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Nordvestjylland / North Western Jutland

1) Flyndersø & Stubbergård Sø

2) The Island of Fur

3) Geddal Enge & Sønder Lem Vig

4) The Glomstrup Vig & Agerø area

5) Hjarbæk Fjord & Simested Å valley

6) The Nørreå Valley

7-8) Vejlerne

 

DOF North Western Jutland


Flyndersø & Stubbergård Sø

 
Stubbergård Sø seen from the north from the bird hide. Photo: LN 

Location:  
The two lakes Flyndersø & Stubbergård Sø, with a combined area of 1147 hectares, are situated between the towns of Struer and Skive on the border of the Salling peninsula in the Limfjord region. Together with the smaller lakes Skallesø, Helle Sø and Ladegård Sø they form a string of post-glacial kettle hole lakes, all developed from a sub-glacial stream trench.   

Protection/IBA status:  
The landscapes around Flyndersø and Hjerl Hede were first appointed preservation areas in 1934-35. The landscapes around Helle Sø and Stubbergård Sø became preserved areas in 1980. Part of these lakelands are EU Bird Protection Areas, and part are EU Habitat Areas. The lakes are mainly used for recreation. Fishing is permitted in Flyndersø and Skallesø, and there are other activities such as canoeing on the lake.

Important birds:  
Cormorant, Bittern, Mute Swan, Teal, Goosander, Osprey, Spotted Crake, Kingfisher, Red-backed Shrike.

Habitat:   
The narrow 8 km long Flyndersø, with depths of up to 8 m, is the country’s largest heath lake. The eastern bank is dominated by oak scrub, which is assumed to be the remains of a post-glacial forest. Estvadgård Plantation stretches down to the western bank of the lake. It is mainly pine with smaller interspersed areas of deciduous wood. Hjerl Hede Frilandsmuseum, an open air museum, is situated towards the south.

Flyndersø is a nutrition-rich lake, receiving polluted tributaries from Stubbergård Sø and surrounding areas. Reedbeds are found only in a few patches on the lake banks. Hidden in the pine plantation, immediately north of where Flyndersø becomes extremely narrow, lies yet another smaller lake, Mørkesø, which is preserved as a nutrient-deficient lake, dominated by characteristic plants such as Water Lobelia and Deep Water Quillwort.      
  
Stubbergård Sø, to the south, is a 5 km long narrow lake. Due to its post-glacial kettle hole origin, the average depth is 2.3 m - the deepest point being 10 m. From its tributary Sønderstrømmen the lake receives considerable amounts of organic matter which lead to oxygen depletion in the lake.

In earlier times Stubbergård Sø was surrounded by heaths and grassland, but this has now mostly been converted into farmland or plantations, although the slopes leading down to the lake still preserve their natural vegetation. Some springs on the south-eastern bank of the lake offer habitats for several rare mosses and plants which prefer a cool environment. An area on the north-west side of the lake is unique heathland, with interspersed patches of juniper.    

Birds and other Wildlife :  
Breeding birds:   
Flyndersø: Around 100 pairs of Crested Grebe breed round Flyndersø, together with Cormorant, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Water Rail, Lapwing and Snipe. Along Stubber Å Kingfishers can be spotted, and also Red-backed Shrike. The woods around the lake host many passerines, including Long-tailed Tit and Bullfinch, but also Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, as well as a sizeable population of Long-eared Owl. Immediately east of the road at the north end of the lake up to 5 pairs of Nightingale breed, and Grasshopper Warbler has also been heard.   
Helle Sø: Crested Grebe, Shelduck, Mallard, Moorhen and Coot.   
Stubbergård Sø: Approx 10 pairs of Crested Grebe, as well as a smaller number of Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Water Rail, Moorhen and Coot. At the southern end of the lake there is a sizeable Heron colony. Snipe, Cuckoo, Whinchat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Redpoll also breed in the area.    

Migrating birds:   
Flyndersø: One of the reasons the lake has been appointed an EU Bird Protection Area is that large flocks of ducks and mergansers stop over here during migration. In winter, counts of 1400 Mallard and 1200 Mergansers have been recorded. Other passage birds are Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Goldeneye. Hen Harrier, Osprey, Common Sandpiper and Common Tern appear in smaller numbers. Kingfisher and Dipper are winter guests that can be seen at the inlet and outlet of the lake. Stubbergård Sø: In July, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper are migrating. From September, Cormorant, Osprey and Dunlin are observed migrating south. Large flocks of Goldeneye and Goosander stop over here during spring and autumn, but some Teal and Mallard also pass through. Great Grey Shrikes are observed annually.

Visiting and Access :

To reach the north-east end of Flyndersø, drive southwards on Route 34 from the town of Skive towards Herning. Alternatively, coming from Struer on Route 513, turn left at the roundabout just before the town of Vinderup and head north-east along Route 189. After approx 5 km, turn right along the Marguerite Route towards Hjerl Hede Museum, situated south of Skalle Sø and on the south-west bank of Flyndersø.    

