Udskriv

1) Alsønderup Enge
2) Avnø
3) Borreby Mose
4) Enø Overdrev
5) Fladstrand
6) Gilleleje
7) Gribskov
8) Gundsømaglesø
9) Hellebæk
10) Holmegaards Mose and surroundings
11) Jægerspris Nordskov
12) Nivå Bugt coastal meadows
13) Præstø and Feddet
14) Ravnstrup Sø
15) The Rørvig peninsula
16) Selsø Sø
17) Stevns Klint
18) Stigsnæs
19) Tissø
20) Tisvilde Hegn
21) Tystrup-Bavelse-søerne
22) Utterslev Mose
23) Vaserne
24) Vestamager
25) Ølsemagle Revle

 

Alsønderup Enge

North Zealand, east of the lake of Arresø

Wetland of great importance for waterbirds and raptors – not least osprey and white-tailed eagle.
See Google map with bird observation tower, car park, etc.

 Alsønderup Enge with white-tailed eagle. Photo: Birger Furbo

Description:
Alsønderup Enge is two kilometers east of the lake of Arresø. The original wet meadows were drained in the 1930s to be used for peat digging, and were afterwards used for grazing. However, the Nature Agency had them flooded again in 1987 to create a bird reserve. There was no access for the public, but a bird observation tower was erected to give visitors a good view over the area.  The project was a great success and several uncommon breeding birds turned up. At the end of the 1990s a new project was carried out to divert the Pøleå stream through the lake, but this has resulted in an increase in the nutrient content of the lake and a deterioration of the water quality, with a reduction in the number of breeding birds as a consequence.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Several pairs of great crested grebe nest at the lake, together with mute swan, shelduck, mallard and tufted duck. Lapwings breed on the wet meadows and marsh warbler and reed bunting nest in the thickets next to the lake.

A pair of white-tailed eagles has nested in Nejede Vesterskov since 2009. Many other raptors also breed here, together with common woodland birds, including wood warbler, and hole-nesting species such as stock dove, great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch.

Migrating and staging birds:
White-tailed eagle can be seen all year round. The birds catch bream in the lake here or in the lake of Arresø, and can often be seen sitting in a tree next to the lake. Osprey is a regular visitor and also catches fish in the lake. It is seen both spring and summer. Other raptors spotted here include marsh harrier (in summer), hen harrier (in winter), buzzard and goshawk.

The lake attracts many species of duck, including shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard and tufted duck. In winter smew and goosander are seen. Other birds seen here include grey heron, mute swan, greylag goose (often in flocks of several hundred birds) and the commonest species of gull. Black tern has been seen foraging over the lake in May the last few years. In September 2011 a great white heron visited the area. Apart from lapwing, waders turn up only sporadically and in small numbers. With luck, one can spot a kingfisher. Raven is seen throughout the year, both on the meadows and over the woodland.

Visiting and access:
The area is best seen from the observation tower south of the lake. One can get to this from route 16 which leads south of Arresø from Frederiksværk. About 1km east of Meløse one can turn off onto the Marguerite Trail, which leads east around the lake of Arresø. In Nejede, one continues in the direction of Alsønderup, on a road called Ravnsbjergvej. There is a car-park in the wood. Look out for a little sign “Fugletårn” (bird tower) which can be difficult to spot. From the car-park a trail leads through the wood of Nejede Vesterskov. After around 100m another trail leads off to the right. After about 1km one reaches the edge of the wood, and around 20m to the left is a path leading to the lake and the tower. There is no admittance to the bird reserve itself.

It is forbidden to enter the central part of Nejede Vesterskov due to the breeding white-tailed eagles.

 
Goosander. Photo: Helge Sørensen  

Avnø

South-east Zealand

A natural habitat on a former airforce base, with breeding and staging swans, geese, ducks and waders.
See Google map for car parks, bird observation towers, etc.

Avnø - view from the tower towards the west. Photo: Finn Jensen

Description:
Avnø was formerly an airforce base, but the airforce pulled out in 1993 and the area was protected in 2002. The area consists of coastal meadows, marshes, copses and the coast with many stones and boulders.

The area is managed by the Danish Nature Agency. A good deal of nature restoration has been carried out: for example three large ponds and several smaller ponds have been established. Several of the drains have been put out of action, which means that much of the area is covered with water. The depth of the water in the ponds varies throughout the year and they can sometimes dry out. The area is grazed by cattle. In 2011 a bird island called Klydeøen (Avocet Island) was established. Just north of Avnø are the bay of Svinø Vig and the island of Hylteholme, where many birds can be seen.

To the west of Avnø, in Avnø Fjord, is Avnø Røn, which is an uninhabited island with large boulders and a long sandy beach that is flooded at high tide.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
There are a heronry and a rookery in the wood. The coastal meadows and the coast are home to breeding mute swan, greylag goose, shelduck, teal, mallard, shoveler, garganey, oystercatcher, lapwing and redshank. Avocet, little ringed plover, common gull and little tern breed on Klydeøen.

Migrating and staging birds:
Many mute swans and greylag geese use the area throughout the year. In the past few years large numbers of barnacle geese have appeared. They use the area as a staging post and especially as a night roost. In summer many species of duck can be spotted, including gadwall, teal, mallard, garganey and shoveler, with wigeon turning up in autumn.

Apart from the wader species that breed here, large flocks of golden plover can be seen together with smaller flocks of grey plover, knot, curlew sandpiper and wood sandpiper. Curlew forage here all year round.

Whooper swan, white-fronted goose, canada goose, goosander and coot overwinter here. They can often be seen out at sea just off the peninsula. In winter, the open areas attract large flocks of twite. Hen harrier is a regular winter visitor.

White-tailed eagles are seen all year round, both adults and young. The birds often sit on Avnø Røn or on one of the large boulders in the water, or fly in over Avnø or Knudskov. Peregrine are seen autumn, winter and spring, and occasionally in summer.

Rare birds can be spotted occasionally: for example, two pallid harriers in 2011. A red-breasted goose was seen foraging in a flock of barnacle geese in 2013 and the same year a little egret was seen standing with some grey herons in the lagoon south of Hylteholme.

Other animals:
Common seal breeds on Avnø Røn. The animals can often be seen sunbathing on the many boulders off the peninsula of Avnø.

Visiting and access:
Avnø can be reached from route 22 between Næstved and Vordingborg. Coming from the north, turn right in the direction of Svinø shortly after passing Dybsø Fjord. Turn left after the church in Svinø and after around 3km turn right along Flyvervej in the direction of Avnø. Coming from the south on route 22, turn left at Sallerup and shortly afterwards left again, and then follow the road to Avnø.

There is a car park at the nature centre which has been installed in the old air station, and which has an exhibition about Avnø. There is free admission throughout the year, twenty-four hours a day. There are also toilets and picnic facilities at the centre. There is also access to the former control tower, from where there is a good view over the whole area. This is the best place from which to view the small ponds on the meadow.

There are several marked trails around the area. In the birds’ breeding season (15th March – 15th July) it is only permitted to walk along the red, blue and yellow trails. There is a bird observation tower at the wood of Nokkeskov in the eastern section of the Avnø peninsula (blue trail). Here there are also shelters, a tent site, a bonfire site and a grill. A bird hide in the north-west section (red trail) looks across to Hylteholme with its lagoons and channels.

The island of Avnø Røn is best seen from the coast of Avnø or from the control tower. There is no access to the island all year round. There is also limited access to the part of the fjord surrounding the island.


Mute swans. Photo: Jens Peter Lomholt

 

Borreby Mose

South-west Zealand, south of Skælskør

One of Zealand’s best localities for waterbirds.
See Google map with car parks etc.


Borreby Mose. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
Borreby Mose is a large area with bog and reedbeds. Around the bog are extensive meadows used for grazing.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Several waterbirds breed at Borreby Mose, including red-necked grebe, greylag goose, shelduck, gadwall, teal, mallard, pochard and tufted duck. The bog is especially interesting as it is a breeding locality for black-tailed godwit. Other breeding waders include avocet, ringed plover, lapwing and redshank. Various warblers such as sedge warbler, marsh warbler and reed warbler are heard in the reedbeds, and bearded tit breeds here. Now and again less common species such as great reed warbler and Savi’s warbler appear.

Marsh harrier is seen throughout the summer months and breeds in the bog and in the reedbeds. Bittern is heard every year but it is not known if it breeds here. There is a colony of grey herons at Borreby estate that has grown appreciably during the last few years.

Migrating and staging birds:
Borreby Mose is an important staging area for geese, especially in autumn. Greylag geese are predominant and sometimes turn up in flocks of several thousand birds, but Canada geese, barnacle geese and a few white-fronted geese are also seen here. Various dabbling ducks and diving ducks visit the locality. Pintail visits the area in spring. Gadwall, teal and shoveler can be seen nearly all year round. In winter, wigeon, pochard and tufted duck are seen – the latter often in thousands. Smew and goosander are also winter guests.

Little tern can be seen flying over the bog in the summer months.

In autumn, migrating waders turn up on their way south. Lapwings can appear in flocks of several hundreds, and in addition there are smaller numbers of ringed plover, golden plover, dunlin, ruff, black-tailed godwit and wood sandpiper. Snipe is also a frequent autumn visitor.

White-tailed eagle is often seen as a pair have started nesting in the vicinity. Several other species of raptor can be seen hunting in the area at regular intervals, including red kite, osprey and peregrine. In winter, hen harrier and rough-legged buzzard can be spotted.

A few less common birds turn up at intervals, for example the last few years have brought great white heron, spotted eagle, pectoral sandpiper, red-necked phalarope and caspian tern.

Visiting and access:
From Skælskør, drive south along a minor road towards Borreby/Fornetofte. Just past the road leading to the Borreby estate is a car park. From here, a path leads along the reedbeds and out to the dyke, with views across Skælskør Fjord. This area attracts many birds, including cormorants, swans, eiders and mergansers. On the way out to the dyke one can often be lucky enough to see bearded tits in the reedbeds.

About 500m further along the road, there are car parks on either side of the road. From here there are excellent views across the locality. The birds can be easily seen with binoculars.

The Borreby estate just north of Borreby Mose boasts one of Denmark’s oldest and best preserved renaissance castles and has an attractive park. There is public access to some of the park, which supports many warblers, including flycatchers. Short-toed treecreepers nest in the trees along the avenue.


Marsh harrier with prey. Photo: Axel Mortensen
 
 

Enø Overdrev

South-west Zealand

A grassy peninsula with many breeding and staging waterbirds and waders
See Google-map with car-park etc.

Whooper swans at Enø Ovedrev. Photo: Steen E. Jensen

Description:
The island of Enø, south of the town of Næstved, is a double island around 5km long and up to 11m high. It consists of two glacial deposits connected by a bar. The village of Enø is on the northern part. The southern part consists of grazed coastal meadows with some wet areas, small islets and recurved spits, and grasslands with hawthorn thicket. The thicket can house many passerines during migration.


Birds:
Breeding birds:
Since the start of the 1990’s, the number of breeding birds has declined due to predation by fox and to human disturbance. However, there is still part of the area where access is forbidden during the birds’ breeding season, and this is where most of them nest. Breeding birds include mute swan, shelduck, mallard, oystercatcher, ringed plover, lapwing and redshank. There are also some small colonies of common gull and arctic tern. Little tern can be seen now and again in summer, but no longer breeds here. Nesting passerines include skylark, yellow wagtail and icterine warbler. There is a large colony of sand martins just north-west of the grasslands and the martins can be seen flying around over the area all the summer.

Migrating and staging birds:
Outside the breeding season, many ducks and waders can be spotted in the area. Ducks include wigeon, teal, mallard, pintail, tufted duck, goldeneye, red-breasted merganser and goosander. Large flocks of mute swan can be seen. Geese include greylay geese and often large flocks of barnacle geese in the migration season, together with canada geese which are seen from time to time. Coot can assemble in large flocks.

Many different waders use the area to stage and forage. Golden plover, lapwing and dunlin form the largest flocks, but one can also spot ringed plover, grey plover, knot, little stint, curlew sandpiper, bar-tailed godwit, curlew, spotted redshank and redshank. Heron and cormorant are seen throughout the year.

White-tailed eagles – sometimes several individuals at a time – are often seen over the area, and peregrine falcon has become a permanent guest. One can sometimes be seen perching on a tuft of grass in the middle of the grassland, or on a mound on the beach. In winter, hen harrier is observed. Kestrel often hunts over the grassland.

