Nature Reserve Vlieland
Pearl of the Sea, where peace and quiet reign; island of birds and tranquillity. Of all the Wadden islands, Vlieland is the most remote. Here peace and quiet reign. Only disturbed by the cry of a gull or a tern. You run the risk of what islanders jokingly call 'tidal fever'. After a sunrise on the endless horizon. Or an unprecedented sky that is reflected in the Wadden Sea. You can cross the whole island by bicycle or on foot. Or go on an excursion through the woods or dunes. Always exciting is a ride with a guide on the mudflats.
Over sixty per cent of the visitors is a regular on Vlieland. For these nature lovers, the island is the "Pearl of the Wadden Sea. " It has only one town: Oost-Vlieland. A conservation area with no less than 39 monuments. Only residents and people with an exemption are allowed to drive on Vlieland.
Early last century, dunes were built between the Meeuwduinen and Vliehors. In order to protect the hinterland better against the sea. Thanks to this, Vlieland got the Kroon's polders as a gift, now by far the richest bird area.
The former beach plains are only accessible through excursions, because of the delicate birds and plants. The stroll path that embraces the whole area is freely accessible though. From this path, everything is excellent to see. A few yards away you see the avocets with their up-turned beak. Spoonbills, oystercatchers and the brown marsh harrier. Bird counters spot up to 128 different bird species polders in the Kroon’s Polders.
The western half of the island consists of the deserted sands of the Vliehors. The ‘Sahara of the north". For the most part military training area. But when the guns are silent in the weekend, this stunning area is freely accessible to walkers. Vuurboetsduin is with its 42 meters above sea level, the highest point of Friesland. It gives a fantastic view over the valley, the village and the North Sea. A freshwater stream comes out on the flat at Dodemansbol, in Bomenland. Eiders and shelducks drink here at low water.
Flora and fauna
Just like helmet, the dune rose is, thanks to its deep roots, a master at holding the dune sand. The dune rose prefers a sunny, dry spot on calcareous dune soil. The flowers are usually white, sometimes they tend to pink. Remarkably, the hips are not red but black. The dune rose is among the thorniest of wild roses. The large number of straight, sturdy spines with short 'bristles' protects the plant against damage by rabbits and other (small) crop.
Vlieland is the bird’s island. Breeding birds, migratory birds, summer or winter visitors: here they find the peace they need to eat, to breed or to build reserves for a long journey. You can observe, among others, redshank, curlew and oystercatchers, spoonbills, ducks and mountain here. Vlieland is home to eleven species of orchids. Some are numerous and striking, others nearly invisible. The unspoiled (and unfertilised!) dune slacks are a perfect base for this plant.