There is public access to the entire area round Flyndersø for both walkers, cyclists and equestrians on the existing roads and paths. Access to the lake is easiest from the eastern side where there are three marked nature trails. Information and folders are available at major car parks. Access to the lake from the west side is more difficult, except if one pays a visit to the Hjerl Hede Frilandsmuseum - on whose grounds there is a path leading down to the lake.

To reach Stubbergård Sø from Holstebro, for example, leave the town on Route 16 and turn left along the Marguerite Route approx 5 km out of Holstebro. The road carries on all the way to the village of Sevel and the estate of Stubbergård itself, near the lake. Carry on 1 km towards Skive, then turn right east of Helle Sø. From the second car park, three walking trails head off round Stubbergård Sø: Mosestien (1.7 km); a path to the monastery of Stubbergård Kloster (3.5 km); and a 7 km long trail on the east side of the lake.

At the southern end of the lake there are car parks on both the east and west sides. At the middle of the lake on the west side there is yet another car park on the Naurupvej road where a path - which is a bit difficult to negotiate - follows the Naurup Bæk (stream) to the lake. At all car parks there are information posters. Preservation byelaws allow walking along all paths.

 

DOF North Western Jutland

The Island of Fur


Vojel Vig inlet

Location:  
Fur is a 220 ha island situated in the Limfjorden north of the Salling peninsula. It is unique, renowned for its special type of clay, known as moler, which is a mixture of layers of ancient volcanic ash. This is quarried in the northern part of the island.

Protection/IBA status:  
The freshwater meadows, lakes, coastal meadows, heath and streams on Fur are all protected by the Nature Protection Laws. Relatively large areas of the island are under preservation orders: 84 ha of the most spectacular hills and 50 ha of publicly accessible areas, all owned by the state. The same is the case for the promontory of Færker Odde (11 ha) to the north-east of the island and Knudeklint cliffs situated in the north-west. Commercial enterprise, nature organisations and public authorities all co-operate equably, ensuring that the clay quarries are restored by re-establishing woods, ponds etc. once quarrying has finished.

Fur does not qualify as an IBA, but there is nevertheless an interesting birdlife, and local birdwatchers have pinpointed a number of species which deserve special attention.

Important Birds:  
Shelduck, Coot, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Lapwing, Woodcock, Cormorant, Bittern, Partridge, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Nightingale, Skylark, Corn Bunting, and staging Whooper Swan, Goldeneye, Merganser, Pink-footed Goose, Brent Goose and Common Tern.

Habitat:   
Fur has a coastline of almost 30 km. There are several areas of coastal meadows, reedbeds and moorland, as well as small freshwater lakes and meadows. At the spit of Engelstør Odde there are coastal meadows and grazing land around the lagoons, which were created when tidal sand and silt deposits formed a new beach out in the fjord, thereby cutting off former small bays. At either end of this area there are weekend bungalows situated in pine and fir plantation, interspersed with birch scrub.       

The area between Emmelsten, Hwistelstow and Jep Jensens Skov (these localities can be found on the map in the information folder - see below under "Visiting and Access") is high up on the moler cliff with hills and deep gullies with small streams. It is a landscape characterised by meadows, moorland and many small wet boggy areas overgrown with reeds and tall pine woods, interspersed on the hills with birch scrub and hawthorn. In Jep Jensens Skov there is a grove of beech trees over 100 years old. Between the hills and boggy areas there are fallow fields and grazing land.  

The quarries where moler is extracted dominate the northern part of the island. Fur Museum attracts many visitors throughout the year. Here there is an interesting exhibition of 50 million-year old fish, bird and plant fossils, all discovered in the clay.

The southern part of Fur is mostly farmland dotted with small villages.

Birds and other Wildlife :   
Most of the nature types to be found in Denmark are represented on Fur, together with their matching birdlife. Farmland hosts the Corn Bunting, whose numbers have increased during the past few years. In the gardens, the House Sparrow has been ousted by the Tree Sparrow. A large variety of warblers breed on the island and with any luck the Nightingale can be heard. Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel appear in sizeable numbers. Along the coast there are rich opportunities to observe bird species with a preference for fjord, beach, lake and meadow.
Breeding birds: Bittern, Grey Heron, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Oystercatcher, several species of gulls, large numbers of Cormorant, and a Tern population that has increased over the past few years. There are quite large populations of Mallard and Coot, and also Red-necked Grebe, Merganser, Shelduck and Mute Swan.
Migrating birds: Many species of birds, particularly Goldeneye, are to be found here during winter. Inland, large flocks of migratory Fieldfare and Waxwing can be observed.

