The Empese and Tondense Heide is an open area of about 260 hectare. The different habitats of dry and wet heather and grasslands interspersed with fens and scattered trees and bushes guarantee a bird-rich environment. A very good area to see Yellowhammer and Tree Pipit which are very numerous here. Other bird-sounds are also everywhere and in the open fields birds like Common Cuckoo, Reed Bunting, Greater Whitethroat, Bluethroat and White Stork are easy to see. Also the rare Red-backed Shrike and Golden Oriole are sometimes seen here. Around the fens you can see Little Grebe, Northern Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover and during migration many different waders can turn up here. The amount of waders depends on the water level. In dry conditions their are less birds. The area is also worth visiting for it's insects and plants. Many rare species of grasshoppers, dragonflies and butterflies live in the area and different species of orchids can be found here.
There is a big parking on the Hallsedijk in Empe (See the P on the map). From there you can choose from two well marked walking trails. The red trail is 5 km en leads you through the heart of the area. The yellow trail is 7.5 km and makes an extra loop through the hay meadows on the backside of the area. These meadows are less visited than the central part of the nature reserve. For birds this meadow area is most interesting when the water levels are high and some meadows are partly inundated.