Description of the Oostvaardersplassen.
The Oostvaardersplassen is an area in the south western, and lower, part of Flevoland. Located between the towns of Lelystad and Almere, it was intended to become an industrial estate, but when the 1970’s oilcrisis broke out, the industry did not have the money to pay for its development. The Greylag Geese started invading the area, they moulted over there, grazed on the reed’s root system and thus created open patches within the reedbeds. The open areas became attractive for other species. By the time that industry had got its financial act together and wanted to purchase the plots, the area had become too interesting for wildlife and as a consequence, it had legal protection. About 5000 hectares, some 12.500 acres are now inaccesible to the general public. Adjacent areas, which are equally interesting for birds are another 1000 hectares. All along the perimeter of the Oostvaardersplassen roads and bicycle paths make it possible to scan the area. From many viewpoints you can have a good look at the wildlife, mammals as well as birds, using the area. The nest of the White-tailed Eagle may be three kilometers away, but most birds are nearer. Huge herds of Konik horse, Heck cattle and Red Deer sometimes congregate at the fence. Their numbers are now above the carrying capacity of the grasslands. Foxes and Vixen frequent the pastures where the Greylag Geese forage with their goslings. Migrants make use of the open water and open grasslands to rest. Predatory birds are attracted in turn. Harriers, both Common- and Rough-legged Buzzards, Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon and Merlin see it as an avian smorgasbord, laced with some mice and voles. “Bon appetit” for birders as well.