Friday, June 13, 2014

Lille Vildmose in Himmerland, Northeast Jutland.

It was magnificent summer weather in late May and start June - and one of our first summer trips went to the Lille Vildmose in  Himmerland (Northeast Jutland). Lille Vildmose is a raised bog, it is an endangered habitat, not just in Denmark but also in Europe. A project LIFE+ focuses on securing the raised bog and to create conditions for the decomposed part of the raised bog to re-emerge in the long run. This area is the largest left raised bog of the lowlands in northern Europe, and it includes more than half the total raised bog in Denmark. Lille Vildmose is appointed as a Natura2000 area (7824 ha) and a Natura2000 plan has been prepared with a focus in keeping and extending the raised bog area.

From the reed beds sounds the voice of the bittern.

Eurasian Bittern 

When this is said the large moor in Himmerland is a wonderful place to visit, also because of the boardwalks across a big part of the area. It would be impossible to cross the moor without these boardwalks and bridges. The animal and plant life is very rich and you'll never know how much or what you'll see on such a tour. Birds of prey, like the golden eagle, the whitetailed eagle, the marsh harrier or the Eurasian hobby. We did not see the large birds of prey this time, but we heard the rare golden oriole. We did not see this beautiful yellow bird, but we later came to a place where we heard another rare bird. The strange voice of the Eurasian bittern sounded from the reed beds -  and a few moments later an Eurasian bittern flew above our heads and disappeared in the reeds. A rare sight. There are approximately about 22 Eurasian bitterns in Lille Vildmose right now. We heard its strange voice calling out like an angry  bull every five minutes.

No other bird in Denmark is surrounded by so much mystery. Both the hidden ways of its living, the owl-like flight and the strange voice have contributed to this. People were scared of this strange bird with a voice as strong as any mammal - and when it was strutting around in the night hours people thought they met a ghost. The voice of the bittern created legends about the Merman's cows, roaring and  longing for coming ashore. In the old days lived a landlord, named Mads Spejser, at Aggersborggård at Limfjorden opposite the town Løgstør. He was a brutal master and a nasty neighbour and very much disliked. His spirit is said to hazard like a dark bird across the landscape at night, flying with silent wing beats, uttering hoarse cries like the  bittern. 

New Observation Tower

A new observation tower has been raised in 2014,  called Brandtaarnet (the fire tower). Until the 1980s was here a fire watch tower, where a guard supervised the moor to observe if  there was fire or smoke. The new tower is a part of an ongoing and very comprehensive EU-LIFE nature-restoration project  Brandtårnet is the sixth observation tower in Lille Vildmose. It is 6-7 meter tall, and half as tall as the tower at the Vildmose Center at Vildmosevej. But it is tall enough since the moor is as flat as a panncake -  and there is a fine view across the earlier peat-extraction area, which during WWII gave work to 1200 men. Today it is a bird-rich restoration area, and from the new yellow tower it is possible to follow the rapid change of the nature area in these years.

The moor was earlier overgrown with birch which has now been removed. Only a few birches are allowed to stay in the landscape.

cloudberry, no flowers yet.
cranberry flowers
The plant life is special in a moor, there are tufts of spaghnum moss, cranberry, rosemary heather, bell heather, cloudberry, sundew, cotton grass, white-beak-sedge etc.

bell heather
cotton grass

Kærguldsmed / Leucorrhinia pectoralis

A Dragonfly...........

In Europe, dragonflies have often been seen as sinister. Some English names, such as "devil's darning needle"  and "ear cutter", link them with evil or  injury.  A Romanian folk tale says that the dragonfly was once a horse possessed by the devil. Swedish  folklore holds that the devil uses dragonflies to weigh people's souls. The Norwegian name for dragonflies is Øyenstikker ("eye-poker"), and in Portugal they are sometimes called tira-olhos ("eye-snatcher"). They are often associated with snakes, as in the Welsh name gwas-y-neidr, "adder's servant". The Southern United States term "snake doctor" refers to a folk belief that dragonflies follow snakes around and stitch them back together if they are injured.
For some Native American tribes they represent swiftness and activity, and for the Navajo they symbolize pure water. Dragonflies are a common motif in  Zuni pottery; stylized as a double-barred cross, they appear in Hopi rock art and on Pueblo necklaces. They have also been used in traditional medicine in Japan and China. In some parts of the world they are a food source, eaten either as adults or larvae; in Indonesia, for example, they are caught on poles made sticky with birdlime, then fried in oil as a delicacy.

And two Butterflies

Moserandøje /Large heath.
Bølleblåfugl / Cranberry Blue

in Portland Mose

some restoration work in the moor.

a view from Portland Mose out to the coast (to Mulbjerge)
A poppy field near the Vildmose.

the limestone quarry near Lille Vildmose.

It was a lovely summer's day in Lille Vildmose.

photo: grethe bachmann, June 2014.


Out on the prairie said...

What an exciting area to enjoy. I would like to explore here.

Thyra said...

Hej Steve, you live in such an exciting place in the prairie.

I hope you have a good summer. The weather is so wonderful here right now. "Old-fashioned summer" like I remember it from the old days!!!!

Grethe ´)