At night fall during the spring and autumn months, the skies above the Danish-German border play host to a spectacular natural phenomenon called Black Sun.
I have to admit that although our guides seemed confident of the exact time and place this ‘natural’ phenomenon would occur, we were sceptical about getting into a bus with about 100 other tourists to go and see flocks of starlings supposedly “dance across the twilight sky”. Even seasoned bird watchers can get it wrong and if the starlings failed to show up as planned, it would have been a waste of a lovely evening.
Nevertheless, we left the town of Skaerbaek only to find ourselves in an open field in Germany at around 18:30 that evening. On cue, the first flock of starlings appeared. They seemed to revel in the fact that a bus load of tourists had driven such a long way to see their show. And they didn’t disappoint!
For almost an hour we stood in that field watching the most amazing display of grace and beauty. Each flock of starlings swooped and swelled in unison only to disappear into the horizon a few minutes after to make way for others to do the same.
It was a pity that the tour language was Danish as I would have liked to have known more about the “why” of Black Sun.
The tourist brochure stated that “The beauty of their flight cannot be described, it must be seen, heard and smelt”. I hope more people get the opportunity to see this spectacle in their lifetime.
Getting there: As we were staying on the island of Romo in Denmark, we asked the tourist office to make a reservation for us with tour operators, “Black Sun Safari”. It is advisable to call and reserve your place before hand. They will usually give you a meeting time and place. Don’t be late – they won’t wait! Unless you are an experienced bird watcher I’m not sure if Black Sun is something you can do on your own.
Dates to see Black Sun: Spring (20 March to 20 April) and Autumn (15 September to 20 October).
Other information: Take a good pair of hiking boots or wellingtons if you have them. Dress warmly and take a hot drink if possible. (We didn’t do any of this unfortunately…)
There was no indication that we would be crossing into Germany from Denmark during the tour. Although there wasn’t a problem, it’s probably a good idea to carry your passport or other ID when you take the tour.