In late autumn and winter, the vast pastures of the province of Friesland offer the best goose spotting of the Netherlands. In a good day, grey lag, white-fronted, tundra bean, brent and barnacle goose are a certainty. And if you are lucky, you can add taiga bean, pink-footed, red-breasted and the two subspecies of brent goose as well. Only the lesser white-fronted goose has to be looked for elsewhere.
In addition, the shores of the Wadden Sea offer stunning flocks of waders in spring and autumn. At sun-rise with rising tide, thousands of grey plovers, avocets, bar-tailed godwits, dunlins, curlew sandpipers, red knots and ringed plovers make each bird watcher’s mouth water. In winter, the tidal flats host hen harriers, short-eared owls, hunting merlins and flocks of twites, shore-larks and snow buntings. If you are lucky, you can find the secretive Lapland buntings.
By the end of summer, at the shores of Lake IJssel you have the best chances of seeing the gorgeous Caspian terns. They are often accompanied by hunting ospreys, whereas there is also a good chance of seeing a bittern.
In addition to being an excellent bird watching area, Friesland is a province of great beauty with pastoral landscapes, sleepy traditional villages and lakes and ditches. In short, the Friesian pastures and shores offer geese and waders you do not want to miss.
Price indication for a half day including fuel is 90€. Full day is 115€. Prices are lower with larger company. Ask for a free offer.
Top of page landscape picture: Westhoek, coastal shore of the Wadden Sea just north of Harlingen, Friesland
Barnacle geese. Photo courtesy @Lars Ursem