A giant wooden egg full of surprises

Tucked away in the Scheelhoek nature reserve there is a bird observatory called Tij (tide). It is not just a hide; it is a seven-metre tall ecological work of art shaped like a bird egg. This giant wooden structure is one of a kind; there is nothing like it in Europe or anywhere else in the world. It allows you to see and experience all sorts of nature surprises, the 'high point' being a panoramic view of the Haringvliet, with the dam and the islands in the Scheelhoek bird sanctuary for nesting birds.

Sustainable from top to bottom

You don't need to tiptoe around here; the birds and other animals will not be disturbed during your visit. After following a trench of grass, you arrive in a cut-away tunnel where all of the sounds of nature from the surrounding area come together. Waterproof footwear is recommended; the tide is literally at your feet here. The exterior of the tunnel features a nesting wall for sand martins, complete with a special window to watch how these birds fly in and out of their nests. Once you reach the top of the egg, you can enjoy an incredible view of the Haringvliet and the many birds for which this area is of vital importance.

Closely follow the breeding season 

Springtime signals the start of the breeding season, the perfect opportunity to observe the activities on the nesting islands from a short distance. The sandwich terns start nesting in Haringvliet in March. During April and May, if you pay close attention you will see parents flying back and forth with fish in their bills to feed their young. They are fed for weeks with fish such as lesser sand eels, a delightful sight!

The egg as a symbol

The sandwich tern is a coastal bird that breeds in colonies in mud flats, green beaches and islands with sparse vegetation. The egg of the sandwich tern, which breeds on nearby islands, was the inspiration for the unique bird observatory. The design symbolises the fertility of the delta, healthy bird populations and enjoying nature.