The turn of the year in Almindingen


Winter does not always let go of its hold in Almindingen, merely because the calendar says that it is 1 March. This is because spring arrives in Bornholm a little later than in the rest of the country and because Almindingen is a bit colder than the rest of the island. So, March is often a cold period in the woods.

But you sense the growth; The first great tits twitter, the chaffinches sing, and under the ice, the spring frog makes a noise like a fishing boat.

Then the migratory birds start to make their arrival. The grey geese start nesting, the cranes dance and trumpet, the bitterns timp in the reeds of Bastemose and the roebucks rub the dead skin off the new antlers that have grown bigger since the old ones were lost in the fall.

In April, the adders wake from hibernation, and soon the woodland floor sports anemones and corydalises. Many birds sit on eggs and some, like the grey geese, already have young. Then the beeches come into leaf and suddenly May is here.


The ferns roll out their shoots, the cherries blossom followed hot on its heels by the blackthorn. The first dragonflies, the blue dragonflies, leave their chrysalises, the deer have their fawns and the lilies of the valley are flourishing in the oak woods.


In Bastemose, the broad-leaved marsh orchid blossoms first and then the early purple orchis and the common twayblade. The young of the great tit leave the nest. By midsummer eve the elder blossoms and the bird song is at top volume. The twilight resounds with the song of the nightingale and the bats are hunting over Udkæret.


If the weather is warm, butterflies begin to appear and are spotted in the forest glades. And if the weather is warm and a rain has recently fallen, the first chanterelles will appear.

The deer mate during the summer, but they have delayed implantation, meaning that the fertilized eggs only begin to develop around New Year's Eve.

Foxglove blossom in the glades and the blackbird has its second turn of young. Raspberries and wild strawberries are ripe, just like the poisonous red berries of the lily of the valley.

The adder gives birth to its live young. Soon, the blueberries are also ripe and the blackberries a little later. Late summer is high season for insects. In the morning, dew drops are caught in the web of the garden spider.

Flocks of waterfowl migrating from the far north have long since settled to feed in Udkæret. But in August, the first local swallows also begin to migrate south. Those left behind spend the nights together in the reeds and when the sun set, thousands of swallows are seen heading for their communal overnight stay in Bastemose. The breeding season is irrevocably over, the house mice move indoors and summer is coming to an end.


In Bornholm, autumn, like spring, arrives a little later than in the rest of the country and, in addition, both the rocks and the sea retain the heat for quite a while. This means that you can often experience summer temperatures far into September.

In the late summer, food is abundant in the forest and the glades: Berries and fruits are ripe, there are still many insects and spiders, as well as young animals of all kinds. Many birds are migrating now. They fatten themselves up in seeds, berries and insects before the long journey. Or they eat mice like many of the birds of prey that pass the island in their winter migration. In Svinemosen and the other wetlands, a considerable number of migrating aquatic birds may also be spotted.

Other animals, like hedgehogs and bats, prepare for hibernation. They also need to fatten up, so they are busy capturing the last insects of summer.


Similarly, the deer need to build a fat reserve during the fall. At the same time, they shed their red summer coat and change into a warmer grey-brown winter coat.

At autumn equinox, day and night are equally long. The elderberries are ripe and hazelnuts are getting there. Soon, thousands of trumpeting cranes will pass through in flocks over Bornholm. Some of them will settle down for a time to feed. The cranes that have bred in the many bogs of Almindingen also migrate south.

When the temperature drops and the day fades, the trees lose their leaves. This provides the mosses with light, and they now show themselves dense and green in the woods. The ivy blossoms. It is high season for mushrooms.

Grass snakes and adders hibernate, the roe buck losses his antlers. The last swallows leave the country.


Winter is a quiet time: the trees are bare and most herbs have withered. Many animals are hibernating, others have left the country and some, as is the case for many insects, died when winter came. But then they had laid eggs to ensure that the next generation was secured.

On the other hand, visitors have arrived from the north: In Udkæret it is not rare to see exciting migratory guests, such as sea eagles and red kites.

Some years, large numbers of bramble finches pay a visit. It is called invasions. These arise when the birds' food supply fails in the north where they come from. Then they migrate south to look for food. Bramble finches prefer to eat beech mast, i.e. the fruit of the beech tree, and when there is no more of their favourite food left in the woods, they migrate further south.

If there is snow, the deer scrape away the snow to look for beech mast. However, with the passing of time, the animals are increasingly often seen on the wintergreen fields in and around the forest. If winter really closes in, however, the animals are helped by the forest workers who organize their cutting of trees so that the deer are offered a supplement to their diet in the form of fresh shoots on branches of ash and oak.


The time of Candlemas, at the beginning of February, is the coldest time of year. During severe winters, many deer die of hunger and cold. This also applies to birds, especially the small ones. But this is the natural order of things and it is usually the old and weak individuals that are lost. However, this means that come spring, the new generation has more space and easier access to food.

Already in the cold of February, however, the first signs of spring appear: the hares begin their mating games, and the raven lays eggs. The hazel bushes develop catkins and, soon, the first green shoots of stinging nettles and ramson appear.