Transparent utfyllnad Gotska Sandön on 1-6th June 2011
All photos by Niklas Holmström

As said before, I was only 13 year old when I visited Gotska Sandön for the first time in late May 1976, along with good birding fellows. We were young then, and we still keep in touch and birding together, now and then. I fell in love with the island and visited her again in May 1977 and 1978. And then there was a gap of more than 30 years until the visit in May 2009. On this visit we were several birders from Sweden, but I travelled with my good old mates Classe and Janne Cronlund and Ante Eriksson. In 1976 I was there along with Classe and a few others and in 1978 I was there with Janne. In those ancient days one reached Gotska Sandön by fishing-boat from Fårö (Gotland). However, many birders were still present at our arrival: Mattias Gerdin, David Lundgren, Raul Vicente, Per och Micke Åsberg, Jörgen Hansson, Martin Widén, Krister Nordin and Tord Lantz. A small happy family, so to speak. Here you'll find photo galleries from 2009 and 2010.
Highlights during the stay: Greater Short-toed Lark, Citrine Wagtail, Common Quail, Pale-bellied Brant Goose, Greenish Warbler, several Red-breasted Flycatchers, Collared Flycatcher, many Marsh Warblers, White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle. In addition also a flock of five migrating Red-necked Phalaropes and 140 beautiful Grey Plovers in one single flock. A total of 116 bird species were seen. And as usual the weather were just hot and pleasant.
Short facts about the National Park Gotska Sandön: Gotska Sandön is the most isolated island in the territorial waters of Sweden and the entire Baltic Sea. It is remote, desolate and barren, but at the same time strangely beautiful. With its miles of sandy beaches, its dense pine forest, and broad horizons in every direction, Gotska Sandön is a very special place that has fascinated visitors for centuries.
Sights: Deserted sandy beaches. Characteristic landscape featuring sand dunes and pine forest. Dead forest at Arnagrop. Rich flora. Bird migration route. Unusual beetles. Buildings of cultural interest.
Area: 4,490 hectares, of which 842 hectares are water.
As National Park: Established in 1909, extended in 1963 and 1988.
Location: In the middle of the Baltic Sea 38 kilometres north of Fårö (Gotland) and 85 kilometres south-east of Landsort (Stockholm's archipelago).
Visiting Gotska Sandön: There are regular boat tours from Fårö Island and Nynäshamn on the mainland during mid May to mid September. The island has no harbour. Visitors may choose to dwell in their own tents or in a cabin. Lodging facilties must be reserved in advance. At the lighthouse compound, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has provided a nature centre with an exhibit of the island's natural and human history.
Getting there: You will find everything about travel, schedule, prices and so on concerning Gotska Sandön on the english subsection at, where you can make bookings as well.
Web resources:
Birds on Gotska Sandön managed by Bertil Johanson (of course available in Swedish language too)
Gotska Sandön – Högpotent raritetsö. An article by Måns Grundsten, published in the birding magazine Roadrunner (4/2006). In Swedish language only.

Leaving Nynäshamn in early morning. Hopefully the ominous clouds will too. The Cronlund brothers (Janne and Classe).
The boat crossing takes about five hours and if you're not prone to seasickness one could just chill down in the cabin. Classe and Bertil are totally absorbed within a seemingly hot topic or perhaps an app. About what? Only your imagination set the limit;-)
Halfway to Gotska Sandön the clouds suddenly decreased and soon...
...the jewel among islands did approach in the horizon.
As usual everyone want to get off as quickly as possible. However, it's quite funny to stay back and just watch. Why such a hurry?
Janne, Ante and Classe on the beach named Las Palmas. Yes, it's true. And I can reveal that Classe and I once wrote a song about this very beach. However, I only remember the chorus, Las Palmas ta ta dadado katosch!
Beach of Las Palmas towards Säludden.
The closest you get to a road. Typical biotope between the shore and woodland along the eastern part.
One-flowered Wintergreen (Ögonpyrola in Swedish) found at Las Palmas. A very tiny little flower.
Breckland Thyme (Backtimjan) is quite common.
Mountain Everlasting (Kattfot). A little soft and beautiful flower and I much prefer the Swedish name.
Dinner in the evening outside our nice house in the lighthouse village (Fyrbyn). Janne, Ante, Classe and Nicke.
Part of the small and beautiful village Fyrbyn.
The northern tip Bredsand udde in soft evening light. What a magnificent and soothing place!
Part of Bredsands udde.
Janne and Ante at Bredsands udde.
The sandy tip of Bredsands udde. Almost as white as snow!
Janne scanning the shoreline at Bredsands udde...
...while Classe checking the western shoreline...
...towards Varvsbukten.
Matte (Gerdin) working hard while Ralle (Vicente) playing air-bass in his pockets or whatever.
Every morning starts at Bredsands udde, even though it's quite calm for passing migrates in the beginning of June. From left: Bertil Johansson (sitting), Micke and Per Åsberg, Martin Widén, Jörgen Hansson, Janne, Ante and Classe.
The Godfather of Gotska Sandön. Bertil.
A hard firts-time visitor. Ante. The man, myth and legend from Jakan.
Per Åsberg in action.
So, where are we heading? Las Palmas or the Bay of Wine? Some decision anxiety.
Bertil showing his heavy equipment trying to get some shots of passing swifts.
At the top of the lighthouse. The view were just awesome. The Cronlund brothers enjoying the sight while Ralle scanning the air for raptors.
View from the top of the lighthouse towards east.
Säludden (Cape Seal) are protected year-round cause the Grey Seals.
Several Grey Seals resting on offshore cliffs. Very nice to watch and here them howling!
No risk to lose one's way, if you keep to the paths. I heading to Tärnudden, the southernmost tip of the island.
All the paths through the island is very beautiful. Not much birds, but the scent and the silent filled by natural sounds are so relaxing for one's soul.
The remote beach of Tärnudden.
Nicke taking a break at Tärnudden, with Höga land in background. This is paradise!
Dry and sandy landscape at Vinbukten...
...which is the only place on the island were Sea-holly (Martorn) is growing.
A wonderful silvery tree at Höga land!
More silvery trees, at Källahamn. Like a frozen moment of a tree ballet.
Three cool birders having a barbecue.
Janne and Ante working as drivers in search for a River Warbler, which were present in the area earlier that day. Though we had no luck, but who cares when the island offer beautiful evening views... this one towards Hamnudden. No words needed.
Sunset at Bredsands udde. Our last evening on the island.
Crowded at Bredsands udde on our last morning. Imagine my surprise when I got down the small hill to have a pee...
...and when I got up again everyone was fucking gone. A quick close-to-nervous-breakdown-scan and I happily found the party...
...a few hills away, discussing the strategy to successfully flush a Quail that had dropped somewhere in the vegetation...
...and this is how target-oriented birders find difficult-to-see birds. And of course the little Quail were flushed and everyone was happy indeed. Sometimes it's more funny to watch birders in their way of birding, than the bird itself :-)
Kapellänget. An oasis of old oaks and flowering Pasque flowers.
Janne, Classe and Ante at Kapellänget.
Gamla gården on the southern part.
A contemplative place.
Bourgströms mausoleum on the southernmost part.
A lovely Narrow-leaved Helleborine (Vit skogslilja) at Bourgströms mausoleum.
The Oak. This is the well-known oak named Eken. half-buried by sand on the southern part.
View at Höga land.
Time to leave the beautiful and soothing island. Sadly, sort of. However, everyone longed for a nice dinner onboard, but that's another story. See you at Gotska next year!

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