Visiting and Access :
From Skive, drive north for approx. 25 km to the end of Route 551 at Branden, where the ferry departs every 15 minutes. On board in the passenger saloon a free information folder, including a map of Fur, is available. It can also be downloaded from: www.skovognatur.dk/Udgivelser/Vandretursfoldere/atilaa/Fur
or picked up at the island’s Tourist Office, adjacent to the jetty. For excellent views of the entire island it is recommended to drive to “Bette Jens’ Hyw” or “Man Høje”. The map in the folder also provides information about car parks and marked walking routes through the island’s most interesting nature areas.

 

DOF North Western Jutland

Geddal Enge & Sønder Lem Vig

 
View over the reedbed at Sønder Lem Vig inlet

Location:   
The meadows of Geddal Enge and the inlet of Sønder Lem Vig are situated on the western side of the Salling peninsula in the Limfjorden. As the crow flies, they are approx 15 km north east of Struer. The meadows at Geddal Enge surround several lagoons on the Limfjord coast, and are separated from Sønder Lem Vig by a dyke along the coast and a dam, bridging the opening between the inlet and the fjord. Some of the land surrounding Sønder Lem Vig is pasture or arable farm land. Geddal Enge is used only for grazing.

Protection/IBA Status:   
Geddal Enge is covered by the Danish Nature Protection Laws. The whole area is an IBA.
 
Important Birds:
Bittern, Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye, Merganser, Goosander, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Crake, Coot, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Redshank, Little Tern.

Habitat:    
Geddal Enge were drained in 1958, but attempts to keep the area drained were unsuccessful, and finally the meadows were restored in 1992, with a sluice system provided to regulate water levels, thus allowing the best possible habitat for breeding and migrating birds. The meadows are kept sufficiently dry during the birds’ breeding season, with grazing cattle keeping down unwanted growth. Today, Geddal Enge is an important breeding and staging area, especially for ducks and waders.

Sønder Lem Vig is a wetland area with coastal meadows, reed beds and shallow inlets. It is a former arm of the Limfjord, being separated from the bay of Venø Bugt by a dam. The fjord and inlet are connected by a 200 m long canal, with a pump station at the fjord to keep the water level stable in the inlet. The open water surface area of the inlet itself is approx 350 ha, with approx 150 ha of reedbed, which is particularly dominant on the southern and eastern sides. To the north and east of the inlet there are meadows, and further north there are small woods with deciduous trees and pine.  
   
Birds and other Wildlife:    
Breeding birds:
Geddal Enge: The Greylag Goose, whose goslings are seen in large numbers during springtime, is characteristic of this locality. The Shelduck, with their chicks trailing after them, also liven up the landscape. Several other species, such as Mallard, and most likely Garganey and Shoveler, breed here, as well as Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Coot and Moorhen. Water Rail is often heard. Many waders such as Snipe, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Lapwing and possibly Dunlin breed in the meadows. Here, too, Yellow Wagtail can be spotted, as well as a fair number of Grey Heron from a neighbouring heronry. Reed Warbler, Bearded Tit, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Bittern and Marsh Harrier, which all breed in the expanse of reedbeds in the neighbourhood of Sønder Lem Vig, are often observed. Buzzards also breed on the edge of the area, and Goshawk, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel are often spotted.

Sønder Lem Vig: The combination of wetland and the varying landscapes surrounding it makes this area a fine bird locality. From the two observation towers it is possible to hear the Bittern during springtime and to observe Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Teal, Garganey, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Bearded Tit. On the coastal meadows there are Snipe and Redshank. On mild spring nights Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Marsh Warbler can be heard. Great Crested Grebe, Merganser and Ringed Plover are also amongst the characteristic breeding birds in the area. A nearby farm hosts a small Grey Heron colony.

Migrating birds:
Geddal Enge: During autumn, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Little Grebe can be seen in large numbers in the shallow ponds on Geddal Enge. Pintail, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Smew and Goosander also stop over here, but in smaller numbers. In late June, the first migratory birds arrive from their breeding localities in the north, and throughout summer and autumn the meadows host many different species of waders, such as Snipe, Lapwing, Dunlin, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Curlew and Whimbrel. Curlew Sandpiper, Knot and Little Stint also occur, but in lesser numbers. Occasionally, Red-necked Phalarope and Temminck’s Stint pay a visit. In October Bewick's and Whooper Swans arrive in sizeable flocks. Pink-footed Geese are occasionaly seen. The Hen Harrier is one of the raptors which pass, and on rarer occasions, the Peregrine.

Sønder Lem Vig: In autumn, numerous Wigeon, Goldeneye, Goosander and Coot forage on the open water of the inlet, while thousands of Starlings roost overnight in the reeds. Cormorant, Grey Heron and Osprey are often observed at this time of the year. During winter, Hen Harrier, Buzzard and Rough-legged Buzzard are seen over the reedbeds, where Bearded Tit can also be spotted, while large flocks of Whooper Swan, together with Canada Geese, forage on the meadows. Large flocks of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Dunlin dominate the scene during the early spring months. Huge flocks of passerines, such as Redpoll, Twite and Corn Bunting, can be seen along the dam.    

