1) Alrø
2) Blåvandshuk
3) Brabrand Sø & Årslev Engsø
4) Fanø
5) Filsø
6
) Frøslev Mose
7) Gammel Hviding Engsø
8) Mandø
9) Margrethe Kog
10) Nørrestrand
11) Oldenor and Mjels Sø
12) Pamhule Skov & Hindemade
13) Rømø
14) Skallingen, Langli & Ho Bugt
15) Skjern Å valley
16) Sneum Digesø
17) Stavns Fjord, Samsø
18) Sølsted Mose
19) Tinglev Mose
20) The Tipper Peninsula
21) Tøndermarsken
22) Velling Skov & Vrads Sande 

 

 

Alrø

Island in Horsens Fjord, East Jutland

Breeding and staging waders
See Google map with car park etc.

 
Lapwing with young. Photo: Helge Sørensen

Description:
Alrø is an island in Horsens Fjord connected by an embankment to the north side of the fjord. Most of the island is cultivated, but just south of Alhale – the eastern peninsula – is an area (Pollerne) with sand flats that are exposed at low tide and are dotted with islets and boulders.

Birds:
Breeding birds:

Oystercatcher, ringed plover, lapwing and redshank are typical breeding birds. Meadow pipit and yellow wagtail can be seen on the coastal meadows, and mute swan, eider, red-breasted merganser, black-headed gull, common gull and arctic tern breed on the islets. Even though common tern and sandwich tern no longer breed on Alrø, they make their appearance here with their young in the summer months. Cormorants from the colony on the island of Vorsø, which lies north-west of Alrø, can be seen in the area at all times, especially on Pollerne. Heron also breed on Vorsø and forage in the neighbourhood.

Migrating and staging birds:
In spring and autumn, golden plover, lapwing, dunlin and bar-tailed godwit appear in large flocks. Other guests include ringed plover, grey plover and knot, and with luck one can spot little stint and curlew sandpiper. Waders can be seen on the sand flats (Pollerne) south of the peninsula of Alhale. It is not unusual to see temminck’s stint, ruff, snipe, spotted redshank, wood sandpiper and common sandpiper here. Curlews are nowadays seen nearly all year round, sometimes in flocks of more than 300.

Apart from waders it is possible to see great crested grebe, wigeon, teal, mallard and pintail. Greylag goose are numerous, especially in late summer. Brent geese stop over here on occasions. The last few years, more and more barnacle geese have been seen. One can also be lucky enough to spot pink-footed geese and now and again white-fronted geese.

The pair of white-tailed eagles that nest on Vorsø are often seen foraging around Alrø. In winter, peregrine is a frequent guest, and marsh harrier passes by on migration.

In winter, the air is filled with the cries of whooper swans flying over the island, and there are sometimes large flocks of them on the fields. Mute swans and mallards congregate on the fjord. Diving ducks such as scaup, eider and goldeneye can be observed further out in the fjord and sometimes small flocks of twite and snow bunting fly along the coast and over the meadows.

Visiting and access:
From the town of Odder, south of Århus, take route 451 in a southerly direction. Just after Ørting, a minor road leads south to Alrø.

There is no access to the privately owned areas on the island and unfortunately a bird observation tower, that had stood here for many years, has now been removed. This means that birds can be watched only from the public roads. The best view over the the sand flats at Pollerne can be had just after the road has swung round to the right immediately after the embankment. One can also drive all the way out to the car park on the southernmost point of the island, or take one of the smaller roads going off to the north and south, from where other parts of the fjord can be viewed. 

Yellow wagtail. Photo: Helge Sørensen 

 

Blåvandshuk

South-west Jutland, north-west of Esbjerg

Blåvandshuk is Jutland’s best locality for autumn migration
See Google map with car park etc. 

 
Bar-tailed godwits. Photo: Helge Sørensen

Description:
The coast at the hook of Blåvandshuk boasts one of Denmark’s largest sandy beaches – at some places it is several hundred metres wide. Behind the beach there are sand dunes and stunted pine trees. The scrub around the lighthouse sometimes gives shelter to many passerines, both night migrants and day migrants. Denmark’s longest reef – and also one of the most dangerous – Horns Rev, extends 40km out into the sea from the hook.
 
Birds:
Migrating and staging birds:
Migration at Blåvandshuk comprises both seabird passage and passerine migration along the coast. Seabird movements can best be seen in strong westerly or south-westerly winds, whilst waders, raptors and passerines can best be seen in easterly winds.

Divers, fulmars, gannets, ducks, skuas, kittiwakes, common terns, arctic terns and sandwich terns can be seen over the sea. If the wind is strong to gale force from west/south-west, there is a good chance of seeing sooty shearwater and Manx shearwater and also Leach’s petrel, grey phalarope and Sabine’s gull.

Wader migration begins in early summer. All species of wader can be seen. In July the adult waders pass by, and can be very numerous, especially on days with easterly winds. The waders often come in mixed flocks, but also flocks with single species such as oystercatcher and knot. Blåvandshuk can boast Europe’s largest migration of oystercatchers. Knot, dunlin, sanderling and bar-tailed godwit are seen in large numbers, and grey plover, curlew and turnstone are common. Curlew sandpiper appears in small numbers. A day with more than 20 migrating curlew sandpipers can be called a good day. On a really good day one can see up to 50 individuals migrate south in mixed flocks together with dunlin. Terns abound over the sea - and attract skuas. In September/October many ducks pass by the hook, especially common scoter, wigeon, teal and pintail. Easterly winds bring greylag goose, pink-footed goose, brent goose and barnacle goose.

A regular stream of passerines flies along the coast, including swallows, martins, meadow pipits, crows, chaffinches and thrushes. 2006 saw a new daily record for chaffinch/brambling with around 117,000 birds!

With some luck, a rarity such as Pallas’s leaf warbler or yellow-browed warbler can be spotted. Blåvand usually comes up with a barred warbler or two in August and perhaps a greenish warbler with a little more luck.

Throughout October there is the possibility of experiencing days with really large numbers of thrushes, especially redwings, in the area of Ho and Blåvand. Numbers of 15,000 - 20,000 staging redwings have been noted - although at intervals of several years.
 
On the waters off the hook, and especially off the southern part of the hook (opposite the ice-cream kiosk) between 10,000 - 25,000 common scoter and between 300 - 700 velvet scoter stage in winter and into spring. The past many autumns and winters have also seen surf scoter and American scoter, and since then American velvet scoter and Siberian velvet scoter can also be added to the long list of rare birds spotted at Blåvandshuk.
 
Visiting and access:
Blåvandshuk can be reached on route 431 from Varde via Oksby. There is a large car park where the road stops just before the beach.

Just before the car park is Blåvand Nature Centre, which contains a nature exhibition, a nature school, and one of the Danish Ornithological Society’s bird stations, where observations and ringing have been carried out for many years.


Arctic skua. Photo: Helge Sørensen

 

Brabrand Sø and Årslev Engsø

East Jutland, just west of Aarhus

The two lakes and the surrounding areas are important breeding areas for waterbirds and staging localities for many migrating birds during spring and autumn. Many birds spend winter on and around the lakes. In the breeding season, the black-headed gull colony is a prominent feature of Brabrand Sø.
See Google map with bird observation towers, car parks, etc.

 
Brabrand Sø. Photo: Anders Horsten 
 
Description:
The two lakes, Brabrand Sø and Årslev Engsø, lie in a sub-glacial trench valley formed during the ice age and are joined together by the river of Aarhus Å. Årslev Engsø, that used to be a drained area, was re-established in 2003 by directing the water from the two rivers Aarhus Å and Lyngbygård Å over its meadows. The lake itself now covers an area of 100ha (max. depth 2m). It is surrounded by meadows and reedbeds, that will probably spread in the coming years. Brabrand Sø (153ha – max. depth 2.7m) is surrounded by reedbeds and wet meadows. In summer, parts of the lake are covered by waterlilies and common club-rush.

The whole area is a popular recreational area for people living in Aarhus, and is easily accessible, with paths leading round both the lakes (10km round Brabrand Sø and 8km round Årslev Engsø). There are several observation towers with good views of the area.

Brabrand Sø is under preservation orders, but some hunting takes place on the privately owned land near the lakes, and there is a fair amount of fishing along the rivers that run into the lakes.
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
The birdlife in Brabrand Sø is typical for a shallow, nutrient-rich lake. A colony of black-headed gull is very apparent (and audible!) in summer. Other characteristic birds are great crested grebe, greylag goose, tufted duck, pochard and grey heron. Black-necked grebes breed here with around 50 pairs. Two pairs of marsh harrier breed regularly, and here and there one can find breeding penduline tit and bearded tit. Kingfisher is often seen in the breeding season.
Just after it had been re-established, Årslev Engsø was a breeding site for many red-necked grebe and black-necked grebe, but they have now been replaced by great crested grebe. During the last few years, the bird life at the lake has become stabilized and breeding birds now count greylag goose, shelduck, shoveler, garganey, redshank, little ringed plover and lapwing. 
 
Migrating and staging birds:
During migration, many bird species use the area as a stop-over. Nearly all dabbling ducks can be seen, both spring and autumn. The meadows attract many waders such as common sandpiper, green sandpiper, greenshank, spotted redshank, lapwing, snipe, jack snipe and ruff. The many wood sandpipers and Temminck’s stints are especially interesting. In autumn, greylag geese forage on the meadows, that are also visited by goldfinches and starlings, the latter often in large flocks. Many mute swans turn up in autumn and spend the winter on the lakes together with flocks of goosander. Whooper swans also arrive at the end of autumn and are regular winter guests.

Many passerines stop over in the area during migration, for example reed warbler, marsh warbler, sedge warbler, Savi’s warbler, grasshopper warbler, linnet, dunnock, yellow wagtail, red-backed shrike, siskin and reed bunting. They can be seen in the reedbeds and the scrub and in the small woods in the area.

Årslev Engsø attracts many uncommon birds that turn up regularly, for example osprey, white-tailed eagle, peregrine, little gull, Mediterranean gull, black tern, Caspian tern, spotted crake, broad-billed sandpiper, red-necked phalarope, water pipit and great reed warbler. On very few occasions, little egret, great white heron, corncrake, great snipe and white-winged black tern have been seen. Some very rare species have also been spotted: in later years, for example, green-winged teal (2012), brown shrike (2012) and ferruginous duck (2013).
 
Visiting and access:
As already mentioned, it is easy to get to the lakes. The path (Brabrandstien) that runs round both lakes, actually starts in Århus itself (at Carl Blochs Gade).There are several car parks, from where there is access to the path round the lakes. for example:
 
1. At Søskovvej between the two lakes. This car park is a good starting-out point for a walk or a bicycle ride on the path round the lakes- either Brabrand Sø or Årslev Engsø.
2. At the nature centre of Sølyst on Louisevej north of Brabrand Sø. From here, a path leads down to a bird observation tower with a view across the lake.
3. At the scout hut at Bispevej in Stavtrup Søholm, south of Brabrand Sø, from where there is access to a bird observation tower. 
4. On the south side of Storskovvej, south of Årslev Engsø and west of the estate of Constantinsborg. From here one can reach the path on the southern bank of Årslev Engsø where there are two bird observation towers.
5. At Skibbyvej north of Årslev Engsø there are two car parks - one close to Skibby and one a little further north. There is also a bird observation tower on the north side of Årslev Engsø.

