Sunday, January 29, 2012

Common Corn Cockle/ Almindelig Klinte

Flora and Fauna
Agrostemma githago

Common Corn Cockle, foto: stig bachmann nielsen,

Common corn cockle is an example of that appeareance is deceptive. The beautiful flower reveals nothing about that the plant is a troublesome weed with poisonous seeds.  Agrostemma is a genus of annual plants in the Caryophyllaceae family, containing the species known as corncockles. Its best-known member is Agrostemma githago, the Common Corn Cockle, which is a native of Europe, where it is simply called "the Corncockle". The species is a weed of cereals and other crops, probably with a centre of origin in the eastern Mediterranean. Nowadays declining in its native range because of improved seed cleaning, it is found as a weed worldwide. In Denmark it was a common and very feared weed in rye and wheat, but it is now very rare and on its way to disappear from the flora.
The corncockle was probably let into Denmark with unclean seed corn (wheat) already in Stone Age, contemporary to the beginning of corn cultivation in the country. Capsules and seeds were found in Roman Iron Age sites. Since the 1300s the corncockle was often confused or mixed with Giftig Rajgræs (Poison Darnel). The corncockle is synonymous with weed and seed cleaning. It was a common farm work in early summer to weed the corncockle from the wheat. On 12. April 1631 king Christian IV writes to his vasal at Frederiksborg castle that the manager must let boys and girls weed corncockle from barley and put them in a basket on their arm. Many proverbs and sayings are about this weed.

It was not possible to cleanse the corn enough;  the smallholders had to come and assist on the manors, separating the seeds with a sieve. The seeds were cooked in a wash boiler in the scullery into a poor, but usable pig fodder, and the farmers were afterwards sure that viable seeds did not return with the manure to the fields. Little pigs, chicken and other poultry were poisoned by the seeds. In a farm they gave 220 ducks a fodder from cleansed seeds stirred into water - the ducks all died.
"The seeds were damaging for the chest, but strong and useful for snaps". The corncockle gave much to the snaps, when it was burnt together with other corn,  although the snaps became more blue. The snapsburners sometimes paid more for rye mixed with corncockle; this gave a stronger and more intoxicating snaps, " which is known by everyone." If the rye harvest was much polluted with corncockle, it could not be sold as seed corn, but the flour was good for rye-bread. 

People on the island Ærø cooked woolyarn clean in lye from finely grained corncockle seeds, which was also used in Jutland. Stockings and woolen cloth were soaked and washed in corncockle lye, which made them dazzling white. The lye was also good for the wash of coloured cotton.  The seeds were used for stamping and fulling woolen cloth. In 1870 they still washed with a lye of corncockle seeds and beech ashes.

Advice in old medical  books : the juice from green corncockle rubbed upon sick eyes; crushed corncockle plant mixed with sulphur, pigeon manure, flaxseed and vinegar as a compress upon leprosy;  crushed seeds boiled in beer or oil was a drink against ague; sundried seeds for cramp; corncockle flour and wormwood juice put upon the navel killed children's intestinal worms; if the root was held under the tongue it would stop nosebleed.

The corncockle seeds form a part of  a medicament against "negl i øjet" (nail in the eye) = keratitis in horses.

Food, Change, Harvest: 
The seeds were used to fake cumin; chopped leaves from young plants could be used in meat dishes together with vinegar. People thought that rye and wheat were changed into corncockle in bad soil and bad weather.  The rye had to be harvested, when the seed capsules were black and began to open; if they were open when the rye was being harvested, then it had only to be "aired" for a few days.

Source: Folk og Flora, Dansk Etnobotanik af V.J. Brøndegaard, Rosenkilde og Bagger, 1979.

photo: stig bachmann nielsen,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Touch of Nature............

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein.

"Children must go out in Nature",  says the Danish brain scientist and physician Kjeld Fredens. He is not wrapping up his message when he's talking about the consequences of that children of today so obviously   rarely go out and feel nature at first hand.

