The Schellingwouderscheg includes five city parks (marked on the map). From west to east: Vliegenbos (forest), Rietland (scrub, reedbeds, small lake, young forest), Schellingwouderbreek (lake with natural shores), Schellingwouderpark (meadows and hedgerows, plus the shores of the Y canal) and the Schellingwouder Ecozone (reedbeds, scrub, overgrown woods).
This area is very good for birds of prey with Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Northern Goshawk, Tawny Owl and formerly Eurasian Hobby all breeding in this urban nature reserve. They are most easily seen in Vliegenbos and Rietland. There's a very good chance of finding Common Kingfisher anywhere there's water . In addition to the ubiquitous Rose-ringed Parakeet the area also has a lot of Alexandrine Parakeet, keep an ear out for their distinctive calls as they fly over.
Vliegenbos sometimes harbours birds like Hawfinch and Eurasian Nuthatch among the more common forest birds and is the best place to find Stock Dove. The Eurasian Green Woodpecker seems to have mostly disappeared since the football fields in the park were converted to tennis courts, but they are still seen every now and then. The industrial area just to the south of Vliegenbos has breeding Black Redstart.
Rietland and Schellingwouderpark have some more open areas of scattered trees and scrub that can be good for Greater Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and occasionally Cuckoo or Common Nightingale . There are some small reedbeds in Rietland and Schellingwouderbreek that sometimes have Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting. The meadows in Schellingwouderpark often have White Stork, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Brown Hares in the early morning before people arrive. During migration there's a chance of Ring Ouzel here.
In harsh winters, birds that normally reside outside of the city enter these city parks, and then you can see Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard, Goosander, Great Egret, Great Bittern, Water Rail, Woodcock, Snipe, Fieldfare and Northern Lapwing. In the much more common icefree winters you can still find Redwing, Siskin, Goldcrest, Firecrest and Brambling.
Keep an eye out for Black-crowned Night-Heron and overflying White-tailed Eagle, both are very occasionally seen here. Other interesting animals include Grass Snake and Red Fox. Just to the north of this area are breeding colonies of Grey Heron and Barnacle Goose, both are marked on the map.
Just to the east of this route is the Schellingwouder Ecozone (marked on the map). Another small but wonderfully wild area with Marsh Warbler and Cetti's Warbler and a reasonable chance of Cuckoo and Common Nightingale .
The Schellingwouderscheg is constantly under threat from development: there are plans to build houses, infrastructure and turn the parks from wild city nature reserves to boring run of the mill urban parks. Already it can be very busy with people and dogs.
The best way to explore the area is by bike, but you can walk as well. The car isn't very practical here, as there is little (parking) space and it isn't very convenient getting from one of the parks to the other by car.
If you walked or cycled from Vliegenbos to Schellingwouderpark and don't want to go the same way back, you can take a northern route from Schellingwouderbreek, through the Baanakkerspark (marked on the map).
Terrain and HabitatForest, City/village, Reedbeds, Wetland, Lake
Is a telescope useful?Can be useful
Good birding seasonAll year round
Best time to visitSpring migration
RouteWide path, Narrow trail, Paved road, Unpaved road
Difficulty walking trailEasy
Accessible byFoot, Bicycle, Wheelchair
Birdwatching hide / platformNo
Other natural areas in Amsterdam that are worth visiting are Waterland, Amsterdamse Bos & Schinkelbos, Landje van Geijsel, Diemerpark & Diemervijfhoek, Brettenzone, Het Twiske and Noorder IJ-Plas.