The lakes can also be reached by bus from the centre of Aarhus, for example no. 11 to "Stavtrup Søholm", that has its end station next to a little wood on the south side of Brabrand Sø, where there is a path to the observation tower.

Grey heron. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen 


Fanø

South-west Jutland, in the Wadden Sea off the coast south of Esbjerg

Fanø is an important staging area for waders on migration, especially in autumn. Many birds fly over the island on migration. Breeding birds include bittern and nightjar.
See Google map

 
 
Snow buntings over Fanø. Photo: Kim Fischer

Description:
Fanø is the northernmost of the three inhabited Danish islands in the Wadden Sea. Many different kinds of scenery are represented here: sandy beaches, dunes, coastal meadows, heath and plantations. Around Sønderho on the island’s southernmost point are the three sandflats Keld Sand, Peter Meyers Sand and Langejord, where tens of thousands of waders roost at high tide. Along the east coast and in the northern part of the island are coastal meadows, and the west coast is dominated by expanses of sandy beach and dunes. The road joining the north and south of the island leads through extensive heaths and the plantation in the middle of the island.
 
The island has 3,300 inhabitants, and 22,000 guests visit the island each year. The village of Sønderho was elected as the prettiest village in Denmark in 2013, and the island is well known for its cultural environment, innovative gastronomy and fantastic bathing beaches.
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
Fanø is a breeding site for curlews and for the commonest waders such as lapwing, redshank, oystercatcher and snipe. A little population of the rare Kentish plover nests on Grønningen in the northern part of the island. Arctic tern and litle tern nest primarily on the remote sand banks south of Fanø.

Little grebe and red-necked grebe breed in the lakes south of Rindby and in the hollows in the dunes. In the reedbeds there are many bittern, but also marsh harrier and bearded tit. Bittern are often seen flying over the reedbeds in May/June. The dunes are home to stock doves, that build their nests in the old bunkers from world war two and in rabbit holes. The plantation houses a large population of nightjar.

Migrating and staging birds:

During migration, large flocks of waterbirds use Fanø as a stop-over site. Denmark's largest flocks of oystercatcher, grey plover, ringed plover, sanderling, knot and curlew forage in large numbers in the shallow waters round the coasts. Fanø’s southernmost point at Hønen is a good place from which to watch migrating passerines and raptors in autumn. Thrushes, pipits and finches pass by in especially large numbers. Days on which over 100,000 migrating birds are seen occur regularly and the largest flocks of ring ouzels in the country migrate from here.

In winter up to 1,000 snow bunting can be spotted on the beach. If there are strong winds from the west, tons of mussels are washed up onto the beach and attract tens of thousands of gulls. 
 
Visiting and access:
The Fanø ferry sails regularly from Esbjerg harbour to Nordby on Fanø (three times an hour in the summer months). The crossing takes 10-15 minutes. It is possible to bring a bicycle or a car. Most of the island is accessible apart from the sand flats in the south east, Keld Sand and Trinden, where access is prohibited. Motor transport is forbidden on many roads through the woods and minor roads. The busiest roads have cycle lanes and there are bicycles for hire in Nordby, Rindby and Sønderho.
 
Next to the bay of Albuebugten is the Sønderho Old Duck Decoy, which is always open. Here there is a bird observation tower with a view over the Wadden Sea and an exhibition about duck decoys. The newly established Sønderho Strandsø is a lake next to the beach with a hide and an exhibition about the birdlife on the lake and the beach.
 

Bittern. Photo: Kim Fischer
 

Filsø

West Jutland, south of Ringkøbing Fjord

A re-established lake and natural area that attracts large flocks of swans, geese, ducks, waders and starlings and many interesting passerines
See Google map with bird observation towers, look-out points, car parks, etc. NB: The satellite map still shows the area as it was before it was flooded.


Filsø. Photo: Axel Mortensen

Description:
Filsø covers an area of 2320ha near the west coast of Jutland between Ringkøbing Fjord and the Wadden Sea. In the stone age, Filsø was a large fjord or bay, until it became cut off from the sea by a spit. The lake gradually became a freshwater lake and the water level rose. The lake finally covered an area of around 3000ha, thus becoming Denmark’s second largest lake. But it was shallow, and when ideas about land reclamation became popular in the 1800s it was an obvious choice for carrying out a drainage project. Drainage of Filsø began in 1852, when the waterlevel was lowered by 3m. This meant that most of the lake bed became pastureland, which was harvested for hay. In 1940-47, Filsø was drained even more with the help of embankments, canals and pump stations, and the lake bed could be intensively cultivated. Only two minor lakes remained: Fidde Sø in the north-eastern corner and Søvig Sund in the south-eastern corner.

In October 2011, Filsø was taken over by Aage V. Jensen Naturfond, and a re-establishment project began. The embankments were removed, the canals filled up, and the pump stations stopped. Some new small bird islands were constructed and Dæmningsvejen, which is the road leading across the lake, was reinforced so that it can still be used by cyclists and walkers. The enormous farmlands have been drastically reduced and only the south-west corner, Petersholm, and Nørreodde to the east have been maintained, so that geese and deer can forage here. In July 2012 the southern part of the lake, Søndersø, began to fill up with water and it was completely full when the official opening of Filsø took place on 7th October 2012. Since then the northern part, Mellemsø, has also been flooded. The lake now covers 915ha and is thus Denmark’s sixth largest lake. Meadows, marshes and reedbeds surround the lake.

Birds:
As the lake is so new, it is not yet possible to give a detailed description of all the bird life to be seen here, but it is expected to be sensational! As early as late summer 2012, a new record for staging teal in Denmark was made, with 17,500 birds collected on one spot. Just 5 days after Søndersø had been re-established, 200 wood sandpipers, 22 curlew sandpipers and 1000 coots showed up. In late summer 2013 more than 200 spoonbills could be seen on Storeholm. Filsø is a link in a chain of stop-over sites for migrating birds along the west coast of Jutland, with several hundreds of thousands of birds flying past in spring and autumn.

Development of birdlife on and around the lake has followed the well-known pattern for newly established or re-established lakes. After a first phase with many different species and many individuals, a drop in numbers occurs, and a middle phase sets in, when vegetation, insects, crustaceans, fish, etc. establish themselves and find a balance. At the time of writing (January 2016) the lake is in this middle phase. The development of acquatic plants has been quite extraordinary and the lake already boasts one of the highest number of such plants in Denmark, including some rare species.

Breeding birds:
The re-establishment of this wetland is expected to improve breeding conditions for the birds that already breed in the area, and to attract other new species. Several species of grebe breed or have bred in the area: little grebe, great crested grebe, red-necked grebe and black-necked grebe. In 2013 slavonian grebe also bred here. Mute swan, greylag goose, wigeon, teal, mallard, gadwall, shoveler, tufted duck and pochard breed here, together with a few pairs of pintail and garganey. Bittern can be heard in the reedbeds and breeds here. Breeding waders include avocet, lapwing and snipe. Several colonies of black-headed gulls have established themselves on the islets dotted around in the lake, where there are also nesting herring gull, lesser black-backed gull, great black-backed gull and common tern. Gull-billed tern nested on Gåseholm in 2013 and 2014. A small colony of cormorants has sprung up on Aagesholm. Marsh harrier nests in the reedbeds, which also house typical reedbed species such as water rail, sedge warbler, marsh warbler, reed warbler, penduline tit and bearded tit. 20 pairs of bluethroat bred here in 2014. Nightjar and red-backed shrike are other breeding species, together with 2-3 pairs of crane.

Finally, white-tailed eagle must be mentioned. A pair soon discovered that the lake had been re-established, and have bred here in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Migrating and staging birds:
Large flocks of swans, barnacle goose, greylag goose, golden plover and many species of duck stage on the lake and the meadows for long periods. 

Filsø with its surrounding area has for many years been known as a very important staging post for whooper swans, Bewick's swans and geese. The area has also been especially important for the population of pink-footed goose that breed on Svalbard, as nearly all the population (around 30,000 birds) used to refuel on the cornfields at the end of September. As the fields have now disappeared, the flocks have been reduced in size and are seen only sporadically. Greylag geese also use the area for foraging in the summer months up to the end of September.

Osprey turns up during migration, and peregrine falcon can be seen regularly and more or less throughout the year. In the winter months, hen harrier is fairly common.

Large flocks of starling go to roost in the reedbeds from mid-June until the end of October.

The lake also attracts rarities. Pacific golden plover has been spotted here. In 2014, red-crested pochard and slender-billed gull were observed for the first time in Denmark.

Visiting and access:
A map showing paths and bird observation towers in the area can be found on Aage V. Jensen Naturfonds website and in boxes at the lake. In 2016, a new tower will be erected in the southeastern corner of Mellemsø. As Filsø is privately owned, regulations concerning access must be observed. Access is allowed from 6 a.m. until sunset, and one may walk or cycle where it is indicated. There is no access to protected, cultivated or fenced-in areas.

Filsø is situated east of a minor road connecting the main 465 road in the north (the road to Henne Strand) and the main 431 road in the south (the road between Oksbøl and Blåvand). The road is called Kærgårdvej along its southern stretch, and Porsmosevej along its northern stretch. There is access to Filsø from the roads west, north and east of the area. Here are a few possibilities:

1. By driving north along Kærgårdvej one reaches a car park at Kærgård Plantage. Here are an information building, toilets and a barbecue site. From the car park, a handicap-friendly path leads to Petersholm, where there is a large bird observation tower with handicap access. From here there is a good view over Petersholm and Søndersø.
2. A little further north, one comes to the main entrance to Filsø, next to the farm buildings of Filsøgård on Porsmosevej/Kærgårdsvej. Here is a temporary car park and an outlook point. Please observe the signs – the courtyard at the farm is privately owned. There are plans for building a permanent car park at the site.
3. From the farm buildings, Dæmningsvejen leads across the lake. The road is 3km long and one can walk or cycle along it. From the road there is a fine view of both Søndersø and Mellemsø.
4. Even further north is a small car park at Tejnebjerg on Porsmosevej. From here one can follow a path south to the bird observation tower at Storeholm and if desired, continue to the farm buildings. From the same car park one can also reach a path that follows the stream of Henne Mølleå to Kirkebyvad, where there is a pump station that has been converted to an observation tower, with a view across Mellemsø. One can continue even further eastwards along this path to reach the south-western corner of Fidde Sø, where there is a little outlook tower.
5. At Henne church, on Strandvejen, where one can park, there is a farm track going south (entrance opposite the dividing line between the church and the inn), where one can walk or cycle. After around 1½km one reaches the pump station at Kirkebyvad.

To enjoy the view over the lakes, one can park at the car park at Klovbakken (Strandvejen, the main 465 road) where there are a toilet and picnic tables, or climb up onto the high dune of Tejnebjerg on Porsmosevej.


Bittern. Photo: Helge Sørensen  

 

Frøslev Mose and Plantage

Southern Jutland

A rich birdlife in summer with many different species breeding in the bog and conifer forest
See Google map with car-parks etc.


Kådnermose in Frøslev Plantage

Description
Frøslev Mose is west of Padborg next to the Danish-German border. It continues across the border as Jardelund Mose. Both bogs together cover an area of 275 ha. Frøslev Mose is part of a large natural area of around 500 ha which also comprises the surrounding meadowland. The bog was formed on the heath which appeared after the last ice age. It was used for peat digging in the 19th century and up to just after the second world war. After this, the bog became overgrown. In 1985 it was put under preservation orders with the aim of restoring it to its former condition as a blanket bog. Today the water level is stabilized and the area is grazed by cattle.

