The giants of the dune plantations
In the dunes between Blåvand and Oksbøl a large population of red deer can be found – the largest terrestrial mammal in Denmark. In spring, you can see large herds of hinds and calves and in autumn you can hear the belling of the stags and see them fight. You can also be fortunate to see red deer in the plantations along Holme Å. But in order to see them, you have to move silently and carefully at both spots. The best time to do so is in the evening and in the morning.
Keep your eyes open for foxholes along the slopes of the river valley! The fox is not easily spotted – but early in the morning mother fox might be on the way home to the impatient cubs.
After having been in decline, the otter had all but disappeared from the area in the 80’s. But during the 90’s, it reappeared in Varde river system and has once again become quite common there, just as it can be found in some areas at Vejle Å. The otter is very shy and during the day it hides, mainly under banks and in the thicket. It mainly feeds off fish, which it catches by hunting them underneath the water.
Uncultivated areas with lots of flowers may be teeming with butterflies, especially when the weather is warm. Just above the grass of the meadow or the heather of the heath, you will often spot a small blue butterfly - the common blue. When it sits on a flower, it is possible to see its grey underside, which is filled with tiny black and orange spots.
In early spring, the common frog lays its eggs in flooded meadows and swamps along the rivers. In summer – when the tadpoles transform and go on land – the meadow is alive with tiny frogs.
The adder is most often spotted when it takes a sunbath on the open slopes and heaths. When it hunts, it often strays into meadows and bogs, where it catches mice and frogs. The adder is a protected species – and quite peaceful if you do not disturb it.
Fish in the streams
The river trout with its golden colours and dark red spots is one of our most beautiful fish. All of its life it lives in streaming water and is common in both Holme Å and Vejle Å. The sea trout is of the same species as the river trout – but it lives in the sea where it grows large on the abundance of food along the coast. When it swims up the stream to spawn, it is silvery in colour. It can be found in both Varde Å and Vejle Å.
Just as the sea trout, the salmon lives in the sea to grow big. It goes all the way to the North Atlantic where it lives off shrimp and small fishes. When it returns to the stream to spawn it stops feeding. There is an original population of salmon in Varde Å, which in recent years has been aided by the release back into the stream of fish eggs gathered from the fish living in the stream.