An area in the southwestern corner of Denmark was declared Wadden Sea National Park, Denmark in 2010. The area is part of a larger ecological area also named Wadden Sea that stretches from Holland, through Germany to Esbjerg in Denmark. The German and Dutch parts are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage area.
The Wadden Sea is unique in its flatness, which means the area changes with the tide twice a day. Huge beaches are flooded with sea water rich in nutrients, which makes the area one of the most important areas in the world for migrating birds. It is estimated that 10-12 million birds migrate through the area as they migrate to Africa for winter and Scandinavia for summer. This makes it an excellent place to picnic for birds needing to fatten up before their long flights. Birds love the place but the area might seem barren, boring and monotonous with huge flat expanses with little vegetation.
Right now geese are in the area in the thousands and last weekend we went with my parents to see if we could spot them. And we did manage to find a couple of big flocks flying, ‘talking’ and eating in a couple of places. We did not see the huge flocks I was hoping for but still spotted a lot of birds.
In spring and fall huge flocks of starlings feed in the area for a couple of weeks and it has become such a big attraction that the few narrow roads in the area gets quite congested and the big groups of people disturb the birds. When the birds go to rest for the night they perform a “dance” which in Danish is called Sort Sol (literally Black Sun). The English term is Murmuration. Here’s one of the pictures we took last year:
I have dragged Ann to the area a couple of times now to look for birds but still she is not as awestruck as me at the spectacle of nature and open space. I was raised to admire and love the subtle miracles of nature in this often windswept and cold place but I guess it might be an acquired taste like herring and aquavit. However it’s not the last time we have come to this corner of Denmark and maybe some day Ann will be the one who spots the Peregrine Falcon or the pied avocet with excitement.