It is time again for the Migration birds trail, this time I hike from parking lot Zeeburg, Amsterdam to Gaasperzoom park and metro stop Gein also in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This part of the trail visits several parks in and just outside Amsterdam. These parks are not completely unknown to me, in the Diemer woods and Gaasper park I have been before.
Starting at parking lot Zeeburg
I start my hike at the Zeeburg parking lot in Amsterdam. Easy to reach by tram from Central Station. I should actually start in Schellingwoude, where I ended last time. But to do that, I have to cross a bridge by bus one stop and then walk back along the water. That seemed a bit unnecessary to me. In hindsight, I did miss a nice part of the trail, but I’m sure I’ll be visiting it someday again.
I hope to reach the path along the Amsterdam-Rijn Canal via the parking lot in an easy manner. Unfortunately, the parking lot is a dead end and I am forced to take a different way. Back at the entrance to the parking lot, I turn right via the cycle path, immediately crossing a bridge. Just before the next bridge, the Amsterdamse brug, I can go down the slope via a small staircase and I am finally on the right track.
I walk across a narrow strip of land between the water. I pass a campsite and several marinas and shipyards. On the other side, the Enneus Heerma Bridge can be seen in beautiful morning light. I pass a large, stately building called the Gemeenlandshuis. Because of its size, it is difficult to get a good shot.
On the other side of the water is the IJburg district, which you can easily reach via various bridges. There is a little bird singing in the tree and I think I recognise a chiffchaff by the sound. I have a pretty good photo of it! I hear the same sound throughout the trail. Once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your head.
The chiffchaff is a small, brownish green bird and can be found almost anywhere in the Netherlands. The chiffchaff is very similar to the fitis, but has a completely different sound. The bird calls its own name: chiff-chaff-chiff-chiff-chaff-chaff-chiff (not in any particular order). Once you hear it, you recognise it immediately.
The small bird breeds from mid-April until the end of June. The chiffchaff makes a nest of grass, twigs, moss and leaves and is covered on the inside with feathers. The nest is well hidden in dense bushes, just above the ground. The eggs are pure white with grey speckles.
Source (in Dutch): Vogelbescherming
At a crossroads where many cyclists come racing down a bridge, I don’t know which way to go. There are several long distance trails here with red and white markings. First, I walk straight ahead in the direction of the Diemerpark, but I soon discover that this is the wrong way, this is the marking of the Zuiderzee trail (Long Distance Trail 8, a trail all around the IJsselmeer). I should turn right, not onto the bridge but alongside it. I walk in the direction of the Amsterdam-Rijn Canal again and a little later I reach the pillars of the Enescio bridge. I can get onto the bridge via a set of stairs. This is where all the cyclists come from! It is a beautiful bridge with nice wavy lines.
On the other side of the water I turn left immediately and at the edge of Diemen I take my first break on a picnic bench. The chiffchaff keeps me company here too.
I continue on a narrow path along the Amsterdam-Rijn Canal. I wasn’t looking forward to this part, as it is long and straight with little variation, but actually I don’t mind it at all. I search the water and the waterside for interesting species of birds. This way, I can easily get through the boring parts. I see mainly coots and the occasional grebe in the water. Further on, in the woods on my right, I hear a woodpecker drumming.
On the right-hand side, I pass the Diemerpolder. It looks inviting to walk through, but my trail is still straight ahead. Not much later, I come to a large sluice, which closes off the Diem river from the Amsterdam-Rijn Canal.
Here is a large sign showing that I have arrived in the Green Heart. So the northern part of the Green Heart starts at Diemen. Would you like to know more about hiking in the Green Heart region in the Netherlands? Click on Blog > Green Heart hikes in the menu. Here you will find an overview of various trails in the Green Heart and extensive reports on a number of specific trails.
Immediately after the sluice I turn right on the Overdiemerweg with historic farms. Here and there are information panels about this region. And again, I see and hear various birds: great tits, robins, finches and wrens. I can also see the beginning of spring here: beautifully coloured hyacinths along the road and buds on the trees.
Do you want to know which other birds I saw on this hike? Then take a look at the bird checklist below.
|Vogels gezien tussen Zeeburg en Gaasperzoom, Amsterdam|
|✔ Carrion crow||✔ Eurasian coot||✔ Greater Canada goose|
|✔ Chiffchaff||✔ Eurasian jay||✔ Grey heron|
|✔ Common blackbird||✔ Eurasian magpie||✔ Greylag goose|
|✔ Common buzzard||✔ Eurasian wren||✔ Mallard|
|✔ Common moorhen||✔ European herring gull||✔ Mute Swan|
|✔ Common starling||✔ European robin||✔ Rose-ringed parakeet|
|✔ Common wood pigeon||✔ Gadwall||✔ Tufted duck|
|✔ Cormorant||✔ Great crested grebe||✔ Western jackdaw|
|✔ Egyptian goose||✔ Great spotted woodpecker|
|✔ Eurasian blue tit||✔ Great tit|
A little later, I reach the Diem river again. I have to cross the river via a small bridge and path along a railway track. Then I walk for a while at the edge of a residential area with a nice view at the Diem river. Not much later I walk along a busy road and I arrive at the Diemer woods.