In winter, whooper swans and geese can be seen together with flocks of twite and snow bunting and - more rarely - shore lark.

If the shallow waters around Enø freeze over in winter, large flocks of birds can be seen in the canal and the adjacent areas, which are always free of ice.

Visiting and access:
From Næstved, drive along Karrebækvej to Karrebæksminde. Drive over the bridge and continue to a roundabout in the village of Enø. From here, follow Enø Kystvej to a car-park. It is possible to continue on foot along a gravel track going south-east, but this ends at a padlocked gate where there is no entry. It is therefore best to go down to the beach from the car-park and follow the coast. After crossing the fence by a stile, continue up on the grassland, so as not to disturb the birds on the beach. By keeping to the middle of the grassland and going out to the thicket one can see northwards across the mudflats.

At the easternmost point of the island there is a view across to the island of Dybsø, where extensive mudflats appear at low tide.

In the birds’ breeding season (1/4 – 15/7) there is no access to parts of the grasslands. These areas are marked by posts. The area is privately owned. Enø Overdrev was put under preservation orders in 1953 to preserve the beautiful and unspoilt landscape.

Tufted duck. Photo: Steen E. Jensen
 

Fladstrand

South Zealand, immediately south of Næstved

Important locality for staging ducks. Large flocks of birds in winter when lakes are frozen. White-tailed eagle breeds in the vicinity.
See Google map with outlook points, car parks, etc.


Mute swan on nest near Gavnø. Photo: Finn Jensen

Description:
Fladstrand is a shallow fjord south of Næstved, bordered by the island of Gavnø to the west and the peninsula of Vejlø to the east. East of the fjord, between the Vejlø and Basnæs woods, and along the Fladså stream, are large fields. Around the fjord there are extensive stretches of meadowland which are grazed by cattle.  The largest reedbed areas are found at the northern end of the fjord. Both Gavnø and Vejlø have extensive woodland.

Birds:
Many bird species – including white-tailed eagle – breed in the area, but it is best known for the large flocks of ducks that stage here on migration and during winter.

Breeding birds:
Breeding waterbirds include little grebe, great crested grebe, mute swan, shelduck, pintail and garganey. One of the first pairs of white-tailed eagles to breed in Denmark since their re-entry have nested in the area for many years. Other breeding raptors are marsh harrier, buzzard and kestrel.

Migrating and staging birds:
During migration and especially in winter, Fladstrand attracts large flocks of swans, geese and ducks. Both mute swan, whooper swan and Bewick’s swan are seen here. Greylag can be seen in numbers of up to 3000 and canada geese in lesser numbers. Tufted duck and goldeneye are especially numerous and congregate in thousands, but there are also many wigeon, mallard and pochard. The fjord also hosts goosander, red-breasted merganser and smew.

Many species of raptor are attracted by the fields, meadows and woods. White-tailed eagle has for several years been a regular visitor, often being spotted over the large fields and woods at Gavnø and around Vejlø. Occasionally golden eagle is spotted here, and in spring and autumn peregrine can be seen. Hen harrier and rough-legged buzzard are regular winter visitors.

Visiting and access:
The wood of Vejlø Skov can be reached by a minor road leading off from Route 22 at Rettestrup, just outside Næstved. Walk to the edge of the wood from the car park in Vejlø Skov. The north and west parts of the Fladstrand fjord can be viewed from here. It is unfortunately no longer possible to walk around the island of Gavnø, although it can be viewed from the small car park south of Appenæs or from the road between Næstved and Karrebæksminde.

 
Whooper swans. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen 

Gilleleje

North coast of Zealand

One of the best places in Scandinavia for migrating passerines in spring, and a good site for watching raptor migration
See Google map with look-out points, car parks, etc.

 
Osprey. Photo: Per E. Pedersen

Description:
Gilbjerg Hoved, west of the town of Gilleleje, is the northernmost tip of the island of Zealand. Gilbjerg Hoved is a 33m high, steep moraine cliff covered with grass. The steep coastal slopes and the surrounding dry grasslands have a rich and interesting flora and butterfly population. East of Gilleleje is Nakkehoved lighthouse on top of the slope, surrounded by wood and scrub, and 1km inland to the south is the outlook point of Hesbjerg.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Kestrel, tawny owl, various tits and warblers nest in the area.

Migrating and staging birds:
Migrating birds are the big attraction at Gilleleje. Huge numbers of passerines fly past in spring and autumn, and there is an impressive migration of raptors in spring. The number of birds passing over the area is very dependent on the direction of the wind. Autumn migration of seabirds is also impressive.

Spring migration starts at the end of February and goes on until the beginning of June. Each month, different species dominate.

From the end of February to March: goshawk, buzzard, stock dove, wood lark, skylark and jackdaw. The biggest flocks of cranes and chaffinches usually fly over at the end of March.
April: the first two weeks are normally the time when enormous flocks of passerines pass over Gilleleje. Finches are the most numerous species, but many others such as marsh harrier, hen harrier, sparrowhawk, rough-legged buzzard, osprey, kestrel, merlin, peregrine, crane, grey wagtail and various thrushes also appear.
May brings the birds that winter in Africa, mainly swallows, martins, warblers, swifts, yellow wagtails and pied flycatchers, but also more raptors, including honey buzzards and hobbies.
June: migration continues, although the number of birds is reduced. Swifts and spotted flycatcher pass by.

There is always the chance of seeing a rarity. In the past few years, the following birds have been seen: spotted eagle, Eleonora’s falcon, white-winged black tern, turtle dove, Tengmalm’s owl, red-rumped swallow, alpine accentor, collared flycatcher, golden oriole, rose-coloured starling and pine grosbeak.

There is a good autumn migration of passerines, although the birds flying in from Sweden are not as numerous as those flying out in spring. On the other hand, more birds stop over here, and on days with fog or cloud the scrub can be full of activity.

Rarities seen during autum migration include hawk owl, Tengmalm’s owl, pallid swift, alpine swift, desert wheatear, Pallas’s leaf warbler, yellow-browed warbler, Radde’s warbler, dusky warbler, rose-coloured starling, pine grosbeak and rustic bunting.

From August to the middle of November there are chances of observing an imposing movement of seabirds and shearwaters. This happens if the wind is (or has been just previously) strong to gale force from the west or north-west. The seabirds can include red-throated divers, gannets, eiders, common scoters, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. With any luck one can also see great northern diver, fulmar, sooty shearwater, Manx shearwater and one or two species of skua. White-billed diver, Cory’s shearwater and Sabine’s gull also show up from time to time. Great shearwater and storm petrel have also been spotted. If the wind is very strong and coming in from the north-west there is also the possibility of Leach’s petrel.

Seabirds can also be seen at other seasons – for example, summer is a good time to see Manx shearwater, and in winter kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots fly past the coast – but not in the same numbers or the same diversity as in the autumn months.

Visiting and access:
From motorway E47/E55, turn off at exit 9 towards Hillerød. About 3km past Hillerød, turn right and continue to Gilleleje. Drive through the town and turn left at the roundabout towards Rågeleje. A few hundred metres further on is a car park. From here there is a path through the reserve and up to the Gilbjerg stone.

One can also take the S-train from Copenhagen to Hillerød and from there the Gribskov train to Gilleleje station. Walk or cycle through the town and along the coast on the Gilbjerg path, or take the bus from Gilleleje station to Gilleleje holiday center, from where there is a 10 minute walk to Gilbjerg Hoved. There are also trains from Helsingør to Gilleleje.

There are four good look-out points/bird localities at Gilleleje:

1. Gilberg Hoved is a cliff 2.5km west of the town of Gilleleje and one of the best localities in Denmark for observing spring migration, especially passerines. Hundreds of thousands of passerines fly over this spot on their migration north to breeding sites in Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Gilbjerg Hoved is the best place in the area to be if the wind is coming from the south or south-east. Many passerines settle in the surrounding bushes and scrub. Passerine migration usually dies down at the beginning of the afternoon but is succeeded by raptor migration.
2. The public area at the end of Vibehusvej (around 1km east of Gilbjerg Hoved) is a good place to watch seabird movements in autumn.
3. Nakkehoved (2.5km east of Gilleleje) is a good place to find staging passerines that frequent the scrub in the area around Nakkehoved lighthouse: warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, tits, etc. Many hirundines forage in the area. During spring migration over Hesbjerg, the dry meadow between the coast road and the eastern part of Nakkehoved can be an excellent viewpoint. There are car parks at Nakkehoved that can be reached by turning off the road to Hornbæk. There is also a bus to and from Gilleleje Station that passes this locality, and there is a path from Gilleleje along the coast.
4. Hesbjerg is a good place from which to observe raptors. It is best when the winds are light and especially when they are blowing from the east and south-east. Hesbjerg is around 1km inland from Nakkehoved and is the highest point in the area (50m) with a view across to Sweden, Hornbæk and the forest of Gribskov. On the top is a barrow with bushes and stunted trees. Hesbjerg can be reached by a farm track, but please do not walk on the fields. It is easy to reach the site by car by driving along Gillelejevej, then along Bregnerødvej and left along Hesbjergvej. It is possible to park at the end of the road and walk the last 100m up to Hesbjerg. The train from Gilleleje to Helsingør is also a possibility: get off at Firhøj and walk 1km north along Hesbjergvej.

 
Sparrowhawk. Photo: Per E. Pedersen  

Gribskov

North Zealand

Interesting forest birds. Denmark’s largest population of breeding goldeneye, green sandpiper and red-backed shrike.
See Google map with look-out points, car park, etc. 


Green sandpiper, Gribskov. Photo: Per Ekberg

Description:
Gribskov is the next biggest forest in Denmark, covering in all 5600ha. It is situated immediately north of Hillerød and stretches north for around 15km, with the lake of Esrum Sø as its eastern boundary. In the middle ages the forest was owned by the church, but after the reformation the whole area was taken over by the monarchy and was used as a royal hunting-ground. Not until the end of the 18th century were the boundaries determined and forestry started in earnest.

The forest lies on a very hilly north-south ridge formed by moraine during the last ice age. On the highest points in the middle of the forest are large areas with spruce. On the lower areas to the east and west, where the earth is more fertile, deciduous trees such as beech and oak dominate. In the low-lying areas remains of old forestry practices can be seen, such as coppices of alder and ash, and grazing areas, of which some today are enclosed meadows with cattle grazing. Between the hills there are bogs, ponds and springs.

The forest is of important commercial interest and is also used intensively for recreational purposes.

Birds:
Much of the birdlife in the forest is concentrated around the large clearings and the areas with water. In the forest both the usual and also more unusual forest birds are found, such as woodcock, stock dove, tree pipit, redstart, wood warbler, pied flycatcher, bullfinch and hawfinch. The green sandpiper population is of special interest: with over 20 breeding pairs it is the biggest population in Denmark. The population is stable and may even be on the increase, probably because more and more areas in the forest are being put under water. Another interesting bird – the black woodpecker – that recently suffered a sharp decline, is now present in the same numbers as previously. In 2009 a maximum of 6 pairs nested here, but in 2012 there were 9-11 pairs. Another species of woodpecker, the rare lesser spotted woodpecker, has during the last few years established a population of more than 10 pairs.

Several pairs of kingfisher used to nest here every year, but this species has suffered from the recent hard winters and they no longer breed regularly. In the last few years there have also been several pairs of grey wagtail. Firecrest can be heard singing every year, and varying numbers breed in the forest each year. Short-toed treecreeper was found nesting here for the first time in 2008. Red-backed shrike is characteristic for the forest, where there are about 100 pairs. There is a good population of raven in the forest which is on the increase. In the winter months, flocks of up to 50 birds are seen. Several species usually connected with the large forests in northern Scandinavia also breed in Gribskov, in some years in fair numbers. These include siskin, crossbill, bullfinch and now and again nutcracker. 4-8 pairs of breeding two-barred crossbill were a surprise  in 2012. Four of the pairs were seen with young.

Gribskov has a population of breeding goldeneye that is unique in Denmark. This is due to the nesting boxes that have been put up round many of the lakes. Several pairs also nest in black woodpecker holes or hollow trees. Other breeding birds on the lakes are little grebe, greylag goose, tufted duck and teal.

