Zuidlaardermeer reserve

Birding the Top-of-Holland – Groningen

The Onnerpolder, Oostpolder, Kropswolderbuitenpolder and Westerbroekstermadepolder form a large and recently developed nature reserve situated just east of the beautiful city of Groningen and around the Zuidlaardermeer (lake). It consists of a huge area of marshes and wetlands, and has rapidly become one of the Netherlands’ major birding areas. There are different access roads and viewing points, where visitors can enjoy the wide range of unique breeding birds and migrants. The reserve has become famous for its breeding colony of Whiskered Terns (the only colony in Northwestern Europe), but there’s a lot more to enjoy. Amongst the breeding birds are for example Black-necked Grebe, Black-winged Stilt, Black Tern, White-winged Tern (occasionally), Ruff, Spotted Crake, Spoonbill, White-tailed Eagle, Savi’s Warbler and Bluethroat, while species like Red-necked Grebe, Caspian Tern and Osprey are regular summer visitors. White-tailed Eagles and Great Egrets are present year-round, while in winter the area hosts huge numbers of geese  and ducks.

The area not only is a heaven for bird watchers, it’s also perfectly suitable for a great day of bird photography, as lots of birds tend to be very approachable, and light conditions are generally great throughout the day.

A visit to this must-see destination can in summer easily be combined with a short trip to the main Dutch breeding area of Montagu’s Harrier, or of course with a cultural visit to the ancient city of Groningen. There are even some more options; just get in contact with us, share your ideas and we will make an arrangement that will fit your wishes.

Just some of the species we hope to see (depending on the time of year):

Spring/summer: Bluethroat, Caspian Tern, Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black-necked Grebe, Osprey, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Harrier, Gargany, Yellow Wagtail, Spotted Redshank, Common Tern, Spoonbill

Winter: Hen Harrier, White-fronted Goose, Tundra Bean Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Shoveler, and lots of other species of duck.

Year-round: White-tailed Eagle, Great Egret, Goshawk, Barnacle Goose

Because some viewing points aren’t accessible by car, short distances have to be covered by foot.

  • 1 person: Euro 210
  • 2 persons: Euro 110
  • 3 persons: Euro 75

Book this tour


Starting at Euro 60 per person

Best time to visit:
All year


  • Full day of birding
  • Transportation
  • Coffee, tea and a traditional Dutch Stroopwafel!
  • Fruit
  • All road tolls
  • All ntrance fees
  • V.A.T.
  • Digital checklist at the end of the tour

Not included

  • Meals
  • Other drinks
  • Personal espenses
  • Travel insurance

Where to go birding

Birding Holland

Birding Holland

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