FORÅRSUDSTILLING 2024: ÅBENT/ÖPPET 23. MARTS - 7. APRIL samt 13-14. april, 10:30 - 17:00, HÄRNESTADSVÂGEN 127, VED PULKEN! tlf: +45 31 69 47 26. (EVT. ÆNDRINGER ANNONCERES HER)

29. december 2020




Sketch of Pulken towards south west, painted from the stone row bordering Pulken to the east. Oil colour on masonite, 40 x 30 cm

The following is a short description of the bird life in- and around Pulken over Christmas 2020, written in my crude English, for the benefit of those that are not danish-speaking. Maybe you would like to know what goes on around the now inaccesible world, and this is my contribution. Ihopeit can inspire future visits to the area, once the world opens again:

Over Christmas we have experienced a short period of cold weather; morning temperatures dropping down to minus 5°C. This meant a goodbye to the ca 140 and some four Lapwings that had stayed in the area. 




Taiga Bean Geese and Pink-footed Goose. Pulken 2020-12-23. Water colour in sketch book 270 g paper


Bird life around Pulken this time of year is dominated by thousands of Geese. Among theese the majority are Taiga Bean Geese, but some Tundra Bean- are also present. Greylag- and Barnacle Geese are still around in good numbers, while Pink-footed Geese are scarce. At most I have seen up to eight. White-fronted Geese are very few. Only single birds are present in the huge flocks feeding on the fields adjacent to Pulken. During migration White-fronts can be numerous, especially during the spring migration when they can at times be the most common Goose species as they migrate a bit later than the other Anser species.

The Geese spend the nights on the water surfaces in Pulken along with Whooper Swans. They arrive late and leave early, making an assessment of their numbers very difficult. They can be seen flying in against an orange evening sky, continuing their arrival to the night quarters into the darkness of night. Mornings they leave already from the slightest sign of daybreak. My best guess is that at least 3000 Geese spend the nights here at present, but their numbers may well be greater.

Every morning White-tailed Eagles pass over Pulken, having spent the night somewhere in the swamp forest of Egeside Träsk. These passing Eagles never fail to arouse the Geese. The experience of Pulken in the early morning is very much a soundscape. The cackling of Geese and mournful cries of the Whooper Swans fill the air. A sudden burst of wingbeats, produced by thousands of Geese taking to the wing, is the sign that a White-tailed Eagle is passing. The cackling rise to a cresendo and soon fleeing Geese form a cloud stretching and converging as the birds circle Pulken. Usually they will land again, only to take flight anew as soon as the next White-tailed Eagle approach. This spectacle may be repeted a number of times, but soon most Geese decide to leave Pulken and disperse towards favored fields in the vicinity. A minority of the birds will normally land on the meadows in the western part of Pulken. Grazing on natural meadow vegetation seems more popular towards late winter.

The Geese show a strong preference for spending the night in the shallow waters of Pulken, but during periods when these are frozen the Geeze will turn to using Helge Å as an alternative night roost. After such periods the birds will return to Pulken as soon as the thawing has produced a layer of water on top of the ice.

Taiga Bean Goose, Everöds Ängaväg 2020-12-23. Water colour 1n sketch book, 270 g paper.


Ducks are noumerous in Pulken during autumn, numbers dropping through november. By December species such as Shoveler, Wigeon, Eurasian Teal and Gadwall are usually far ashore but in the mild autumn of 2020 a small number of Wigeons and Eurasian Teals have lingered until the frost set in a couple of days ago. Teals and Wigeons forage in the shallow water inundating parts of the meadows, but as soon as these froze over they left. Hundreds of Mallards winter regularly, preferring the stream Helge Å and even the channel Graften, bordering Pulken to the north. These waters rarely freeze and apparently meet the needs of the Mallards even when only partly open. Right now only a few Mallards are around, though. The vast majority may now be found on the coast, in Äspet and probably also in the “Skärgård” ca 20 km to the northeast.