There is a good and stable population of raptors: honey buzzard, buzzard, goshawk and sparrowhawk. 1-2 pairs of red kite have bred here since 2007. Osprey nested in the forest in 2012 and succeeded in raising two young. The area around the nest (north-west of Lille Gribsø) is now closed for the public from 1st April - 1st September.

Other animals:
In Gribskov it is possible to see all four species of Danish deer living in the wild. Apart from roe deer and the occasional red deer, both fallow deer and sika deer can be found.

Visiting and access:
The forest can be accessed by all the forest paths. If coming by car, one can either drive in the direction of Tisvilde along Helsingevej (turn off route 19) or towards Gilleleje on route 227 (exit from route 6 between Hillerød and Helsingør - turn off onto Nødebrovej). Both roads pass through Gribskov, where there are many places to park and start walks into the forest. One can also take the train from Hillerød – either in the direction of Tisvilde or Gilleleje. There are several stations and halts on both stretches. In the forest there are many spots with picnic tables and barbecue facilities.

It is recommended to make use of the maps in the Nature Agency’s four leaflets about different sections of Gribskov. They can be downloaded on the following links:

Maarum
Esrum Sø
Gribsø
Nødebo

North of the lake of Esrum Sø is the monastery of Esrum Kloster and Esrum Møllegård (mill), that are open for the public and worth a visit. At Møllegård one can be lucky enough to see the grey wagtail that nests here. 

South of Nødebo, in the south-westerly end of Esrum Sø, is the inlet of Møllekrogen. From route 6 between Hillerød and Helsingør, take the turning for Nødebro (Stenholtsvej) at the roundabout. After around 400m there is a car park on the left-hand side. On the opposite side of the road, a path leads to an observation tower. There is a view over scrub, reedbeds and a corner of the lake, and a good view of the cormorant colony in the boggy wood.


  Goldeneye with ducklings, Gribskov. Photo: Per Ekberg 

 

Gundsømagle Sø

North Zealand, east of Roskilde Fjord

Bird reserve with breeding waterbirds and passerines
See Google map with bird observation towers, car parks, etc.

 
Gundsømagle Sø. Photo: Bird Protection Foundation

Description:
The area covers over 300ha. Apart from the lake it comprises large reedbeds, willow and birch scrub, peat ponds and meadows, as well as bog, woodland, fields and grassy slopes. In 1984, the Danish Bird Protection Foundation purchased 60ha of the area to re-establish the lake.

Until 100 years ago, the lake had some of the most prolific birdlife in the whole of northern Zealand, with several rare breeding birds. However, the lake became badly polluted in the course of the 1950s and 1960s as waste water was led into the lake without being purified. All the vegetation in the lake died, the lake bed became muddy and the water was filled with algae, so that the birds disappeared. Even though the lake no longer receives as much waste water as before, the water is only clear for a depth of 20cm in the summer months, and it unfortunately looks as if many years will be needed before the nutrient pollution declines and the water quality improves.

The area around the lake is managed by ensuring that the water level in the lake and the reedbeds is as high as possible and by harvesting the reeds at regular intervals.

Birds:
Even though Gundsømagle Sø can no longer boast as many bird species as previously, it is still a good site for seeing some of the most common passerines and for getting close to the birdlife in the reeds. The best time to come is in spring and autumn.

Breeding birds:
Around 100 pairs of different species of passerines nest in the area. Wren, robin, blackbird, fieldfare, tits and chaffinches can be seen or heard. The old trees in the wood are left standing, and therefore have many cavities that are used for nesting by woodpeckers, tits and starlings. In the wood on the southern side of the lake, between the two observation towers, is a large rookery. A pair of tawny owls nest here, and kestrels use one of the nesting boxes that have been put up.

The reedbeds at Gundsømagle Sø are the largest in eastern Denmark. In the reedbeds and scrub there are breeding bittern, water rail, thrush nightingale, sedge warbler, reed warbler, marsh warbler and reed bunting. Bearded tit is another bird that can be spotted - especially from the boardwalk that goes out into the reedbeds. The tits sometimes appear in flocks of up to 30 birds, many of which are young birds that are fed by the adults. The marsh harrier can be seen gliding over the reeds from April to October.

Great crested grebe, mute swan, greylag goose, mallard and coot nest around the lake.

Migrating and staging birds:
Cormorant and grey heron can be seen foraging in the area throughout the year. Buzzard and pheasant are regular guests. In early spring, one can be lucky enough to see osprey over the lake.

In winter, large flocks of tufted duck can be seen on the lake, where they spend the daytime resting. At night they fly out onto the Roskilde Fjord to feed. Pochard and goldeneye can also be seen on the lake. Mallard, gadwall and widgeon are regular guests from August to April. Goosander and smew are often seen from the eastern observation tower. Whooper swan and greylag goose frequently stage on the lake. Hen harrier and rough-legged buzzard can be seen flying over the meadows and the reedbeds, and a new phenomena is the hen harriers' use of the reeds near the western tower as a night roost, where up to 10 birds have been observed.

Other animals:
On the eastern side of the Lilleskov wood there is a pile of stones that attracts grass snake. The stones can easily be seen from the boardwalk/path, but it is best to walk quietly, as otherwise the snakes will quickly disappear between the stones.

Roe deer, fox, badger and hare inhabit the reserve.

Visiting and access:
About halfway between Roskilde and Ølstykke on route 6, turn off east and drive through Gundsømagle to the village of Østrup at the eastern end of the lake. Coming from the south or the east, drive via Sengeløse, Veksø or Smørumovre. In Østrup a sign points to the car park at St. Valbyvej opposite the farm of Østrupgård. From here there is access to the lake.

It is also possible to reach the southern bank of the lake on a small farm track leaving a car park on the road between Kirkerup and Østrup.

There is no access into the reserve itself, except into the wood at Østrup and along the paths to the two observation towers south of the lake, from where there are good views over the lake, reedbeds and meadow. The towers are covered, and are joined by an 800m long boardwalk. In the reedbeds west of the western tower is a 300m long boardwalk. Here there are good possibilities of experiencing the birds and the wildlife in the reedbeds at close range.

The Bird Protection Foundation has published four folders about the area that can be picked up in the reserve.

 Grey heron. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen
  

Hellebæk

North coast of Zealand

One of the best known localities for both spring and autumn migration.
See Google map with look-out points, car park, etc. 

 
Cranes over Hellebæk. Photo: Axel Mortensen
 
Description:
Hellebæk is on the north coast of Zealand, around 15km east of Gilleleje. It lies between the forests of Teglstrup Hegn and Hammermølle Skov north-west of Helsingør. Inland from the coast, the landscape is hilly with mixed conifer and deciduous woodland (mostly beech), arable land and grassy fields, ponds, streams, and birch and alder scrub.
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
Greylag geese breed in Hellebæk Kohave, which is a meadow grazed by cattle. The geese can best be seen at the lake of Pernillesø, where there are also little grebe and red-necked grebe. With luck, one may see lesser spotted woodpecker in the alder scrub. Thrush nightingales can be heard throughout the spring and summer, and short-toed treecreepers are found in the old oak trees.

Migrating and staging birds:
It is the migrating birds that make this area a special one, especially raptors and cranes that can pass by in thousands. In autumn, the raptor migration is far greater than in spring (especially the numbers of buzzards) but the diversity of species in autumn is not so high. Honey buzzard, black kite, red kite, white-tailed eagle, marsh harrier, hen harrier, gosshawk, sparrowhawk, buzzard, rough-legged buzzard, osprey, kestrel, merlin, hobby and peregrine are seen regularly. Pallid harrier, golden eagle, lesser spotted eagle and spotted eagle are seen only in very small numbers. White stork is seen every year, but black stork is rare. Spring migration of crane is impressive: especially when the wind is coming from the east there can be days with over a thousand birds. Spring migration begins in March, when the first raptors to arrive are buzzards, followed by goshawk and red kite.

Cranes fly past the hills at the Avlsgård farm in their hundreds on spring afternoons with south-easterly and easterly winds. They are on their way from the island of Rügen off the north coast of Germany to Hornborgasjön in Sweden. On the best days, over 1000 cranes can be seen in one afternoon. Barnacle geese are mostly seen in April, and brent geese are particularly abundant at the end of May.

In autumn, honey buzzard migration starts at the end of August, but the best migration days are from the last week in September to the middle of October, when one can be lucky enough to see over 4000 buzzards in one day. White-tailed eagle is also seen every year in October. There is sometimes a good migration of divers, razorbills, guillemots, pigeons and crows over the sea.
 
Visiting and access:
Turn off motorway E47 at exit 3 towards Espergærde. Drive 5km further along route 213, turn right onto route 237 (Nordre Strandvej) and after about 1km turn into Bøssemagergade. After about 1½km turn right onto Hellebækvej to reach the farm of Hellebæk Avlsgård, where there are parking facilities.

There are several good sites in the area for observing migration, dependent on the season and wind direction.

Spring migration: the most popular observation site is the open hillside around Hellebæk Avlsgård. If the wind is strong and north-westerly it can be a good idea to stand on the coast near the castle of Kronborg.

Autumn migration: there are various places on the coast where there are good views of the raptors approaching land. This migration covers quite a broad front from Ålsgårde in the north to Kronborg in the south. In autumn, it is the wind direction that determines where the migration will be concentrated. As a general rule, the following sites are the best:
Julebæk in south-westerly winds / Højstrup beach in westerly and north-westerly winds / Kronborg in north-westerly and northerly winds / the coast at Hellebæk Gl. Klædefabrik (the old clothing factory) in southerly, south-easterly and easterly winds / the coast at Ålsgårde in south-easterly winds, especially if the wind is regular and strong / the hills at the Avlsgård are sometimes good if there is a really strong south-easterly wind.
 
 Red kite over Hellebæk. Photo: Axel Mortensen
 
 

Holmegaards Mose and surroundings

Southern Zealand

Zealand’s largest raised bog with many breeding waterbirds and marsh birds
See Google map with car parks etc.


Cuckoo (adult male). Photo: Helge Sørensen

Description:
Holmegaards Mose is the largest raised bog on the island of Zealand. 326ha of the area are under preservation orders, of which 40ha are raised bog. After the ice age, the whole area was a large, shallow lake, which gradually became overgrown with alder trees and bog moss. It took several thousand years to form the present raised bog. In 1825, the Holmegaard glassworks were built south of the bog and the peat was used as fuel until 1924. Peat digging continued for other purposes, however, until the 1950’s. Many of the peat trenches then filled up with water and became overgrown. Nitrogen pollution from farmland, systematic draining and intensive forestation and agriculture were, however, highly detrimental to the natural state of the area.

A large-scale EU LIFE project, which ran from 2010 to 2013, aimed at restoring part of the raised bog. The water level has been raised, a large 40ha area of trees has been cleared, and sheep have been put out to graze part of the area. 150ha of open bog have now been recreated. A management plan for the future, covering 2014-2021, aims at upholding the improvements and if possible carrying out further ones.

To the east of Holmegaard Mose is Porsmose, covering 4-500ha, in the southern part of which is a newly established lake, created in 2003, called Gødstrup Sø. The area was previously a bog that was used for peat digging in the 1800’s. Subsequent attempts to drain and cultivate the area had little success. Since the lake has been established, reedbeds have spread along most of its banks.

The Holmegaards Mose area also includes Broksø Enge, a low-lying area of meadows with some re-established ponds running alongside the Suså river between Porsmose and Broksø.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Breeding birds have a difficult time at Gødstrup Sø, as the water running into the lake is not regulated and sudden rises in water levels in the breeding season means that nests, eggs and young are lost. Despite protests from green organisations, the authorities have up to now insisted that the flooding should continue.

However, the rest of the area supports many breeding waterbirds: Holmegaards Mose houses red-necked grebe, mute swan, tufted duck, mallard, moorhen and coot, with bittern and water rail breeding in the reedbeds. There is a good chance of seeing one of the 2-3 cranes that nest in the area. Waders include lapwing and snipe. A more unusual breeding bird is lesser spotted woodpecker.

Every year, black-throated grebe and black-headed gull try to nest at Broksø Enge, together with various ducks, redshank, lapwing and snipe.

Many passerines can be observed in the area, including many willow warblers and chiffchaffs in the willow scrub. Cuckoo is heard throughout the summer months. The meadows and fields at Røde Bro house 3-4 pairs of whinchat together with marsh warbler and grasshopper warbler which are regular summer guests. There is also a chance of hearing corncrake from the bridge, where it is heard every year. Some years it can also be heard at Gødstrup Sø.

