The largest naional park in the Netherlands consists mainly of water. It is tidel as it is connected to the North Sea. The OOsterschelde (Eastern Sheldt) estuary has a colorful underwater world and is the habitatg for dozens of species of birds, seals and porpoises.
Dikes and shallow lagoons:
-- Today the high dikes and heavy dams make sure that Zeeland is completely secure. The creeks and weirs that appear in the countryside from time to time are a living reminder of old breaks in the defences.
--Inlagen (shallow lagoons) are small, secondarily formed polders, areas situated behind the dikes on places, where people believed that the dike would collapse. Inlagen were originally fields and grasslands. One used to build a new dike inland, the material they used to build the dike was dug off behind the Eastern Scheldt dike (Oosterscheldedijk). The result was that part of the area flooded and that it could no longer be used for agricultural ends. These deep wet swamps, low-lying marshes are beautiful and valuable nature reserves. The inlagen/inland wetlands are very important for the birds. Especially the ones that mostly consist of open water attract plenty of birds all year round.
- In the Eastern Scheldt Delta, hundreds of species of algae, plankton, and water plants thrive on the mix of carbon from the sea and nitrogen and phosphorus from the rivers.
Zeeland is one the of the best birding areas of the Netherlands, thanks to its situation, marshes, polders, lakes and natural reserves, especially during the migrations and winter. Hundreds of thousands of geese, ducks, waders and passerines, attracting raptors, stay for a short or a long period. Among them, one can find rarer species such as Red-Breasted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Long-tailed Duck, Rough-legged Buzzard, Snow Bunting, ...The Eastern Scheldt Delta is one of the three most important wintering grounds for birds in Europe. Do you know that some birds arrive here ravenous, after a non-stop flight of more than 5 thousand kilometres from Greenland?
- You can get a good view of the wetlands from the surrounding dikes. At the inland dike of the Keihoogte (near to Wissenkerke!), you'll find an information panel, which makes a start of a walking trail to the bird-watching cabin. The look-out point on the inland dike of the 's Gravenhoek wetland offers a great view of the three bird islands. There is also an outstanding view from the point where the Oosterschelde dike joines the inland dike of the 's Gravenhoek and Oesterput wetlands.