Connected to the bog is the plantation of Frøslev Plantage which is the southernmost forest in Jutland. It was originally planted between 1883 and the 1930’s on an area that had suffered from sand drift. The plantation covers 1041 ha and comprises mostly conifers, but there are also some old oak trees and other deciduous trees that have been planted more recently. Spread around in the plantation are some open areas with sandy heath and unusual formations called “klimper” which are sand dunes with small ponds on top. During the storms that have occurred during the last few years around 1/5 of the spruce trees have been blown down, resulting in many more new clearings. The Nature Agency now plant a greater variety of trees in the clearings, with more oak and beech than previously.


Birds:
The area has for many years been known as the first locality where new bird species that are spreading northwards have been spotted in Denmark.

Breeding birds:
Waterfowl include greylag goose, teal, mallard, water rail and coot. A few pairs of lapwing and curlew breed here. The most characteristic wader is snipe, of which there is a large population here. During the last few years, cranes have begun to nest in the bog and can be seen and heard from March to September.

The commonest passerines in the area are skylark, meadow pipit, whinchat, whitethroat, yellowhammer and reed bunting. Stonechat was found breeding for the first time in Denmark in Frøslev Mose in 1942 and has since been breeding here regularly. In addition, woodlark, bluethroat, grasshopper warbler and red-backed shrike can be seen.

In the plantation a number of birds typical for conifer forests can be spotted, for example goldcrest, crested tit, coal tit and crossbill. Nightjar has again started breeding in the plantation after an absence of 25 years. It can be heard around sunset in the month of June near Finkehede in the middle of the plantation about 1km west of the Frøslev Camp Museum. Wryneck, which previously has been very rare in the region, was heard on three different locations in the plantation in 2015. To try and attract the species, 15 wryneck nesting boxes have now been put up. Black woodpecker can be spotted in the plantation but is best seen and heard from Pluskærvej and around 500m west of the motorway. Green woodpecker breeds now and again.

Frøslev Plantage is Denmark’s best locality for turtle doves. In May and June one can be certain to hear its distinctive soft purring song. Turtle doves are best heard in the northern part of the plantation west of the Frøslev Camp Museum. It prefers 15-20m high spruce trees for building its nest.

Two pairs of eagle owl have been breeding in the plantation for several years but since 2014 only one pair has been present. It has used the same nesting site directly on the ground hidden by a large larch tree. In 2015 the pair fledged two young.

Other bird species to breed regularly are goshawk, sparrowhawk, buzzard, honey buzzard, stock dove, tawny oil, long-eared owl and raven. Passerines include redstart, mistlethrush, firecrest and redpoll.

In the east of the plantation close to the motorway are the two small bogs Bredsig Mose and Kådnermose, where there are breeding greylag geese, mallards, moorhens and coots.


Migrating and staging birds:
Apart from the birds that breed here, the bog is a good site for many foraging species, especially the raptors that breed in the wood. Every year in the breeding season, Montagu’s harrier can be seen hunting over the bog. The birds are most probably from the German population.

In winter there is a chance of seeing hen harrier, short-eared owl and great grey shrike.

Visiting and access:
Frøslev Mose can be reached from Pluskærvej, west of the southern motorway exit 76 at Padborg. Around 1½km west of the exit, turn left along Kristiansmindevej and then immediately afterwards right along Ladevej, which leads to a car-park with an information board. A 3.5 km long marked trail passes through part of the bog. Waterproof footwear is essential.

To reach Frøslev Plantation, one can also follow Pluskærvej, but park at a car-park around ½km west of the motorway exit. From here a “red trail” around 2km long goes through the plantation. One can also follow Lejrvejen, which leads out of the north of Padborg and crosses the motorway at the northern exit 76. On this stretch of the road there are several car-parks and access to a “yellow trail” around 5km in length that leads through the northern part of the plantation.

The Nature Agency has published a folder about Frøslev Plantage with a useful map, which can be downloaded here.

Other sights:
In the north-eastern corner of Frøslev Plantage is the Frøslev Camp Museum, which has been established in huts where members of the Danish resistance movement were imprisoned by the Germans in 1944-45.


Wryneck. Photo: Helge Sørensen

 

Gammel Hviding Engsø

South-west Jutland, south of Ribe

A newly established lake in the marshland, with various breeding birds and occasionally unusual visitors. View over the foreland with geese and waders.
See Google map with car park etc.

 Gammel Hviding Engsø. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
Gammel Hviding Engsø is south of Ribe and just east of the Rejsby seawall bordering the Wadden Sea. The lake was established in 2007 and is state-owned. The clay dug out here was used for strengthening the seawall, and the area was afterwards made into a bird-friendly lake, with a winding coastline and three small islands. The area covers 28ha, of which 16ha are under water, the remainder being low-lying grassland. West of the seawall is the flat grass-covered foreland and the Wadden Sea.

Birds:
Breeding birds:

The small islands in the lake attract breeding gulls, terns and a few species of wader. There is a fair-sized colony of black-headed gulls and a little group of breeding common terns. There are small numbers of breeding oystercatcher, lapwing and redshank, and a few pairs of ringed plover. Bittern can be heard booming in the reedbeds, where sedge warblers and bluethroat (cyanecula race) can be spotted.

Migrating and staging birds:
As early as February, large flocks of staging shelducks gather out on the foreland. In spring, barnacle geese and dark-bellied brent geese arrive. Waders such as golden plover, curlew and greenshank turn up on spring migration. On the meadows, ruff and yellow wagtail can be seen. Tufted duck can be seen on the lake throughout the year, whilst pintail, wigeon, teal and gadwall are mostly present in spring and autumn, although never in large numbers. The lake can attract some interesting guests: spoonbill, little gull, black tern and white-winged black tern have all been spotted here. Great white heron can be seen throughout the year and little egret turns up now and again, even in winter.

White-tailed eagle and peregrine are regular visitors. Merlin can be spotted during migration, and in summer Montagu’s harrier can sometimes be seen flying over the reedbeds.

In autum, the geese come back again, and in winter flocks of shore larks and lapland buntings forage on the grassy areas, whilst smew and goosander can be spotted on the lake.

Other animals:
Otter is seen regularly in the lake (1- 2 times a month).

Visiting and access:

Gammel Hviding Engsø can be reached from route 11 (Ribevej) between Ribe and Skærbæk. About halfway between Hviding and Rejsby, Høgsbrovej turns off westward and becomes Gl. Hvidingvej, leading to the village of Gammel Hviding. From here, one can follow Gl. Hvidingvej westwards. Just after Hviding Nr. Rampe, the road turns sharply left and is now called Hviding Sdr. Rampe. After a right-hand bend one reaches the seawall, where it is possible to park. One can either walk south along the road inside the seawall or continue in the car. From the road there is a good view over the lake, but by climbing up onto the seawall one gets an even better view, and from here one can also see the grassy foreland and part of the Wadden Sea. 

 Bluethroat. Photo: Helge Sørensen 
 

Mandø

South-west Jutland, in the Wadden Sea south-west of Ribe

There are birds everywhere on Mandø – both on the forelands and inside the dykes. The island is a paradise for birdwatchers, especially in the breeding and migrating seasons, when many geese, ducks and waders stage on and around the island.
See Google map

 
Mandø. Photo: Niels Knudsen

Description:
Mandø, situated between the islands of Fanø and Rømø, is one of the so-called barrier islands in the Wadden Sea.

The inhabitants of Mandø have always been threatened by the North Sea, and since 1938 the island has been protected by a seawall. In front of the seawall, on the seaward side, is the foreland, with a network of fascines to encourage land reclamation.

Inside the seawall and parallel to it is a canal with a series of clay pits that were left after construction of the seawall. A road follows the canal round the island. Most of the embanked area on the island is arable land. The village of Mandø is on the west side of the island, behind a protective line of sand dunes. This is the highest point on the island. In 1890, 262 people were living on Mandø – today there are just under 40. There are only a few holiday cottages and tourism is limited because of the rather difficult access conditions. This means that Mandø is often a very peaceful place to walk around in.

In 2010 the Danish state purchased an area of coastal meadow covering around 50 ha on the north-eastern section of the island. Since then, the area has not been cultivated and hunting has come to an end. Drainage was stopped and a wetter environment was created to help the meadow birds. This has had an appreciably positive influence on the birdlife concentration. One of the many visible results is an avocet colony comprising 50-100 pairs.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Waterbirds and passerines nest in the reedbeds and in the scrub around the clay pits and along the canal. Mandø is an important breeding site for meadow birds. One of the last stable breeding sites for black-tailed godwit in south-west Jutland is on the island of Mandø. Red-necked grebe, mute swan, greylag goose, gadwall, tufted duck, eider, oystercatcher, avocet and marsh harrier also nest on the embanked area behind the seawall.

The foreland in front of the dunes and seawall is a breeding locality for oystercatcher, redshank and lapwing. Arctic tern and common tern nest on the easterly and southerly foreland.

Migrating and staging birds:
On spring and autumn migration, thousands of geese and waders stage here. There are many different species, but barnacle goose, brent goose, shelduck, wigeon, pintail, shoveler, and turnstone, bar-tailed godwit, curlew, golden plover, grey plover, knot and dunlin appear in large numbers. They can be seen feeding on the mudbanks at low tide, or on the fields and foreland at high tide. Outside the breeding season, a variety of raptors show up, such as peregrine, white-tailed eagle, hen harrier and rough-legged buzzard.

On days with easterly winds in spring and autumn there is a good bird migration over the island.

Other animals:
Common seals like to lie on the extensive sandbanks around Mandø. A good viewpoint is the northern clay pit from where common seals can be seen on the sandbanks to the north east. With any luck, one may also spot a grey seal. For those interested in oysters, it is recommended to search along the fascines off the foreland where there are good possibilities for harvesting Pacific oysters.

Visiting and access:
If one wishes to take a car over to Mandø, it is possible to drive along the gravel causeway (Låningsvejen) across the tidal area. The causeway is flooded at high tide so it is necessary to check the high tide tables before setting off. It is also possible to take the Mandø bus, which leaves from the Wadden Sea Center (Vadehavscentret) in Vester Vedsted (phone 75 44 51 07). The bus runs a few times a day in the summer months. The timetable is dependent on the tides.

Most of the birdlife can be seen from the road along the seawall. It is not permitted to walk on top of the seawall, but it is allowed to use the road crossings over the seawall, which are placed at regular intervals.

The Wadden Sea Centre in Vester Vedsted has an exhibition on nature, culture and floods, together with a café and toilets.
 

 
Knots. Photo: Marco Brodde  

Margrethe Kog

Southern Jutland, by the Wadden Sea just north of the German border

Margrethe Kog is worth a visit all year round. In spring and autumn, large flocks of geese, ducks and waders forage here during migration – the enormous flocks of barnacle geese are a special attraction.
See Google map with outlook points, bird hide, car parks, etc.

 
Margrethe Kog seen from the seawall. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
Margrethe Kog (‘kog’ means ‘polder’) was formed in connection with construction of a new seawall that was built in 1982 to protect the land behind from flooding. Since the seawall was built, new marshland has formed outside the dyke. A third of the polder is covered by a salt water lake, into which seawater is pumped to ensure the correct salinity. The marshland is grazed by sheep. There are also a few smaller lakes, canals, clay pits and a water reservoir.