Several pairs of marsh harrier nest in the bog and forage her throughout the summer. The white-tailed eagles that breed in the vicinity can often be seen hunting over the meadows along the Suså and in Gødstrup Sø.

Migrating and staging birds:
Gødstrup Sø and Broksø Enge are the best places for observing migrating and staging birds.

In Gødstrup Sø, widgeon and greylag goose are seen in their hundreds every autumn, and bean goose, white-fronted goose and mute swan appear regularly in large numbers. Hen harrier is a common winter guest.

Broksø Enge and Porsmose are very important staging and foraging sites for whooper swan, geese and ducks, especially in late winter and early spring. Porsmose is one of Denmark’s most important staging localities for bean geese. The meadows also attract a good many raptors, including buzzard, rough-legged buzzard, hen harrier and kestrel. Great grey shrike is a regular winter guest.

Visiting and access:
One can approach Holmegaards Mose by various routes. One possibility is to drive to the village of Fensmark, north of Næstved, and continue out of the village on the Fensmark Skov road in the northern end of the village. One can park next to the wood (Fensmark Skov) just outside the village on the right-hand side of the road. From here one can walk through the wood on a trail marked with blue signs, until one reaches the open bog. By continuing along the path, one can walk all the way round the bog. It is also possible to drive out of Fensmark along the Holmegårdsvej (eastwards) and turn left along Rødebrovej just outside the village, after which one reaches a car park to the left. From here it is also possible to reach the bog.

By continuing further along the Rødebrovej one reaches a bridge (Røde Bro) over the Suså, where there is a small lay-by. At the time of writing access is barred by a chain, but it will probably be removed in the near future. From here there is a good view across the meadows.

It is difficult to access Broksø Enge, but the area can be viewed with a telescope from the roadside along Broksøvej.

It can be difficult to get a good view of the birds in Gødstrup Sø, but there is a good view over the lake and surrounding bog from the main road north of the village of Gødstrup. By following the road northwards and round a few bends, one can find a path following the railway line that leads down to Gødstrup Sø and Porsmose. About 1½km along the path is a little mound, from where there is a good view of the lake. A telescope is advisable here. One can also follow the northern and western sides of the lake by following Ravnstrupvej. From here one can look across the meadows at Porsmose, which can be interesting, but one cannot see much of Gødstrup Sø apart from a small portion of its northernmost end.


Bean geese. Photo: Helge Sørensen

 

Jægerspris Nordskov

Hornsherred, the peninsula between Roskilde Fjord and Isefjord

Several breeding raptors and red-backed shrike, hole-nesting species and common woodland birds
See Google map with car parks etc.

 
The Royal Oak. Photo: John Hansen 

Description:
Jægerspris Nordskov is one of Denmark’s large areas of forest. It covers 13km2 of the north-eastern area of the Hornsherred peninsula and is made up of four forests: Fællesskoven to the west, Studehaven to the east, and Kohaven and Slotshegnet to the south. They form a 10km long unbroken line of deciduous woodland stretching down the western side of Roskilde Fjord between Kulhuse in the north and Jægerspris in the south.

The Nordskov forest is situated on hilly ground with poor sandy soil. In some areas, sitka spruce, pine and birch are the commonest trees. Fællesskoven and Studehaven contain many small ponds and bogs in the area nearest the coast. The most famous giant oak trees in Denmark can be found here, too: “The Stork Oak” (Storkeegen) and “The Grass Snake Oak” (Snogegen) (both of them now dead) and “The Royal Oak” (Kongeegen) which is 1400-2000 years old but still alive. Nearby is Bredvig Mose, which is untouched woodland with alder, ash, oak and beech, and further west is the pretty lake of Kongens Lyng. In the southernmost part of Studehaven is Grønnelyng, an area with lakes which is unfortunately very much marked by the practice of feeding mallards for hunting purposes.

Kohaven is mainly deciduous woodland, with many beech trees, and Slotshegnet, being near a town, has many visitors. It forms part of the park around Jægerspris castle.

Between the forest and the fjord are wide expanses of meadow: the Nordskovsenge. On the most easterly point is the Dyrnæs jetty, which used to be a place of disembarkation for a former brick factory. Around the jetty is a large area with mudflats and shallow water. To the west of Nordskov are wide open areas used for military exercises. The little island of Øksneholm lies just off the coast at the southern end of the meadows.

The forest is owned by a foundation known as Kong Frederik d. VIIs Stiftelse på Jægerspris.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
In the forest, breeding birds include the commonest woodland birds to be found in northern Zealand, such as tree pipit, thrushes, long-tailed tit, marsh tit, coal tit, treecreeper and hawfinch. The many old trees attract cavity-nesting birds such as stock dove, black woodpecker, lesser spotted woodpecker, redstart, pied flycatcher and nuthatch. Wood warbler can be heard every year. Raven also breed in the woods. A number of raptors nest here: white-tailed eagle, honey buzzard, buzzard, goshawk and sparrowhawk. Nightjar is heard in the northern parts of the forest which also house breeding woodcock.

Red-backed shrike breed in the area and can be seen in the hedgerows and at the edge of the wood, in clearings in the forest and in bushes on the meadows.

Migrating and staging birds:

The meadows of Nordskovsenge and the shallow water and mudflats along the coast attract waders on spring and autumn passage. Ducks, geese and swans congregate out on the fjord.

White-tailed eagle is seen in the area throughout the year and osprey is often seen on migration in spring and autumn.

In winter, rough-legged buzzard, hen harrier and great grey shrike can be seen on the military exercise grounds to the west of the forest and on the meadows to the east. Small flocks of twite often forage on the meadows. Crossbill is a regular winter guest in the woodland.

Visiting and access:

Jægerspris is situated in the northern part of the Hornsherred peninsula and can be reached from route 53 between Frederikssund and Lyngerup. If coming from Frederikssund, turn right on route 207 just after crossing the bridge over Roskilde Fjord. If coming from the south, turn left onto Landerslevvej in the town of Lyngerup. There are parking facilities at Jægerspris castle, at Skoven church (north of Jægerspris on route 207) and at the end of Barakvej in Kulhuse. There is also a large car-park inside the military area at Louiseholm, which can be reached by turning off Kulhusvej onto Nygårdsvej. Please note that the road may be closed if military exercises are underway.

If using public transport, take bus 316 from Frederikssund in the direction of Kulhuse and get off at Jægerspris at Slotskroen (the “Castle Inn”, which is in fact no longer an inn) next to the castle; at Skoven church or at the Barakvej terminus. Bus 230R from Frederikssund is also a possibility, but it goes only as far as Jægerpris. Here one can get off at JAS, from where there is a 75m walk to Slotshegnet.

One can also get off at Vænget, walk down Vængetvej and turn right along the embankment towards the little harbour at Vænget, from where there is a fine view across to the island of Øksneholm.

Jægerpris Nordskov is a private forest with public access. It is permitted to walk or cycle on roads and paths in the forest during daylight. The paths are generally good. There are good handicap-friendly roads into the forest from the main car-parks, but the smaller paths can sometimes be more difficult to walk on. It can be an advantage to use the folders issued by the Kong Frederik d. VII’s Foundation, as they have maps covering the different parts of the forest. These can be purchased from the foundation’s internet shop (see link below). The foundation runs a children’s home at the castle, where there is also a museum that may be of interest.

The foundation has an English language website which can be downloaded here.

  
Red-backed shrike. Photo: Gerner Majlandt

 

Nivå Bugt coastal meadows

East coast of northern Zealand

Staging ducks and waders close to Copenhagen
See Google map with bird observation tower, car park, etc. 

 
Nivå Bugt coastal meadows. Photo: Lise Nielsen

Description:
The coastal meadows along the bay of Nivå Bugt are the only locality on the east coast of northern Zealand where there is an open landscape where waders and other waterbirds can stage and forage. Most of the area is coastal meadow, but south of the Nivå stream is a reedbed with several open stretches of water.

About 8ha of the area are a bird reserve, that has been managed by the Danish Bird Protection Foundation since 2008. At that time, the coastal meadow had not been grazed for many years and was therefore overgrown by reedbeds where a few bushes and trees had begun to grow. Since the Bird Protection Foundation took over the locality, the meadow has been cleared and cattle have been put out to keep the vegetation down.

The bar at the centre of the locality is the remains of a naval harbour that started to be built around 1755 but was never finished. Later on, the bar was incorporated into a shipping port for the bricks of the Nivaagård Teglværk and in October 1943 it was used as one of the ports of embarkment when most of the Jewish population of Denmark managed to escape to Sweden.
 
Birds:
Migrating and staging birds:
The coastal meadows are an important staging post all year round for migrating and wintering birds. In spring, waders can be seen, including oystercatcher, knot, curlew sandpiper, dunlin, bar-tailed godwit and common sandpiper. In spring, cranes can be observed on their way to breeding grounds in Sweden. At this period, raptor migration can also be observed. On some days, up to several hundred buzzards can be spotted flying northwards along the coast.

Kestrel can be seen over the meadows throughout the year. Both kestrel, buzzard and sparrowhawk nest in the nearby woods. Sandwich terns, arctic terns and common terns forage along the coast, and eiders congregate further out to sea. In late summer, waders can be seen on their migration south, together with arctic terns and common terns. In autumn, flocks of brent goose, wigeon and lapwing stop over in the area. Large flocks of wood pigeons are often seen on autumn migration.

Great crested grebe, cormorant, whooper swan, canada goose, shelduck, tufted duck and goldeneye frequent the area in winter. On the jetty and the bar, rock pipit can often be spotted. Fieldfares show up in large flocks. The reedbed at the bar is a good foraging site for snipe and jack snipe.

Throughout the year, the bar attracts flocks of cormorants, herring gulls and great black-backed gulls. Kingfisher is seen regularly and small flocks of bearded tit can be spotted over the reedbeds.

 
Visiting and access:
The reserve is east of the Strandvej at Nivå between Humlebæk and Rungsted. It is possible to park at the roadside on the Strandvej. There is also a train to Nivå station, from where a 1.5km walk through the park at Nivaagård takes one to Strandvej.

At the reserve there is an information board. A path leads out to the bar. A new bird observation tower was taken into use in 2010.

West of the reserve is the tileworks of Nivaagaard Teglværk, which is now no longer operating but houses the country’s best-preserved ring kiln, and south-west of this is the art gallery Nivaagaard Malerisamling.

Water rail. Photo: Helge Sørensen 

 

Præstø Fjord and Feddet

South-east Zealand

In the winter months, this area is an important staging post for swans and many other waterbirds and for many overwintering raptors. Feddet is also a good outlook point for observing spring and autumn migration.
See Google-map for car park, bird observation tower, etc.


Eider. Photo: Helge Sørensen

Description:
Feddet is a long peninsula dividing Præstø Fjord from the bay of Fakse Bugt. The peninsula consists of flintstone, sand and gravel, which has been eroded away from Stevns Klint to the north, transported along the coast by sea currents and deposited as beach ridges. On the eastern side of the peninsula a new beach ridge, Fedhagen, is becoming established. Feddet is partly covered with woodland, especially spruce and pine, but also birch and larch. A broad sandy beach along the whole of the eastern side is popular in summer. The south-easterly section is heath, which is a rare form of landscape in eastern Denmark. To the south, the peninsula is rounded off by coastal meadows and reedbeds, whilst the south-western section is cultivated land.

Præstø Fjord has brackish water. Only a small gap to the south connects the fjord with the bay of Fakse Bugt. Most of the fjord is over two metres deep, but south of Feddet the water is shallow. Here there are some low islands with coastal meadows: Lilleholm and Storeholm to the south-west of Feddet and Maderne to the south-east.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
The usual species of passerine nest in the woodland. Firecrest can be heard regularly. Red-backed shrike breeds in the open areas.

Lapwing, oystercatcher, redshank and goosander breed with a few pairs.

Migrating and staging birds:
Feddet is a good location for watching migrating birds. Many raptors are seen, both spring and autumn. Many species are represented, including honey buzzard, red kite, sparrowhawk, buzzard, rough-legged buzzard and a few osprey. Migrating geese are seen in good numbers, especially barnacle goose (in tens of thousands) and dark-bellied brent goose. Some years, large numbers of crane fly over the area in spring – in autumn their numbers are limited. Large flocks of wood pigeon mixed with a number of stock dove migrate over the area in autumn.

