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The Green Hart of the Netherlands
The Green Hart of the Netherlands is the area you get when you draw a line from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, the Utrechts, Gouda and back to Rotterdam. Here you fiend the typical Dutch flat landscapes with meadows, cows, canals and windmills. Here you also find large lakes, rivers and peat bogs.
Visiting the meadows in spring you find breeding waders like Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Lapwing. In the winter period large numbers of Barnacle -, Greater White-fronted and Greylag geese feed on the grasslands. These birds roost together on the lakes and rivers. Every winter a family group of Lesser White-fronted Geese stay here as well and often Red-breasted Goose are among the Barnacle Geese.
The peat bogs are very imporant breeding site for scarce breeding birds like Purple Heron, Black Tern, Great Reed Warbler, Bittern, Spotted- and Baillon's Crake. During the migration you'll find more waders like Ruff, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper. Raptors like Marsh Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Hobby, Merlin and Rough-legged Buzzard can also be found here at the wright time of the year.
The lakes attract large numbers of ducks in the winter. Thousands of Wigeons, Tufted Ducks and Common Pochards can be seen and with luck Smew or Red-crested Pochard.
This area can be visited from Amsterdam in a lay-over, half day but best is to spend a full day, check the prices and services page.
National Parc Hoge Veluwe
This area was covered by broad-leave forest but due to the influance by man (logging, farming etc) the area got a more open character with drifting sand dunes, heather and meadows. The parc lies between Arnhem and Ede. Within the parc one can visit several musea about the parc and it's history.
In the open areas you can find breeding birds like Wood Lark, Tree Pipit, Hobby and recently a pair of Short-toed Eagles are present in the summer months. After sunset you can hear displaying Woodcock flying along the forest edge and singing Nightjar and maybe a hunting Long-eared Owl. In the winter period Grey Shrikes can be found overlooking the heather.
The woodlands have good numbers of Wood Warbler, Spotted and Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and also Golden Oriole and Honey Buzzard breed here. The area has five species of woodpecker: Black, Green, Greater-, Middle- and Lesser Spotted and a low number of Wryneck. Besides birds Wild Boar, Red Deer, Roe Deer roam freely and if you lucky you can encounter a Pine Marten chasing Red Quirrels. The parc is also famous for it's insect life with many species of Butterflies and Dragonflies. Visiting the parc can best be done by bike but it's also possible to drive to several sites and undertake a (short) hike.
This area can be visited with an half day tour but best is to plan a full day, check the prices and services page for more info.