Visiting and Access :   
Coming from Holstebro on the A11, turn right at the roundabout just before Struer along Route 513. Just before Vinderup turn left at the roundabout onto Route 189, follow this for about 3 km, then turn left along the Marguerite Route via the village of Ejsing towards Geddal Enge and Sønder Lem Vig. Approx. 3 km after Ejsing there is a car park with a picnic area and bird information. The path to the right leads to an observation tower, and further on, to the “Sønderlemsdiget” dam. The path to the left from the car park leads to the raised stone age beach. All three places offer fine views over Geddal Enge. Carrying on across the dam on Hostrupvej, Sønder Lem Vig turns up on the right, with good views over the reedbeds and to the coastal meadows on the left. 

Another possibility is to drive to Vester Egebjerg approx 7 km north of Vinderup and follow Vester Egebjergvej as far as it is surfaced. This is a good spot to scan the reedbeds on the right and the coastal meadows towards the left. The open water in the inlet can be seen from the pump station in the middle of the dam, and when walking along the canal to the inlet itself.    

Finally, it is possible to access the area from the north from Bustrup along Sønderlemvej, turning towards Bustrup Plantation where there is a car park, from where a path leads to an observation tower. This is a good place to be during springtime!

 

DOF North Western Jutland

The Glomstrup Vig & Agerø area


Turnstone 

Location :  
This area comprises the inland waters and coasts off the large island of Mors in the Limfjorden. More specifically, it takes in Agerø, Glomstrup Vig, the coast around Jegindø, Skibsted Fjord, the island of Lindholm, various other islets, and - towards the north - the sound of Nees Sund.

It is an area of post-glacial moraine, with fjords that were once sub-glacial stream trenches, and old moraine hills, the tops of which nowadays appear as islands sticking out of the Limfjord. With sand and silt being moved around by wind, currents, erosion and sedimentation, this is a constantly changing landscape.  

Protection/IBA Status:    
All the inland water in this locality is a nature reserve (5656 ha) with various restrictions on sailing and hunting. Brokær, Doverkil, Katholm Odde and Munkholm Odde are conservation areas. The locality is an appointed IBA and also an EU Bird Protection Area. Moreover, it forms part of a large area protected under the EU Habitats Directive. The Danish Bird Protection Fund (Fugleværnsfonden) owns 26 ha of land on the north-west corner of Agerø. This bird reserve comprises Stenklipperne and Holmene (all the islets off the coast) and a stretch of coastal meadow on Agerø itself. 

Important Birds:    
The IBA, which is identical with the EU Bird Protection Area, has been nominated due to the large numbers of passage Golden Plover (more than 1% of the migrating population) and waterbirds (not including gulls) which number over 20,000 in total. Other birds which are being monitored due to national importance are Bittern, Whooper Swan, Bewick's Swan, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Arctic Tern, Little Tern.  

Habitat:   
This locality consists primarily of shallow inland waters, such as Skibsted Fjord, the stretch of water north and west of Jegindø and much of the waters around Agerø. Doverodde is one of the most unspoiled areas in the Limfjord region. Consistent, powerful currents provide nutrition and well oxygenated water for the fjord’s flora and fauna. There are sizeable areas of Eel-grass, which thrives at depths of 1.8 - 4.5 m, such as in the inlet at Boddum. More Eel-grass beds are found on both sides of the embankment leading to Agerø, along the coast of Mors, at the spits of Munkholm Odde and Katholm Odde, and on the north-west side of Jegindø.  

Agerø is mainly farmed, but there are many fine coastal meadows. The bird reserve in the north-west corner has a path leading down to a hide with good views of the meadows and islets. The island of Jegindø is mainly farmland too, but also has coastal meadows at the north and west of the promontory. Katholm and Munkholm are rounded spits with lagoons, coastal meadows and old coastal cliffs. The north part of the island of Lindholm used to be farmed, but is now lying fallow, with meadows and plantations. The remaining part is typical coastal meadow, often flooded during autumn storms. The south-west coast of the island of Mors comprises several interesting coastal meadows such as Rotholmene (spits and islets), Ager Vejle (wetland), Glomstrup Vig and Søndervig, all with a rich bird life.

Birds and other Wildlife:
The Pale-bellied Brent Goose is the “star” of the area. Since the Bird Protection Fund acquired land on Agerø, the numbers of geese seen here have increased from approx 800 to 5000, which is up to 85% of the global population. The best time to observe the geese is in April and May.  

Waders, Goldeneye and Mergansers are also numerous in the area. On Skibsted Fjord counts of several thousands have been recorded.  During winter, Peregrine and Merlin are commonly observed on and around Agerø, as are Shore Lark, Twite and Snow Bunting. Grey Plover and various Calidris waders are common migratory birds. Curlews are seen all year. During August and September many Greylag Geese visit. Redshank, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover all breed in the area. Avocet also breed here, but not in large numbers. The Southern Dunlin variant Calidris alpina schinzii was observed in 2003, but its breeding status is uncertain. Common ducks such as Mallard, Shelduck and small numbers of Red-breasted Merganser breed in the area. Two pairs of breeding Eider were found in 2005. There are breeding raptors such as Buzzard, Kestrel, Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl. Arctic Tern and Yellow Wagtail breed here in small numbers.