Birds:
Margrethe Kog is especially known for the large flocks of barnacle geese that collect here. Up to 60,000 have been seen on one day, but it is more usual to see rather smaller flocks of around 20,000 birds. The largest flocks can be seen from the beginning of March to the end of April, and again from the beginning of September to the end of October. Red-breasted goose is seen nearly every spring. Even if this is a fairly colourful goose, it is surprisingly difficult to find one in the large flocks of grazing barnacle geese.

Ducks include shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, pintail and shoveler.

All the common waders are seen in Margrethe Kog. The first to arrive in spring are lapwings, golden plovers, dunlins and curlews in tens of thousands. In May, knot, bar-tailed godwit, grey plover and ruff are seen. There are good chances of finding some of the less common waders such as Kentish plover, broad-billed sandpiper or red-necked phalarope. The best time to see waders is April/May/June and August/September/October. It is also an advantage to visit the area at high tide, when the waders roost in the salt water lake.

In winter, the area houses many geese and ducks. White-fronted geese and greylag geese are seen in increasing numbers. There are good chances of seeing raptors such as white-tailed eagle, peregrine and merlin. Other birds that turn up in winter are shore lark, twite, snow bunting and now and again lapland bunting.

The area can also attract rarities: some species that have been spotted are gyr falcon, greater sand plover, ring-billed gull and citrine wagtail.

Visiting and access:
The best starting point for a visit is the town of Højer (route 419 westwards from Tønder or southwards from Ribe). In the town, signs lead to the sluice at Vidåslusen. Here there is a car park, an information centre and a cafeteria. From the top of the seawall there is a good view over both the northern part of Margrethe Kog and over the Wadden Sea stretching out from the seawall. From 10.00 a.m. to sunset, one can walk or cycle around 3.5km south on the path that runs along the inside of the seawall. Here one often comes close to the birds. However, one cannot continue to the southernmost part of the polder.

One can also drive south from Højer along the narrow road that leads to Siltoft. Here there are two places where one can climb up onto the dyke on the east side of Margrethe Kog. The first place is a little south of the Vidå river, where a road just south of a group of houses leads west to the dyke. Here one can park and climb very cautiously up onto the dyke. The other place is around 3km south of the river, where a road goes west to the dyke from a little junction. There is a gate across the road that has to be opened to reach the dyke. At the dyke, one can park and climb up on the dyke to look down into the clay pits. One must be very careful not to disturb the birds as they can be just on the other side of the dyke.

Finally, it is also possible to drive down to the German border at Siltoft. (Even if there is no border control, one should carry a passport). From here one can drive westwards between Margrethe Kog and Rickelsbüller Koog on the German side of the road. Here one can get close to the birds, especially if one stays in the car. About halfway out to the seawall there is a bird hide on the German side. One can park at the seawall and walk up to the top to look out over the Wadden Sea. One can also walk south along the side of the seawall with a view across Rickelsbüller Koog.
 


Barnacle geese at Margrethe Kog. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen  
 

Nørrestrand

East Jutland, immediately north of Horsens

Many waterbirds in the vicinity of a town 
See Google map with look-out points, parking spots, etc.

 
Nørrestrand - bird observation tower

Description:
Nørrestrand is immediately north of the town of Horsens. It is a former arm of Horsens Fjord, but is now a shallow brackish lake separated from the fjord by a sluice in Stensballe Sund. Along the southern boundary of the area is a built-up area and along the northern boundary is farmland with scattered buildings.

The lake itself covers around 120ha and is surrounded by large unbroken areas of reedbed as well as boggy scrub and woodland, mainly along the nature trail on the southern side. There are also some meadows, copses and small ponds. The area is managed by reed harvesting, felling willow trees and putting cattle out to graze the meadows, in order to preserve the varied wildlife and vegetation.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
There are several breeding waterfowl species, including little grebe, great crested grebe, greylag goose, shelduck, mallard, water rail and coot.

In the reedbeds are marsh harrier, sedge warbler, reed warbler and bearded tit. In the scrub, thrush nightingale, marsh warbler and grasshopper warbler. Lapwing and snipe nest in small numbers on the surrounding meadows. Kingfisher can be seen throughout the year.

There is a fairly large rookery next to the hostel on the southern side of the lake.

Migrating and staging birds:
Osprey visits the area regularly every year. Large flocks of coot can be seen all year round – especially in late summer there can be as many as a few thousand. In summer flocks of sand martins, swallows, house martins and swifts can be seen hunting over the water.

In autumn Nørrestrand is a staging area for large numbers of greylag geese.

In winter, the lake is visited by wigeon, pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, smew and goosander, together with a few whooper swans.

Now and then one can be lucky enough to see some rarer guests, although only one or two at a time, for example black-necked grebe, gadwall, garganey, peregrine, little gull, black tern, white-winged black tern and Savi’s warbler. Bittern occurs regularly in winter.

Visiting and access:
Access is easiest from the southern side of the lake, where there is a nature trail. It is best to park at the end of Rønnevej (a little side road to Bakkesvinget, which is a side road to Langmarksvej, around 500m east of Forum Horsens). From here, the nature trail can easily be reached. The trail can be followed east/north-east to the bird observation tower, which stands immediately north of Lindskov Knude. From the observation tower there is a good view, especially over the eastern part of the area.

It is also possible to drive along Chr. M. Østergaards vej, which is a side road to Sundvej. This ends in Georg Rasmussens Vej, which can be followed east to a good outlook point, with a view over the eastern part of the area. It is also possible to drive a little further and park at the end of Georg Rasmussens Vej. Here one can cross Stensballe Sund by a little footbridge and walk along the south-easterly part of Nørrestrand. There are good parking facilities many places along the southern side of Nørrestrand.


Coot. Photo: Helge Sørensen 
 

Oldenor, Mjels Sø and Bundsø

Als, south Jutland

One of the most important bird sites in the east of south Jutland. Many bird species breed and stage here. Cormorant colony at Oldenor.
See Google map with car parks etc.  

 Cormorant colony at Oldenor. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
Oldenor, Mjels Sø and Bundsø are three lakes in the north of the island of Als. They were previously drained and cultivated but have recently been re-established. The northern part of Als is crossed by large trench valleys formed during the last ice age. They were turned into fjords when the sea level rose in the stone age. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the area became cut off from the sea, and in the 19th century work was started on draining the lakes. Work continued until after the second world war, when the drainage project eventually succeeded and the lakes were turned into cornfields. However, cultivation had to be given up in the 1980s when the land sank due to the drainage, and in 1993 the pumps were stopped and Oldenor was re-established. Since then it has turned into a valuable nature area. The lake and the surrounding meadows and woods are state-owned. In 2005, drainage of Mjels Sø was also stopped. The lake was re-established in co-operation with Aage V. Jensens Fonde, who now own the lake, the Nature Agency, and local authorities. Finally, Bundsø was re-established in April 2015 as part of a state project for removing nitrogen from the acquatic environment.

Re-establishment of Bund Sø - a drained lake east of Mjels Sø - has started in 2014.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
There is a large colony of cormorants at the western end of Oldenor, with around 200 pairs that have made their mark on the nesting trees. Other breeding birds include great crested grebe, greylag goose, shelduck, mallard, water rail, moorhen and coot. Mute swan breed here but the number of pairs varies from year to year. A few grey herons have built nests in the cormorant colony.

A pair of white-tailed eagles breed in a nearby wood and can be seen regularly. They fish in the lake and help themselves to young cormorants from the colony! With luck they can be seen feeding one of the young on the field north of Oldenor. Buzzard also nest in the trees near Oldenor. Goshawk probably breed in the vicinity, as juveniles are seen here regularly.

Mjels Sø supports breeding great crested grebe, mute swan, greylag golose, mallard, moorhen and coot, and a pair of sparrowhawks nest nearby.
Kingfisher is seen regularly at Mjels Sø and Mjels Vig and most probably breeds here.

During the first year of Bundsø's existence, breeding birds have comprised great crested grebe, red-necked grebe, black-necked grebe, mute swan, greylag goose, shelduck, coot and lapwing.

Migrating and staging birds:
Oldenor attracts many staging ducks during a great part of the year. Wigeon and tufted duck, especially, can be seen in their hundreds, but smaller numbers of shelduck, gadwall, teal, shoveler, pochard and goldeneye can also be observed. Other staging birds include great crested grebe, grey heron, mute swan, coot, and large flocks of common gull and black-headed gull. In winter, goosander are seen, together with a few smew, scaup and goldeneye. Several species of raptor can be spotted at Oldenor, for example marsh harrier, sparrowhawk and buzzard. Osprey can turn up during the migrating period.

The same species can be observed at Mjels Sø. In autumn, there are often more birds in Mjels Sø than in Oldenor. Species such as gadwall and shoveler, for example, seem to prefer Mjels Sø. Goosander and smew can be more numerous at Mjels Sø.

Bundsø attracts the same species of duck. In 2015, up to 50 black-necked grebe were observed in August, a great white heron was seen throughout the year and in June a slavonian grebe in full summer plumage was an added attraction. Egyptian goose were observed here all year round.

Some of the more unusual migrating and staging birds spotted in the area include great white heron (2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015), peregrine (2011, 2014, 2015), ruddy shelduck (2012) and snow goose (2013). 


Visiting and access:
Oldenor can be reached from Oksbøl south of Nordborg at the northern end of Als. A minor road (Tvendalvej) leads west from the main road at the northern end of Oksbøl (in the direction of Mjels). After around 2km one reaches a car-park, from where a path leads east to an outlook point with a fine view over the lake. From the car-park one can walk along a path that follows the banks of the lake westwards. In this way one can come closer to the cormorant colony at the western end of the lake. By continuing along the path (follow the “E Govl” sign) east of Mjels Vig one comes to a car-park at the western end of Mjels Sø. The old pumphouse now houses an information centre illustrating the re-establishment of the lakes. Outside the pumphouse is a picnic area. From here one can either follow the road back to the car-park at Oldenor, or continue along the Mjels Sø path along the northern edge of the lake. The car-park at Mjels Sø can also be reached by car by continuing along the minor road from Oksbøl to Oldenor, or by driving north out of Mjels.

There are two car-parks at Bundsø. The first can be reached from the main road, Oksbølvej, south of Nordborg. A short road leads off at an angle to the car-park. However, there is not much room here, and only the eastern end of the lake can be seen from here. The other car-park can be reached by driving around another 375m eastwards along Oksbølvej and turning right to reach the Vesterballe road, turning right again in the direction of Brandsbøl Skov. After just under 1 km, a steep road leads down to the car-park. Here, there is plenty of room, a picnic area and an information board, and most of the lake can be seen. From the car-park, two paths lead off - one going west, and one going round the eastern end of the lake.

It is recommended to use the Nature Agency’s folder with map of the area, that can be downloaded here.
 


Pochard. Photo: Klaus Dichmann 

 

Pamhule Skov and Hindemade 

South Jutland, west of Haderslev

A good locality for woodland birds and for spotting white-tailed eagle and osprey
See Google map with look-out points, car parks, etc.


