LAND 16 – Hellig Hågen to Ølene, 21.04.23

Denne blog på dansk her

LAND 16 Dawn found me rearing to go – well slept for a change, and excited to see what the day would bring. The day’s forecast was fantastic, and the forest echoed with birdsong and promise. I painted the sun rising behind the fir trees and a nearby crane suddenly erupted into song, its unbelievably loud trumpeting calls reverberating through the cold and still morning air.

Sunrise, Anhoj plantation

I headed north through the forest, arriving soon at Dynnedalmose, where a rather forlorn observation tower overlooked the swamp. Sections of the plantation had been felled, grazed and rewilded, and for the rest of the day I would pass between silent and dark fir plantation monoculture, and rewilded areas full of light, birdsong and insect life.

I followed a path along the Øle Stream, amazed that I had never visited this wonderful site before, despite so many years on the island. Several times green sandpiper shot out from the swampy margins bordering the stream, my presence shattering their peace.

Øleåsti, Poulsker plantage

The day heated up, and for the first time on the LAND tour, I took off my woolly hat and gloves and jacket. I doubled back into the plantation and tried to capture the sunlight through the trees.

I headed south and then east through the woods. Not a soul was about. Not for the first time I was struck by the dissimilarity between paths, roads, and trails on the map – and their reality. At times I found myself with nothing to follow but ancient rutted tyre tracks. Common brimstone and mourning cloak butterflies, and even a jay, paused long enough for me to do some quick sketches.

I had a rendezvous arranged with Wilhelm from TV2 Bornholm, the local TV company, and we spent a couple of hours filming. By the time we had finished, the sun was lowering and I still had a way to go. I sped up and marched along empty trails and forest paths.

Mod Vibebakke

Eventually I arrived at the day’s destination – the bird tower at Ølene, Bornholm’s largest marsh and a mecca for breeding birds. An unusually late Great Grey shrike showed very well.

Great grey shrike

Periodically the peace was broken by enraged lapwing acrobatically confronting ravens or marsh harriers as they passed overhead.  Below the tower, groups of grazing greylag geese were followed by their newly hatched goslings. Waders milled about linnets and starlings gathered to roost.

View from the bird tower, low sun.

I gazed out over the marsh, as the sun slowly set behind the trees. It was another long day filled with innumerable encounters and experiences. I was completely and simultaneously exhausted and elated.

Sunset, Ølene


WEATHER REPORT – Sunny all day. Temperature 6 – 16 degrees. Wind 5 m/s from the east. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 14.5 hours.

STOPS with the BIVVY – 0


DAY LASTED – 14h and 33 m


BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 49 species: 8 new (shoveler, greenshank, green sandpiper, wood sandpiper, swallow, great grey shrike, dunnock, mistle thrush, running total = 82 species)

LESSONS LEARNED – In the morning, when it was cold, I thought I had made a mistake by not having all my warm clothing on. Later however, I ended up overheating – so not sure what I learned there.

IN MY HEAD – My newly dug pond. Hearts and health.