit!), Where trees with overhanging branches grow along the shore; exactly what the kingfisher likes. Along the banks of the river you have good opportunities to see various waders, such as the green-legged rider, snipe and ruff. Spoonbills and black-tailed gulls also enjoy the shallow water here. In the reeds you will find the reed warbler and the reed warbler, on the shore all kinds of ducks, and in the spring green warblers and red legs breed here. In the polder you can walk 5 or 7 kilometers on unpaved paths and decks. Two bird watching gives you a beautiful view of the water. On a rainy day, put on your boots, the trails may be muddy.

2. Sophia Polder

In 1850, a sandbank was recovered in the river Noord, between Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht and Papendrecht, and named after Queen Sophia. For a long time, the polder consisted of fields and meadows, but in 2011 the dikes were breached and nature was allowed to go its own way. With wonderful results: a swampy freshwater tidal area was created. On this uninhabited natural island you can enjoy walking on the terrace. As you walk, you hear all kinds of birds chirping happily. In the middle of the island is a bird sanctuary. With your binoculars you can spot patch divers, black-tailed gulls, blade, redshanks, spoonbills, terns and lions. Ducks and waders are found mainly in the wadden sea and the river looking for food. Songbirds such as the songbird, reed warbler and black hat nest in the bushes and on the dikes. And do not forget to look up, sea eagles fly regularly over, and during bird migration even the osprey. Sophiapolder can only be reached with a free ferry, from Veersedijk 301. This sails from March to October on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 12.00-17.00.

3. Donckse Bos and Donckse Velden

In the country house Huys ten Donck from the 18th century you will find the oldest English landscape garden in Holland; the Donckse Bos. You can visit this area with a hiking map, which costs 1 euro, and you can buy it at the gas station around the corner. In Donckse Bos you will find winding paths, water areas and special trees and plants, including wild spring flowers. Many berry eaters like to come to Donckse Bos in search of food. such as titmice, siskin, finch and finch. They like rowan and elderberry, but they also like to eat holly, hawthorn, ivy, spider eggs, larvae or other insects. Across the road you will find the Donckse Velden. You can regularly spot the cormorant here. The lark, the red-throated diver, the wren and the thrush can also be seen here.

4. Rhoonse and Carnisse Grienden

Along the banks of the Oude Maas you will find the Rhoonse and Carnisse Grienden. Humpback whales were formerly willow plantations, where nature now has free rein. Because the humpback whales are directly connected to the tides of the Oude Maas, the ebb and flow of these areas create a unique flora and fauna. It is not surprising that birds like to live in these areas, which are filled with water twice a day. In this bird paradise you will find 45 bird species, such as the red-tailed collar,

the cuckoo, the chiffchaffen, the blackcap, the fitisen and the garden singer. With a little luck, you will also see the kingfisher blink past. Half hen, dwarf hen, redshank, sandpiper and spoonbill are also regularly present in search of food. In the water you will also find ducks, such as gadfly and toad duck. Be sure to bring your camera, because in this adventurous environment you are guaranteed to take beautiful pictures of the birds.

5. Valkenstein Forest

On the northern outskirts of Albrandswaard municipality you will find Bos Valckesteijn. Until the 1980s, fields and meadows were primarily found in this area. Due to different planting phases, the forest then became very diverse, with different types of forests and trees. Between poplars, willow trees, oak trees and ash you will discover wide streams, small lakes and orchards with different flora and fauna. Various bird species live in this pleasant forest that you will not easily encounter elsewhere on IJsselmonde Island. You will find the hawk, the buzzard, the great woodpecker, the bullfinch, the food cup and the sun owl. The kingfisher regularly foams over the water here. Are you curious about these bird watching and special nature reserves? At www.ontdekijsselmonde.nl you will find all the fun things to see and do on the beautiful island of IJsselmonde.

By: Merel Peters | Photo: Anco Euser

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