Pamhule Skov and the Bibæk stream. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
The wood of Pamhule Skov covers an area of around 300ha. Over half the wood consists of beech trees, the rest being oak, ash and various conifers. Part of the wood is left untouched, and in other parts trees are felled selectively. The plant life on the woodland floor is rich and includes many species of sedge, including the rare pendulous sedge (Carex pendula). A stream – called the Bibæk – runs through the wood and has its outlet in the lake of Hindemade. From the outlook point “Udsigten”, which is one of the highest spots in the wood, there is a view over the two lakes of Hindemade and Haderslev Dam. There is also a fine view from Dronning Margrethe II’s Udsigt in the deer park, which is connected to Pamhule Skov on the southern side of Haderslev Dam.

Hindemade, west of Haderslev Dam, was originally a boggy area crossed by the stream of Tørning Å. The bog was drained in the 1930s and cultivated up to the start of the 1990s. In 1994 the area was re-established as a nature area. Drainage was stopped, Tørning Å regained its former bed, and a new wetland was established. There is now an area of 45ha under water and 5 bird islands have been established in the middle of the new lake.

To the north-west of Hindemade is the Christiansdal hydro-electric power station with a dammed up pool, and even further to the north-west the mill of Tørning Mølle with a millpond.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Pamhule Skov has been designated as an EF bird protection area for woodland birds. The wood supports birds such as honey buzzard, buzzard, goshawk, sparrowhawk, green woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, black woodpecker and raven. Kingfisher is a characteristic bird of the area. After a few severe winters, the population is now back to its former size, with up to 8 nesting pairs. Kingfishers are often seen at the western end of Hindemade.

In the lake of Haderslev Dam there is a large colony of black-headed gulls on an island near the hospital. 20-25 pairs of common tern usually nest here too. Mediterranean gull has been seen on the island during the breeding season every year since 2008, and has now started breeding.

Grey wagtail can be seen at the pool above Christiansdal power station and at the millpond at Tørning Mølle, where there is also a chance of spotting a kingfisher. Kingfisher also frequent the canal which runs alongside the path between Tørning Mølle and Christiansdal.

White-tailed eagles nest further east near Haderslev Fjord but the birds are often seen over Hindemade or Haderslev Dam. Red kite also breeds nearby and is seen in the area.

Migrating and staging birds:
Gadwall is seen throughout the year on Hindemade. Osprey visits the area in April and September and now and again some of the birds remain in the area during summer.

In winter dipper shows up in the Bibæk stream, at Christiansdal and at Tørning Mølle. Whooper swan, greylag goose, shelduck, mallard, pochard, tufted duck and goosander often congregate on Hindemade.

Visiting and access:
Leave the E45 motorway at exit 68 west of Haderslev and at the roundabout take the road for Hammelev, after which follow the signs for Christiansdal. On the way is a sign to Hindemade. Turn onto this gravel road and after about 1km one reaches the lake, where there is a car park. A 3km long trail leads round Hindemade with good views over the lake. In the south-west corner of the lake is a bird observation tower. From the car park, one can also follow the "red route" westwards to reach Christiansdal and further on (passing under the motorway) Tørning Mølle (around 2½km).

Pamhule Skov is south of Hindemade and there are several places to park, for example at Nørskovgård at the end of Nørskovgårdsvej (turn west off Haderslevvej north of Marstrup). Here there is nature playground, a barbecue area and toilets. From here, one can walk to the viewpoint of Dronning Margrethe IIs Udsigt and then follow the "yellow route" to gate 4 in the deer park fence to enter the wood of Pamhule Skov.

It is recommended to use the map in the leaflet published by the Nature Agency, which can be obtained at tourist information offices or downloaded here.

 
Kingfisher. Photo: Helge Sørensen
 

Rømø

South-west Jutland, in the Wadden Sea west of Skærbæk

From the island of Rømø, the enormously rich birdlife of the Wadden Sea can be experienced at close range. The mudflats and marshes around the island are of international importance for ducks and waders. Several rare and threatened bird species breed on the island.
See Google map with car park etc.

 
Kentish plovers. Photo: Helge Sørensen 

Description:
Rømø is the most southerly of the Danish Wadden Sea islands. Originally the island was just a sand bank, but it gradually grew up out of the sea – and is still growing, mostly on its western side where sand is still being deposited.

Rømø offers many different landscapes in a very small area: not just mudflats, sandy beaches and marsh, but also sand dunes, heath, plantations, coastal meadows and ponds. Large areas of the island have been appointed EF bird protection areas, EU habitat areas and Ramsar areas, and the Stormengene (the Storm Meadows) in the south are owned by the Danish Bird Protection Foundation. The Danish Nature Agency has carried out a project which should ensure that the heaths on the dunes remain open and treeless.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
In the area around the lake of Lakolk Sø there are nesting bitterns, marsh harriers, bearded tits and water rails. Nesting arctic tern, shelduck, oystercatcher, redshank and lapwing can be seen on the Stormengene together with many passerines such as yellow wagtail and meadow pipit. Several species of duck breed on Rømø, for instance teal, pintail and shoveler.

The most important breeding ground in Denmark for the extremely rare Kentish plover is to be found on Rømø. Little tern and arctic tern also breed here - in some years in good numbers, in others with only a few, small colonies, which furthermore can easily be wiped out by extraordinary high tides. (This can also happen to the Kentish plover). On the coastal meadows, a few pairs of the southern variety of dunlin (Calidris alpina shinzii) are still to be found nesting: this is the only site in the whole of the Wadden Sea region. Ruffs occasionally breed here, too. Modest numbers of bearded tit, grasshopper warbler and whinchat nest in the open countryside, where Montagu's harrier and short-eared owl also breed, although not regularly. The plantations support kestrel, long-eared owl, woodlark and red-backed shrike. In Kirkeby Plantation and Vråby Plantation, nightjars can be heard in June and July.

Migrating and staging birds
Bird migration tops in April/May and August/September. Both spring and autumn, hundreds of thousands of birds – primarily waders – rest on the island’s mudflats. Dunlin form the biggest flocks, but knot, oystercatcher, curlew, whimbrel, bar-tailed godwit, golden plover, redshank, avocet and greenshank also appear in large numbers. It is not unusual to see more than 20 different species of wader on a single day. Geese can also be observed: the most numerous being barnacle goose, greylag goose, brent goose and pink-footed gooose. The numbers of geese have been increasing regularly. There are many barnacle geese, especially at Juvre, but a number of white-fronted geese can also be observed. Wigeon, mallard, teal, pintail and shelduck are the commonest species of duck. The commonest raptors are rough-legged buzzard, marsh harrier, peregrine and merlin, and white-tailed eagle is now seen regularly.

Along the west coast of Rømø, large flocks of staging diving ducks (common scoters and eiders), migrating or staging gulls and terns, and sometimes seabirds such as gannets, can be observed, especially during the autumn months.

In autumn, the southerly point of the island is a good spot to see many migrating passerines and raptors. Many passerines also settle on the southern end of the island – at Stormengene – until they continue their migration southwards. In autumn, the bushes and scrub here are good places for finding passerines - including some rare ones.

Large flocks of greylag geese stay on Rømø during mild winters, together with a large number of ducks. A recent phenomenon is the considerable increase in the number of staging barnacle geese. More than 50,000 birds can be observed from the embankment leading across to Rømø. In winter, flocks of shore lark, twite and snow buntings can be spotted.

Visiting and access:
Route 11 leads to Skærbæk, from where one drives west over the embankment to the island. There are many roads and paths on Rømø, but there is only limited access to the military area at the north of the island. In the breeding season there is no access to Stormengene or Lakolk Sø. It is also prohibited to enter the fenced-off areas on the beach (where Kentish plover and little tern breed). It is also advisable not to walk across the coastal meadows in the breeding season, or to go out on the mudflats if there are flocks of birds there.

The best places to see birds are the car parks along the Rømø embankment – especially at high tide, when waders forage close to the embankment; Lakolk Sø (there is a good view across the lake from the road); Stormengene (the Danish Bird Protection Foundation’s reserve); Vråby and Kirkeby plantations; and at the harbour in Havneby, where the southernmost jetty offers views across the nature reserve of Helm Odde. There are also fine observation points at Juvre at the north of Rømø, particularly from the dykes. Here, however, one must be aware that large parts of Nørreland and Juvre are military areas, with limited acccess for the public. It is possible to enter the area, but only in certain places and at certain times. One must ask locally to find out what is possible.

It is recommended to use the Nature Agency's folder with map of the area, which can be downloaded here.

The most important thing to bear in mind when bird-watching in the Wadden Sea is that the best time is around high tide (+/- 2 hours).

In Tvismark, the Tønnisgård Nature Centre has an exhibition about the island’s birdlife and nature.

 

Short-eared owl. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen 

 

Skallingen, Langli and Ho Bugt

South-west Jutland, south-east of Blåvandshuk

The whole area is a very important staging site for ducks, waders and raptors in autumn. Langli is a breeding locality for large colonies of gulls and terns
See Google map with car park etc.

 
Langli seen from the air. Photo: Marco Brodde

Description:
Skallingen is a peninsula south-east of Blåvandshuk and is bordered by the North Sea to the west and the bay of Ho Bugt to the east. Langli is a little island in the middle of Ho Bugt.

Skallingen has been gradually formed by the sea over a period of 300-400 years. The peninsula is 2-3km wide and 8km long. The western side is sandy beach and dunes that have been created by the sand carried south from Blåvandshuk by the currents in the sea. The eastern side is a belt about 2km wide with marshland and coastal meadows, formed by material deposited by the sea at high tides and now overgrown. There are no trees or bushes, and the area is grazed by cattle and sheep. Skallingen is often flooded with water from Ho Bugt in winter. The sea has begun to erode the coastline.

The island of Langli is what remains of an old peninsula that became cut off from the mainland during a flood in 1634. The northern and southern ends of Langli are marshland, while the middle of the island is dominated by dunes up to 16m high.

Both Skallingen and Langli are under protection orders and have been designated as EF bird protection areas and Ramsar areas. Skallingen is an international research centre for marsh formation, and the area between Skallingen and Langli is an area of scientific reference, where access is prohibited.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
The most important bird populations are to be found on Langli which houses around 15,000 breeding pairs, chiefly gulls and terns. There are large colonies of black-headed gull, common gull and herring gull. Lesser black-backed gull breeds with up to 2000 pairs. Sandwich terns have had a colony of 3000 pairs on the island, but numbers fluctuate considerably. The world’s most dense population of breeding oystercatchers is found on Langli. Spoonbill has nested here since 2007. The number of birds in the colony has been rising rapidly and in 2012 there were 23 pairs. Other breeding birds are barnacle goose, shoveler, eider, avocet, Mediterranean gull and common tern.

Skallingen is breeding site for a number of waders and ducks.

Migrating and staging birds:
Large flocks of ducks and waders stage on Skallingen and to the east in Ho Bugt during the autumn migration. Pintail is the commonest dabbling duck, with numbers of up to 3000. In Ho Bugt, brent geese, shelducks and wigeon can be seen. Waders stage in large numbers on Skallingen and in Ho Bugt, for example oystercatcher, golden plover, curlew and dunlin. Many grey heron can be seen on Skallingen, while staging raptors include white-tailed eagle, marsh harrier, hen harrier, Montagu’s harrier, goshawk, rough-legged buzzard, peregrine and merlin.

Other animals:
On the sandbanks off the coast one can see common seal.