The Diemer woods
Near the entrance to the Diemer woods is a beautiful building called House of Bird. It also looks like an enormous birdhouse. What an appropriate name! It is a restaurant and you can get coffee to go, but I have my own coffee with me. It is also time for a break, so I sit down on a picnic bench a little further along and enjoy my coffee and brunch.
In the corner of my eye I see a brightly coloured information panel, so I go and have a look and it turns out to be a trail about birds. Of course, the trail is for children and goes past several places in the Diemer woods where you can find information about birds that exist here. I think this trail is great for me too, but I still have some way to go with my current hike, so I’ll save it for another time.
I have been in the Diemer woods before and I didn’t really like it then. It was a fairly young forest then with little variation, but now I think it is nicer. Maybe it has become more of a real forest, a lot can change over the years. Every now and then, I have a nice view over the water. It is a popular place, it is quite busy. That is very likely so close to the city.
I walk straight on over a sandy path. Here I run into the chiffchaff again. I can recognise it now, not only by its sound but also by its appearance.
Two other hikers ask me the way to Driemond and I send them straight ahead, not the same way as me. Later, I meet the same people again at Gaasperzoom park.
I am not going quite right myself, distracted by the hikers I think, I have gone too far straight ahead. A bit back and then to the left and soon I am back on the right track. For a moment, I am under the spell of a bird of prey. I cannot distinguish him/her, but it must be a buzzard. The bird had a white belly.
After a turn to the right I walk along the water for a while and arrive at the Veeneik bridge. I cross this bridge and on the other side I have arrived in the Bijlmerweide park.
An information panel tells me which animals live in the Bijlmerweide, such as the green woodpecker. Unfortunately, I did not see any. I have searched all the trees, but without result. Although I believe they are mostly on the ground looking for fat larvae between the roots of the trees. So looking up is not very useful 😂.
What a nice park this is! I never thought it would be so green in the Bijlmermeer area of Amsterdam. You mainly see apartment buildings in front of you. In the middle of the park is a large pond. Via a path under an arch of roses, I get closer to the pond. Here is a pair of binoculars and I try to look through them, but I can’t see a thing. Turning the wheel doesn’t help much either. The thing is also too low for me, I suppose it’s for children again… I’m getting a bit dizzy, so I quickly move on.
After the park, there is a less pleasant stretch along the highway and some no man’s land. I do see a bird of prey circling in the sky again. This time, I think I really recognise a buzzard. I walk for a while along the Gaasp river and past a hotel with a LaPlace restaurant. I cross the road and reach the next park.
The Gaasperpark is a former Floriade park in the district of Amsterdam-Zuidoost and is located on the northern shore of the Gaasperplas (lake). The Floriade is a horticultural exhibition held in a different location every 10 years. Other Floriade parks include Het Park in Rotterdam, Rokkeveen in Zoetermeer and the Amstelpark in Amsterdam. This year (2022) another Floriade exhibition will be held in Almere.
Source (in Dutch): Wikipedia
I walk through a small forest and take a break on a bench. This is a good place to figure out where I should take the metro: at the Gaasperpark stop or continue a little further to the Gein stop at the Gaasperzoom. I have some time left, so I decide to continue. In the tree I see a woodpecker, not a green one, but a great spotted one. Also nice!
It is the beginning of spring and not much is in bloom yet, with the exception of a few blossoming trees. I take photos of the nice places, flower beds, pavilions, bridges, statues and ornaments. In the summer, the park will be a beautiful place, when all flowers and plants are in full bloom.
Not far from the metro stop, there is a row of trees with nice twisting branches, they are still very bare. I take another photo of a work of art and then continue towards the Gaasper lake.
At the Gaasper lake, I walk along a path on a wall, which gives me a nice view over the lake. I go round the lake to the left. I walk past a lawn with a canopy in the middle. A photo without people on it is difficult to make. Oh well, then I’ll take one with the cyclist.
In the next part of the park, there are more tall trees again. The path sometimes leads away from the lake and then towards it again. This gives me beautiful views on the water.
I am now on the other side of the lake and here are more lawns and nice wooden platforms. Very useful for the windsurfers.
After going three-quarters of around the lake, I turn right and find myself in the next park, Gaasperzoom park. This is a long strip of nature reserve on the edge of the Amsterdam district Gaasperdam. According to an information panel, Galloway cattle or Highland cattle graze here, but I haven’t seen them. Not much later I can turn right in the direction of metro stop Gein. An easy point to start from next time.
What a super hike! The parts that I didn’t look forward to, such as along the Amsterdam-Rijn Canal, the Diemer woods and the outskirts of Amsterdam, were not too bad at all. I certainly enjoyed it, but I think it will be even nicer when spring is finally here.
Where: from Zeeburg to Gaasperzoom park, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, the Netherlands.
No. of km: +/- 18.5 km
Hiking date: 29 March 2021
Materials used in illustrations: coloured pencils for the map and watercolour paints for the other illustrations
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