In autumn, too, arctic skua and long-tailed skua can be seen off the coast (although nearly only when the wind is blowing from the east), together with good numbers of little gull.

The area is a staging post both autumn and spring for many waders, especially lapwing, oystercatcher, dunlin, and a few avocet, redshank and ringed plover.

Feddet is an important staging post for ducks. The largest flocks appear in autumn and winter. Both dabbling ducks such as widgeon, teal and mallard, and diving ducks such as tufted duck, scaup, eider, goldeneye and red-breasted merganser are the most numerous species. Small flocks of long-tailed duck and smew are also seen. The birds can be spotted off the south-easterly point especially, but large flocks can also be seen further out to sea. Divers can be seen flying past or in flocks on the water, and great crested grebe and often Scandinavian grebe stage here.

In autumn and winter, Feddet, Maderne and the fjord offer shelter for geese and swans, including white-fronted goose, greylag goose, canada goose and large flocks of barnacle goose and mute swans in their thousands and smaller flocks of whooper swan. The geese feed on the coastal meadows and on the fields in the south-western section of Feddet especially, and gather on the fjord. Some years, large flocks of coot – sometimes thousands of birds – can be seen.

Several species of raptor forage over the coastal meadows and fields on Feddet. Sparrowhawk, buzzard and kestrel can be seen throughout the year, and in winter hen harrier and rough-legged buzzard appear. White-tailed eagle is seen all year round and peregrine is a regular guest.

In the woods on Feddet, the usual woodland birds can be found. In winter one can be lucky enough to see black woodpecker in the wood, great grey shrike on the more open areas or shore lark and snow bunting along the coast.

Now and again rarities are spotted: for example pectoral sandpiper (2012), red-throated pipit (2012 and 2013), hoopoe (2013), greenish warbler (2013), pallid harrier (2013 and 2014) and yellow-browed warbler (2014).

Visiting and access:
Feddet is privately-owned property belonging to the Strandegård estate, but it is permitted to walk along the coast, on the areas that are not enclosed, and on the paths through the woodland.

From route 209 between Fakse and Præstø, turn along Lindersvoldvej. 3km further on, turn right onto Fedvej, and after a few kilometers a large car park is visible. From here, one can walk south along the coast or through the wood.

There is a bird observation tower at the southern end of the peninsula on the border between the cultivated land and the wood. From here there is a good view across the fields and the meadows to the south.

North of Feddet is the protected deer park Strandegård Dyrehave with old oak trees and beech trees, that is also worth a visit.


Firecrest. Photo: Helge Sørensen

 

Ravnstrup Sø

Southern Zealand, south-east of Glumsø

Birdsong in springtime.
See Google map with bird observation towers, car park, etc.

Ravnstrup Sø. Photo: Bird Protection Foundation 

Description:
Ravnstrup Sø is a nutrient-rich lake surrounded by reedbeds, meadow, willow scrub and old deciduous woodland, in the middle of intensively cultivated farmland. Since the Danish Bird Protection Foundation acquired the area in 1983, it has been re-established as a nature area: the level of the water in the lake has been raised and a large area with reedbeds and willow scrub has been cleared. The meadow north of the lake is cut down for hay every year, and the neighbouring area is grazed by sheep.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
A large number of passerines nest at Ravnstrup Sø, including wren, robin, thrush nightingale, song thrush, marsh warbler, reed warbler and reed bunting. Birdsong reaches its peak in the morning and evenings in May/June. Red-necked grebe, mute swan, greylag goose, water rail and coot nest around the lake, and now and again marsh harrier. The small woods on the western bank of the lake are home to tawny owl, jackdaw and sometimes stock dove.

Kingfisher can be seen throughout the year and nesting boxes have now been erected in the hope that this will make it easier for the kingfisher to breed here. It is also hoped that bittern will establish itself in the reedbeds – it has been seen and heard during the last few years but has probably not yet bred here.

Migrating and staging birds:
At the end of summer, the area is relatively quiet, but in autumn, flocks of fieldfare and redwing turn up, visiting the berry bushes and the old apple trees in the area, and roosting for the night in the willow scrub. Osprey is also a regular guest. In winter, a few tufted duck and now and again goldeneye and goosander can be seen. Buzzard is regular throughout the winter. In February, the locality is often visited by different species of geese in quite appreciable numbers (several hundreds).

Visiting and access:
From route 14 between Næstved and Ringsted, turn off towards Glumsø at the Herlufmaglehallen. After about 2km (the second road after the railway bridge) turn left along Ålehusvej towards Trælløse/Skelby. The entrance to the car park is at the first turning in the road.

From the car park there is a 1.5km long path along the western boundary of the reserve. This leads to a bird observation tower and a hide right down by the lakeside. From both places there is a view of the lake and the reedbeds. The reserve has a shelter that can be used day and night, a nature centre and a toilet. There are also two bonfire sites.


Wren. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen  
 

The Rørvig peninsula

North-west Zealand, between the Isefjord and the Kattegat, near the town of Nykøbing

An impressive spring migration of passerines and raptors at Korshage. Breeding and staging waterbirds at Hovvig.
See Google map with look-out points, bird observation towers, car parks, etc. 

 Rough-legged buzzard. Photo: Louis A. Hansen

Description:
The Rørvig peninsula has an attractive and varied landscape and consists of rolling fields, heath, dry meadows and plantations, with some small lakes and patches of wetland. The marine foreland is dominated by beach ridges. At the end of the stone age, 6000 years ago, the sea level was more than 4m above the present level and the area was divided into a number of islands. Since then, the land has risen and the areas between the islands have become dry land. This former seabed has now been taken over by large agglomerations of holiday bungalows, with the plantation known as Rørvig Sandflugtsplantage to the north. The plantation was established in the mid-19th century to stop the shifting sands, which had been a problem here since the 16th century.

Between Nykøbing and Nakke is Hovvig, which is a large wetland area surrounded by reedbeds, meadows and small woodlands. Hovvig was cut off from the Isefjord by a dyke around 1870 and it was intended to drain the area for cultivation. However, the dyke was burst by a storm in 1902 and Hovvig was flooded. The dyke was rebuilt, but drainage was discontinued and the area was used for hunting, fishing, reed harvesting and grazing. It is now a nature reserve and a good birding spot. East of Hovvig, the area known as Slettemose has been re-established to create an open landscape.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Red-backed shrike breed on the open areas at Korshage.

Hovvig is a good breeding site for waterbirds. Breeding birds include little grebe, great crested grebe, red-necked grebe, mute swan, greylag goose, shelduck, mallard, shoveler, pochard and tufted duck. In addition, there are breeding water rail, coot, lapwing and snipe. Thrush nightingale, sedge warbler and reed warbler nest in the thickets and reedbeds. Bearded tit and penduline tit have bred here with a few pairs. There is a fair-sized cormorant colony in the trees at the north-western boundary of the reserve.

Migrating and staging birds:
Korshage is best known for its spring migration, especially with winds from the east and south-east. However, in autumn there is a chance of seeing many species of seabirds which are driven into the Kattegat during the autumn storms, for example fulmar, shearwaters, gannets and skuas.

A large number of different bird species fly out over Korshage on spring migration. Many raptors are seen, for example honey buzzard, red kite, white-tailed eagle, marsh harrier, hen harrier, goshawk, sparrowhawk, buzzard, rough-legged buzzard, osprey, kestrel, merlin and hobby. Cranes also pass overhead. Nearly 1000 have been seen on a single day. Some bird species migrate in enormous concentrations, for example pigeons: numbers of up to 15,000 wood pigeons per day are not unusual. Some stock doves can be seen in the flocks. Crows and thrushes are also seen in large numbers, and chaffinches and bramblings can form large flocks. Other migrating birds include short-eared owl, different species of pipits, yellow wagtail and ring ouzel. Wryneck can be spotted staging here under migration. Along the coast, geese and various dabbling ducks and diving ducks fly past.

Hovvig is an important staging area for many ducks and waders. Among the various species of dabbling and diving ducks seen here, goldeneye deserves special mention, as this species can appear in large numbers. Smew, red-breasted merganser and goosander are seen regularly, as are also mute swan, whooper swan, greylag goose and canada goose. Several species of raptors stage in the area around Hovvig. Osprey is fairly common in spring, and at certain periods is seen almost daily at Hovvig. White-tailed eagle shows up regularly and hen harrier forages here in the winter months. In winter, too, great grey shrike can often be spotted in the surrounding thickets.

Detailed reports about birdlife on the Rørvig peninsula (in Danish) are published each year by Rørvig Fuglestation, which is a local organization. Its website can be downloaded here.

Visiting and access:
The Rørvig peninsula can be reached from the town of Nykøbing on Zealand. Korshage can be reached by driving to the village of Rørvig and following signs to Korshage (driving along Nørrevangsvej and Korshagevej). After nearly 4½km, where the road bends sharply, there is a car-park, from where one can walk along the coast out to the tip of the peninsula. The best observation spot is around 2-300m south of the tip.

To reach Hovvig, one can turn south from the Nykøbing-Rørvig road in the direction of Nakke. At the T-junction in Nakke, one turns first right and then left and continues southwards along Nakke Vestvej. After nearly 1km, Hovvigvej turns off right. At the end of the road is a small car-park. From here one can continue on foot to reach Hovvig. Just inside the reserve boundary is a large bird observation tower with a view over the whole reserve. A little further on along the embankment is an old boathouse that has been fitted out with picnic tables.

It is a good idea to use the Nature Agency’s folder about Hovvig, which has a good map. It can be downloaded here. The map also shows some other interesting spots, such as the area around Slettemosegård, and the observation tower at the northern end of Hovvig. There is also a folder with a map about the Rørvig Sandflugtsplantage, which can be downloaded here.

Hovvig is a nature reserve with certain restrictions concerning access. It is not permitted to go out onto the meadows, the reedbeds or the outer dyke. However, one can get quite close to the birds from the road crossing the reserve and there are good views from both observation towers.

 
Fulmar. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen

 

Selsø Sø

Hornsherred, Zealand

One of Zealand’s lakes with the most abundant birdlife
See Google map with car-parks etc.


Selsø Sø. Photo: Pelle Andersen-Harild

Description:
The lake of Selsø Sø is around 12km south of Frederikssund and was originally a shallow stretch of Roskilde Fjord. In the 17th century, an embankment was built across the fjord, creating Selsø Sø. In the 19th century attempts were made to drain the lake with a view to cultivating the land, but the projects failed and the area became partly overgrown with reedbeds. In 1967 the northernmost part of the lake was cut off by an embankment and the area was drained by pumping, but 30 years later the area was re-established. Today Selsø Sø is a shallow lake surrounded by reed bogs and meadows grazed by cattle. It covers an area of around 90ha and has a maximum depth of 2m. The lake and its surrounds are preserved and access is forbidden.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
The area houses red-necked grebe and great crested grebe, mute swan, greylag goose and a good many species of duck, namely shelduck, gadwall, mallard, shoveler, garganey, pochard and tufted duck. In addition, coot, moorhen and water rail breed. There is a colony of black-headed gulls numbering around 600 pairs and around 20 pairs of avocets and a similar number of common terns. Mediterranean gull has been seen in the summer months but does not breed here.

Around 400 pairs of cormorant breed at the lake – partly in colonies on the eastern side of the lake, and partly in small groups in trees around the lake. On the meadows bordering the lake, lapwing, ringed plover, snipe and redshank can be seen. A pair of marsh harrier has settled at the lake.

Other breeding birds include cuckoo, yellow wagtail, thrush nightingale, sedge warbler, marsh warbler, reed warbler, bearded tit and reed bunting.

Migrating and staging birds:
Outside the breeding season, birdlife is still abundant. Ducks, especially, appear in large numbers throughout the year. Mallard gather in flocks of thousands, but there are also many wigeon, gadwall, teal, shoveler, pochard and goldeneye, sometimes in hundreds. Great crested grebe, cormorant, grey heron, mute swan and coot can also be seen. In the winter many thousands of tufted duck stage on the lake during the daytime. Around an hour after sunset they fly out to Roskilde Fjord to forage, returning to the lake an hour before sunrise. Selsø Sø is an important moulting locality for greylag geese. In May-June they lose their flight feathers and cannot fly for several weeks. There are greylag geese on the lake all year round. In summer and up to mid-September there are mostly geese from eastern Denmark. Later, geese from Sweden and Norway turn up. Up to a few thousand can be seen on the lake and the surrounding fields. Since the beginning of the 2010's, barnacle geese have been showing up in larger and larger flocks, and white-fronted geese have also started to appear in their hundreds in the spring.