According to a new survey children of today go out in nature only half as much as their grandparents when they were children. Compared with today's children nature was far more used as an everyday pastime or playground when the generation of grandparents were children. Back then children often moved about on their own. 

Kjeld Fredens says that the children's senses are being under stimulated - the creativity in the right brain hemisphere is only rarely awaken and the learning has got difficult conditions.

"If we are alienated to nature we lose it and therefore we lose ourselves. " But when the children are out in nature they sense the shades in the autumn forest,  they listen to the richness of bird species or to the silence, they feel the rough and wet bark, when they climb the trees and they notice and smell the moist earth after rain. Children are learning through experience, action and understanding. Nature promotes children's curiosity because it constantly amazes them. 

" Without sensuality we lose the closeness with our environments", Kjeld Fredens says and continues. "When we are indoors or walk in a city, everything we see are of linear structures. This stimulates only the left brain hemisphere, where our analytical abilities are - and then we get too focused on details and not on the wholeness. We'll be easy to manipulate, and we'll have a large need of being in control. In nature we are part of a large whole, and it is important to the children to be aware of this and to be humble towards it".

Kjeld Fredens is worried about how much children are occupied by fx mobiles and computer games. He calls it focused attention. This constant focus is burning off glucose in the brain so the child gets tired and uneasy. The nature in all its unpredictability calls upon the open or involuntary attention of the children, and this is the place where they should go out to recharge their batteries and relax.

New survey: Through the latest years four big Danish hospitals have experienced an increase of between 10 and 30 % in the number of children who were so sick of stress that they had to be hospitalized.  

"Last Child in the Woods".
Richard Louv, an American author and journalist, published in 2005 a book "Last Child in the Woods". He says among many things that parents of today overlook that children's play in nature is vital to their mental and intellectual development. He tells them that if they want their children to go to Harvard University one day, then they'll have to send them out in nature now. He links the deficit of nature in today's children to something like the obesity epidemic, behavioral disorders and depression. Richard Louv is not against the technology. He wants to promote a larger balance and a new environmental movement. The more technology we are surrounded by, the more we need a destressing nature. We'll have to use our creativity to create still more nature, a still better world, which increases our Quality of life . "Someone says we'll have to go back to nature," says Richard Louv. "Instead we'll have to go ahead with nature".

More Nature for more Children.
A leader of Dansk Naturfrednings school service, Ole Laursen, is working professionally with creating and inspiring nature experiences for children and adults. He points to the importance of nature coming to the children, since the study shows that few children are going out in nature. First of all the parents, the teachers, the educators, the politicans and the grandparents must start realizing that nature is the basis of our lives.

If it is difficult to go come out in nature, then nature must be invited closer to us  - and the everyday nature in gardens, parks and around schools and institutions must be utilized. The parents have often got a lack of time, this can be a problem, says Ole Laursen. But it might partly be solved by watching less TV or making less updates to Facebook. Something has to be deselected in order to give the children the best childhood and at the same time help nature in the long run. It is not possible to abolish TV and computer games, but it is possible in between to give the children a free space in nature, where they are disconnected from the world , where they enjoy peace for thought, motion and to use all their senses.

If the parents watch too much out for the children and if they make too many schedules, then they remove the children's possibility of meeting the challenges themselves and in this way develope their self confidence. Ole Laursen suggests that there might be a way in which the mobile or the GPS could give the children a possibility to be in places, where the parents else won't allow them to be for a short or longer time.

Source: Theme: Children in Nature, by Maria Lykke Andersen, Natur og Miljø, nr. 6, December 2011, Danmarks Naturfredningsforening.  

photos, children: grethe bachmann

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Common Lilac/Almindelig Syren

Flora and Fauna
Syringa  vulgaris


Syringa vulgaris (Lilac or Common Lilac) is a shrub (tree) belonging to the olive family and is a native of  the Balkan peninsula in the southeastern Europe where it grows on rocky hills. It can grow as high as fifteen feet and is very hardy, but if not pruned it may be choked by suckers which come up from the roots.It bears its fragrant flowers in clusters at the end of the twigs, and a lilac hedge in full bloom gratifies both the eye and the sense of smell. There are several species and many varieties, ranging in color from a dark bluish purple, through delicate lavender to pure white.

