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The course of the year in Kalvebod Fælled

Spring

March

Waterfowl mate, geese and swans sit brooding on their nests. The willow trees are in bloom, attracting swarms of bumblebees. Sap can be tapped from the birch trees. Stinging nettles and goutweed are fresh and perfect for making pesto. The first leverets are born and the first toads of the season flock to the ponds.  At the end of the month, the cranes migrate northwards.

April

Now the bittern booms its drum-like sound by Hejresøen lake and Store Høj Sø lake - both locations have bird towers and hides from which you can observe birds - skylarks, blackbirds and starlings each have their own tune, and the lapwing is active. It is breeding time for the kestrel, and there are lots of goslings, ducklings and cygnets. The sheep, which are outside all year, start to lamb, and the cattle have returned to spend the summer months in Vestamager. The first tadpoles can be studied; on warm days, the grass snake basks in the sun; and the fallow stags shed their antlers. You can bring the antlers home if you find any.

May

The foxes venture outside their den to play. The nightingale sings, the cuckoo calls - it is an ornithological choir. The marsh harrier patrols the edge of the reed bed for food. The bees are busy and sand martins and swifts stuff themselves with insects while the first butterflies flutter around.  The hawthorn and willow herb, which you can use like asparagus, are both in bloom. The foxes have had their cubs, while the common water frog breeds and croaks deafeningly day and night. 

Summer

June

Now it is time for the elderberry to bloom, while the small ermine moths wrap the hawthorn completely in their white web. Fallow deer leave the herd to give birth to their fawns. This usually happens secretly, but the grazing cows give birth to their calves in the meadow, so you might be lucky and get to witness it. The protected orchids blossom: the marsh orchid blossoms along the paths, while the common twayblade grows in Pinseskoven. May bugs and black flies are at their peak.

July

The kestrel’s chicks leave the nest, new nymphs can be found in the ponds and dragon flies begin to hatch.

August

The summer of 2011 was the first time the rare Apatura ilia, or the lesser purple emperor, butterfly was witnessed in Pinseskoven, and a year later several more specimens of this beautiful purple butterfly appeared; attracted to the forest by their favorite foods - trembling aspen, poplar and willow on moist ground - as well as a warmer climate.  Other beautiful butterflies include the Camberwell beauty and the purple emperor. The grasshoppers sing by rapidly rubbing their front wings together, and the adders are swollen before they lay their eggs.

There are fresh mushrooms.

Autumn

September

Golden plovers in their thousands migrate across Vestamager, en route to their wintering grounds in Southern Europe, and a phenomenon known as “black sun” occurs in miniature format when starlings settle for the night in the reed beds as they prepare for their winter migration. Large flocks of greylag geese graze on the meadows. There are excellent opportunities to observe white-tailed eagles.

The berries are ripe in the large thickets of brambles in Pinseskoven forest, masses of mushrooms grow on the open fields, and from now until October it is possible to pick the orange berries from the sea buckthorn, which can be used in schnapps or in Nordic-inspired cooking.

October

The geese migrate, and the cows that have been grazing in Vestamager all summer are now taken back to Jutland. Fallow deer are in rut from mid-October until mid-November. To keep the population of deer to the 400 Vestamager can sustain, 150-200 deer are culled each year. With the arrival of the first frost, the birch leaves start to fall in Pinseskoven forest.

November

The fallow-deer rut ends and the winter guests arrive, for example hen harriers and rough-legged buzzards.

Winter

December

Fieldfares clear the red hawthorn of its last red berries before the large flocks migrate southwards. You are welcome to gather supplies for your Christmas decorations. This could be the characteristic birch polypore, pieces of bark, moss and red pixie-pears. The best places to find supplies for your decorations are Pinseskoven and Fasanskoven forests.

January 

A third of Denmark’s total population of mute swans spend the winter in Køge Bugt bay, and the tufted ducks have made a home by Birkedammen lake. There are also large flocks of grebes and mergansers. It is the mating season for foxes.

February 

The days are now noticeably longer, the light returns and the same goes for the first migratory birds; geese. Now that the trees are leafless, the birds’ nests are visible, among others the large colony of rooks close to the Nature Centre. Common buzzard, kestrel and peregrine falcon hover in the air in their hunt for mice. Even the white-tailed eagle is more visible. Hares have started to mate.