History of Kvismaren
Before the level of Lake Hjälmaren was lowered at the end of the 19th century, East and West Kvismaren were two shallow lakes. According to the old district map from the 1860s, the shores around the lakes were extensive meadows used for hay making. Cattle may also have grazed the shore meadows after the harvest.
The lake area was also used for hunting, fishing and reed collection. When Lake Hjälmaren was lowered by 1½ metres, the lakes slowly started to become overgrown. Common reed became established on the former clear water areas and, when the ornithologist Erik Rosenberg discovered the area’s rich bird life in the 1920s, the lakes were virtually overgrown. An embankment was built around the area in the 1950s to control the annual floods and the Kvismare Canal was built.
Today, active management measures have restored parts of Kvismaren. The common reed has been removed and the water level is now regulated to simulate natural differences in level.
Kvismaren is a large area with many observation points, paths and bird towers. Öby kulle is the focus of the area, with toilets, barbecue and an information hut that is usually manned during spring weekends. Many water snakes and vipers can be seen at Öby kulle when they emerge from their hibernation holes deep in the hill. This occurs on the first warm spring days when the ground has thawed.
Birds and plants
It is not far from Öby kulle to Lake Rysjön, where several platforms and towers allow birdwatchers to observe the birds at close quarters. Lake Rysjön is the breeding ground for birds such as the gadwall, garganey, horned grebe, red-necked grebe and shoveller. The areas of common reed form a breeding round for the bittern, bearded tit, great reed warbler and marsh harrier. From Öby kulle a path also leads via Western Fågelsjön lake to the Eastern Fågelsjön lake and Åslaholmen.
Further away is the Sörön nature reserve, whose impressive oak and elm forest attracts many bird species and songbirds that breed in holes. A good time to visit Sörön is during the spring, when there is a carpet of wood anemones. The areas that are grazed today were formerly cultivated. There are many traces of the old cultivation landscape, such as foundations of buildings, earth cellars, stone walls and cairns.
The wetlands also contain several unusual plants species that thrive in the nutrient-rich environment, such as lesser bullrush, mare’s tail, water soldier and sweet flag. The area is also home to many types of dragonfly. Every year, around 200 bird species visit the area. Many of them are rare, but a few more or less regular visitors are red-footed falcon, great reed warbler, corncrake, common quail, great snipe, turtle dove, Savi’s warbler, Lapland bunting, white-tailed eagle and peregrine falcon. Kvismaren is an important resting place for migrating birds such as cranes and geese and on autumn evenings large flocks fly into the area to spend the night. It is almost primeval, and a magnificent spectacle to hear and see thousands of birds coming in to land at dusk.
How to get there
The nature reserve is situated about 14 km southeast of Örebro and approximately 14 km east of Kumla. The nature reserve can be reached from several different directions. There are signposts from road 52 between Kumla and Odensbacken and on road 207 between Örebro and Odensbacken. The main entrance is at Öby kulle, in the centre of the nature reserve.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- have dogs unleashed
- light fires
- remove branches, cut down or damage in any other way living or dead trees and bushes
- pick flowers, dig up or damage in any other way herbs, ferns, mosses or lichens
- set up orienteering control points or mark trails with paper strips
- set up notice boards, placards, posters, signs, inscriptions or similar