Transparent utfyllnad Gotska Sandön on 21-24th May 2009
All photos by Niklas Holmström

I was 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 this lovely reunion. On this visit we were eight hardcore birders from Sweden, of which several are regular visitors to the island and Bertil Johansson being the 'wise old man'. Bertil and I became acquainted during the stay in 1978 and 30 years later we did meet again and had a very nice birding time together!
Highlights during the stay: Great Egret (first record for the island), European Bee-eater (2), a male Pied Wagtail M. a. yarelli (first record for the island), several Golden Orioles, three Collared Flycatchers, several Red-breasted Flyctachers, many Bluethroats and good numbers of several common species. A total of 110 species were seen.

View of the northern tip when approaching Gotska Sandön by boat. The low and sandy part to the right is Bredsands udde. The lighthouse is just nearly visible, stretching just above the pine forest 'sky line'.
View towards Stora Beckrevet.
View towards the tip named Säludden, which is a protected reserve for Gray Seals.
The boat "M/S Gotska Sandön" has landed at the beach (perfectly) named Las Palmas this sunny day with light winds.
Three exhausted non-birders halfway to the camp site. Most probably they enjoying the sun, the very silence and the surging sea.
The camp site at the norhtern part. Here you can book nice cabins or large tents in advance or make room for your own tent.
The lighthouse at dawn.
Expectant birders at Bredsands udde at dawn, waiting for the sunrise. This morning they were rewarded with the first record of a Great Egret, passing by overhead at two occasions! But at this very moment they don't know anything of a such happening.
Sunrise at Bredsands udde.
The sandy reef at Bredsands udde, which shape change from day to day and year to year. If you have been able to set a GPS point 30 years ago, you should have noted that the point was located 300 metres out in the sea.
Birders at Bredsands udde. The hot-spot for watching seabirds and migrating landbirds such as Spotted Flycatcher and Golden Orioles. It's a strange mix of bird species indeed.
The silent sandy reef at Bredsands udde! The place recalling much of the sandy tip Grenen at Skagen in Denmark. Not a single fotstep or track in the plain sand!
View from the eastern part of Bredsands udde.
View towards Stora Beckrevet from Bredsands udde. There was a small birthday party on the beach that evening.
The small village located in the northern part. The nice museum (photos and stories) is located in the left building.
The northern lighthouse was designed by Gustav von Heidenstam (father of the well-known authour Verner von Heidenstam).
View towards Bredsands udde from the top of the lighthouse.
View towards the mysterious south-eastern part from the top of the lighthouse.
My happy friend Bertil Johansson at Kapellänget!
The nice Chapel at Kapellänget. Here you can get married, if you want!?
Interior of the Chapel.
The well-known water-hole for the birds at Kapellänget.
Petter Gottbergs lada (Gottbergs cottage). Was he a piarate?
View at Höga land. The southern part of Gotska Sandön.
Höga land.
Female Common Eiders with youngsters off Höga land.
Tärnudden. A long way to walk...
The tip of Tärnudden (with Kyrkudden in back).
The French Bay. View towards Kyrkudden (with Tärnudden in back)
The superannuated lighthouse at Kyrkudden.
The strange meadow surrounded by dense pine forest at Bredsands udde, where you find Bird's-eye Primrose.
Flowering Bird's-eye Primrose Primula farinosa (Majviva in Swedish) at the same spot as above.
An acrobatic tree about to die slowly at Las Palmas.
Silver-like dried tree at Las Palmas. There are many silver-trees along the Las Palmas beach.
Arnagrop. Not like it was 30 years ago. Now more like a regular sandpit.
From the path between Säludden and Gamla Gården. Time for contemplation!
Opposite to Arnagrop the place Gamla Gården was a real surprise. I meet people from the enthusiastic local folklore society who told me about their work the last 30 years. This rebuilt house was the home for the lumberjacks of the island.
Gamla gården. The pantry and the house of Madame Söderlund.
Madame Söderlund's house.
The nice meadow at Gamla Gården. A lovely and silent place, which breathing stories of life long time ago. Just listen...
The boat M/S Gotska Sandön landing on the beach Las Palmas on Sunday evening 24th May.
After an enjoyable visit to Gotska Sandön, visitors usually get a bit melancholy when getting back to the civilization from this beautiful and silent island. Gotska Sandön in far background.

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