Wild geese - on the Lower Rhine, are an everyday sighting during the winter (September to April). But that was not always the case. Only over the past 25 years has it been possible to experience the impressive image of thousands of geese on the wintery meadows and fields because Arctic wild geese only started coming to this region during the winter in impressive quantities since the middle/end of the 1960s.
The Arctic visitors in and around Wesel
For many visitors to the Lower Rhine, the wild geese have become just as attractive an attraction over the past years as the idyllic, green landscape with pollards and cultural monuments. Visiting the wild geese becomes an unforgettable experience when you do not only see the animals in the meadows, but rather you can tell the difference between different types of ducks, geese, swans, divers, rails and snipe birds and you have some information about their lifestyles, their origin and their protection. This range of species makes the Lower Rhine a paradise for bird watchers during the winter months.
Scarce food in the north and excessive hunting leads the animals to the Lower Rhine starting in October. Regularly 180,000 to 200,000 wild geese are guests here in the peak times during the change of the year.
Preferred areas for birds include the area around Bislich, the Bislicher Insel, the Altrheinaue near Reese-Bienen and the duffel near Kranenburg. The animals graze here in groups from a few dozen to thousands in the open river landscape. Great white-footed geese prefer pastures, and bean geese look for farmland areas for remains from the harvest. Depending on the weather, the geese remain on the Lower Rhine until the end of February.
The biological station conducts bus excursions to the winter regions of the Arctic geese and other waterfowl during the winter. Experienced guides show these interesting animals and report about biology, ecology and the protection of the local environment.
The excursion program is available from the biological station in the Wesel nature preserve centre.