Visiting and access:
From route 431 between Varde and Oksby, a minor road leads southward to the village of Ho. This road continues out to Skallingen, where there are two car parks. The most southernly is next to the former lifeboat station (now called “Madpakkehuset”, which means "packed lunch house”!), where there are indoor picnic facilities, toilets, and an exhibition about the area. From here, one can walk south over the meadows to the end of the peninsula. The very tip of the peninsula is, however, closed to all access.

In the village of Ho, one can also turn left onto a road (Sønderballevej) towards Nyeng, with a view across Ho Bugt. From here one can walk along a 4km long causeway out to Langli, but access is only permitted 16th July – 15th September. The causeway may only be used when the tide is going out. Times of high tides can be obtained from Ribe Tourist Office (phone: 75421500). Remember to check the weather forecast, too.

It is not allowed to take dogs onto Skallingen or Langli because of the birds and the wildlife. Access to the area of Ho Bugt between Skallingen and the causeway to Langli is prohibited all year round.  

 
Spoonbills. Photo: Carsten Gadgaard 

 

Skjern Å valley

West Jutland, east of Ringkøbing Fjord

Birds in large numbers all year round
See Google map with outlook points, bird observation towers, car parks, etc.

 
The Skjern Å valley with Lønborg church in the background. Photo: Joy Klein 

Description:
The river of Skjern Å is the river with the greatest volume of water in Denmark. It enters the lagoon of Ringkøbing Fjord by Denmark’s largest delta. The area described here covers the last 20km of the river’s course between Borris and Ringkøbing Fjord.

In its present form, the western part of the Skjern Å valley is the result of the largest and most expensive nature re-establishment project ever carried out in Denmark. As was the case for so many other areas in Denmark, the valley was the object for one of the great projects intended to transform wetlands into fertile arable land. In the course of the 1960’s, an enormous drainage project was carried out. 4000ha of meadow and marshland were converted to arable land. Only 30 years later, it was decided that 2200ha of the area – from Borris to Ringkøbing Fjord – should again be transformed to meadows and wetlands. The project was initiated in 1987. It comprised moving the river back to its old, meandering course and stopping the canalisation and drainage. The project was completed in 2003 and the area is now a large nature area with lakes, reedbeds, meadows and the winding river. The largest lake is Hestholm Sø, east of the road between Lønborg and Skjern, which crosses the river valley.

To keep the landscape open and to create the best possible conditions for the valley’s rich birdlife, especially waders and ducks, it is necessary for the meadows to be grazed by cattle and/or mowed for hay. Undesirable trees and bushes should also be cut down and removed.The present level of management is however insufficient to keep the landscape open and needs to be intensified.

Birds:
As early as the end of May 2006, only four years after the nature re-establishment project was completed, 248 bird species had been observed in the Skjern Å valley. All year round there are impressive numbers of cormorants, grey herons, mute swans, greylag geese, coots and many species of duck to be seen.

Breeding birds:
The first birds to breed every year are greylag goose and mallard. Later on, shelduck, gadwall, garganey and shoveler begin nesting. Pochard and tufted duck nest together with black-throated grebe in the shelter of the black-headed gull colonies. Apart from the black-throated grebe, great crested grebe breed here. The bittern can be heard in the reedbeds and marsh harrier hunts over the meadows. One of the most exciting birds is the spoonbill, which started breeding here in 2002. It can mostly be seen in the western part of the area. Many waders nest here, the most visible being oystercatcher, avocet and lapwing. Water rail breeds in the reedbeds and can be heard every year in different parts of the area. Spotted crake probably breeds here, as it can be heard in suitable biotopes nearly every year. Passerines include bluethroat (race cyanecula), which has established itself as a breeding species here during the last 6-7 years and numbers several pairs, as well as grasshopper warbler and willow tit (race salicarius). Penduline tit has been known to breed several times, but it is not certain whether it is a regular breeder. White-tailed eagle has nested in the vicinity of the area since 2010 and can daily be seen hunting in the western part of the valley(from Skænken Sø to Ringkøbing Fjord) throughout the year.

Migrating and staging birds:
Both spring and autumn, waders stage here in large numbers, the most numerous being golden plover, lapwing and snipe. Exceptional numbers of ruff stay over here on their way to their breeding grounds. They are already decked out in their colourful feathered collars. Dotterel stage over here every year in May, with up to 300 birds flocking on the fields north of the valley (the fields at Falbækvej and Holter). In autumn and in mild winters, the same fields host small flocks of shore larks.

Osprey is seen in the area in April and again in August-September. In the winter months there are chances of seeing white-tailed eagle and peregrine. Other raptors seen regularly over the Skjern meadows are hen harrier, buzzard, rough-legged buzzard, kestrel and merlin.

In winter, the valley attracts whooper swan, Bewick’s swan, bean goose, pink-footed goose, greylag goose and barnacle goose. White-fronted geese are often observed with up to 100 individuals. Thousands of ducks spend the winter here and wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, pintail and shoveler can be seen.

Visiting and access:
Lønborg, which is situated on route 423, west of Tarm, is a good starting point for a visit to the area. From the grassy slope of Lønborg Banke below the church there is a fine view over the valley. The road between Lønborg and Skjern crosses the valley and here there are several car parks with good views of the area. There are several bird observation towers in the area and all this part of the valley is criss-crossed by paths. Some of the paths have hard surfaces and are therefore suitable for wheelchairs and bicycles. It is a good idea to obtain the Nature Agency’s leaflet with a map of the area, which is available in English and can be obtained at tourist information offices or downloaded here.

The Skjern Enge Nature Centre, run by the Danish Nature Agency, has an exhibition on birds. The centre's address is Gammel Botoftevej 4, 6880 Tarm and is open every day from 11.00 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Marsh harrier. Photo: Helge Sørensen 

Sneum Digesø

West Jutland, next to the Wadden Sea, south of Esbjerg

A rich birdlife in an artificial lake
See Google map with car park etc.

 
Sneum Digesø. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
Sneum Digesø is an artificial lake that was created in connection with a project started at the beginning of the 1990s, the primary aim of which was to reinforce the Darum-Tjæreborg seawall. The seawall was built after floods in 1909 and 1911, and was now reinforced by making the seaward slopes longer and flatter. This entailed the destruction of the natural landscape on the foreland. In compensation, 56ha of marshland behind the seawall was purchased and here clay was excavated (more than 200,000 m3). This was used to reinforce the seawall, at the same time creating an extensive area with lakes. Planning ensured that the area was bird-friendly, and the lake was excavated in such a way that there were some parts with shallow water and islands, promontories and inlets. The birds thereby had good, protected breeding and staging areas.

The lake covers 26ha and the whole area is nearly 60ha. It is planned that excavations will be taken up again when new material for the seawall is needed. The lake can therefore become even larger in time. The meadows around the lake are grazed by cattle in the summer, thus preventing the growth of reeds and scrub.

Birds:
Many birds use Sneum Digesø and the meadows throughout the year, both for breeding, staging and foraging.

Breeding birds:
Black-headed gulls have taken over the small islands and made large colonies. As they are very watchful towards enemies, they are a good protection for other breeding birds, such as greylag geese, mallard, shoveler, coot and oystercatcher. Avocets nest at the lake in good numbers. Smaller numbers of great crested grebe, black-necked grebe, shelduck, gadwall, garganey, tufted duck, Mediterranean gull and common tern also breed here. The adjacent reedbeds are home to marsh harrier and bluethroat and on the meadows around the lakes are lapwing, redshank, meadow pipit and yellow wagtail.

A new addition to the breeding bird species is the sandwich tern, which started to nest among the black-headed gulls on the western island in 2011. In 2012 the little colony had grown to around 80 pairs. Moreover, the population of Mediterranean gull, which is a new breeding bird for Denmark, has grown steadily, so that in 2012 a total of 8-10 pairs could be counted in the area of the lake.

Migrating and staging birds:
In springtime and autumn, many staging migrants are seen, especially geese and ducks. Shelduck, wigeon, teal, mallard, pintail, pochard, tufted duck and goldeneye are seen on the lake, whilst many greylag goose and barnacle goose forage on the meadows. When there is high tide in the Wadden Sea, waders such as curlew and golden plover fly over to the lake to roost. Other waders seen during the migration period include lapwing, ringed plover, dunlin, ruff, greenshank and common sandpiper. In autumn there can be large flocks of starlings on the meadows, and peregrine has also become a regular visitor to the area around Sneum.

In winter, many raptors are seen, including buzzard and hen harrier, and flocks of shorelark, snow bunting and lapland bunting forage in the area. White-tailed eagle also turns up now and again, whilst kingfisher is seen regularly along Sneum Å south-east of the lake.

Occasionally uncommon birds turn up in the area. In 2009 alone, for example, the following were spotted: spoonbill, ruddy shelduck, green-winged teal, ferruginous duck, red-necked phalarope, Mediterranean gull, Sabine’s gull, black tern, white-winged black tern and bluethroat.

Visiting and access:
The lake can be reached by car from the main 24 road between Esbjerg and Ribe. Around 4km east of Tjæreborg and around 2km west of Store Darum, turn south on the Sneum Slusevej. The lake can also be reached by bicycle on the North Sea Cycle Route (Nordsøcykelrute), which is a track going north/south just behind the seawalls next to the Wadden Sea.

There is a car park at the lake just next to the sluice, where there are picnic tables, information boards and toilets. There is also a large telescope (which is removed between November and April). There is no access to the lake and the meadows, which are enclosed, but one can walk or cycle on the track inside the seawall, or enjoy the view over the lake from the top of the seawall. From here one can also look over the Wadden Sea, where thousands of different waders can be seen more or less all year round. 


Avocet. Photo: Helge Sørensen  

Stavns Fjord

Samsø, in the sea between Århus and Kalundborg

Large numbers of breeding and staging birds. Breeding cormorant, heron, greylag goose, shelduck, eider.
See Google map with look-out points etc. 

 
Stavns Fjord. Photo: Mogens Wedel-Heinen

Description:
Stavns Fjord is a large wetland covering around 20km2 on the east coast of Samsø. The fjord has several small islets and is bordered on the east by a narrow pebble spit, Besser Rev, which is over 5km long and one of Denmark’s longest pebble spits. To the west and south are coastal meadows. In some places, arable land reaches down to the fjord. North of the fjord are the peninsulas of Langør and Lilleøre, which have been formed by beach ridges.

Much of the water in the fjord is shallow but there is a deeper channel running south and west of the islet of Hjortholm and through the fjord opening to the Kattegat. Some of the fjord bed is exposed at low tide. The nine islets in the fjord are mostly covered in grass and scrub and are grazed by sheep and cattle. Scattered all over the fjord are many small islets and large boulders. This excellent habitat, with its nutrient-rich mudflats, lush meadows, and greatly varied landscape, offers ideal conditions for many breeding and migrating bird species.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
There is a cormorant colony, with around 3000 pairs, spread over a few of the islets in the fjord. There is also a grey heron colony with around 20-30 pairs on Hundsholm.

The fjord is a haven for many species of waterbird, and breeding birds include mute swan, shelduck, red-breasted merganser, oystercatcher, ringed plover, lapwing and redshank. Stavns Fjord could for many years boast one of Denmark’s largest eider colonies with up to 2300 pairs (1973). But an outbreak of bird cholera, Pasteurella, in 1996 and 2000/2001 reduced their numbers to around 300 pairs. In 2007, a total count of the eider in Stavns Fjord was carried out, that showed that the population had increased fourfold, with 1200 nesting females. Over 1400 pairs of herring gull, around 70 pairs of lesser black-backed gull and 70 pairs of great black-backed gull nest in Stavns Fjord and on the islets outside the fjord. Little tern breed - although not every year - on Besser Rev, with 2-4 pairs. Arctic tern breed regularly. There is a large colony on Kyholm. Vejrø is one of Denmark’s main nesting sites for black guillemot, with over 70 pairs.

