This is the largest and most westerly of the Friesian chain of islands which form a barrier between the North Sea and the Waddensee, a Ramsar Site which is one of the most important wetland areas in Europe for birds and marine life.
More than half the 15 x 11km island has some form of protected status and attracts birders from all over Europe and beyond.
The west of Texel is largely extensive sand dunes with shallow lagoons and inlets and some areas of scrub and woodland. There are several reserves along this coast including Krim, a dune area with breeding Common Eider, and De Slufter - dunes with a tidal creek and open sandy plain with Pied Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Kentish Plover.
Probably the most famous reserve on Texel is De Muy a reed-fringed lake set amongst the dunes with breeding Grey Heron and the most northerly breeding Eurasian Spoonbill in Europe. Also found here are Western Marsh Harrier and Montagu's Harrier, waterfowl and a range of wetland passerines.
Further south on the same coast is Westerduinen with a colony of Herring Gull and Common Gull and breeding Common Shelduck, and ground-nesting Eurasian Jackdaw and Stock Dove. The Geul reserve in the southwest of the island has a similar range of breeding species but also has Long-eared Owl.
The eastern coast of the island borders the Waddensee, the largest intertidal mudflat area in Europe. This also has interesting breeding birds but attracts greater variety and numbers of birds on passage and in winter including virtually all the species of wader and waterfowl regular in northwestern Europe.
De Schorren in the north has a Black-headed Gull colony and breeding Pied Avocet and Common Eider and Dijkmanshuizen, an area of wet meadows and reedbeds has breeding Common Tern, Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff.
Waalenburg in the centre of the island has more meadows, many of which are flooded in winter attracting large numbers of waterfowl and waders. Breeders include Short-eared Owl, Common Redshank and Northern Shoveler.
Farmland at Zeeburg is managed specifically for Dark-bellied Brent Goose and as many as 6,000 can occur. Woodlands on the island attract a different suite of species including Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Woodcock, Common Nightingale, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Short-toed Treecreeper and various warblers, most notably, Icterine Warbler.
The most extensive areas are south of De Koog in the west of Texel.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Barnacle Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Common Eider, Common Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Arctic Skua, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Stock Dove, Feral Pigeon, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian Skylark, Horned Lark, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Richard's Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, White-spotted Bluethroat, Common Redstart, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Pallas's Leaf Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Twite, Common Rosefinch, Common Crossbill, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Reed Bunting
Access and Facilities
Entry to some of the reserves requires a permit, others can only be visited on guided tours, details can be obtained from the Texel Tourist Office in Den Burg. The island is reached by a 20 minute ferry trip from Den Helder on the mainland and accommodation is plentiful.
Content and images originally posted by Steve