Aside from Roses, there is no flower as beautiful and aromatic as Lilacs. Of the two, Lilacs have a stronger scent that carries quite a distance. The lilac is blooming in May-June with sweet-smelling flowers. It's common in Denmark in garden and in hedgerows, and it was already commonly cultivated from ab. the 1650s.  In the beginning of June the soft scent of purple lilacs is flowing from hundreds of hedgerows on the Danish island Funen, especially in the southwestern part of the island.

The English common name lilac is from French lilac, from Spanish lilac, from Persian lilak, from Arabic lilak.  The name syringa comes from the Greek word syrinx = flute. The marrow is easy to remove and the wood was used for flutes, pipe tubes and other pipeshaped instruments and tools, and in fine turning works, inlaid works and tool shafts. Thin sticks from lilac or willow were used as thatching sticks.  The lilac twigs were preferred to the willow twigs as a spread over the newly sown herbal beds, so the hens could not go scrathcing there. 

Boys carved flutes from the branches, and the tough bark strips were used in spring as whiplashes.  A leaf was put over the fist and cut with a bang.   

The flowers were put on strings for fine garlands, and on Whit Sunday the rooms were decorated with lilacs and narcissus.

Folk medicine: 
Essence from the leaves was used as a stomach tonic against diarrhea, and essence from the flowers was used against hypocondria and colic. The scent of large bouquets of lilacs in a closed room was known to give a headache. 

If the lilacs have a strong scent then it's going to rain.  If you find a flower with three petals (normal 4) this will cause sorrow, but five petals means luck. 
If the thumb and forefinger are squeezed  around a flower at the stalk - and the hand is moved up and down until the flower falls off, the number of movements indicate years of life.
Lilacs are often considered to symbolize love. In Greece, Lebanon and Cyprus, the lilac is strongly associated with Easter time because it flowers around that time; it is consequently called paschalia.  Several locations in North America hold annual Lilac festivals.

The lilac is a popular flower both in Danish and international prosa and poetry.

Source: V J. Brøndegård, "folk og flora", Dansk Etnobotanik, bd. 4, Rosenkilde og Bagger, 1978. 

photos May and June: grethe bachmann

From wikipedia:
Lilac is a colour that is a pale tone of violet that is a representation of the average colour of most lilac flowers. It might also be descibed as light purple. The colours of some lilac flowers may be equivalent to the colours pale lilac, rich lilac or deep lilac. There are other lilac flowers that are coloured red-violet. The first recorded use of lilac as a colour name in English was in 1775.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The First Signs of Spring.........

20. January: I saw the first eranthis and snowdrops this morning. A lovely sign of spring.

photo: gb

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Great Grey Shrike /Stor Tornskade

Flora and Fauna
Lanius excubitor

foto Ormstrup 7. January 2011, stig bachmann nielsen,

I saw the Great Grey Shrike on a field near Ormstrup manor in the Viborg district, where it was sitting in a treetop. The owner of the manor has plant belts of  hardwood in his large fields. The trees are not yet taller than 2-3 meters, but the project has already given results. Birds are quick to discover new places. It's a fine place for birds now and later, and we saw both the Great Grey Shrike and a Common Buzzard in the top of one of the new trees. This is really a good thing. Last time we were out - it was in the Odder district -  I told you about the landlord at Åkær manor, who had cut down the hedgerows, so the tractors could work close to the edge of the field - and I was sad, because it was a destruction of important habitats for the birds. But  something good has happened  here. The birds have achieved some good new places in this area, and  Ormstrup Manor should have some praise for this project.  

