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


Michael and Hanne said...

Thanks for a lovely visit to Denmark in Winter! It feels quite damp!

Thyra said...

Hello Michael and Hanne! Thank you!
And we've got a big storm now! I was almost blown away this morning!
Grethe ´)