group at its first meeting with the cranes
is a must
Lake Hornborga is a nature reserve. The aim is to preserve the
lake with the sorrounding water meadows for bird species wishing
to rest and breed and to retain the old, small-scale cultura landscape.
It is situated just north of Falkoping City east of Gothenburg.
Lake Hornborga is one of the most important wetland areas in
Europe. The cranes normally
appear at the beginning of March. A few weeks later the large flocks
start arriving. These are
cranes that are returning after a pleasant winter in Spain, and
which will then continue northwards, perhaps to a marsh in Lapland.
Huge quantities of potatoes were left in the soil - after harvest
intended for the snaps destilleries around the area. Nowadays, no
potatoes are available, so the cranes are
instad given grain, which also offers them excellent nutrition.
By Mid-April usually some 10.000 cranes are found around the lake,
but arrival varies from year to year.
At the time we visited this year, on April 22nd, there were only
about 3.000 left - but sufficient for us to enjoy our visit.
The crane, which is the European crane - grus grus in Latin - is
the largest bird passing
this area. It weighs between four and seven kilograms and is about
120 centimeter tall.
The male has a wing span of 250 cm. Cranes can live to a maximum
age of 25-30 years,
and they are ready to breed when they are between three and four
years of age.
Photo from the brochure: 'Lake Hornborga
- Nature Reserve In The County Of Västra Götland -
Swedish Environment Protection Agency
(I am sure it
is © Copyrighted....)
The famous dances of the cranes have several functions, and can
take place at any time -
as an introduction to mating, courting a partner or quite simply
for pleasure. High jumps, pirouettes, curtseys, bows and triumphal
cries are all included. Most often in the morning
and in the evening.
The cranes stay at Lake Hornborga for two to three weeks and
then set off for their
breeding grounds in different parts of northern Scandinavia. They
make their nests in wetlands, preferably sorrounded by water. They
lay two or three eggs and the male and female help one another with
sitting on the eggs and feeding. After 30 days, the
youngsters come out, and they leave the nests after only one or
As early as in the year 1800 they began lowering the level of
the lake to recover more
arable land. This was done 4 more times, but in the mid-1960's the
Swedish government decided that restoring of the lake should take
place. Huge machines had a tremendous job traversing the sea of
reeds to destroy their root system. Large areas of woodland had
grown on the shores of the desolate lake. 400 hectares of forest
were felt. Over a five year periode the water was then raised to
the final water level, about 90 cm (three feet) above the previous
level, and now the nature reserve covers more than 4.000 hectares.
Just couln't help it - just had to show you those pictures, too,
including links to more info:
from the brochure: 'Lake Hornborga, Nature Reserve In The County
Of Västra Götaland.
Issued by Naturvårdsverket /Hornborga Naturum - <http://www.hornborga.com>
Right: from the Visitor's Map, Falköping, by the Tourist Office
the brochure: 'Skara, An exciting little city', issued by Skara
(not valid as per Sept.2010)
trip this year was made possible by the kind assistance of:
..and I am sure you also are most welcome to enjoy this fantastic
event next year!
All pictures, except where otherwise
stated - are my own.
If copying for commercial use - don't forget I need the money....
Otherwise - an E-mail will do.