The Great Grey Shrike /Stor Tornskade is a spectacular, longtailed bird, the size of a thrush. The scientific name  of the Great Grey Shrike literally means "sentinel butcher": Lanius is the Latin term for a butcher, while excubitor is Latin for a watchman or sentinel. This refers to the birds' two most conspicuous behaviours – storing food animals by impaling them on thorns, or the barbs of barbed wire and using exposed tree-tops or poles to watch the surrounding area for possible prey.

The keen eye of the watchful "sentinel" misses nothing that moves. It will drop down in a light glide for terrestriel prey or swoop hawk-like on a flying insect. Small birds are sometimes caught in flight too, usually by approaching them from below and behind and seizing their feet with the beak. If no prey ventures out in the open, Great Grey Shrikes will rummage through the undergrowth or sit near to hiding places and flash their white wing and tail markings to scare small animals into coming out. It will sometimes mimic songbirds to entice them to come within striking distance. Occasionally, animals as large as a young ermines, bats, and salamanders, and even fish, are killed and eaten by the Great Grey Shrike.

Male and female are similar in plumage with a grey crown and back, weith black wings, black eye mask and white wing bands. 
The Great Grey Shrike breeds in parts of Europe and eastwards in a broad belt through Asia to the Pacific coast. Furthermore it is found in North America (where it is known as the Northern Shrike) and Central America. The breeding population in the western part of South Europe was recently divided as separate species: Southern Great Shrike/Lanius meridionalis with 7 various races, like L. m. meridionalis from the Iberic peninsula and L. m pallidirostris, which belongs to the Asian steppes and was seen a few times in Denmark.

Great Grey Shrike breeds in Denmark especially in open heath and bog areas with a spread growth. This nature type is in Denmark mainly found in Jutland, and there is only registration of breeding pairs from this region. Good breeding places are military exercize areas, which are kept open by nature management, like in Karup, Holstebro, Borris and Oksbøl. In the winter season the Danish breeding population of Great Grey Shrike is supplemented by birds from the North, who establish themselves and defend permanent winter territories in the country. Based on studies in the winter 2003/2004 it is estimated that the Danish winter population of the Great Grey Shrike is 350-450 birds. The largest winter presence is in Ribe and Ringkøbing district and in Frederiksborg district (Sjælland). 

The Great Grey Shrike is carnivorous, with rodents making up over half its diet. In summer the food is large insects, amphibians, lizards, mice and little birds, while the winter food especially is mice and little birds. The population size in Scandinavia follows quite closely the size of the rodent population, and there were more overwintering Great Shrikes in Denmark in each 3.-5. year, when the rodent population was in top. 
 Like the Red-backed Shrike the Great Shrike is stockpiling in times with food surplus. They are storing food by impaling it on thorns.

Great Grey Shrike came supposedly to Denmark from the south in the late 1800s. The first breeding find was registered in 1927. The Danish population of Great Shrike topped in the 1940s, but declined down to 30-50 pairs in the 1970s. The population probably never exceeded 100 breeding pairs. In the latest years was a slight increase to 13 breeding pairs in 2003, while the previous 5 years were only registered between 2 and 6 pairs. (There is only registered breeding pairs in the middle part of West Jutland). The mid European population of Great Grey Shrike was generally declining, this might be due to destruction of biotopes, especially overgrowth of the open heath areas.

