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Study trip to Denmark 2022
At the end of August, together with staff from our project partners Amphi International and the Nature Park „Am Stettiner Haff“ of the State Agency for Environment, Nature Conservation and Geology (LUNG), we did a study trip to several coastal areas in Denmark with a wide variety of projects to protect meadow birds.
On the trip we were accompanied by our colleague Ole Thorup from Amphi International, an expert with extensive knowledge about the development of meadow breeding populations in Denmark. He organized the entire study tour and on the first day he took us to the local salt marshes of Vesløs, near Amtoft.
The next day we visited the Østerildtårnet bird sanctuary. Ornitologist Jørgen Peter Kjeldsen guided us through the poldered areas along the Limfjord. This area, in connection with Bygholm, is one of the largest wetland complexes in Denmark (about 6000 ha). Afterwards we met with the local manager of AAGE V. JENSEN NATURFOND in Bygholm. He showed us different areas, which are used in different ways. For example, some areas are used with grazing cattle, others are allowed to develop reed beds, some areas are closed to tourism others are very well developed for the public with sufficient information about the area and the species living there.
The destination for the third day was the island of Agersø. On the way there we visited the coastal meadow area Lejsø near Korsør, a breeding area of black-tailed godwit and ruff. Here we could participate in the impressive cooperation of nature conservationists and the municipality with the owner and farmer. It was nice to see what is possible when everyone pulls together.
On Agersø we visited the coastal meadows in the northern part and the Helleholm Game Reserve in the southern part of the island. Here, we met more lone fighters in the effort to do something for the meadow birds. On the island the landowners have to pay the farmers to bring their cattle onto the land.In Germany or on the mainland of Denmark we know it rather the other way around. That means on the northern part of Agersø no grazing in the wader area and that means that without short meadows it will be difficult for the meadow birds to find good breeding spots. So far, they mow the corresponding areas but this endeavor is also becoming increasingly difficult. We keep our fingers crossed that things will continue there in the next few years and that it will become a little easier again to manage the area.
The afternoon was spent visiting the Bøtø Nor bird reserve with Anita Pedersen, biologist at Guldborgsund Municipality (and also an ornithologist), and the local manager of Bøtø Enge/Bøtø Nor. It was exciting to hear and see how they are trying to restore reclaimed coastal meadows here as wetlands and wet meadows (Natura 2000 site). They are still in the early stages but have already accomplished much, such as grazing Highland cattle togehter with Cornic horses, hydrological separation to surrounding farmland, and large scale land purchase. The task now is to continue to develop the land and work with the agencies on management plans to further embed meadowland conservation.
On the last day of our excursion we visited Nyord. Søren Ring, biologist and director of Fugleværnsfonden, led us through a rather large meadow area, partly owned by the Fugleværnsfonden Foundation, with large meadow bird populations. We were impressed by the size of the area, the management and the cooperation with the farmers. For example, grazing is deliberately managed from the inside out, so that as the areas in the coastal floodplain dry out naturally, the cattle can move further and further to the coast and the meadow birds can breed undisturbed.