The meadows around the fjord house many meadow pipits and skylarks. Greylag geese breed on the islets outside the fjord, Kyholm and Lindholm, as there are no foxes here. As it is apparently impossible to keep foxes away from the islets in Stavns Fjord, the avocets that used to breed here moved over to Havnehage on Besser Rev. But as foxes have since then unfortunately followed, they have the past few years started to breed on Kyholm in the arctic tern colony.

Migrating and staging birds:
Towards the end of June, waders migrating south beging to appear over Samsø. The first to come are a few spotted redshank and ruff, and by the middle of July several hundred whimbrels are foraging on Nordby Hede and the first turnstones have appeared in Stavns Fjord. In August/September, more waders arrive: golden plover, grey plover, knot, sanderling, curlew sandpiper, dunlin, greenshank and a large number of turnstone, together with a considerable number of sandwich terns. In the eastern part of Stavns Fjord, great crested grebe is present throughout the autumn.

As the waders gradually disappear south – with the exception of golden plover, lapwing and curlew – ducks begin to appear: chiefly mallard and wigeon, but also small flocks of teal and pintail. In October, goldeneye and red-breasted merganser arrive and stage here in large numbers.

In winter, if it is not frozen over, the fjord attracts large flocks of geese, ducks and waders. More than 5-600 whooper swans, up to 2000 greylag geese and around 200 dark-bellied brent geese spend the winter on Samsø. A few pink-footed geese, white-fronted geese and canada geese can sometimes be spotted in the flocks of greylag geese. Waders that winter in the area are curlew, oystercatcher, purple sandpiper, redshank – especially the Icelandic race – and turnstone. In mild winters, a fair number of lapwing stay in the area. Large flocks of ducks stage on the fjord in winter, where shelduck, wigeon, mallard, eider and goldeneye can be seen, together with a few goosander and red-necked grebe.

Visiting and access:
Samsø can be reached by ferry either from Hov, south of Århus, to Sælvig on the west side of the island; or from Kalundborg on Zealand to Kolby Kås, also on the west side of the island. 

Public access is possible in a number of places along Stavns Fjord, with certain restrictions. Access is forbidden to all the islets in the fjord throughout the year, with the exception of Sværm, where it is permitted to walk on foot along the coast in the period 15th July – 31st March. It is also forbidden to go out onto Besser Rev and the coastal meadows on Hesselholm, Lilleholm and Barnekold in the period 1st April – 15th July.

Stavns Fjord can be viewed from several points, as there are many paths and farmtracks that lead down to the fjord. Some places have information boards. In addition, the following four sites can be recommended:

1. Langør on the northern side of Stavns Fjord. From the harbour, and especially from the Grønhøj hill next to the nature school, there is a good view across to the cormorant colony on Yderste Holm and to birdlife in general in the northern part of the fjord. The nature school also functions as an information centre. Here, there is an exhibition on nature in Stavns Fjord, including birdlife, and various leaflets describing the island’s nature and history are available.
2. Kanhave Kanal. From the outlet of this canal there is a view over to the islets of Egholm and Sværm.
3. Barnekold. From the embankment with an information board there are fine views across the southern part of Stavns Fjord towards Hjortholm, Karlskold and Eskeholm. Drive to the village of Besser, and turn left onto Smedegade from the main street. Turn left again onto Filipsdal, which is a gravel track. After around 1km park at the side of the road just before the first house on the right hand side. Follow the track on the left hand side for around 200m, and then right after a little copse of spruce trees, to reach the embankment.
4. From Besser Rev – and especially from the 10m high Hønsepold hill – there is a fantastic view of the birdlife out on the fjord.


Arctic tern with young. Photo: Mogens Wedel-Heinen 
 

Sølsted Mose

South-west Jutland

Breeding cranes and passerines
See Google map with car parks etc.

 
Sølsted Mose. Photo: Jens Lyhne Christensen

Description:
Sølsted Mose is an old heath bog. It was formed when peat moss (sphagnum) began to grown on top of a layer of shifting sand that had covered the area many thousands of years previously. The moss was gradually decomposed and created peat. When the bog was drained and cultivated in the course of the 1900s it began to be invaded by willow and birch scrub. Parts of the bog were purchased in 1993 and 1996 by the Bird Protection Foundation, which now owns around 104 ha of the total of 180ha that form the bog. Between 2011 and 2016 an extensive project was carried out to ensure that the heath bog and the raised bog are recreated and secured. More than 50 ha of the scrub has now been cleared and the water level has been raised over a large expanse of the bog surface, while cattle graze the open areas. This means that the special heath bog plants can be protected and has improved conditions for the birdlife. On the outskirts of the bog, buffer zones have been established. These are to be managed extensively, i.e. kept as permanent grassland without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilizers. At the same time, the Bird Protection Foundation has fenced in a large part of the area to keep in the grazing cattle.

Birds:

Breeding birds:
The open areas in the bog support typical birds such as snipe, water rail, bluethroat, whinchat, red-backed shrike and grasshopper warbler. Marsh harrier also nests here, and in some years Montagu’s harrier. The rare lesser spotted woodpecker, willow tit and penduline tit breed in the bog. The bog is also well known for the its thrush nightingales and is one of the best localities in south-west Jutland for this species. A new breeding bird is the crane, which reared its young in the bog for the first time in 2007, and is now present with 1-2 breeding pairs.

Migrating and staging birds:
In late summer, the air over the bog can be full of swallows hunting insects. Thousands of starlings roost in the reedbeds in spring and autumn.

Other animals:
Sølsted Mose is probably the only locality in Denmark where the rare air-breathing fish European weather loach (Misgurnus fossilis) breeds. The re-establishment project should also help to improve living conditions for this unusual species.

Visiting and access:
Sølsted Mose can be reached from the new car park on route 11 between Sølsted and Bredebro. From the car park, a boardwalk leads to a network of paths that can be used for walks of varying lengths.

It is also possible to drive in to the village of Sølsted and find Brændevej on its northern outskirts. At the end of Brændevej is a car park, from where paths lead out into the area.

There are information boards and leaflets at both car parks, and also picnic tables. On the walk round the bog, two bird hides offer good views.

It is a good idea to have solid footwear when walking round the bog, as especially in the winter months the paths can be muddy.

 
Swallow. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen 
 

Tinglev Mose

South Jutland, south of Tinglev

Breeding crane, marsh harrier, willow tit and bluethroat 
See Google map with car parks etc.

 
Tinglev Mose

Description:
Tinglev Mose was exploited for peat digging until the 1950s, but in 1967 the bog was drained to enable agricultural exploitation of the bordering areas. After the drainage scheme was completed, the area began to be overgrown, especially in the southern part. In 2003, a re-establishment project was begun. The water level was raised so that the birch scrub would disappear again. In the northern and eastern parts of the bog there are more open areas with reedbed.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Tinglev Mose is a breeding site for many different bird species typical for reedbeds and bogs, even though they do not appear in large numbers. Little grebe, mute swan, greylag goose, mallard and coot nest around the lake. Most years a pair of cranes breed here, together with a pair of marsh harrier. Water rail also nest here, and snipe appear in good numbers. The reedbeds also attract sedge warblers, reed warblers and reed buntings. Penduline tit has been observed several times but it is uncertain whether it breeds here. In the scrub and the open areas there are thrush nightingale, bluethroat, whinchat, grasshopper warbler, marsh warbler, willow warbler, willow tit and red-backed shrike. Stonechat breeds regularly in the southern part of the area.

Migrating and staging birds:
Carrion crow and hooded crow can be seen foraging in the area all year round. Kingfisher is seen regularly along the canals. Lapwings stop over in the area during the migration period. Both spring and autumn, large flocks of starlings can be seen going to roost in the reedbeds; in autumn, especially, there can be very many birds, and flocks of over 100,000 birds have been recorded.

In winter, greylag goose, buzzard, hen harrier and kestrel are seen regularly. Dipper can often be spotted where the canal runs out of the bog, and now and again great grey shrike spends the winter here.

Visiting and access:
In the town of Tinglev, which is situated south-west of Åbenrå on route 42, there are signs leading to a car park, from where a marked path leads through part of the area. This continues as a boardwalk across the most boggy parts. It is also possible to approach the bog from the south by following the signs from Bjerndrup or Bajstrup. On this side there is also a car park and access to the path. There is also an observation tower with a good view across the bog.

 
Bittern. Photo: Gerner Majlandt

 

The Tipper Peninsula

Southern end of Ringkøbing Fjord, west Jutland

Very important breeding and staging locality for ducks and waders. The Tipper Peninsula is one of Europe’s most important bird reserves.
See Google map with look-out points, bird observation towers, car parks, etc.


Værnengene. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
The peninsula comprises three localites: the Tipperne nature reserve in the north, the meadows of Værnengene, and the dunes of Bjålum Klit in the south. Tipperne and Værnengene form a large, flat landscape covering around 3000ha with meadows, many ponds, canals and ditches. Large areas are covered with reedbed. The meadows are managed by cattle grazing, haymaking and by damming up drains and canals to keep back water during the birds’ breeding season. In the southern part of the area, Bjålum Klit rises up above the meadows. Here there are dunes, heath and bogland with some bushes. West of the Tipper Peninsula is the Nyminde stream.

The Tipperne nature reserve is state-owned. Bjålum Klit is privately owned but was put under preservation orders in 1974 together with the Nyminde stream. The whole fjord was put under preservation orders in 1985.

On Værnengene there is intensive hunting activity in the period September-December.

Birds:
Both during the migration period and the breeding season, the Tipper Peninsula can offer a very rich birdlife. The area is enormously important for the thousands of migrants that forage here on their way between Scandinavia and southern Europe or Africa.

Breeding birds:
Many of the species of duck and waders that stage on the peninsula spring and autumn also breed here, for example gadwall, pintail, garganey, shoveler, oystercatcher, avocet, lapwing, dunlin, ruff, black-tailed godwit and redshank. The Tipper Peninsula is one of the most important breeding areas in Denmark for ruff and the southern variety of dunlin (Calidris alpina schinzii). The area also supports breeding bittern, marsh harrier, water rail, curlew, arctic tern and yellow wagtail.

Migrating and staging birds:

Huge numbers of ducks stage on the fjord and the meadows during migration. The largest flocks are to be found in April and October, when migration reaches a peak. The most numerous species are wigeon, teal, mallard, pintail and shelduck, but there are also shovelers in the ponds and a lesser number of gadwall.

The area is also an important stop-over site for tens of thousands of waders, especially avocet, golden plover, lapwing, dunlin, snipe, bar-tailed godwit, redshank and greenshank. In addition, oystercatcher, ringed plover, grey plover, black-tailed godwit, curlew and various Calidris and Tringa waders can be seen. Now and again, rarer species can be spotted. The Tipper Peninsula is well known for the many ruffs that start arriving here from March and into May, when they perform their mating rituals on the lecks on the meadows. Most of the ruffs are migrants, but many stay on the meadows to breed.