Visiting and Access :
Agerø and surroundings: From the Marguerite Route 545 on Mors, several smaller roads head to the south-west coast where there is access via a causeway to Agerø with the Bird Protection Fund’s sanctuary. After the causeway there is a car park after the third farm on the right. From here a 700 m path leads to a bird hide.  

The Boddum promontory: From the A11 between Thisted and Struer 2 km north of Ydby turning off east a small road leads to Doverkil with fine views from the embankment and the hill at Boddum Kirke.  

Munkholm Odde and Katholm Odde are situated on Thyholm and can be reached from the A11 by driving through the village of Hvidbjerg north-east towards the Overgårdsminde farm. Turn right before the stables where parking on the farm track is possible, as long as farm vehicles are not obstructed. From here there are fine views over the area. 

The islets of Lindholm and Fuglholm being private property, permission to access must be requested before landing.

 

DOF North Western Jutland

Hjarbæk Fjord & Simested Å valley


Skals Å 

Location:  
Hjarbæk Fjord is the most southerly arm of the Limfjord, and is situated approx. 10 km north of Viborg and 20 km east of Skive. It is a relatively shallow fjord arm, being fed by four streams: Fiskbæk Å, Jordbro Å, Skals Å and Simested Å. At the northern end lies Ørslevkloster Sø, with a small outlet running into the fjord.

Protection/IBA status :  
In 1967 the Hjarbæk Fjord area was appointed a Nature Reserve, with various hunting and sailing restrictions imposed. It is also both an EU and an IBA Bird Protection Area (1994) as well as being part of a larger designated EU Habitat Area (1998).   

Important Birds: 
Bittern, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Shelduck, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Crake, Corncrake, Coot, Avocet, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Arctic Tern, Kingfisher.   

Habitat:
For many years, the shallow waters of the fjord were polluted by nutrients, especially nitrates, which were transported from the surrounding agricultural areas by the four tributaries. In the 1970’s the fjord was declared “dead”, prompting an action plan which has fortunately improved conditions, although there is still a long way to go before it achieves its goals regarding habitat quality, which should benefit the area's flora and fauna. The same objectives have been set for Ørslevkloster Sø, which historically has suffered the same fate as the fjord.  

Hjarbæk Fjord is widely used for recreational purposes, with canoeing, kayaking and sailing activities. There are weekend bungalows around the fjord at Hjarbæk, Ørstedkloster Sø, Lynderup and north of Strandet. The area round Ørslevkloster Sø is mainly farmland. At Tårupgård there are some shelters, free to use for overnight stays.  

Birds and other Wildlife:
Hjarbæk Fjord is an important locality for many bird species all year round, but mainly as a staging area during migration for grebes, swans, dabbling ducks and, in particular, the Goldeneye. From late autumn until late spring thousands of waterfowl stop off here. During hard winters many birds flock to holes in the ice north and south of the sluice in the Virksund embankment. Many ducks can be observed all over the fjord, but the area from the meadows at Kølsen Enge via Nedrehede and up to the mouth of Simested Å is probably the best. Some Whooper and Bewick's Swans and a few geese stage on the fields and meadows. The best spots are in the Skals Å valley and the meadows at Lynderupgård. Various raptors such as Peregrine and White-tailed Eagle visit the area during winter. Waders stop off here shortly when passing through in May. The best place to observe them is at Strandet. Large flocks of passerines forage in the grasslands and meadows.   

Although Hjarbæk Fjord is mostly important as a stop-over site for migrants, it also hosts some interesting breeding birds. In the reedbeds at Kølsen railway bridge, Bittern and several other reedbed birds such as Bearded Tit, Water Rail, and swamp warblers can be found. Only a few waders breed in the area. In Skals Enge the Corncrake is heard regularly, and Quail has been heard on several occasions. A modest number of breeding swans and ducks is to be found. Kingfisher breed in the tributary streams.    

Visiting and Access:
Various sub-locations can be reached from the public roads all the way round the fjord (a trip of around 42 km). It is recommended to bring a telescope, for at most places the birds are quite distant, being far out in the fjord or in inaccessible meadows.

16 sub-localities with good views:

1) Virksund Dæmningen (embankment) situated on Route 579 at the mouth of Hjarbæk Fjord. It is possible to park at Sundstrup Havn and at Virksund Kro (inn) with views over both the bay of Louns Bredning to the north and Hjarbæk Fjord to the south. Waders such as Common Redshank stage in this area. These locations are good for observing ducks and mergansers. During cold winters particularly, they flock in any open holes in the ice-covered fjord. In winter many gulls also forage in the shallow waters at the sluice. Yellow-legged Gulls have been observed here.

