Water fowl and meadowland birds

In the northwest of the Lauwersmeer National Park, on the Frisian side, lies the Bantpolder. This meadowland area, managed by Natuurmonumenten (the Dutch association that looks after nature reserves), has been specially designed to house water fowl and meadowland birds. Thanks to the raised water level and the rolling banks, a variety of meadowland birds, such as black tailed godwit, plover (peewit) and oyster catcher can enjoy themselves to the full.

Thousands of overwintering geese

The Bant Polder is particularly well known for the thousands of geese that overwinter here. Part of the barnacle goose population that breeds in Nova Zembla in the Barents Sea remains in the polder in the winter. In November their numbers can rise to as many as 15,000. You can get a good view of the area from the parallel road on top of the dike separating the Bant Polder from the Wadden Sea . The area is not open to the public so that the birds are not disturbed.

Open grassy polder

The management of this area aims at maintaining an open grassy polder. Cattle belonging to local farmers graze here in the summer. And the grass is occasionally mown and fertilised with farmyard manure. Plants that thrive in salty conditions - such as sea thrift and strawberry clover - grow in the channels that have been dug.