Many waders can be seen, especially in late summer and at the beginning of autumn. Lapwing is the most frequent visitor, but wood sandpiper, ruff, common sandpiper, spotted redshank and greenshank are also numerous. 

In winter, whooper swan can be seen, and smew and goosander if the lake is free of ice.

White-tailed eagles are seen regularly – mostly the pair that nests in the vicinity. Osprey appears during migration in April and August-September. Red kite and peregrine falcon are seen regularly. In autumn there can be a good raptor migration if there are easterly winds.

Visiting and access:
Skibby can be reached from the main 53 road joining Frederikssund with the Roskilde motorway. In a roundabout in Skibby, turn off onto Selsøvej towards Sønderby. After 1.7km one reaches a T-junction and the lake comes into view. The lake and meadows can be viewed from the road leading round the lake, but there are several places where one can park and enjoy a fine view of the lake. By driving northwards from the T-junction through Manderup and then to the right along Ventevej one reaches a dirt track on the right-hand side, where the road turns left. The dirt track leads to a car park to the north of the lake. From the T-junction, one can also turn south to reach a car park at the southern end of the lake at Møllekrog. From the car park, walk a few hundred metres east along the road to reach a footpath on the left-hand side of the road. The path leads to a bird observation tower with a good view over most of the lake. By continuing along the road one reaches Selsø church, where one can park and view the lake from the hill just north of the church.

Other sights:
From the car park at Møllekrog there is a fine view over Roskilde Fjord. A path leads along the fjord to Skrivernæbbet. From here, one can see large flocks of goldeneye, coot and mute swan in winter. The manor house of Selsø Slot is just east of the lake and is open in the summer months. Selsø church was originally a round church. Its present appearance dates from around 1100 AD. On the field north of the church and just east of Teglværksvej, an archaeological excavation carried out in 1994 revealed a large number of pit houses built between 700-1000 AD. It is believed that the locality was a natural harbour where viking ships could lay at anchor, when they were not needed elsewhere. In Selsø they were sheltered and well hidden.


Cormorant colony. Photo: Pelle Andersen-Harild

 

Stevns Klint

East coast of southern Zealand

Zealand’s best locality for raptor migration in autumn
See Google map with look-out points, car parks, etc. 

 
The lighthouse at Stevns Klint

Description:
Stevns Klint is a long chalk cliff on south-east Zealand - 20 km long and up to 40 m high - stretching from Holtug in the north to Rødvig in the south. Along most of the stretch, farmland reaches right out to the cliff, mostly with bushes and scrub along its edge, or trees where there are buildings. There are abandoned chalk quarries at Holtug and Boesdal, and an active chalk quarry – Stevns Kridtbrud – situated at Mandehoved.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Stevns Klint is well known as one of the few sites in Denmark where there are breeding peregrines. They have nested here since 2008. The pair have raised 2-4 young every year.

House martins and sand martins also breed along the cliffs.

Migrating and staging birds:
Stevns Klint is only 25 km from Falsterbo at the southermost point of Sweden, where autumn migration is impressive. Many of the migrating birds find their way to the Danish coast at Stevns, which makes it a hotspot for watching autumn migration. Raptor migration is especially thrilling and a large number of birds are seen. Honey buzzard, buzzard and sparrowhawk can appear in large numbers. Fair numbers of red kite, marsh harrier, hen harrier, rough-legged buzzard, osprey, kestrel and merlin are spotted. Species that turn up each year, but only in small numbers, are black kite, white-tailed eagle, pallid harrier, Montagu’s harrier, goshawk, hobby and peregrine.

Very rare guests that turn up infrequently are short-toed eagle, long-legged buzzard, spotted eagle, lesser spotted eagle, steppe eagle, imperial eagle, golden eagle, booted eagle, Eleonora’s falcon, red-footed falcon and gyr falcon.

Visiting and access:
The area can be accessed by several minor roads leading east off  routes 261 or 154 or the town of Store Heddinge. A path follows the top of the cliff from Bøgeskovhavn in the north to Rødvighavn in the south. There are seven places where one can come out to the coast:

1) Bøgeskov Harbour. Here there is a car park and a view along the cliff from the beach or the harbour jetty.
2) Holtug Kridtbrud (in the north) is a chalk quarry that is now abandoned. There are a few interesting dunes and water-holes. Several rare chalky soil plants thrive here. In early summer the water-holes teem with thousands of common newt (Triturus vulgaris). To get here, drive from Holtug towards the coast along Holtug Linievej and follow signs to Holtug Kridtbrud.
3) Mandehoved / Flagbanken is the best site for watching raptors on autumn migration. Patches of woodland and hedgerows here attract passerines. There are excellent views out over the sea towards Falsterbo from the cliff near the nature centre.
4) Stevns Kridtbrud is a working chalk quarry south of Mandehoved. It can be viewed from the road (Hærvejen) west of the quarry or from Mandehoved (follow the path going south from Flagbanken).
5) Stevns lighthouse is surrounded by wood and hedgerows providing suitable breeding and staging sites for passerines. Scarlet rosefinch has bred here previously and can possibly still be seen. In a few places there are fair views out over the sea. To get here, drive northwards from the village of Højerup. After 2 km, turn right for the lighthouse.
6) Højerup is a popular target for tourists. Serins were seen here in 2007. From the car park it is possible to walk to the cliffs and down to the beach along a public foot path. One can follow a path northwards through the little wood of Højeruplund to the look-out point called Bråten, where there is a splendid view of the cliff with the old church perched right on the edge.
7) Boesdal Kalkbrud and Korsnæb is an abandoned chalk quarry, situated between Højerup and Rødvig. There is a car park at the entrance to the quarry. There are good possibilities of seeing wheatear here.


Sparrowhawk. Photo: Albert Steen-Hansen 
 

Stigsnæs

The most south-westerly point of Zealand, south-west of Skælskør

One of Denmark’s best localities for autumn migration of raptors. The best locality on Zealand for autumn migration of pigeons and passerines
See Google map with car parks, etc.

 
Young honey buzzard. Photo: Helge Sørensen

Description:
Stigsnæs is a promontory mostly covered by deciduous woodland. Along its northern border there is a small area of reedbed and coastal meadows. There is a narrow beach along the coast.

Migrating and staging birds:
The area around Stigsnæs is of international importance as a migration locality. Migration can be watched from the middle of August onwards, and does not ebb out until the beginning of November. The biggest numbers of migrating birds are seen in south-easterly winds.

Passerines start migrating as early as mid-August. Yellow wagtails and tree pipits are the first to show up, and later on come chaffinches and bramblings (sometimes in large flocks), meadow pipits, thrushes, tits, starlings, crossbills and reed buntings. In October and November, large flocks of pigeons fly over the area. Crows, rooks and jackdaws also migrate in large flocks, sometimes with several thousand birds on one day.

Brent geese and barnacle geese can be seen flying off the coast.

The largest migration of raptors in Denmark can be seen over Stigsnæs. Honey buzzard is the first raptor to head south. This happens at the end of August, when marsh harrier, osprey and several species of falcon also start to migrate. In September and October it is the turn of red kite, marsh harrier, hen harrier, goshawk, sparrowhawk, buzzard, kestrel, red-footed falcon, merlin and hobby. Now and again, white-tailed eagle and peregrine are spotted. Sometimes rarities show up - in 2014, for example, pallid harrier, yellow-browed warbler and red-breasted flycatcher.

Visiting and access:
From Skelskør, follow signs to Stigsnæs. It is possible to park at the ferry harbour, where there is a large car park. From here one can follow a path northwards along the beach, from where one can observe the migration.

 
Hen harrier. Photo: Helge Sørensen

 

Tissø

West Zealand, 15km south-east of Kalundborg

Breeding avocets and little terns. Important staging area for geese and ducks and for wintering whooper swan and Bewick’s swan.
See Google map with look-out points, car parks, etc.

 


Tissø
 
Description:
Tissø is Denmark’s fourth largest lake (12.3km2) and has a relatively level bed with a depth of up to 14m. The lake lies in a so-called kettle-hole, created when the ice cap withdrew after the last ice age, isolating a huge lump of ice, which later melted. It is characterized by significant changes in water levels: the wide meadows and reedbeds are often water-logged in spring and dry out in summer. In late summer and in autumn the water-level is sometimes so low that sand and pebble banks are revealed. East of Tissø there are dry grassy slopes with interesting vegetation and a little wood with deciduous trees.
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
Tissø is especially interesting because it is a breeding site for avocet and little tern, which normally breed in coastal habitats. Both species nest together with common tern on the bird islands in the south-easterly part of the lake.
Other birds that nest round the lake are mute swan, greylag goose, marsh harrier, coot, ringed plover and yellow wagtail.

Migrating and staging birds:
In autumn the area houses a fair number of waders, including ruff and lapwing. Osprey is seen both spring and autumn.

In winter, Tissø is an important staging area for waterbirds, and great crested grebe, gadwall, teal, mallard (often in large numbers), shoveler, pochard, tufted duck and goldeneye are seen. The lake and the surrounding fields are a very important winter locality for geese, especially bean goose, greylag goose and canada goose. White-fronted goose and barnacle goose are seen regularly but in smaller numbers. Mute swan, whooper swan and Bewick’s swan stage in fair numbers. Other staging birds include shelduck, smew, goosander and coot.

Two pairs of white-tailed eagle nest in the vicinity and are often seen over the lake. Other raptors that are seen regularly include buzzard, red kite and peregrine. Large numbers of red kite have recently started to spend the winter around the lake and can often be seen going to roost east of the lake. 80 birds have been observed at one time.
 
Visiting and access:
The road connecting Svebølle in the north and Høng in the south passes the eastern end of Tissø. There is a bus to the lake from both Kalundborg and Slagelse.

There are good views of the lake from the public roads around it, but the lake and its banks are not accessible. There is a particularly good view of the lake from the road passing along its eastern end. To obtain a view over the south bank, one can turn off the above-mentioned road towards Hallenslev, opposite the church at Sæby. 300m along the road going west from the church is a car park with a bird sign. On the road after Hallenslev one passes the stream of Bøstrup Å. The birdlife on the meadows around the stream can be observed both from the road and from a car park next to the stream.


Little tern. Photo: Helge Sørensen
 

Tisvilde Hegn and Melby Overdrev

North Zealand

Old woodland and dry grasslands with many nesting birds
See Google map with car parks etc.


Wryneck. Photo: Axel Mortensen

Description:
Tisvilde Hegn lies north-east of Frederiksværk between the Arresø lake and the coast of northern Zealand. Together with Asserbo Plantage, Liseleje Plantage and Melby Overdrev, it stretches along 9km of the Kattegat coast. The woodland consists mainly of pine and spruce, planted to prevent shifting sands. Planting began around 1800. Dotted among the large stretches of conifers on the sandy soil are smaller patches of deciduous woodland, mainly oak and beech, which thrive on loose, soft earth. The trees are allowed to grow to a very great age and one can therefore see some magnificent old spruce and pine trees, whilst the woodland floor is very special with its covering of moss.

Between the plantations is the dry grassland of Melby Overdrev, which is Zealand’s largest heath, covering 145ha. It is dominated by grass and heather with a few scattered trees. The area is managed to prevent it becoming overgrown. It is home to many uncommon plants, butterflies and other insects, not counting the locally rare breeding bird species. Until a few years ago, the grassland was a military training ground, but is now open to the public and is a popular place for outings.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Tilsvilde Hegn is a good locality for hole-nesting species thanks to the many old trees. It is therefore possible to spot stock dove, tawny owl, black woodpecker, great spotted woodpecker and lesser spotted woodpecker here. Other bird species are woodcock, long-eared owl and nightjar. All the common bird species can be found in the woodland and, in addition, rather more uncommon species such as woodlark, mistle thrush, wood warbler, short-toed treecreeper, red-backed shrike, redpoll, crossbill and hawfinch. Firecrest has been heard on several occasions. Several species of raptor nest in the woodland. Buzzard is the most common, but there are also honey buzzard, sparrowhawk and goshawk.