2) At Ørslevkloster Sø approx 1.5 km west of Virksund Dæmningen, still on Route 579, a car park offers views out over the lake. During winter, barring ice, some 1000 Tufted Duck, Scaup and Pochards can be seen.

3) Strandet is situated another few kilometres southwards. In the bend of the road where Fiskbækvej road becomes Virksundvej road, a small dirt track leads out towards the fjord from where there is a fine view over the meadows. The cliff is a good view-point for surveying the northern part of Hjarbæk fjord. During spring there are usually quite a few waders and dabbling ducks in the meadows. In summer, up to 100 Black-necked Grebe have been observed here, and in 2001 a migrating Pallid Harrier was spotted at this location.

4) Knudby: Still moving south along the coast of Hjarbæk Fjord, the next sub-location is Knudby. Here it is possible to access the coast along Fjordvej road, but the view is not the best. From the harbour in Knudby, the middle stretch of the fjord can be seen - usually with flocks of Goldeneye.  

5) Further south, at Tårupgård Ungdomsskole (young people’s school), there is a car park with a path leading down to the fjord, as well as two other marked paths in the same area. At the school’s bathing jetties there are views over the middle stretch of the fjord. Again, mainly Goldeneye can be seen, as well as a few waders in the reedbeds north of the bathing jetty.

6) Kvols:  Still carrying on southwards, good views over the southernmost part of the fjord can be had from a car park on the Virksundvej road, or from the car park at Kvols Harbour. In this part of the fjord, staging dabbling ducks are the most interesting bird life, with Goldeneye and gulls, and some waders on the meadows. In this area, a Ring-necked Duck (the fourth observed in Denmark) was spotted in February 1990, and a Great Egret in late summer 2004.

7) Fiskbæk Å: There is a car park in Fiskbæk village and another just south of Kvols, from where it is possible to walk to the stream. This location is excellent for listening to the birds at night or for just surveying the stream. 

8) Hjarbæk Havn is reached by driving through Hjarbæk to the end of Hjarbækvej road. The best place for birdwatching is from the end of the jetty. Goldeneye usually dominate the scene, but a few swans, ducks, grebes and gulls can also be observed.

9) From the railway bridge next to the meadows of Kølsen Enge there is the chance of encountering Bittern and Bearded Tit in the reedbeds towards the east. During the winter of 2004, Water Pipits were spotted here. At the end of Brunbunkevej road it is possible to walk along the closed-down railway track to the mouth of Skals Å where there is a fine view of the southern part of the fjord, the meadows and reedbeds. Various waterfowl stop over in this part of the fjord.

10) Nederhede: From Route 533 turn left along Nederhedevej road and continue to the shore where there is a good view over the south and east ends of the fjord. Here, in late summer, flocks of up to 7000 Goldeneye have been counted, interspersed with grebes, gulls and other ducks. From this location, raptors such as Peregrine, White-tailed Eagle and several Osprey have been observed during August. It is recommended to bring a telescope to obtain a reasonable sighting of the birds.

11) Skals Å, where Route 533 crosses the stream. Whooper Swans and occasionally Bewick's Swans have been spotted staging in this area.

12) The town of Skals: From the end of Kærvej road in Skals and from the Eistrup Bro bridge there are good views over the meadows. On the top of the Højskolebakken hill just before approaching Skals there are views of the eastern meadows. In this location large flocks of swans and Lapwing can be observed in springtime. In the past few years, Corncrake has been re-discovered in the meadows south-west of the bridge.

13) Simested Å:  Driving north along Route 533 the next sub-location is at Simested Å at the car park just before the bridge, from where - providing a telescope is at hand - there are good views over the meadows towards the mouth of the stream. All year round many kinds of birds stage here, winter and early spring being the most exciting seasons.

14) Simested Å valley: Apart from the viewpoint mentioned above, good views can be had from the roads running on both the north and south sides of the valley. The northernmost part of the area can be viewed from the bridge at Sønder Borup. The meadows attract swans, geese and raptors.

15) Låstrup: From Route 533 turn east along Låstrupvej road. Both east and west of the town the meadows can be viewed. At Låstrup church large flocks of geese can be observed in late winter.

16) The Lynderupgård area: From Route 533 exit westwards along Kærbyvej road and onwards along Østervej road. The route to the farm passes through meadows with fine views to all sides. During spring there are plovers on the fields, and in winter many crows and rooks. In the bushes along the road, a Great Grey Shrike may be spotted. During migration the meadows at the farm have a great show of staging Lapwing, swans and geese. White-fronted Geese have also been observed here.


