1 -> 2
Almere, Dutch planned community par excellence. The usual shopping plaza outside station. I ride through parks, a skateboard park, suburban blocks. Almere is a workaday place. Many blacks and Asians, not unlike De Bijlmer. It's a mere half hour by train to Amsterdam, closer than my childhood neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, is to Manhattan.
(original date of this entry: April 9, 2015)
2 -> 53
I was just riding west between the Markermeer (a corner of the IJsselmeer) and Noorderplassen, lakes and swampland, which is played up as an important migratory bird zone. A road skirts the Markermeer, views of which are featureless--a sailboat somewhere in the distance. I stopped at kp 54 (where you may turn west to kp 8 to make a loop of the Lepelaarsplassen) and hiked through woods to a bird hide facing the Noorderplassen. A good day for it apparently: I shared the hut with a couple of birders with big-ass telephoto lenses. I observed egrets, coots and grebes floating calmly in the lake, plus a community of black cormorants on an isle of branches. One floater I did not recognize had a black tufted crest, gray hooked beak, gray plumage and a white belly making it look like a running shoe. I'm guessing it's a tufted duck (Aythya fuligula), kuifeend in Dutch.
I rode on to kp 55, location of the visitors center, open only Sat-Sun. The ride along the road is interspersed with pull-offs down to benches/observation points. All I see are a few ducks but I'm not looking too hard.
Nobody out here mid-week. Really feels like spring today. The warmth is so welcome, I embrace it and it embraces me.
55 -> 8 -> 54
Lepelaarsplassen: named for the spoonbill colony. Lovely ride, particularly the south edge of the reserve, along the north side of the Noorderplassen. Three bird hides up on rises overlooking the swamp-laced reserve, hemmed in on the north by the dike/highway along the Markermeer. The hides are built of packed pebbles within a metal mesh armature, with slits at different heights for birdwatchers. Quite a tableau of waterways amidst dry reeds. Many birds. The route gets even nicer further east, gently rolling through a wooded zone fringed by patches of meadow. Definitely a highlight of this fietstocht.
|Lepelaarsplassen (spoonbill reserve)|