17 July 2021

Another wonderful public bird-hide that you will find outside a Belgian town called Retie. It is situated at a pond, at the edge of a huge public park. Because you’ll find the hide outside of the regular walking routes thru the park you will notice that it is very quiet in that part of the park.

The hide itself is sort of octagon-shaped facing the pond but is semi-open. It does have a roof but 1 side at the back is open. This leads you towards a wooden pedestrian bridge that leads you over water, thru the reeds onto the street. Here’s enough space to park your car. The hide has about 10 open windows, they vary in height. Here you can observe and capture the birds that are present.
It differs from day to day and season to season how much traffic you will find here. For instance, during the migrations, you’ll certainly find hundreds if not thousands of Geese and Ducks. Large flocks are coming and going and another large group of waterbirds stays permanent. These are different Heron’s, Common Snipes, Great Crested Grebes and other birds that forage in water or at shores. And of course, the reeds attract their own typical reedbirds. You’ll find Sedge Warblers, Common Reed Warblers and occasional a Bluethroat. The area has a healthy population of Kingfishers as well.
A few settings are made especially for photographers. That way they can capture the Kingfisher at its best. As you can see in the photo in this story (he said proudly). During the Winter some volunteers will hang up bird feeders to keep traffic going a bit. You will definitely see all sorts of Tits, Warblers, Sparrows, Robins and Wrens.
Some beautiful sightings are made here. It’s wise to check your sightings app every now and then to make are you don’t miss out on anything. On a daily basis, there are also multiple sightings of Buzzards and Falcons.
This is sort of my hometown bird hide and whenever I’m a bit bored, you’ll find me here. In the almost two years I’m visiting this hide I also heard the Eurasian-Bittern several times. A rare bird which I would love to capture of course. They are masters in disguise and will blend in with the reeds like no other bird can do. So I wasn’t fortunate yet.

On a side note and for me that feels like sort of a free bonus. There’s on a regular basis a group of elder men and women visiting the hide. Together they know all there is to know about birds. Every whistle is determined, every sighting is determined without a question. They also know where to find which bird. I’m learning an awful lot from these people, just by listening to them. Not that I understand everything they say though. They’re all Belgian, speaking some sort of Dutch but with a local accent which I’m not familiar with. Still some 70% of it I can figure out for myself. Don’t worry that it might be too crowded, there’s plenty of room
There are some benches inside and outside the hide but most of the windows were meant for standing. Bring a beanbag or a tripod if you want to shot from the higher windows. A bit further down the road, (200 meters) there’s a second bird hide, which is much smaller and less comfortable, but it provides you with a view of a more swamplike setting. Here you’ll find different birds for sure but also fewer birds.