Source: Fugle og Natur, Dansk Ornitologisk Forening ; Danmarks fugle og Natur; Naturpark maribo-søerne
Source: A few notes about food from wikipedia.

photo Great Grey Shrike, Ormstrup, Viborg district 7 January 2011: stig bachmann nielsen,

From wikipedia:
Altogether, the Great Grey Shrike is common and widespread and not considered a threatened species by the IUCN . Wherever it occurs, its numbers are usually many hundreds or even thousands per country. Its stronghold is the region around Sweden, where at least almost 20,000, perhaps as many as 50,000 were believed to live in the late 20th century. However, in some countries it is not robustly established; in Estonia only a few hundred are found, with less than 200 in Belgium and some more or less than 100 in Latvia and Lithuania, respectively. The few dozen in the Netherlands and the 10 birds or so in Denmark might disappear because of a few years of adverse circumstances. By contrast, in Luxembourg plentiful high-quality habitat is found; though the number of Great Grey Shrikes in this tiny country is necessarily limited, the average population density there is 25 times as high as in Lithuania.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Small Blue /Dværgblåfugl

Flora and Fauna
 Cupido minimus

The Small Blue has a wing span of 18-24 mm. It is easy to recognize with its small size and the leaden grey underside with the fine spots. Large females might remind of small females from the Mazarine Blue, who is different from the Small Blue only by a more brown base colour on the underside. The underside of the male varies from leaden grey till lightgrey in the base colour, and the black spots might be reduced or miss completely in rare cases.

The Small Blue flies mainly from mid May until first of July, but fresh individuals can be seen through the rest of summer until mid September. The species is most numerous in May and June, and the late findings are obviously a mix of  lately hatched individuals of 1. generation and a partiel 2. generation.

Its habitat is everywhere where the Anthyllis vulneraria grows, like gravel pits, coast banks with slippage, dune areas and other disturbed areas. It overwinters as a fullgrown larvae among plants and moss, close to the surface of the earth. The fodderplant of the larvae is Anthyllis vulneraria. 

The flight is slow and whirring at low height, often down among the vegetation. The males are territorial and sit on low plants with outspread wings turned to the sun, so the silverblue glow is visible. From his lookout the male flies up against passing insects, and if it is an un-mated female, the long-lasting mating begins. Both sexes seek to flowers and are attracted to moist soil or excrements.

The Small Blue is widespread in Denmark and often mumerous in suitable localities all over the country, but is not seen on Lolland-Falster, and it is declining on the Isles. No newer findings on Bornholm. 

Michael Stoltze, Dagsommerfugle i Danmark, 1998

photo Rold skov juli 2011: grethe bachmann.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Viola odorata 
Sweet Violet/ Martsviol

Viola odorata has many pretty names like Apple leaf, Blue violet,
English violet, Garden violet, Heart's ease, Russian violet, Bairnviolet, but the most used name is Sweet violet. The sweet scent of a Viola odorata is unique. The Danish name is Martsviol because it arrives in the month of March. The sweet scent of its flowers is used in the production of cosmetics and perfumes.

Sweet violet has got heart-shaped leaves and darkviolet, sweet smelling flowers. It was not originally a
wildgrowing plant, but common at inhabited places below hedges and on wickets, banks of ditches and in glades.

Three other violets: 
Viola canina, Heath-Dog violet or Heath Violet (Danish: Markviol): with pale blue flowers and without scent is native to Europe and common in thicket, on dry fields and hills.

Viola silvatica ( reichenbachiana)  Wood violet, (Danish: Skovviol) grows in hardwoods and thicket.

Viola palustris: Marsh Violet or Alpine Marsh Violet (Danish: Engviol) inhabits moist meadows, marshes, and streambanks in Europe, Asia and North America. It is used as the food plant for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary and the Small Pearl-bordered fritillary.

The violet has often been plant in gardens below trees or wicket or along the fence. A street in Copenhagen with present name Fiolstræde was until 1570 called Violstræde. It had achieved its flowername from many gardens with an abundance of violets. Sweet violet is the most loved boutquet flower in spring. The first spring's violets were until ab. 1875 plucked on the banks of Copenhagen and gathered in bouquets or put in little cones and sold for a skilling. At Copenhagen's market square were in spring 1967 sold ab. 26.300 bouquets with ab. 10 flowers each. The violets were much used by children for garlands. If the petals are plucked, a figure is seen -  it's interpreted as Virgin Mary with Jesus.

