Spot Wild Flamingos
in the Netherlands
It really doesn’t have to be done anymore! Special travel to a warm exotic place in this world to spot flamingos in the wild. Every year between October and April, one colony of flamingos hibernate in the Grevelingenmeer. Overwintering in the Netherlands? Yes of course! In the Netherlands. It’s already cold enough. I thought so too, and I also had a number of question marks hanging over my head.
Where in the Grevelingenmeer are the Flamingos
First to start with. Normally I give this information last but now that I get this question almost every day, I will not let you get further in suspense. The flamingos can be found at the small harbor of Battenoord. This village is located on the island Goeree Overflakkee. This is a part of the South Holland islands of South Holland. It’s easy to reach and at the port you can simply park your car for free.
We mistakenly think that flamingos are tropical birds. Is the kind of flamingo because the Netherlands isn’t exactly tropical.
Usually the flamingos can be spot left of the harbor, also with me, what lucky birds spotter was I because if you are bad luck bird spotter, the flamingos are on the right of the harbor and you can’t get there very close.
What are the flamingos doing in the Netherlands?
This was the first question I asked myself. Why the Netherlands? Well it’s actually very simple. The water of the Grevelingenmeer doesn’t freeze (salt water). The normal home of the flamingos in Zwillbrocker Venn, which lies in Germany freezes. Not really fun if yo have to stand with your feed in the water. Furthermore, this lake is full of shrimps, algae and other types of shellfish and crustaceans. Perhaps the penny now falls (dutch expression) because the pink color they get them from the algae, which produce a fine pink dye. So not by the shrimps as often thought.
Did you know that the birds have a clever trick to stay warm in the cold Netherlands? They stand therefore on one leg, the other leg is warm under the feathers. So they can change and stay on temperature.
Which flamingo comes to the Netherlands
To give you a bit of background information about this beautiful pink bird, I started to investigate with species can be found here in the Netherlands. If you look closely, you can discover two different species. In the Netherlands, you can spot the European Flamingo. This is the largest and has a black beak. You will also see the small Chilean and Caribbean Flamingo. Remember, not every species you can see every year.
The Caribbean also has a deep pink color and a black beak. Can you spot these on the photo?
Important to know
It’s becoming increasingly popular to visit these birds. The tourist stream has also increased more in the recent years. But as long as you respect the peace of the flamingos, then it’s oke. Unfortunately, not everyone does this and the flamingos can experiences some unrest.
- No matter how cool drone images are, don’t use a drone. This scares the birds off and that way you only give them more stress.
- In some places there a fences and those fences aren’t there for nothing. Don’t climb to get closer to the flamingo. It is therefore unfortunately for you if you are on the wrong side of the port.
But there are of course other ways to brings the bird closer.
- Use a telephoto lens for you camera. I used my 70-300 mm. But sometimes the 300 mm wasn’t enough and they were still too farand had to bring them closer on the computer.
- Use a tripod. I have a good silent hand so I can shoot out of hand with the 300 mm. If you vibrate too much, use a tripod as support. If you don’s have this, lean your elbow on your knee and give yourself that firmness.
- Are you not planning to photograph but do you want to see them? Then take a binocular with you.
Flamingos are fun
Flamingos are fun! Of course if there is a white beach, with a number of palm trees around you and you are in your swimsuit…I understand that you are heading to Aruba. But if that trip isn’t going to happen in the near future, be sure to travel to battenoord before flying back to Germany.