March-April 2022

Spring in
Southern Jutland

Once again, we set out on a trip to Southern Jutland to experience the Black Sun phenomena when birds migrate through Denmark.

Though we enjoyed our last trip to the island Rømø in Southern Jutland, we did not experience a true Black Sun where thousands of starlings gather in the evening and suddenly group together in beautiful formations to protect against a bird of prey.

So we decided to try again and this time wait till the end of March, so the weather would hopefully be a bit warmer and sunnier. Since our trip in a summer house was a very cold experience, we decided to book a hotel that offered breakfast in the morning as well.

After some research and finally decided on Hostrups Hotel in Tønder (not far from the German border). This place serves an excellent breakfast and has very comfy rooms. However, the big selling point for us was its vicinity to Tønder Marsken. A marsh area with plenty of birdlife and sightings of Black Sun.

Though we experienced some days with sunshine it was quickly replaced with grey skies and plenty of wind. However, we still had plenty of wonderful experiences and sighted several interesting and rare birds. I have gathered information about the most prominent locations and sights below, so you have some ideas of where to go on your next bird sighting tour of Southern Jutland.

Tøndermarsken (The Tønder Marsh)

This marsh area is found just South of Tønder city. It is easy to get around with a car, and you can spot wildlife from the road, but there are few places to explore on foot. We drove around for a while and spotted a Short-eared Owl hunting over a field on Udbjergvej (a road going West-East just South of Tønder) near the T-intersection with Møllehusvej.

From this location, we also spotted hundreds of Common Starlings gathering during the evening hours, so we headed for the border to Germany to see the black sun phenomenon.

Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl hunting over the field near the road
Black Sun with thousands of Common Starlings

The Glossy Ibis at Ribe

Though the Glossy Ibis is rather common in some parts of Europe it is a rare sight in Denmark. Several photographers had shared photos of a Glossy Ibis near Ribe (city) on various social media forums dedicated to wildlife. Since we were within a few hours of Ribe, we decided to drive to its last reported location and look for the bird.

It proved exceptionally easy to find the bird near a parking lot at the Southern end of Ribe. The bird seemed very used to people and ignored us and all other traffic passing it. It gave me a rare opportunity to study the bird and snap a few photos when the bird emerged from the undergrowth.

The Wadden Sea Centre

One of the main attractions for bird enthusiasts in Southern Jutland is the enormous nature park along the coastline. The Wadden Sea is the largest tidal flats system in the world, where natural processes proceed largely undisturbed. It extends along the coasts of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

For its globally unique geological and ecological values the Wadden Sea is listed by UNESCO as World Heritage. Nowhere else in the world is there such a dynamic landscape with a multitude of habitats, shaped by wind and tides. Global biodiversity is reliant on the Wadden Sea (source).

You can read more about this unique area here (English)

The nature park contains a wide variety of bird and other wildlife in a beautiful landscape. To get a good understanding of the area and wildlife I can highly recommend a visit to The Wadden Sea Centre near Ribe. The center’s exhibitions contain information about the nature, wildlife, history and environmental impact. You can see some of my photos from the exhibitions below and read more about the center here.

A stuffed White-tailed Eagle
A room dedicated to birds in the Wadden Sea
Various things found in the area
The Wadden Sea Centre's beautiful architecture

The Wadden Sea National Park

Getting around the national park requires a car since it is covering almost an entire region of Denmark and you might have to cross the border to Germany. I took numerous photos in the park but selected just a few to show in this blog post to show some of the bird life.