Folk Medicine:

Henrik Harpestreng ab. 1300-1400s: was used in burns; it was crushed as a compress for headcache which came from drink or food;  the scent from a violet garland upon the head protected against vipers; crushed roots cooked with myrrh to put on inflamed eyes; crushed violet leaves mixed with honey to rub on   head boils;  mixed with vinegar this would heal all outer damage; crushed and put on blisters; the plant sap  taken with water against lung diseases and soft ribs;  for headache rub head with violet water and fennel juice -  or put crushed violets into wine or vinegar on the head;  the crushed plant mixed with wine put on wounds, ease pains, the juice drives out pus and prevents "dead flesh."
violet- and rose oil:  helped children's cough,  put into an aching and buzzing ear, cools body and gives sleep;  to rub against roundworms and against head scales.

1533: vinegar-decoct of sweet violet as a drink in spleen diseases.

Henrik Smid 1546: Violets pickled with vinegar and sugar used for children's epilepsy and malaria; violet flowers pressed into a juice and cooked with water and sugar into a syrup, which stops "the burning cold disease" (malaria); violet-oil and violet-vinegar as a compress on the temples stops headache, also as a compress for "the hot liver"; violet-oil stops "the evil heat and sharpness" of the throat, chest and lungs.   

Simon Paulli 1648: from the juice of the flowers are in spring prepared a syrup good for "the heated flood of the breast". People used to put a little bag with dried violet flowers upon the chest " for they have got noble forces to refresh the heart".  The herb was often used by physicians in an enema "to soften the belly" (against constipation). The seeds were used against bladder stones.

1700s: Violet- and rose-oil mixed with wax into an ointment on children's gums to ease the teething. Viola odorata helps against cough, ease pains, the herb gives a softening compress , the seeds are vaguely diuretic, the root gives vomiting and diarrhea. The flowers and seeds were written into the Pharmacopoeia in 1772.

Violet syrup in snaps was used for gargling to help "the temper of the tongue"! Decoct from the leaves was used for bathing shinbone wounds and excoriation; violet syrup in a cough syrup for children; decoct of the whole plant used as a skin tonic for dry skin.

1806: Sweet violets which stand all night in a closed room are harmful for the health.

Other use, Symbolic:  
In chemical  experiments the flowers of sweet violet were used to show acids and salt; their juice mixed with copper gives a green paint; a violet-essence from wine-alcohol can be used to perfume liqueur. If you rub your hands with sweet violets or with the mercury plant, you can put them in boiling water without being scalded !!  Violet flowers were sprinkled on the floors to give a fine scent in the house.

In H.C. Andersen's fairy tale "The Snow Queen" a silken quilt is stuffed with violets.

The violet flower symbolizes innocence, timidity, grace.

Candied violets:
The French have been using candied violets to decorate cakes and pastries for several hundred years.

Source: V.J. Brøndegaard, Folk og Flora, bd. 2, Dansk Etnobotanik, Rosenkilde og Bagger 1979

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

First Day in 2012 - A Bleak Day in a small Island

A Taste of Denmark

It was a very bleak January day, the first day of the new year 2012 , but the air was warm. The white-tailed eagle had just been seen at the small island Alrø - maybe we would be lucky and see this great bird of prey today. 

Falling church
At the Aakjær manor lived in the 1700s a lady who was extremely vain, Hedevig Margrethe Bornemann. When she died she was buried in a small chapel at Falling church and dressed in a precious silken dress with fine lace - and wearing silk stockings. She had emphasized in her will that  she should have new silk stockings every Christmas -  and it's said that the will was complied up into the 1900s. The parish clerks from Gylling, Ørting and Falling met each Christmas and replaced her silk stockings. In return they were paid 10 rigsdaler  -  this was a big sum of money at that time.

