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The new national park - The Wadden Sea

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The Wadden Sea is part of the North Sea, which lies within the the Frisian islands. The Frisian islands are stretching from the north-western corner of Netherland at Den Helder to Ho bugt near Esbjerg. The Wadden Sea is called so, because it is so shallow, that large parts of it are dry at low tide. Therse areas are called flats. 2 times a day we have tides.

The reason for this exchange at the hight of the water is the moons attraction. In Roemoe we have a difference of approx. 2 meters. The Wadden Sea is such a wonderful natural area, that it is now declared the new national park in Denmark. The UN has also wanted to put The Wadden Sea at the worlds heritage list, like the Grand Canyon in the USA and Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Did you know that there are 500 species and 20 plants that are only found in the Wadden Sea?

Remember to participate in a Wadden Sea Tour:
For more than 10 years we have every weekend had a tour to the Wadden. Our guide has imprest the guests with his incredible dedication. If you are lucky, you can meet these animals in the Wadden Sea:

The Beach Crab: Of all the crabs the Beach Crab is the most common crab. The beach crab is the biggest robber, in other words it eats everything it can get its claws on. You can tell the difference between a male and a female: 1). Males have a tiny tail with 4 parts. 2). The female has a much wider tail. 3). The female carries around the eggs untill they hatch. The babies stays on the mother, where she nurses them, untill they can fend for themselves.

The Mud snail: The smallest and most numerous snail in and on tidal flats. In a double handful there is 970.000 individuals. A Mud snail only measures 3 mm. It is black. It is easy to confuse with little black pieces of clay, which is made free from the coast by the storm. Within the summer a lot of them die, and huge amounts are eaten by migrating birds. Tiny rocks and dead mud snails are often confused, so one has to look real carefully. The mud snail moves in a funny way; it creeps underneath the water membrane. It produces mucus which makes it easier for it to move around.
Hardly any animal in the tidal flats are eaten more than this little snail. So small and yet so important to the Wadden Sea.

The beach snail: There are immense many beach snails, they can not be counted. On the tidal flats you can see their "slow lane". They love to sit on the rocks (bæltørkes) when it is low tide. They can sit for days, well protected from drying out using a layer of mucus. In their mouth they have a tongue. With this they can are allowed to clasp. You see the doble track on the algal coating = they eat everything on plant material. The beach snail is preyed upon by large sea gulls. The gulls swollow the snails whole. They are then crushed by the muscles in the sea gulls stomach. When the gull goes to the toilet, you can see the crushed shells in large piles.

Cockles: When you enter the tidal flats, you can not avoid stepping  on shells of cockles. They are located in the mile means, opened or closed. At these places of the sandy tidal flats you might be lucky and can – with your fingers – dig up live cockles. While you dig, it closes completely. If you leave it on the surface, it will in a short time burrow and disappear into the sand. If you open a cockle, you will see two big muscles – back and front; you see print front and back; you see a ”foot” in motion; you see a tooth of ”meat” – they are edible, but not in Denmark. 

Mussel: Even the smallest child knows how to find mussels. It is never deep in the sand or the wadden, but many together and on the surface. We call the piles musselpiles. There has to be water covering the mussels, otherwise they close all the way to – it is said about the mussel, that they filter their food from the water. When they move their gills, the food gets into the animal and there it is digested. A nice big mussel can filter about 100 l. water in one day. Mussels are edible. But…you must cook them first.

Barnacles: Everywhere on the sandy tidal flats, you can find the small crayfish, the barnacle. It resembles a smal volcano. Its house is white and is constructed of 5-6 pieces of lime. The houses are close together with a lid on top. When it has to eat, it opens the two lids and out comes 12 arms. They sweep through the water  with its brush-shaped arms. When the barnacle is dead, you see the plate on the substrate, it has been stuck with. You can find the barnacle on rocks, wood, and the bulwark. It comes in all sizes.

The plants of the Wadden Sea:

These 3 plants all grow in the Wadden Sea. If the water is too deep, no plants are growing. At ease depth the 3 mentioned grow in following order: 

Kveller (glasswort): Looks like a cactus, but has no thorns. It is an annual plant. It can be eaten as salat. It dies late in the year. The seeds fall from the plant in October-November and spread in March-April. It tastes of salt.

Cord grass (spartina): Grass that only grows in the Wadden Sea and helps form new land – beach meadow. The cord grass is imported from England. It can be planted and the seeds can be sown out. You can compare the plant with perennials – it grows in large round mounds.

Beach-annel grass: This grass grows farthest in on the tidal flats. Is very suitable for creating new land. The sheep feed on it and they thrive.