German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Vilm in the course of the year 2007

The quiet time of the year

In wintertime, everything becomes quiet on the island. Migrating birds have come and gone, leaving but an echo of the cranes’ calls (Grus grus) fading in the distance.

On the other hand, our winter residents have arrived. Scandinavian goosanders (Mergus merganser), searching for areas without ice, settled around Vilm again. Their characteristic beaks have a serrated margin with which it is easier for them to grasp slippery fish. Other birds which come back to their winter island home include the Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) and the Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis).

The humans on Vilm sometimes miss the sunlight. But the deep night sky compensates with a multitude of twinkling stars…

night sky with stars

Vilm at the end of the summer

Wild brier
Caspian tern (Sterna caspia)

Still we have August but the end of the summer is giving notice on Vilm.

The temperatures reach at this time only 15° Celcius, the barn swallows are gathering and the fruits of the many wild fruit trees mellow.

On the way south to the wintering grounds, the Caspian tern stops at Vilm. The Caspian tern (Sterna caspia) is the biggest tern and is best recognisable by her notably strong red beak.

The last weekend of August the annual Vilm swimming took place - the winner covered the distance of 2.500 metres from the Isle of Vilm to Lauterbach in only 34 minutes!


Bloomy Vilm

The season of colours and scents has come and Vilm is presenting a broad palette of them. Cherry and pear trees are flowering, barn swallows exploring the island again and red-backed shrike guarding on the thorny bushes. The birdsong concert has a constantly increasing number of participants and exhilarate every day.

This year again a breeding pair of white tailed eagle was seen on Vilm. We hope to get many new feathered inhabitants of the island and welcome - now for the first time! - the nightingale on Vilm!

View to Little Vilm
apple rose

Is this winter or not?

January 2007: We just had the third warmest December since the first recording of the weather dates in Germany. The 9th of January was the warmest 9th of January ever recorded here... We are permanently getting such news these days. So the question is: is this really winter or will it still come around - or are we expected to pass directly from autumn with delayed storms to spring fever?

View to BfN pier
View to Isle of Vilm

What do our colleagues on Vilm think about this?
A non-representative survey gave the following results: The hazelnut tree already started to spread out its seeds weeks ago (allergic persons may have noticed that). The little daisies had not even realised yet that autumn was over, so that the whole issue had to be explained to them. The white-tailed eagle regretted that it is so exhausting to get to nutrition, as its prey birds are not gathering around ice holes at the moment. (The water fowl have a different opinion on that.) A passing flock of waxwings was too much in a hurry to share their view, but this alone suggests that they had information about a change in the weather pattern which was not available to the editorial staff. The icebreaker ship, in other years the hero of the Vilm crew, blazing a trail through the frozen water under adverse weather conditions and icy temperatures, now has an existential crisis.

Many seem to be waiting for the winter to come and not just pass us over. Will it come - or not? We`re curious about it!

PS: Writing the last words on this issue it started to snow and the first frost came...

Last Change: 27/12/2007