Camping and bird spotting: 4 hotspots in Europe

ACSI & Nature

Don’t forget to pack your binoculars and your camera: we’re going bird spotting! There’s a huge range of different birds in Europe. And when better to enjoy spotting them than when you’re on holiday? Below we list four top destinations where you can discover interesting birds and stay at great campsites.

Bird Island

1. Vogeleiland (Bird Island)

It sounds like something out of a fairytale, but we can assure you that it’s a real place. Vogeleiland (Bird Island) is on the Zwarte Meer in the Dutch province of Flevoland. Thanks to the variety of woods, reeds and grasses it’s the ideal home for more than sixty types of birds. It’s a bird lover’s paradise. The bluethroat, nightingale and the lesser spotted woodpecker are just a few of the birds you can see here. But you can also find hawks and great reed warblers here. The whole island is an oasis of peace and quiet, and in order to keep it that way, you can only visit the island on a special boat trip. Don’t forget to look at the ground when you’re on the island too – you might see Chicken-of-the-Woods or Wood Ear mushrooms growing as well.

Does this sound like a fun place to go camping? Then campsite Het Kamper Erve is a good place to stay.

Cranes and bald eagles

2. Cranes and bald eagles in the Lower Oder

A beautiful part of north-eastern Germany that is still relatively tourist-free: The Lower Order National Park. It seems that the birds know that too – and you can see 292 different types here. They breed, rest and spend the winter here. From the bald eagle to the kingfisher, and from the black stork to the northern pintail, you won’t believe your eyes and ears here. In the spring and autumn, 100,000 water birds pass through this breathtaking riverine landscape. Another lovely sight: the arrival of no fewer than 13,000 cranes looking for somewhere to sleep on their voyage south in October.

Want to camp nearby? Then visit Campsite Triangel Camping Niederfinow.

Puffins

3. Puffins and seals in England

You’ll be able to spot these mischievous creatures with their black and white heads and bright orange beaks from a mile off. In the north of England, on the Farne Islands, there are 150,000 puffins, and in June and July you can spot them caring for their chicks too. Their feeding tactics are spectacular. They dive into the rocky hollow where their chicks are at eighty kilometres an hour, braking hard at the entrance using their wings and feet. Why so fast? Because there are seagulls just waiting to snatch the goodies! Take the boat from the village of Seahouses and take the day to see the flora and fauna on and around the islands. You’ll also find England’s largest breeding colony of grey seals here.

Want to camp nearby? Then Campsite Proctor’s Stead Car. & Cp. Park is ideal.

African birds

4. Millions of African birds at Coto Doñana

There are numerous African and European birds at the largest protected national park in Spain – they come here to rest on their migratory route, to build nests and to sit on their eggs. Interested in spotting grey herons, farmland birds and the real-life symbol of new births: the stork? You can see these and other animals at Coto de Doñana National Park. You can follow deer trails, and try to spot wild pigs and even the Iberian Lynx. That’s particularly special as this beautiful animal is threated with extinction. You can head off on a number of nature trails and tours from the visitors centre between Matalascañas and El Rocío. You can also go on a jeep safari with a guide. Prefer to spot the birds and animals from the water? You can take the boat on to the River Guadalquivir from the small village of Sanlúcar.

There are great places to camp in the region around Seville, which is where the National Park is located. For instance Campsite Villsom.

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Joyce Broekhuis
  • Author: Joyce Broekhuis
  • As a child, Joyce travelled with her family and trailer tent to France every year. These days, she travels throughout Europe with her tent, looking for small, intimate campsites. Her favourite campsites are those in beautiful nature reserves or close to interesting towns and cities.

    1 Comment

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    We enjoy bird spotting on our travels so this post is particularly interesting. On the west coast of Greece at the moment and disappointed in the lack of bird life.

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