Melby Overdrev and the surrounding conifer forest house various species of bird which are otherwise uncommon on Zealand, for example nightjar, woodlark and stonechat. In addition, kestrel, whinchat and red-backed shrike nest on the grasslands. Wryneck was spotted in the area for several years before it bred here for the first time in 2014 – in a nesting box –with 8 young successfully fledged.

Migrating and staging birds:
In winter, it is often possible to spot twite and occasionally lapland bunting and shore lark on Melby Overdrev. Great grey shrike is a regular guest. Flocks of crossbills and smaller numbers of parrot crossbills fly across the open areas. From the coast bordering Tisvilde Hegn and Melby Overdrev one can look across the sea, where various diving ducks such as eider, common scoter and velvet scoter can be spotted, and now and again gannet, auks and several other seabirds. The rare american scoter has been seen every winter for the past five years off the coast at Melby Overdrev.

Visiting and Access:
Tisvilde Hegn borders the coast north east of Frederiksværk. There are several routes by which one can reach the area. One possibility is to drive to the village of Tisvilde along route 267 from Helsinge. In the village, drive along Tisvildevej in the direction of Tisvildeleje. After about 3km the road ends in a large car park next to the beach. One can also take route 205 between Frederiksværk and Helsinge and turn north along Bisp Absalonsvej to the Slotsruinen (castle ruins) where there is a car park.

To get to Melby Overdrev, one can drive to Asserbo (between Frederiksværk and Liseleje) and turn east along Nyvej towards Helsinge. After 2km there is a car park on the left-hand side, from where a path leads through the wood and down to the beach. It is not allowed to drive a car along this road between 23.00h and 05.00h. At a roundabout around 1km further on, one can either drive straight ahead to a car park at the beach, or drive right to a car park at Stængehus. It is not allowed to park at the roadside. From the first car park it is easy to gain access to Melby Overdrev, where one can follow the roads and paths. The second car park is a good place to set out for Asserbo Plantage (to the south) or Tisvilde Hegn (to the north).

It is recommended to use the Nature Agency’s folder “Tisvilde Hegn” which shows the many paths and other facilities in the area – both Tisvilde Hegn and Melby Overdrev. It can be downloaded here (click on "Download vandretursfolderen"). 


Red-backed shrike with large marsh grasshopper. Photo: Axel Mortensen

 

Tystrup-Bavelse Lakes

Mid-Zealand, south of Sorø, north-west of Næstved

The lakes and their surroundings are important wintering sites for large concentrations of geese and ducks, and are of international importance for tufted duck, bean goose and whooper swan. Many raptors winter here too, for example white-tailed eagle and golden eagle.
See Google map with look-out points, car parks, etc. 


View across Bavelse Sø from Bavnen. Photo: Henrik Wejdling

Description:
In the middle of the Sorø-Slagelse-Næstved triangle is some of the most beautiful scenery in Zealands - Tystrup Sø and Bavelse Sø. The two lakes lie in a sub-glacial stream trench formed during the last ice age. The largest river on Zealand, the Suså, runs through the lakes. Tystrup Sø has a maximum depth of 23m, whilst Bavelse Sø is 8.8m deep. As the lakes are so deep, and as many springs rise from the lake beds, the water takes a long time to freeze over in winter. The openings in the ice benefit waterfowl.

In several places along the lake banks there are areas of shallow water, and in some places there are reedbeds. Midway along the lake system are some small, flat islets surrounded by reedbeds, called Vinstrup Holme. The lakes are surrounded by a hilly moraine landscape with arable land and woodland (Kellerød Skov, Frederikskilde Skov, Suserup Skov, Næsbyholm Storskov and Borup Ris/Gunderslevholm Dyrehave). Tystrup Sø is cut off from the much smaller Bavelse Sø by a tongue of land, Rejnstrup Holme, which to the north is traversed by a narrow channel where canoes pass in summer, resulting in disturbances to the birdlife.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
The woods, meadows and fields round the lakes offer a variety of birdlife all year round. The commoner passerines breed in the woods, which also house breeding raptors and owls. Suserup Skov is a wood with many hollow trees, which are ideal for nesting woodpeckers, nuthatch, stock dove and pied flycatcher. Along the lake banks there are nesting grebes, ducks and various reedbed birds, including marsh harrier. Various waders breed here, including oystercatcher and redshank.

Red-backed shrike nest in the area around Hørhaven amongst brambles, hawthorn and sloe bushes. Mallard, greylag goose and coot breed at Tamosen.

Red kite and raven have become more numerous and have established themselves in the nearby woodlands.

Migrating and staging birds:
The winter months, especially, offer a rich birdlife at the lakes. Many birds arrive from northern Scandinavia to stop off here: smew, goosander and whooper swan. Autumn and winter also see the arrival of large flocks of ducks: tufted duck predominate in number (up to 15,000) and there are also large flocks of mallard, as well as smaller populations of goldeneye, pochard and teal. At Tamosen, at the northern end of Tystrup Sø, both shelduck, shoveler and now and again garganey can be seen.

Great grey shrike can often be spotted in the winter months sitting on the top of a bush or little tree.

Geese also arrive in winter. Bean geese dominate in numbers. Occasionally, pink-footed, white-fronted. canada and barnacle geese are observed. The geese fly to and from their night roost on the lakes, especially at Bavelse, or graze on the fields, chiefly at Gunderslevholm. Greylag geese are seen in the area all year round.

Passerines such as tits, finches, woodpeckers, treecreepers and crossbills can be found in the woods in the autumn and winter months. Kingfisher is observed throughout the year along the Suså and at Tamosen. 

The lakes attract raptors such as buzzard, rough-legged buzzard, goshawk and hen harrier. There are good chances of seeing white-tailed eagle and golden eagle (the latter only in the winter month) from Hørhaven. It is not unusual to see osprey, marsh harrier, honey buzzard and peregrine.

Visiting and access:
Route A157 between Sorø and Skælskør passes the northern end of Tystrup Sø. There are several lay-bys and car parks around the lakes. Paths lead down to the lakes, especially on their northern sides. It is permitted to walk on the roads in the private woods, unless signs indicate the opposite. The woods can be closed due to hunting or forestry work. The “Adgang forbudt” (Admission prohibited) sign at Bavelse estate applies only to the estate buildings, not the road along Bavelse Sø.

At the northern end of Tystrup Sø is Kongskilde Friluftsgård, offering outdoor and nature activities. There is a youth hostel and a restaurant. At the nearby lakeside at Frederikskilde Skov is a bathing beach with tables, benches and grill facilities, and to the north in the wood is a basic camp site for canoeists.

There are four good spots for bird-watching:
1) From the car park at the farm of Suserup Gård (Suserupvej 14, opposite Sorø Golf Club), a marked path (yellow trail) leads to a bird hide at the bog of Tamose. Swans, many species of ducks, raptors, waders, pigeons, owls, kingfishers, woodpeckers and many species of warblers are seen/heard here. The trail continues to where the Suså runs into Tystrup Sø. There are good views over Næsbyholm Storskov and Broby Vesterskov. There are tables and benches on the way.
2) From the car park at the Kongskilde nature centre, follow the yellow trail past the water mill and Møllesø to the bank of Tystrup Sø, from where one can keep a look out for the large raptors. There is also a car park at the edge of Frederikskilde Skov, where the distance to the lake is shorter.
3) Hørhaven on the west side of Tystrup Sø can be reached by driving eastwards from the village of Vinstrup. There is a car park near the end of the gravel road, from where there is access to the hill of Bavnen (55m high), from where there are fine views over both lakes and a chance to spot the large raptors. There is also a yellow trail in the area. At certain periods there are grazing cattle. Hørhavegård (bed & breakfast/little café) are close to the car park. 
4) From the car park at the church at Bavelse, a path leads along Bavelse Sø (go round the back of the buildings) with views over the lake and the reedbeds at Rejnstrup Holme. It is also possible to take a longer walk in Næsbyholm Storskov, which is an interesting and hilly landscape. 

It may be useful to acquire the Nature Agency's leaflet covering the northern end of Tystrup Sø and the area around Hørhaven which can be downloaded here.


Red-backed shrike. Photo: Henrik Baark 

 

Utterslev Mose

Copenhagen

Popular locality for bird-watching only 7km from the centre of Copenhagen. Semi-tame greylag geese and a large colony of black-headed gulls.
See Google map


Utterslev Mose. Photo: Joy Klein 

Description:
Utterslev Mose is situated in the north-west area of outer Copenhagen between the suburbs Gladsaxe, Søborg, Bispebjerg and Brønshøj. Before Copenhagen became a big city, the area was a bog with large reedbeds. Today the bog comprises three lakes with some reedbed and several islets. Large lawns surround the lakes and give the area a park-like appearance. The water in the three lakes is very much polluted. In 1998 a “green sewage plant” was put into use in an attempt to improve water quality.

Birds:
Breeding birds:

The most characteristic birds of Utterslev Mose are the greylag geese. Although they are usually shy, they have become half tame here and can be seen close to. Some of them are even tame enough to be fed by hand. The geese arrive at the bog around March and start breeding soon after. The number of breeding pairs varies, but seems to have exploded the last few years and there are now probably around 250 pairs, with varying success from year to year. Previously, the goose families could be seen until August, when they again flew south, but gradually more and more have started to stay on, and there can be around 200 birds here in the winter months.

Another characteristic bird here is the black-headed gull, which nests on the islets in the lakes. Many years ago the colony was the biggest in Europe with 20,000 pairs, but numbers have now dropped to around 1000 pairs.

Other breeding birds are great crested grebe, mute swan, mallard, coot, moorhen, and in some years tufted duck. Reed warbler and bearded tit nest in the reedbeds and blackcap, thrush nightingale, willow warbler, chiffchaff and short-toed treecreeper (3-5 pairs) in the park area. Buzzard has nested here every year for the last 5-6 years. A pair of marsh harriers have nested here since 2001, although not in 2012 and 2013, probably due to disturbance. Kingfisher has been seen for some years during the breeding season and in 2012 was seen with young, but there is probably no stable breeding population.

Migrating and staging birds:
A new species for Utterslev Mose is caspian terne, which breeds on Saltholm and flies for long distances when foraging. In 2014, up to 7 birds were seen fishing in the western end of the lake in the first week in September.

Raptors can be seen passing overhead from the end of August until into October.

In winter, goosander, mute swan, and occasionally whooper swan are seen. Many ducks winter here, including shoveler, goldeneye and tufted duck. Even in cold winters, the part of the lake adjacent to Grønnemose Allé is usually free of ice and there are good chances to get close to the many ducks and gulls that collect on the open water. Around 20 moorhen can be seen here. In the park area in winter one can often see fieldfares, other thrushes and waxwings, and with luck one can spot a bittern in the reedbeds.

Visiting and access:
Utterslev Mose can be reached by car from various directions and one can park on the surrounding roads and car parks. Several bus routes pass by the area: bus 2A drives along Åkandevej, bus 5A and bus 350S drive along Frederikssundsvej, and bus 6A terminates at Emdrup Torv, from where there is a 500m walk along Grønnemose Allé to Utterslev Mose.

There are many paths on which one can walk or cycle all the way round the area. Several platforms have been erected on the banks of the lakes. There are public toilets next to the path at the eastern end of the lake.


Greylag geese. Photo: Helge Sørensen  

Vaserne

Zealand, at the north-eastern corner of the lake of Furesø, west of Holte

In Vaserne there is a wide variety of birds
See Google map with bird observation tower etc. 


 Vaserne. Photo: Joy Klein

Description:
Vaserne is the name of a boggy area covering around 86ha at the north-east corner of the lake of Furesø. In 1999, 14ha of the area were handed over to the Bird Protection Foundation by Aage V. Jensens Fund. The area is dominated by reedbeds, alder bog, willow scrub, flooded peat pits, old decidous woodland and meadows. The alder bog has been left undisturbed for many years and now boasts many species. On the old alder stubs grows moss and fearns, and in the bog itself are many small animals, amphibeans and grass snakes. Various paths criss-cross the area and there is an exhibition pavillion and a bird observation tower with a view across the lake.