 
 DOF North Western Jutland

The Nørreå Valley


The western part of the lakes at Viskum with the church and the estate in the background.
02.04.06 

Location:  
The Nørreå river starts in Vedsø lake, just south of Viborg, and flows almost due east, running into the Gudenå at Fladbro, south-west of Randers. For the first 10 km the Nørreå Valley is relatively narrow, but opens out east of Ø Bakker, becoming more than 2 km wide, to narrow down again east of the estate of Skjern Hovedgård. 

Protection/IBA Status:   
The whole of the Nørreå Valley is protected by the EU Habitat Directive as well as Denmark's general Nature Protection Laws. The stretch of the valley between Bruunshåb and the Skjern estate has been nominated a national IBA, mainly because of the Scandinavian Bean Goose, which stop over here - especially in late winter. The Scandinavian Bean Goose has a limited and threatened population of not more than approx 1300 individuals - sometimes more than half of them can be seen in the IBA stretch of the valley, and especially near the Skjern estate.

Important Birds:   
Whooper Swan, Bean Goose  

Habitat:    
The Nørreå Valley is a mosaic of varied landscapes and habitats, with both grazing and fallow meadowlands, reedbeds, small lakes, large areas of willow scrub and woodland - some being naturally generated woods with a rich birdlife. The Nørreå Valley has in the past been the object of various  projects. Since the mid-50's, the Nørreå has been cleared of vegetation at regular intervals, to enable it to transport the water entering it from the meadows, fields and innumerable drainage channels. However, this practice is now being phased out on the initiative of the Forestry and Nature Commission, which will in time result in a higher water level in the valley. It remains to be seen if this will mean that the meadows become so wet that they can no longer be maintained, in which case they will become overgrown and no longer be attractive for the Bean Goose.

Birds and other Wildlife:   
There is good birding to be had everywhere in the Nørreå Valley, but two locations appear to be favourites for bird enthusiasts, and the birds:

The lakes and meadows at Viskum: The two lakes immediately south and east of the church and farm at Viskum appeared when farmers gave up maintaining old drains which over time had broken down. The area is now grazed by cattle, keeping growth down and thereby providing fine conditions for many birds: Bewick’s Swan, Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Temminck’s Stint, Ruff, Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank,  Wood Sandpiper and Northern Yellow Wagtail are some of the birds seen in this location - in total 150 bird species have been registered here.

Breeding Birds: Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Greylag Goose, Garganey, Teal, Shoveler, Marsh Harrier, Little Ringed Plover, many Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Grasshopper Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Grey Wagtail and Nightingale. There are many foxes in the area depleting the breeding bird population.

Nørreå Valley between Ø, Årup and Skjern: A large part of this area consists of low-lying fallow meadows, with neither roads nor bridges, and only a few rutted dirt tracks. Not many visit the area, but during winter weekends it attracts hunters. It is quite easy to pass by on the main roads in the vicinity not knowing the area is a larder for a considerable number of Bean Geese. During 2005/06, from December until March, 100 to 700 geese wintered here. 500 Whooper Swans are another group of birds completing the picture on the farmed fields near by. The area also attracts White-fronted Geese, Barnacle Geese, Hen Harriers, Buzzards, Golden Plovers, Great Grey Shrikes, Snow Buntings and Twite.  

Breeding Birds : Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Teal, Water Rail, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Long-eared Owl, Grey Wagtail, Grasshopper Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Nightingale, Whinchat, Black Redstart and Red-backed Shrike.

Visiting and Access:   
From Route 16 between Viborg and Randers several south-going roads lead into the area. Route 503 runs south of Nørreå Valley. From Viborg to Ørum part of the Marguerite Route passes through the locality and another stretch of this route connects Skjern Hovedgård and the village of Læsten to the north.

 

DOF North Western Jutland

Vejlerne / The Vejler

 
Photo: Cabbie Drennan 

Location:  
The Vejler are a 60 km2 area of reedbeds, meadows, lakes and wetland situated in north-west Jutland, midway between Thisted and Fjerritslev, bounded by Lønnerup Fjord to the west, Lund Fjord to the north, Bygholm Vejle to the east, and the Limfjord to the south. 

Protection/IBA Status:  
The Vejler are both a Ramsar Area and an EU Bird Protection Area. Both the western and eastern parts have been nominated an international IBA. 

Important Birds:  
Cormorant, Bittern, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Bean Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Spotted Crake, Corncrake, Avocet, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern.

Habitat:  
Up until the 1870's the Vejler were two shallow arms of the Limfjord. However, in 1864, after Denmark had lost valuable borderlands in a war with Germany, it became vital to reclaim new farmland. Many wetland areas in Denmark therefore became prime objectives for damming and drainage. This also happened with the Vejler, but not very successfully. Many technical and economical problems impaired the project. Eventually, in 1916, the pumps were stopped and drainage abandoned. The area gradually became transformed into an expanse of huge reedbeds, meadows and shallow brackish lakes: a veritable paradise for birds and other wildlife.

