Tag Archives: nature

Be shown the way around nature

If nature is what you like the Sønderborg area probably suits you. There is a wide variety of natural features and environments that will probably keep you busy for quite a while. However, an issue you might have is that although you are happy to go out and explore, you want to learn more about what you are seeing.

If this is you, then Sønderborg kommune’s nature tours with a ‘naturvejleder’ could be your cup of tea. Once a month from February to November, nature leader Jesper Tofft leads a walking tour of around 2 hours in one of the kommune’s naturally interesting places.

Naturvejleder in Sonderborg

We joined him on the February tour around Mjels Sø. During the tour Jesper spoke about the birds (lots of people with binoculars), the trees, and the other animals and plants we were coming across. The information was interesting (though in Danish!). However, do we warned! There is not much walking and a lot of standing around listening and looking around. If this is not kind of thing, then do keep this in mind – especially on a cold day like the one we went on! I was frozen solid by the end.

Explore your Environment with the Danish Nature Conservation Society

The Danish Nature Conservation Society, Danmarks Naturfredningsforening, is the biggest environmental organisation in Denmark. Since it started in 1911 it has broadened its focus from mainly on nature conservation access, to other issues related to resources and consumption.

The local division, DN Sonderborg, has around 1700 members. You can become one of these members here. However, what caught my eye even more than membership as a first step is the various events they organise through the year. The programme for the whole year for the Sonderborg section can be found here. For easier access we have also listed the ones to June below.

Date Description
16-02-2013 Winter walk in Rumohrgård Dyrehave
17-03-2013 Spring flower tour in Arnkil Skov
21-04-2013 Trash collection in Sønderborg
21-04-2013 Trash Collection in Nordborg
04-05-2013 Nature care at Trillen
07-05-2013 Frog symphony in Sønderskoven
26-05-2013 Year’s hay harvest by Nygård in Nørreskoven
16-06-2013 Wild flower day at Dybbøl Banke
16-06-2013 Wild flower day at Cathrinesminde
30-06-2013 Nature care at Nygård

Last year we never quite made it to any of the events. However, this year I am sure we will be there. The frog symphony, in particular, sounds quirky enough to really make me want to join! Will we see you there?

geese watching in west Denmark

Bird watching in Denmarks biggest National Park


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:

Black Sun

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.

Ann with binoculars looking at birds

Enjoy Autumn Outdoors

The leaves are turning red and brown, it’s getting cold and windy and the Danish schools are getting close to the Potato Holiday – autumn is here.

Intense autumn

Monday October 17th the municipality in Sonderborg is celebrating the end of a project called Naturnet Als and the inauguration of a new set of walking guides (pamphlets and info boards) on nature paths on the island of Als.

After a speech by the vice-mayor a number of activities are provided by local organisations:

  • Crab catching from the bridge
  • Know your Danish trees
  • Bird spotting with the help of a guide at the bird tower
  • Plant spotting
  • Learn about fish and animals from the lake from biologist and fishermen.
  • Presentation of the new folders.
  • Pancake making over fire
  • There is pumpkin soup and bread + a beer/soft drink for each visitor
  • A character called Chapper from a kids TV show will sing nature-rap-songs(?!)

Read more in Danish

UPDATE 12/10/2011: You are encouraged to take bike or bus to the event as parking will be an issue on the small roads. For parking opportunities (and a one way street introduced for this day to help traffic flow) see the map here.