Birds:
Breeding birds:
Coot, moorhen, several water rail and passerines such as bearded tit, reed warbler and reed bunting nest in the reedbeds. Thrush nightingales are heard in the scrub in the alder bog, and marsh warblers frequent the fringe of the scrub beside the meadow. Goshawk nests in the woodland. Most of the common forest birds breed in the scrub and in the deciduous woodland, together with some less common species such as hawfinch, short-toed treecreeper and raven. The area is well known for its hole-nesting species that breed in the many hollow alder trees, for example great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch and - a special bird - the rare lesser spotted woodpecker.

Migrating and staging birds:

With luck, osprey can be spotted foraging over the lake in spring or early autumn. In winter especially, large flocks of ducks, particularly tufted duck, and also goosander and smew, can be seen from the observation tower. Blackbird, fieldfare and redwing can often be seen in October, when they form large flocks that feed on the berry bushes. In winter, many passerines can be seen in the woodland, including redpoll, siskin and brambling. Great grey shrike is a regular winter guest.

Visiting and access:
From the S-train station at Holte there is about 1km to the edge of the Vaserne. Bus 334 from Holte station or Farum station also runs to Fyrrebakken at Vasevej. There is room for a few cars at the end of Fyrrebakken, or one can park at the roadside along Turistvej.

In the exhibition pavillion there are leaflets about the reserve published by the Bird Protection Foundation.


Lesser spotted woodpecker. Photo: Axel Mortensen
 

Vestamager

On the western side of Amager outside Copenhagen

One of eastern Denmark’s most important wetlands. Large populations of breeding and staging ducks and waders. Important staging ground for raptors.
See Google map with look-out points, bird observation towers, car parks, etc.

 
 
South-west Amager

Description:
Vestamager was formed during the Second World War, when a huge embankment was built in the shallow waters off the west coast of Amager and the whole area was thereafter drained. The area covers 25km2, of which 22km2 are drained seabed. After the war and up to 1984 it was used as a military training area. The area is now a mosaic of grazed meadows, birch woods, willow scrub, ponds and wetlands. The whole of the south-west corner is an enclosed bird reserve called the Klydesø (‘Avocet Lake’).
 
Between 2009 and 2012 the dyke around Vestamager was heightened from 3.5m above sea level to 5.9m. Work on the dyke entailed considerable disturbance in the area, which had an effect on the birdlife. The official inauguration of the heightened dyke took place on 15th August 2012, after which three bird observation towers were built on the dyke. They offer good views over different parts of the Klydesø. In connection with the dyke work, an artificial island was created in the Klydesø.
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
Vestamager has a large number of breeding birds. The artificial island in the Klydesø was immediately taken over by arctic terns, who bred here with 20 pairs in 2014, together with avocets, which returned to the bird reserve after some absence. 13 pairs nested on the island and there were nests in other parts of the area, giving around 30 breeding pairs. Klydesø is the only locality east of the Great Belt where dunlin has attempted to breed in 2013 (when young were observed) and 2014.  
 
Other breeding birds include greylag goose, mallard and coot in the wetlands, and red-necked grebe, great crested grebe and little grebe in the reedbeds. Bittern also nested in the reedbeds until 2014, when it disappeared - hopefully it will return again. On the meadows there is a fair population of lapwing as well as a few pairs of oystercatcher, ringed plover, snipe and redshank. Skylarks and meadow pipits are also common on the meadows. In the birch wood, tree pipits and willow warblers are numerous, and in the scrub one can see whitethroat.

Migrating and staging birds:

Many waterbirds stop over at the Klydesø during spring and autumn migration, including red-necked grebe, cormorant, mute swan, wigeon, gadwall, shoveler, mallard, teal, tufted duck, goldeneye and coot. On the meadows, flocks of greylag goose, golden plover and lapwing can be seen. The Klydesø also attracts many migrating waders such as greenshank, wood sandpiper and dunlin. The Klydesø is one of the country’s best localities for staging red-necked phalarope.

Many passerines pass over the area in autumn, including thrushes, pipits and finches. The area attracts many raptors on autumn migration, especially osprey, hen harrier, buzzard, rough-legged buzzard and kestrel. Many other raptors can be seen in the area, including honey buzzard, red kite, marsh harrier, goshawk, sparrowhawk, merlin, hobby and peregrine. A pair of white-tailed eagles has been seen regularly in the area since winter 2013-14.

The Klydesø often houses unusual migratory guests such as little egret, broad-billed sandpiper and red-necked phalarope. Great white egrets could be seen foraging in the Klydesø every day in June 2014 - presumably birds from Saltholm, where two pairs bred in a heron colony. Since Caspian terns started breeding on Saltholm, birds have been seen daily in the Klydesø during the breeding season, which can boast the national record for this species, with 24 birds on one day in 2014. Other rarities seen in the area are purple heron, glossy ibis, gyr falcon, collared pratincole, Sabine's gull and lesser grey shrike. 

In winter, flocks of goosander and smew can often be seen in the Kalveboderne just outside the embankment. Around sunset, the birds fly from the Kalveboderne to roost in the Klydesø. Peregrine has been a regular daily guest in the winter months for quite a few years now. It can be seen sitting on a stone or a post in the reserve. Some years, hen harriers have had a communal roosting site in the reedbeds in the Klydesø, with as many as 10 birds. In the winter of 2012/2013 the quantities of plant seeds on the bare earth of the new dyke attracted many passerines, for example a flock of over 300 snow buntings and 1-2 lapland buntings.
 

Visiting and access:
Vestamager can be reached by the metro to Vestamager station. Bus No. 33 goes to Vestamager station and further along Kongelundsvej.

To reach Vestamager by car, leave Copenhagen centre by H.C. Andersens Boulevard, drive over the Langebro bridge and onto Amager Boulevard. From here, all the roads on the right-hand side lead to the Kalvebod Fælled. One can park at Kongelunden and then walk (about 20 minutes) or at one of the entrances at the side roads along Kongelundsvej: Finderupvej, Ugandavej and Frieslandsvej.

500m from the entrance at Finderupvej is a nature centre with a permanent exhibition (open at the weekends and during school holidays from 10.00-16.00h).

There are six sites that are of particular interest for bird-watchers:

1) The Klydesø reserve is a good place for waterbirds and waders, but there is no public access. However, there are three bird observation towers on the dyke south and west of the reserve. They are situated on Dæmningsvej, which is a continuation of Kanalvej. The first tower (the south tower) is at the boundary of the reserve. The second tower (the middle tower) has a good view of a section of the lake which often has many waders. The last tower (the north tower) offers a view over the meadows in the north-west corner of the reserve.  
2) Storehøj and Villahøj are good sites for observing migrating raptors, especially if the wind is coming from the north or north-west. In addition, a boardwalk system with two hides has been constructed in the reedbeds at Storehøj near the nature centre.
3) Birkedammen. Here, grebes, grey heron, mallard, tufted duck and many other birds can be observed. In the early summer, the reedbeds here are filled with the song of reed warblers.
4) Hejresø is a good place to see grebes, ducks and coot. In autumn, one can often see hobby hunting dragonflies over the lake.
5) Pinseskov is an unusual habitat in eastern Denmark, consisting of self-sown birch mixed with willow. The Nature Agency has also planted oak, ash and lime. Many passerines can be found in the wood, and in the early summer this is the place to hear thrush nightingales.
6) Kalvebodløbet is a narrow stretch of water between Amager and Zealand, just north of the Sjællandsbro bridge. In winter, this is a good place for ducks which congregate in thousands. Smew can be seen here in winter in large numbers.


Marsh warbler. Photo: Helge Sørensen 
 
 

Ølsemagle Revle

East coast of Zealand, north of Køge

An important locality for staging waders in autumn.
See Google map with bird observation tower, car parks, etc.

 
 
The embankment at Ølsemagle Revle. Photo: Joy Klein
 
Description:
Ølsemagle Revle is a 3km long sandbar that has been formed by material deposited by the sea in the calm, inner part of the bay of Køge Bugt. On the seaward side of the sandbar is a long sandy beach backed by dunes. A lagoon has formed between the sandbar and the coast. The southern end of the sandbar became joined to the beach at Køge a few years ago. As seawater can now only enter at the northern end of the sandbar, the water in the northern end of the lagoon is brackish, whilst there is fresh water in the southern end. Vegetation in the lagoon is gradually increasing, growth having been accelerated due to poor water flow and a considerable eutrophication due to pollution. On the landward side of the lagoon are coastal meadows, which are grazed to a limited extent. The meadows are often used by staging dabbling ducks and greylag geese, but support hardly any breeding birds. The sandbar was previously threatened by a massive influx of the invasive rugosa rose(Rosa rugosa) , but mechanical removal and grazing by sheep keeps the vegetation down at the ends of the sandbar, where access is prohibited during the breeding season. The beach is a popular place for bathing.
 
Birds:
Breeding birds:
Due to the intensive recreational pressure put on the area it is difficult for coastal birds to find a quiet spot to breed. However, the northern and southern tips of Ølsemagle Revle (and also the southern tip of Staunings Ø, north of the sandbar) are closed for visitors during the nesting season (1st April - 15th July). Breeding birds include little grebe, mute swan, shelduck, mallard, water rail, coot, redshank and yellow wagtail.

Migrating and staging birds:
The area is an important staging area for migrants, especially in autumn. Ølsemagle Revle is one of the best staging areas in eastern Denmark for waders and thousands of them can be seen foraging in the area from the end of July to well into November. Large flocks of lapwing and golden plover are seen. In addition, all the common waders turn up, including oystercatcher, avocet, ringed plover, knot, little stint, dunlin, snipe, curlew, spotted redshank, redshank, greenshank and common sandpiper, and in lesser numbers little ringed plover, Temminck’s stint, curlew sandpiper, sanderling and turnstone. A few individuals of broad-billed sandpiper and red-necked phalarope can be seen in July and August.

Apart from the waders, there are many ducks that are attracted by the shallow waters around the sandbar. As the water in the lagoon has become more and more fresh, numbers of dabbling ducks have increased and are now at a level which is remarkable for Zealand. Teal, wigeon and mallard turn up in hundreds, with pintail, gadwall and shoveler appearing in the flocks. A few garganey appear at the end of summer. In June, groups of female eiders can be seen on the sea and in the lagoon together with their young. The area has become a very important staging and wintering locality for greylag goose, whilst barnacle goose and brent goose are seen here on migration.

Ølsemagle Revle is an important staging area for terns, of which the caspian tern in particular attracts bird-watchers. The caspian tern can mostly be spotted at the ends of the sandbar or along the embankment and can be seen from the end of April until the beginning of October, with the highest numbers appearing in August, when up to a score of birds - most probably breeding birds from Saltholm and Skåne - "tank up" before migration.   
 
Osprey is seen regularly at the end of summer. At this time, at low water, one should keep an eye out for water rail on the mudflats at the edge of the reedbeds. South of the embankment there is an especially good chance of seeing this otherwise shy species.

In autumn and winter, kingfisher is often seen on the embankment, where it stays in the vicinity of some of the many channels that are often free of ice.

In winter, flocks of twite and snow bunting appear along the dunes, while hen harrier and short-eared owl overwinter in the area - the latter is usually seen at the north end of the sandbar. White-tailed eagle and peregrine can show up in the winter months. If the winter is mild, most species of dabbling duck can be found in the area together with flocks of tufted duck, goldeneye and a few smew. It is usually possible to find some overwintering waders, too.

Visiting and access:
From Copenhagen, take the E20/E45/E55 motorway towards Køge Bugt and leave it at exit 31/Soldrød Syd. Follow Cordozavej east and turn south at Københavnsvej. Around 2km further along Københavnsvej, at a junction where a sign to Ølsemagle points in the opposite direction, is a signpost pointing to ‘Revlen’ (‘the sandbar’). At the end of this road are a car park and an observation tower. From here, one can walk over the embankment to reach the beach. The embankment is a good place to watch birds on the shallow areas between the sandbar and the land, and also on the coastal meadows along the shore.

The best place to watch waders is at the northern end of the lagoon, where the water is shallower than at the southern end. It is 2km out to the northern end. On the way, watch out for passerines in the dunes, and ducks and seabirds out at sea.

From Staunings Ø there is a good view of the northernmost tip of Ølsemagle Revle and the birds that congregate around the outlet of the river (which is difficult to see from the sandbar). To reach Staunings Ø, one can park at Jersie Strandpark, on the eastern side of the most southerly roundabout in Solrød on Jersie Strandvej. From here, one can walk out to Staunings Ø.



Knots. Photo: Helge Sørensen