A month ago I was among the icebergs and snow on the largest island in the world, and now I’m on a sunny and sandy beach on the tiny island of Gotska Sandön, some 40 km north from Gotland off the east coast of Sweden. The whole island is a national park, and for a good reason – everything about this island is special! At least for someone like me who has no experience of islands, it feels like I’ve landed in a foreign place.
I didn’t come here just for fun. The reason I came here is a course in botany, it’s just what I need after three years of botanical downtime in Föne. But on this first day on the island, I had some time to explore the surroundings before the course begins tomorrow morning.
Common broom (Cytisus scoparius)
The small pasque flower (Pulsatilla pratensis) is one of the most numerous flowers on th island. It was everywhere, mostly over bloom but some still flowering. In this one I tried a somewhat different angle.
The only mammal (besides humans) on the island is the mountain hare. Many of them succumb to the ticks which are the biggest threat to humans as well, considering the diseases they carry. I heard that one dead hare which was examined had a 1000 ticks on it!
Narrow-leaved helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) is numerous on the island. In this particular place they were suffering from some fungus which gave them brown spots and it was a bit difficult to find a photogenic individual.
The trees are one of the most amazing features on the island. I’ve never seen oaks like these!
I expected the forest to be sparse and made up of twisted pines like I’ve seen in many coastal places before. But most of the forest is actually a lot like the pine forests I’m used to. Except… different.
Grasses on the beach
The strangest looking pigeon I had ever seen, completely fearless of humans as well. Turned out to be a homing pigeon!