600 Hectares of nature reserve in a 1000 Hectares nature complex. The area is easily accesible and has a wide variation of natural habitats.
The larger fens attract migrating waders and waterfowl, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank and Dunlin to name a few. Several pairs of Eurasian Nightjar breed on the moors, Wryneck and Northern Wheatear pass by on their migration. In the forest areas Black Woodpecker and Middle Spotted Woodpecker can be seen together with the more common woodpeckers. A few pairs of European Pied Flycatcher still breed here. Birds of prey such as Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Northern Goshawk and European Honey-buzzard breed in or around the area.
During the autumn migration the migration counting station is manned almost daily throughout September and October and vistors are always welcome to admire the spectacle of thousands of finches, pipits, trushes and, on good days, tens to sometimes a few hundred Common Buzzard passing on their way south. Even rarities such as White-tailed Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagle have passed over the counting station in recent years.
During autumn and winter Brambling and Red Crossbill are quite common guests. Great Grey Shrike passes by but is not a regular guest.
There are 2 main parking spots, one is on Herseltsebaan 2, 3271 Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, close to the Abbey of Averbode. The other is on 22R5+CF Tessenderlo (Google Maps Pluscode).
The area is best explored on foot, there are a multitude of hiking trails laid out and clearly marked.
Terrain and HabitatMoors/heathland, Forest
ConditionsFlat, Hilly, Sandy
Is a telescope useful?Can be useful
Good birding seasonAutumn, Spring
Best time to visitAutumn migration, Spring
RouteUnpaved road, Narrow trail
Difficulty walking trailEasy
Accessible byFoot, Bicycle
Birdwatching hide / platformYes
The largest Fen is called the "Munninckxsgoor", close tot he parking spot on 22R5+CF Tessenderlo, and it has a bird watching hide. A telescope is usefull, The fen has hosted Eurasian Spoonbill, Black Stork, Great Egret during summer and autumn migration. In the winter months several duck species can be observed.