Birdwatching on Ertholmene

Birdwatching on Ertholmene

Nestled within the expanse of the Baltic Sea (around 20km from Bornholm), the captivating archipelago of Ertholmene beckons. Positioned between Denmark and Sweden, this historic island group, granted nature park status by the Danish government in 2019, is a haven for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Our adventure began when friends extended an invitation for an October getaway to Ertholmene, a proposal we couldn’t resist.

Short-eared owl (Mosehornugle in Danish)

Visiting the enchanting island group of Ertholmene in the autumn is a true adventure, albeit a challenge. The Baltic Sea can be quite unforgiving during this season, with its rough waters and unpredictable nature. To add to the excitement, a single boat makes the daily journey to and from the islands, navigating the rolling waves with a bit of sway. This unique mode of transportation only adds to the allure of Ertholmene, making the journey as memorable as the destination itself. However, a pill against sea sickness can come in handy!

The ferry to Ertholmene – The postboat “Peter”.

Ertholmene is an archipelago steeped in history and natural beauty. Comprising two main islands, Christiansø and Frederiksø, Ertholmene’s remote location has shielded it from the hustle of the modern world. Designated as a nature park by the Danish government, the islands provide a pristine sanctuary for both migratory and resident bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Ertholmene’s rich historical legacy, combined with its status as a protected natural haven, creates a unique destination where visitors can immerse themselves in the island’s past and relish the tranquility of the present.

Map of Ertholmene (source)

Ertholmene is actually an old Danish Naval Base dating back to the late 17th century. Its enduring fortifications and formidable cannons can still be seen today and serve as a testament to its military heritage, even as it transforms into a tranquil destination for those seeking a historic retreat. Read more about Ertholmene here.

The view of Lille Tårn (Little Tower) on the island Frederiksø.

During my October visit, I had the privilege of spotting an astonishing 42 bird species, including the elusive short-eared owl and my first sighting of a Eurasian hoopoe. Below you can see some of my photos from the trip:

A quick capture of a sole Eurasian hoopoe (Hærfugl in Danish) on Christiansø island.

A male Eurasian bullfinch (Dompap in Danish).

A Common redpoll (Gråsisken in Danish).

A short-eared owl (Mosehornugle in Danish) on the hunt.