you can see the cut hedgerow in front of the neighbour's hedge.
The present owner of Aakjær, Koed Jørgensen has built a completely new manor, except for the half timbered building, which was restored. Unfortunately he has cut down the beautiful hedgerows along the fields - and this is such a shame, not only for the look of it, but also considering the birds. Hedgerows are perfect living places for small birds. The large fields at Åkjær are now surrounded by cut down hedgerows, and it really looks odd - and not very pretty. I don't understand a farmer who's an enemy of nature.
There is much trouble in his wake. He has destroyed meadows, glades and some water streams. In my opinion it's a serious case, and I'm glad that he's not a common landlord.  His behaviour is obviously rather arrogant - and it seems that he's not at all interested in taking care of nature. It's all about money. 

There is a portal at the forest of Aakjær, which is connected to the legendary figure Svend Felding. He was born at Aakjær, and the bridge across the water stream at Bilsbæk is named  "Svend Feldings Bro". The portal (ruin) is called "Svend Feldings Stald".
( the ruin being the rest of a stable), but old sources say that these ruins were called "spegelhus" = spedalskhedshus (leprosy hospital). In the forest between Hundslund and Ørting is Svend Felding's grave. Svend was said to have the strentgh of 12 men, which was given him by a sorceress - he had promised her not to reveal the secret, but he told the landlord one day -  and the rest of his life he eat and drank as much as 12 men.

the dam to Alrø

But now we'll forget the stories and just take the road to the little island Alrø. Mother Nature has good conditions on Alrø - at least along the coast and in the fjord with a rich bird life. But there are few parking places for visitors. The road from east to west is very narrow, there is only this one road, and it is impossible to do a stop until you reach the western part.

People from other places of the country have recently started restaurants and cafés at Alrø in the summer season. A gourmét restaurant Møllegården has become a popular attraction, the restaurant is established in the old pig house, and parts of the pigsty stands exactly like when the pigs were there. The guests are literally sitting in the booths, where the  feeding troughs and woodwork are kept. This might be the only stable in Denmark with wireless internet, but people like to feel they are in a real stable. The restaurant offers a little, but exclusive dining card, but this means that people don't have to wait long for their dinner. The Café Alrø is in a cosy farm building where they serve a simple, traditional lunch/dinner.

some red-breasted mergansers

Lerdrup Bugt

In the outer section of Horsens fjord are two bird sanctuaries, Vorsø and Lerdrup Bugt. This part of Horsens fjord is appointed as Ramsar and EF-birdprotection area. The island Vorsø was listed since 1917, it is owned by the Ministry of Environment. The bird life on and around Vorsø is very rich. Eiders are seen all year, but most wellknown is the large colony of cormorants at Vorsø with more than 4000 breeding pairs. The waters around Vorsø is an important resting place for ducks and waders, especially in winter. A large number of ducks like mallard, wigeon and goldeneye, while common sandpiper, bar-tailed godwit, and Eurasian curlew are often seen.

 Lerdrup Bugt is a low watered bay with beach meadows and dry wades and small uninhabited islets. It is a very important breeding area for ducks and waders and for seagulls and terns. The area is also important as a resting place for ducks and waders. The most common waders are plover, common sandpiper and goldeneye.

view to vorsø
Lerdrup Bugt Vildtreservat (Game reserve) and Vorsø Naturreservat are two among ab. 50 reserves which were established or extended before 2000. The reserves expand the existing network for breeding and migrating water birds in Denmark. The reserves are sanctuaries, where the birds have peace and quiet to rest and seek food. It is expected - based in experiences from reserves in Limfjorden and at the island Møn - that the reserves will increase the numbers of resting birds in the areas. The effect of the reserves will be followed in a surveillance program by the Ministry of Environmen and the Nature Agency.

Source: Naturstyrelsen

And on the southeastern corner we looked for the whitetailed eagle, but it was nowhere to be seen. I guess it was resting high in some tree, digesting the cormorant  or a fat duck it might have caught this morning!

on our way home "upon the continent" we passed Gylling church.

photo 1. January 2012: grethe bachmann