Pulken is always a good place to see birds of prey, not least during the winter. Red Kites are almost always to be seen. Scanning the horizon will often produce five to eight Red Kites. A couple of kilometres to the south Yngsjö Kapell offers an even better vantage point if one wants to study the Kites. Here up to fourty birds, or even more, may be seen. That is also the place where a Black Kite is wintering. As far as I remember this winter is the third in a row, that this bird is present. From time to time the Black Kite also visits Pulken, eg. on Christmas Day, when it accompanied a small party of Reds and Ravens scavenging on the meadow close to the bird observation tower.

White tailed Eagles are always around. They may not all be visible, but they are there. A good example comes from this autumn, when a young Golden Eagle surprised a flock of grazing Barnacle Geese on Pulken. Approaching low, using the landscape for cover like a Sparrow Hawk, the Golden Eagle suddenly was within the flock of fleeing Geese. Making a rapid turn it seized a Barnacle Goose, and carried it some 100 m. Then it landed, holding the, now dead, Goose in it's talons. Within a minute a White-tailed Eagle landed, on the Goose – which meant that the Golden Eagle was forced to abandon it's prey. It did so without putting up any sign of resistance, apparently knowing all too well that it would stand no chance.

    Very soon White-tailed Eagles appeared from all directions to gather around the Barnacle Goose. What was astonishing was not the number of White-tails; i think five or six birds were gathered at most; it was rather the swiftness with which they reacted to the Golden Eagle. Prior to the Golden Eagles attack only one White-tailed Eagle was to be seen flying in the distance.

White-tailed Eagles are commonly seen perching in the alders in the southern part of Pulken. Up to a handfull is normal, but at times more birds are present, especially during flooding, when up to around 40 Eagles may gather. The highest count of White-tailed Eagles in the Pulken-Yngsjö-Egeside Reservation is just over 60 birds, counted from Ängagården.

Another common raptor is Common Buzzard. As they are often sluggish, spending much time perching on poles, in trees, or even walking on the ground they may easily be overlooked. But on a clear day, when they soar, they reveal their numbers. Hen Harrier and Rough-legged Buzzard usually occur in the form of single birds choosing Pulken as a wintering ground.

Golden Eagle is usually around, but to stand a good chance of seeing this species the right weather conditions are required: A bit of wind and sunshine. But Golden Eagles can be very hard to spot even then, as they can soar extremely high. I have often seen Golden Eagle passing right over head, still barely visible with the naked eye. One has to make an effort out of spotting this species. Pulken is a good place for this, but an other good spot is the power-cables passing Everöds Ängaväg a short distance to the west of the single-file bridge crossing Helge Å at Sjögård. The Eagles sometimes use the power cables as a lookout, which is understandable, as the fields along Everöds Ängaväg is also a place where thousands of Geese forage during the day.

Our cork bird-feeders, build by Aage Kabbelgaard, are now in use and attract tens of Blue- and Great Tits as well as a Scandinavian Nuthatch. Two Treecreepers are accompanying the tits. These aren't very common here and have probably arrived as part of the “bird wave” formed by the tits. Apart from that passerines are few these days. Up to 60 Fieldfares, Wren, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, and a few Bullfinches. Single Goldfinches are also around but no Great Grey Shrike, no Siskins, nor Redpolls or Twites, all of which may usually be found wintering. Supposedly the Bearded Tits are thriving. The safest way to see them is a walk through the reedbed surrounding Yngsjösjön. Alternatively the species may often be seen or heard when taking a walk along the reeds outlining the southern edge of Pulken. This effort may also produce Black Woodpecker, which usually winters in the alder forest, as well as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. If present Black Woodpecker usually reveals itself. Lesser Spotted require more luck. The latter species is, for some reason, increasingly difficult to find around Pulken.

Over Christmas I have spotted quite a few mammals: Moose, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, and Hare. Wild Boars are certainly around, but shy as they are they are next to impossible to get a look at. Fresh diggings and foot prints are common, especially around the southern edge of the alder forest now growing in the dried-out former riverbed just east of Pulken proper.