The shallow lake Tåkern in the province of Östergötland, Sweden, is the country's foremost wildlife lake and one of the most important breeding and resting places for waterfowls in Northern Europe. Visit Lake Takern's website here.
After a radical reduction of the water level in the years 1842 – 1844, Lake Tåkerns depth became only approximately 80 centimeters. The reeds around the Lake began to spread. The meadows around the Lake were well managed by cattle. This was the birth period of Lake Tåkern in a modern form as a Paradise for many species of birds.
Over the years, approximately 270 species of birds have been recorded at the lake and over a hundred species are annual breeding birds. Lake Tåkern has large populations of, for example, bittern, Marsh harrier and great reed warbler. They all inhabit the huge reedbeds, the largest in Northern Europe, about the size of 2,400 football fields.
In the past, Tåkern's vast meadows were well managed by many cattle and horses. In order to manage the meadows now they are mown by machines. The calcareous meadows has a very rich flora with, among others, several species of orchids.
There are four access areas at the Lake (see map), of which the principal visiting point is Glänås on the South side. Here is a newly built observation Tower, designed by the Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh who recently designed the Swedish embassy building in Washington DC.
During the spring and summer, the marsh Harrier is a common vision (approx. 45 pairs breeds in the lake). The bitterns (approx. 40 males) signal in the reeds in early spring. The great reed warbler (approx. 150 males) sits tightly in the reeds and sings loudly in early summer. In the reeds, there are plenty of bearded tits (several thousand pairs), often quite easy to observe. The black tern has in the lake one of its biggest occurrences in the Swedish interior with 30 – 40 pairs. In the riparian forest, several pairs of osprey breeds and always is seen fishing in the Lake.
Autumm is the top time of the year for lake Tåkern when tens of thousands of ducks, coots, geeses and swans gathers on the wide, open water surface.
During the early autumn, up to 3 000 mute swans is recorded together with thousands of pochards, tufted ducks, coots, goldeneyes and many species of other ducks.
Autumn is also the golden period for geeses and cranes. Approximately 18 000 greylag goose accumulate and some 5,000 cranes up to mid October. Yet, lake Tåkern, is perhaps best known as one of the most important resting places for bean goose in northern Europe.
Late autumn is the great period for sea eagles. At most 29 sea eagles has been seen at the same time in november.