In 1958 the area was made a nature reserve, and in 1960 was appointed Denmark’s largest Scientific Research Reserve.  In 1965 the main A11 road was built over the Bygholm dam together with a central sluice, whereby the water-level was lowered in the eastern Vejler, sadly resulting in a dramatic decline of birdlife in that area. Pollution in the form of nutrients from farming and local communities, together with drainage and farming of wetlands around the reserve, has meant further deterioration of the habitats for birds and other wildlife.

In 1993 the Vejler were acquired by the Aage V. Jensen’s Foundation, who have erected hides and a Nature Centre and are committed to maintaining and wherever possible improving this unique habitat.   



 

Birds and other Wildlife:  

The area can be divided into an eastern and western part:

The Eastern Vejler: Lund Fjord, Han Vejle, Selbjerg Vejle, Glombak and Bygholm Vejle.

Breeding Birds:
Bygholm Vejle comprises the meadow of Bygholmengen south of the Krapdiget dyke, where there are considerable breeding populations of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Ruff.
Bygholm Nord reedbed north of Krapdiget dyke, which has the largest unbroken expanse of reedbeds found in all Denmark, shelters the largest population of Bittern (up to 66). There are also important populations of Red-necked Grebe (up to 100 pairs), Marsh Harrier, Greylag Goose, Black-headed Gull (up to 2600 pairs), Little Gull, and Crane, all to be found in this area.
Kogleakssøen lake, which is part of Bygholm Vejle, is an important breeding location for Black Tern (35 pairs in 2005), Gadwall, Garganey and Shoveler.
In Selbjerg Vejle and Glombak there are populations of Bittern, Greylag Goose and Marsh Harrier. Selbjerg Vejle also supports several pairs of Spotted Crake. Glombak and Selbjerg Vejle serve as night roosting areas for Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye. 

Migrating Birds:
Waders, ducks and geese stage in all the localities, but Bygholmengen meadow is the most renowned, with up to 83 Spoonbills, 13,000 Pink-footed Geese, 35,000 dabbling duck, and 18,000 Golden Plover having been counted.   
Kærup Holme is an important locality for Little Gulls that stop over here in late summer. A large number of Water Pipits winter in Bygholm Nord reedbeds and along the Øster Landkanal.

The Western Vejler:  Tømmerby Fjord, Vesløs Vejle, Arup Vejle and Østerild Vejle.

Breeding Birds:
The meadows around Vesløs Vejle, Arup Vejle and Østerild Fjord are breeding grounds for small populations of Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit, although breeding numbers have been declining in this area over the past 20 years. On the other hand, it is the only stable breeding area in Denmark for Wigeon.
On the islet of Melsig in Arup Vejle, there is a large Cormorant colony, with 1300 breeding pairs. Tømmerby Fjord houses a relatively large population of Bittern (up to 45), a colony of Black-headed Gull and Common Tern, and a few pairs of Marsh Harrier. Vesløs Vejle is the best locality for breeding Spotted Crake.  

Migrating Birds:
Spoonbill, Greylag Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Pochard, Golden Plover and Ruff all stage in Vesløs Vejle. Østerild Fjord is an important locality for Red-breasted Merganser that roost in the area. The meadows around Vesløs, Arup Vejle and Tømmerby Fjord attract sizeable numbers of Water Pipit in winter. Arup Holm and Hovsør Røn - characterised by coastal meadows stretching down to the Limfjord - are of importance for Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose in spring time. Some years Arctic Tern, Little Tern and Avocet breed on these islets.

Visiting and Access:   
The Vejler are a bird haven, with strictly no public access to the area, but the birds can be studied from the observation towers and hides, and from various look-out points on the dams and public roads.

Valuable insight into the area can be gained from a visit to the Visitor Centre (opened 2001) on the Bygholm dam on the A11/Route 29, east of Øsløs. The centre is open daily from dawn to dusk. It provides information about the history of the Vejler, and about the birds and other wildlife in the area. There are also binoculars available to study the birdlife which can be viewed around the Visitor Centre.

It is a good idea to obtain the three-language leaflet about the area, available at the Visitor Centre or Tourist Offices or in the observation towers and hides. It can also be downloaded from www.avjf.dk/Vejlerne It includes a map showing the best look-out points, observation towers and hides. There are also various posts around the reserve giving telephone numbers which can be rung up for more information about each particular area.

In the eastern part, Bygholm Vejle is best seen from the Visitor Centre or car parks along the dam (A11 road) or from the Krap tårnet observation tower east of the Krapdiget dyke. There is a hide at Kogleakssøen/Kærup Holme.

In the west, Vesløs Vejle is best viewed from Vesløs Vejle Vej road. Arup Vejle can be observed from several places along the south side of the fjord, including a hide just off the road. From Gl. Feggestrupvej road there is access to a farm track, Nordre Kær, from where there are views over the north-east part of Arup Vejle.

For other good look-out points, consult the map, or just stop - there are birds everywhere!

    

 


 

 

 




 

    

 



 

   




 



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