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A nature reserve with a variety of habitats. A local hotspot for several wetland birds.
A nature reserve with several types of marsh habitat, including wet woodland, shrubland, reedbeds and meadows. A local hotspot for several wetland birds in the wider region. The reserve is managed by Natuurpunt, the main nature conservation NGO in Flanders.
Spring is definitely the best time to visit. The Boelaremeersen have quite dense vegetation, and birding here is mostly dependent on being able to hear the birds when they call or sing, which is often easier in spring than in other seasons. Interesting breeding birds are Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Bluethroat, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Willow Tit and Reed Bunting. Common Nightingale has bred in recent years, but is not annual. Since 2016, a pair of White Stork has bred annually on an articial nesting platform at the eastern edge of the reserve. European Honey-buzzard from a nearby wood can be seen during spring and especially summer.
As an area with a variety of good habitats, it is also atractive to migrant birds, but as it is situated far inland and with a lot of cover, birds are elusive and difficult to observe. On some days, good numbers of thrushes, mist notable Redwing, can be present. Common Snipe and Jack Snipe are regular but occurs in parts of the area that are not accessible to visitors.
Winter can be a good time to visit. There is still a lot of cover to keep birds hidden from sight, but with the leaves off the trees, birds can be more visible now. Interesting species at this time of year are Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler, Water Pipit, Willow Tit and Reed Bunting. The many alder trees and other seed bearing trees make this also a good area for Eurasian Siskin and European Goldfinch and during influx years also Eurasian Bullfinch and Lesser Redpoll.
Not an easy site to cover, but with patience and some luck, this can be a good little birding area. The species list contains 160 species as of 2019.
There is long walking trail around and through the reserve, the most part being a narrow trail for walkers only. Some parts of the trail can be under water during wetter parts of the year, so it is adviseable to wear waterproof boots during these times.
There is no real parking lot, but you can parking along the road by the parking signs on the map.
The site is not so far from the center of the town of Geraardsbergen, which as a train station. It is about 20 minutes walking from the train station to start of the walking trail of the reserve.