Krokstad Herrgård – situated close to the estuary of River Byälven/Lake Vänern – is a perfect starting point for exploring and experience the beaver habitat from the kayak. An impressing oak alley, in bright green spring colors, invites us to Krokstad herrgård. The late May evening was sunny, a bit chilly but probably too windy to make the beavers in the mood to show up.
The entrance to Krokstad Mansion
Strolling through the park and arboretum towards the river.
We had the pleasure to scout the surroundings together with family Say from France and Switzerland. A short walk down to the river before its time for preparations before embarking.
Three double/triple kayaks and one single kayak is awaiting for the safari. The triple kayaks are really stable and to paddle these you don’t need any paddling experience – perfect to be able to concentrate on wildlife, birds and search for beavers.
On the move
Beaver canal in the reeds
Time for photos
We crossed the river and went behind “Ile des Castors” – habited by a beaver family last year – now the hut is abandoned. It made it possible to paddle into one of the narrow “beaver canals” to watch their hut.
Towards the sunset
In the Beavers habitat
Windy and sunny. Expectant. Even the birds were withdrawn this evening though we observed and heard thrushes, wagtails, some geese and mallards.
Time for a little forestwalk
Just before landing
Where are the Beavers?
No beaver but a trumpeting crane
On the old abandoned hut
Observing the crane
We decided to go ashore for a short walk and to investigate traces from beavers. Now the sun set and suddenly we heard a sound we had longed for. Three souffles from a bittern marking its territory in the reeds. It is a sound that is similar to blow in a bottle. That sound followed us now and then all the evening.
Darker and darker ...
Next morning - new adventures
After a small “picnic” with hot tea and some snacks we continued paddling south towards the huge Lake Vänern. In strong headwind we paddled towards a canal behind an island – but sadly no beavers. We had the luck to be in near contact with a crane – who probably had its nest in the weeds – grey lagged geese, gulls and sterlings. Now and then the european reed warbler sang wonderful tunes for us. On our way back in the dark we heard the spooky sound of a Tawny Owl.
No Beaver Safari is like the other. Even though you don’t meet beavers it’s always a treat to be out on the water in near contact with nature. BUT – in our very last minutes a beaver showed up – just with a big SPLASH – but a sign of a beaver. To share these moments with people you have never met is a great gift for us. Thank you family Say!
We couldn’t resist to continue our discovery along the north east coast of Lake Vättern. The weather was with us so instead of what we was thinking making a short trip morning trip we were out all day – discovered the coast south of Tokanäset, passed Lemunda Bay and the exciting “Mill stone coast”, rounded Island Åholmen, had a wonderful swim by the sandy beach Lilla Hals and returned home in the evening. Full of new energy and impressions – again!
New day - what will happen today?
Open waters - here we go!
A pair of Goosanders - we got in touch with many of them all day.
We followed the shore line and were amazed by the remnants from an industrial era about 100 years ago – mill stone making.
Forgotten mill stones produced by sandstone. Hard work in vain.
Lemunda harbour - ship trade of stones to Finland and Russia
Lemunda Bay - sandy shallow waters
The sandstone shore line and the bottom below the water surface was “decorated” by loads of mill stones for kilometers. This masterpiece is now like a huge installation of arts which reminds us of very clever and hard working people. Sadly many of them died too early because the effects of their work.
Thankfulness for being a part of great history - but sad for unused work
Perfect spot for a pause in the morning sun
Sandstone - sedimentary rock created millions of years ago
Pine forest has replaced the open area - now covered with bilberries
Ready for departure
We can’t get enough of this clear, drinkable water!
Struggling alder tree - a survivor in the water zone
Under water mill stones
Fascinating giant boulder
Couldn't resist heading towards the (for us) unknown island Åholmen.
We were very excited to investigate “our” new island. And we got a great reward – birds showed up we never had dreamt of.
The island was covered with trees and as we had hoped the opsrey's nest showed up in a pine tree
Two gulls and a crow were busy irritating the osprey
To our great surprise we observed eiders - in fresh water. Unbelievable for us!
Two females with their six chickens showed up. And out in the water we saw and heard four males courting one female.
An inviting sandy beach was our our next goal.
Looking back admiring our beautiful island
Listening to the eiders in the distance and resting after a nice swim
Way back home
Back to the boulder
With the afternoon sun in the back we had a wonderful trip back.
We paddled into a shallow, sandy bay with water lilies coming from the bottom and loads of fries - an interesting loop.
Over and under water
We can't get enough of these creations
Clouds in mirror
Back home to well known waters and islands
Total length of this trip was 28 km – in a relaxed paddling.
Quietness, peacefulness – Lake Vättern offered one evening and one whole day in perfect weather conditions for kayaking. Almost no wind and warm temperature. This time of the year you are on your own – except from wonderful company of birds. We left Medevi, by the north east side of the lake, and paddled northbound to Nature Reserve “Råå Uddar”. Following the shoreline in a choir of singing birds we finally had a stop at an island before we returned home in a spectacular sunset.
Can you discover the Red-breasted Merganser?
Island in Nature Reserve Råå Uddar - inhabited by a Greylegged Goose family
Fascinating mix of polished stones
Spring is in the air!
Bloody Geranium in evening light
Solomon's Seal - related to aspargus.
The Swedish white beam in buds
Flowering pine - sending out loads of pollen
We left the nature reserve in a beautiful sunset.
Sun hits giant boulders - a heritage from the ice age
Turning point by rocky island
Blue berry hill in evening light
Organic life cycle together with geological cycle
The purple hour gifted us with with an additional memorable treat.
Our different seasons offers a variety of nature experiences all year round. Spring is here – the ice and snow is gone, nature wakens up. The air is full of singing birds, the buds changes into flowers and leaves and our beavers continue their life cycle. Soon the new “babys” are born. We were out looking for our “friends” and we were anxious to find out how they had survived the winter. They were still there, though they had moved some kilometers south the river.
Can you start a beaver safari from a better spot than Krokstad Mansion? It is situated by river Byälven, close to Lake Vänern . The park was glowing in different green colors in the evening sun. We paddled down the river in a slight head wind. In the reeds we got in contact with one beaver. Just a big splash, but so exciting! Beneath the surface pikes, pike-perches and fries were active. Loads of geese were swimming around with their goslings. And the goosanders were around – both in the sky and on the water. The king and queen of the reeds – the marsh harriers – were hunting above us. The cranes were trumpeting from the fields in the background. The air was filled with singing birds.
When we reached the horizon of the giant lake Vänern we turned back around some islands. There in the channel we had an exiting time following the beavers in their evening swim. They were not really shy – more curious. Now and then we heard the special sounds from the bitterns in the reeds – like someone blowing in a bottle. When the sun set the wood cock appeared flying its route over our heads to protect his territory. Moments of thankfulness to be just here.
On our way back in the stunning evening light we visited some abandoned beaver huts. You can never stop to marvel these intelligent, unobtrusive animals. They create pieces of engineer buildings and pieces of art. The more you follow the lives of these animals the more respect you get for wonders of life!
Nordic EcoTours are looking forward to share these moments of nature together with you!