The Steenwaard is a large floodplain on the northern side of the Lek river in the province of Utrecht. The area contains a large waterbody with surrounding meadows with scattered bushes and trees. Especially in winter, the waterbody is an interesting place for waterfowl, like ducks and geese. Large flocks of Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall and Tufted Duck are common. Other regular ducks are Northern Pintail, Common Teal, Common Pochard and Northern Shoveler. If you're lucky, a Smew or Goosander is present.
Some parts of the lake' shore are very steep and sandy. Here, a colony of Sand Martin is present every year. They can be observed from the other side of the lake.
The surrounding meadows, especially on the eastern side of the train bridge, are used as a resting area for large flocks of geese, being mainly Barnacle Goose and Greater White-fronted Goose. Rare species of geese can be found within these large flocks, like Red-breasted Goose or Ross's Goose, but you need to have luck on your side.
In winter, the area is also home to large flocks of Great Egret. They can be seen foraging near the shores of the lake and on the open meadows. In summer, small numbers of Eurasian Spoonbill can be present here too.
The surrounding meadows are ideal breeding habitat for species like Eurasian Skylark and Meadow Pipit. Scattered across the measdows, large patches of brambles are present. Species like European Stonechat and Whinchat can be seen on top of these bushes. Also Lesser Whitethroat and Greater Whitethroat can be regularly heard.
On the western side of the area, reedbeds are present, which are a good spot for species like Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting. Adjacent to this part of the area, agricultural fields are present, which provide a good habitat for Grey Partridge.
On the southern side of the area, the Lek river is present. Here, species like Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe and lots of other waterbirds can be found. There are also a couple of puddles located on this side. This is always a good spot for waders, like Green Sandpiper and Common Greenshank and, if you're lucky, a Water Pipit.
On the eastern side of the bridge, a house is located with some surrounding pastures. Here, a Little Owl can be seen and heard regularly. The bridge can be a good spot for Peregrine Falcon.
You can park your car on the eastern side of the area. From there, you can enter the area on foot. You'll have to climb some fences (some steps have been placed to make this easier). The area is also used by cattle.