In early spring, large numbers of geese can be seen, especially on the coastal meadows of Værnengene. Barnacle goose and pink-footed goose are the most numerous species, but greylag goose and dark-bellied brent goose can also be seen in fair numbers. In autumn, many thousands of pink-footed geese roost on the reserve.

Raptors that can be observed in the area include buzzard, merlin and peregrine. White-tailed eagle can be seen every year. Hen harrier forages over the reedbeds throughout the winter months.

In winter many geese, swans, raptors and a few short-eared owls can be seen.

Visiting and access:
From route 181, around 4-5km north-west of Nørre Nebel and just before Nymindegab, there is a minor road leading off north (signed Tipperne). From here it is about 5-6km to the Tipperne nature reserve. On the map shown below are suggestions as to where one can stop to look at birds. The numbers on the map correspond to the numbers in the text. (See also Google map).

1. Værnsande can be seen from two car parks on the road. From this road one can also reach Bjålum Klit which is a good place for a walk. By parking at Sydladen ('the South Barn'), which is the first car park to be reached, and walking around 50m northwards, one finds a track that leads all the way round Bjålum Klit (around 6km).
2. At Nordladen ('the North Barn') a bird observation tower has been installed inside the barn. There is also a nature exhibition, which is open day and night, and toilets, one of which is handicap-friendly. Outside, next to the car park, are a table and benches for visitors bringing refreshments.
3. The bird observation tower at Værnengene can be reached by turning right where the road meets a gravel road going north-south. At the end of the road is a group of fir trees with an observation tower (with steep stairs) and good views across the meadows. Here there are also a table and benches.
4. By turning north on the gravel road, the boundary of the nature reserve can be reached. The car park at the fence here is a good place to stop, especially in September/December. During this period, there are enormous flocks of birds on the reserve due to the hunting activities outside on the Værnengene. It is a good idea not to leave the car, so as not to disturb the birds.
5. The nature reserve is only open to the public on Fridays from 1st March to 31st October. Opening times are from 8.00 – 14.00h. The reserve is closed from 1st November to the end of February. The Nature Agency also arranges a number of public tours to the reserve.
Motorists should follow the road the whole way to the car park at the Tipper house (5 on the map). It is not allowed to stop on the way and it is not allowed to enter the meadows along the road. In this way, the birdlife is disturbed as little as possible. At the Tipper house, one of the Nature Agency's staff will guide visitors. Apart from the tall observation tower there is also an exhibition about the Tipper Peninsula. It is also possible to walk along the 2km long nature trail that starts at the observation tower.
6 & 7. There is also the possibility of parking on the road west of the Nyminde stream. There are two car parks on the coastal road between Nymindegab and Hvide Sande . The same birds as on the Tipper Peninsula can be seen here, but there is also a possibility of seeing grebes, diving ducks and mergansers. 


  Spoonbill. Photo: Axel Mortensen

 

Tøndermarsken

South Jutland, near the Wadden Sea just north of the German border 

The area is one of the best bird localities in Denmark and is of great international value. Very large flocks of waders, ducks and geese stage here on migration. Several rare and threatened species breed on the marsh.
See Google map with look-out points, car parks, etc.

 
Tøndermarsken. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
Tøndermarsken is the name given to 8 polders (kog = polder) - which are marsh areas enclosed by dykes - in south-west Jutland. The area stretches from the new seawall in the west (between Emmerlev Klev in the north and the German border in the south) and east to the road between Emmerlev and the German border at Sæd, south of Tønder.

The marsh is part of the flat landscape that stretches along the coast of the North Sea from Esbjerg and south to Den Helder in Holland. It is an old cultivated landscape marked by agriculture. In some areas, for example Tøndermarsken, cattle and sheep graze the land, whilst other areas are intensively cultivated with grain and other crops. There are lakes, rivers, reedbeds and meadows. 300km of canals and ditches cut through the marshes.

The places of most interest for bird-watchers are Magisterkog, Rudbøl Kog, Gammel Frederikskog, Ny Frederikskog, Hasberg Sø and the Bird Protection Foundation's  new bird reserve Bremsbøl Sø, and the river Vidå itself. (Margrethe Kog is also part of Tøndermarsken but is dealt with in a separate section.)
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
Tøndermarsken is still one of Denmark’s richest bird localities despite a noticeable fall in the number of breeding birds, especially meadow birds.

Magisterkog (east of Rudbøl and just north of the German border) is home to breeding bittern, greylag goose, gadwall, marsh harrier, spotted crake and all the common birds found in such a habitat. Savi’s warbler can be heard every year. This area - especially along the north side of Magisterkog - houses Denmark's largest population of bluethroat.
 
The Danish section of Hasberg Sø (which is situated between Magisterkog and Bremsbøl Sø) is a breeding site for black tern. Bittern, marsh harrier, shoveler, gadwall and garganey also breed here. 

To the west, towards the sea, the landscape hosts breeding shoveler, gadwall, garganey, lapwing, black-tailed godwit, redshank and yellow wagtail. 
 
Nørresø, situated just north of Ubjerg, was established a few years ago. Here, one can find many of the same waterfowl as in other parts of Tøndermarsken, but it is easier to get closer to the birds.

Migrating and staging birds:
The area is well known for the many waterbirds that collect here. Geese arrive in their thousands, including barnacle geese, pink-footed geese, greylag geese and white-fronted geese. All the species of duck and wader that can be found in Denmark can be seen in the locality in the course of the year, when they are migrating or staging.

Raptors that visit the area regularly include peregrine, merlin, rough-legged buzzard, hen harrier and white-tailed eagle, while large flocks of passerines such as thrushes, pipits, wagtails, larks, hirundines and finches visit the area.

A spectacular phenomenon that can be experienced here in the spring and especially in autumn is the so-called ‘Black Sun’ (‘Sort Sol’ in Danish) when enormous flocks of starlings fly in fantastic formations over the meadows before going to roost for the night in the reedbeds.

In winter, large flocks of whooper swan and Bewick’s swan can be seen now and then together with canada goose. Northern species such as shore lark, snow bunting, twite and lapland bunting can also be spotted.
 
Visiting and access:
As already mentioned, the area described here stretches east of Margrethe Kog between Emmerlev in the north and the German border to the south. The road between Emmerlev and Tønder (route 419) and the road between Tønder and Sæd (route 11) form the eastern border of the area. As the area is so large, it is best to use a car or a bicycle for transport, even though there are many opportunities for walking. The best views are had from the tops of the dykes. In the south part of the area it is possible to park at Møllehus or Lægan (east of Magisterkogen) and at Rudbøl (west of Magisterkogen). To the north, one can park at Højer Sluse (follow the signs in the town of Højer) and at the Vidåsluse (drive past Højer Sluse and out to the seawall). Nørresø is best reached from the lay-by at Lægan on Møllehusvej or from Ubjerg.

To reach the lake of Bremsbøl Sø, drive south at the roundabout just east of Tønder and turn west to Bremsbøl just before reaching the German border. The Bremsbølvej road leads to the lake. After around 1½km, the Bird Protection Fund's car park can be seen on the left. Here is a picnic spot, and a path leading to the new bird hide, from where there is a fine view over the lake.

About 1km further along the Bremsbølvej, just after the railway crossing, one can join a ramblers' trail which leads south and then west behind the dyke on the north side of the Sønderå stream. Here there is an outlook point and, further along, a hide with a view over the Danish section of the Hasberg Sø. The hide can also be reached by parking at Møllehus at the border and walking along the dyke on the north side of the Sonderå stream (there are signposts). The walk is around 1.5-2km long. Alternatively, Hasberg Sø can be reached by parking at one of the two car parks along the Grellsbülldeich road on the German side of the border just west of the lake. 

To view the 'Black Sun' it is advisable to contact a nature interpreter who can give information about where the roosting sites are (these can vary).

It is a good idea to bring one’s passport, as it may be tempting to cross the border into Germany.


Montagu's harrier. Photo: Axel Mortensen
 
 

Velling Skov and Vrads Sande

West of Salten Langsø and Mossø, in the middle of Jutland 

Coniferous and deciduous woodland with bogs and lakes and breeding woodland birds.
Typical heathland-breeding birds at Vrads Sande.
See Google map with look-out points, car parks etc.

 
Vrads Sande. Photo: Peter Lange
 
Description:
Velling Skov and Snabegård Plantage form a continuous wood covering around 500ha, connecting the large plantations in the west with the woods around the lake of Salten Langsø in the east. Velling Skov has Denmark’s largest stand of 250-300 year old beech trees and is a more or less “untouched” natural wood. The last few years, quite a few of the old giants have started to topple or crack due to storms, but dead trees and trees that have fallen over are not removed, and therefore there is a rich animal and plant life in the wood. The wood is situated on the slopes of the Salten Å valley, facing north. The ground is steep and there are many springs. Snabegård Plantage is immediately west of Velling Skov. It consists of conifer trees and was planted at the beginning of the 19th century. The woods have several lakes and bogs. In Velling Skov is the old raised bog called Langkær and the smaller, younger bog called Bregnemose, as well as the lake of Velling Igelsø which is situated in a light, open area. Unfortunately, the Danish Nature Agency has recently decided to let this unique and protected area for hunting purposes, which limits public access at certain (short) periods, and which may have - or may already have had - a negative effect on the larger raptors' inclinations to start nesting or to continue to nest here. In Snabegård Plantage are Snabe Igelsø, which is a clear and nutrient-poor lake without either inlet or outlet, and the Katkær bog.

Vrads Sande is a very hilly heath area between Vrads and Hjøllund, formed by shifting sand between the 16th and 19th centuries. The area covers 1.5km2 and was put under preservation orders in 1968. It forms a large basin with a small lake in the middle. The hollow is sprinkled with small sand dunes that are now covered with vegetation, and the remains of terraces formed by meltwater in the ice age. The area is fenced in and grazed by cattle in the summer months.
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
All the common forest birds can be found in the woodland. Hole-nesting species include stock dove, black woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker, pied flycatcher and nuthatch. Honey buzzard and buzzard, and presumably also goshawk, breed in the woodland, which also houses breeding raven and eagle owl.

At Vrads Sande several typical heathland birds breed, including woodlark, stonechat and red-backed shrike. Nightjar breeds just outside the area and can be heard on warm summer evenings. The area also houses tree pipit and whinchat; great grey shrike has nested here a few times. On the lake, mute swan, greylag goose, mallard and now and again teal can be seen. In winter, great grey shrike is a regular guest.
 
Visiting and access:
The two woods lie around 15km south of Silkeborg and 26km west of Skanderborg. The main 453 road between Nørre Snede and Them passes through the town of Bryrup. By driving north out of Bryrup, through Velling, one reaches Velling Skov, where there are two large car parks (with toilets and picnic facilities) on both sides of the road just before a sharp bend. One can also turn left towards Vrads at the roundabout in the middle of Velling and continue around 2½km to a car park between Snabegård Plantage and Velling Skov (south of the Nature School). There are many paths through the woods and it is recommended to use the Nature Agency’s leaflet about the area, which can be downloaded here.

To reach Vrads Sande, one can continue from the car park just mentioned to the town of Vrads. From here, drive north-west towards Hjøllund. Along the road between Vrads and Hjøllund, which winds through the area, are several excellent, small lay-bys. From one of these in the most north-westerly corner of Vrads Sande one can climb up to a ridge west of the road, from where there is an very fine view over the area. There are no proper paths in Vrads Sande, but one can walk over the grass and heather around the whole area.


Whinchat. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen