The Koudenhoek nature reserve near Ouddorp is a wet pasture area intersected by old creek remnants. It is right next to the salty lake Grevelingen, from where saline water seeps into Koudenhoek. The brackish water creates a special vegetation of salt-loving plants and also attracts many birds. This is a very good area to see Black-tailed Godwit and Common Redshank up close. But many other birds can be seen between the grazing cows. Like Eurasian Spoonbill, Barnacle Goose, Avocet, Northern Shoveler, Northern Lapwing, European Marsh Harrier, Mediterranean Gull and Black-headed Gull. On the edges you can find Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler.
On the other side of the dyke you can see Markenje. This is a big bird island in lake Grevelingen. The island is uninhabited and as flat as a pancake. Ideal for ground breeders such as Little Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Avocet, Black-headed Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover and Kentish Plover. The island is full of birds, but quit a distance away from the dyke. So from the viewpoint (see the map) you really need a telescope to observe the birds. During migration you can also see many waders and sometimes Arctic Tern.
Markenje and Koudenhoek are close to the village of Ouddorp. For Markenje it's best to go to the special viewpoint with a parking place and and infopanel (See the P on the map). To really enjoy the birds on Markenje you need a telescope. If the viewpoint is too busy, you can walk on to the dyke and view Markenje from there.
On Koudenhoek the birds are closer and only binoculars will do. You can explore Koudenhoek in different ways. You can cycle all the way around it and make different stops. On foot you can make a stop on the north side and walk to the bird hide (good place for Black-tailed Godwit) and then drive or cycle on to the eastside over Plasdijk road. Halfway you will find a path (see the map) that brings you to an interesting viewpoint where often also Black-tailed Godwit can bee seen very well. Then follow the road to the Markenje Viewpoint and walk the Zuidweg road (on the southern side of Koudenhoek) from there. This road gives good views on the area. The road on the westside (Jillesweg) is not really worth the effort in spring and summer, because the reeds are so high it is hard to get good views.
Terrain and HabitatWetland, Lake, Grassland, Reedbeds
ConditionsFlat, Swampy, Open landscape
Is a telescope useful?Yes
Good birding seasonAll year round
Best time to visitSpring
RoutePaved road, Narrow trail
Difficulty walking trailEasy
Accessible byFoot, Bicycle, Car, Wheelchair
Birdwatching hide / platformYes
Note: on the south-eastern side of Koudenhoek there is another bird hide. But it is in bad shape and not in use anymore, so don't bother to walk the overgrown path.