Man med kikare spanar efter fåglar vid Tåkern

Tåkern has to be experienced

Join Åke’s travel through nature – a journey marked by revenge, determination and lifelong yearning.

The pursuit of the lesser grey shrike

Most people that know me, also know that I idolize pilots and cats. Pilots, for their visual acuity – and cats for their world renown patience. I own a cat, but we have a hard time reaching a state of mutual understanding and harmony. But it isn’t such a big issue. The cat gets to eat and I get to study its patience on a daily basis. A win-win situation, without any bonuses, to put it simple.

Most people that know me, also know that I will do whatever it takes to spot a rare bird. I could go on for hours about all the occasions when I have violated the social conventions and contracts, in order to run off on account of a rare bird sighting. I reckon it’s a talent I have, to be able to feel the cosmic vibrations that go off when a certain bird decides to grace a chosen spot with its presence.

Yesterday, I woke up at dawn. My body was trembling and I jumped out of bed, gripped the backpack that always sits ready and neatly packed at my bedside. Every fiber in my body was singing – the holy grail of my bird spotting life was about to land at Tåkern: The Lesser Grey Shrike.

This is a somewhat problematic bird species for me. In 2005, it was sighted at Tåkern – by my bird watching nemesis and greatest competitor. I was on my way, but was stalled due to a flat tire around Motala Motor Museum – and I had to realize that the battle was over for me, while my competitor got all the glory in the bird watching community. I have yet to heal my bruises from this appalling experience. But this time, justice was to be done!

Had my innate bird radar misguided me or am I just using the Lesser Grey Shrike as a reason to keep returning to Tåkern, time after time – just to enjoy this place?
/Åke from Närke

I left my mid-Swedish home behind me and started my journey towards beautiful Östergötland. When I passed Motala, I raised my fist as a gesture of unforgettable anger and regret – and in Vadstena, I took a break in order to enjoy the view over the castle. In Borghamn, I visited the old church yard where a tombstone is placed in memory of a dog – and contemplated my next move.

When I finally arrived at Tåkern, I went straight to the bird watching towers that are placed around naturum. Sure, it is mainly a place for ordinary people and not advanced bird watchers as myself, but the towers surely have their perks.

At the visitors’ area at Hov a multitude of wild geese flew over my head. And at Svälinge, I had to chase away a beaver that was slapping its tail at the otherwise calm lake surface, where a couple of swans were trying to enjoy the moment. Here, I also got to experience the Redshank – a personal favorite of mine – in its natural habitat. And at Väversunda I got to meet the magnificent Crake, listen to the sweet song of the Marsh Warbler and watch a couple of hundred Common Snipes.

But the Lesser Grey Shrike was nowhere to be seen. Had my innate bird radar misguided me? Or was the reason simply psychological? What if I just use the Lesser Grey Shrike as a reason to keep returning to Tåkern, time after time – just to enjoy this place?

The more I think about it, the less I feel like I want to spot the Lesser Grey Shrike. Maybe I want it to remain a dream, a vision and a reason to go to Tåkern and enjoy everything else this place has to offer?

  • Tåkern is an internationally known lake, popular with both birds and humans.
  • So far, 278 bird species have been seen here.
  • The lake is 1.9 meters deep.
  • Naturum Tåkern, located by the lake, is a unique building designed by Wingårdh's architects and completely covered in reeds.
  • Lake Tåkern is located in Tåkern's nature reserve and there are hiking trails, bird towers, barbecue areas, a fairytale trail and a nature playground.

  • Hike a few miles along the popular trail of Östgötaleden. There are over 1.600 kilometers to choose from.
  • Listen to grouse roosters at Kärnskogsmossen.
  • Go Kayaking in the archipelago of Östgötland.
  • Try kitesurfing at Varamon.
  • Compete with homemade bark boats in Getåravinen.
  • Canoe in one of the 368 lakes in the area around Finspång.

More inspiration

Read more travel diaries from our fictional main characters.

Travel here

Trollegaters position

Naturum Tåkern
Glänås besöksområde 1
590 22 Väderstad

About the area

Alvastra klosterruin

Along the eastern shore of Lake Vättern, you will not only find some of Sweden's most visited nature areas; Omberg, Tåkern and Varamobaden, but also historical places such as Vadstena and Skänninge.


Man spanar efter fåglar vid Tåkern

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