For visitors interested in botany, Gotland is a very special place. The flower season begins as early as April when masses of blue hepatica (liver leaf) cover large areas of ground nearby eg. Furillen, Östra Djupvik and even the hillside along our driveway! After that come the wood anemones, cowslips, and Bird’s eye primroses that bloom in profusion in the forests and meadows.
Gotland is known for the orchids that bloom here in May and June. There are 33 different identified species. Right around Avonlea there are at least 16 species of orchids in bloom at the same time.
In some places in the surrounding rocky pine forest floor can be carpeted in purple by Early-purple Orchids that bloom in mid-May. If you’re lucky you can even find a species of alpine orchid (Orchis spitzelii Saut.) that ordinarily grows only south of the Alps.
In the traditional hay meadows nearby (Valleviken, Lärbro) the following orchids can be found: Western Marsh-orchid, Dactylorchis sambucina (L.) Sóo, Military Orchid, Lesser Butterfly-orchid, Burnt Orchid, and Heath Spotted-orchid, to name only a few. Both Red and White Helleborine grow in the forests while you can find Fly Orchids in the marshlands.
The extensive areas of bare limestone ground, marshes rich in calcium and sparse pine forests on northern Gotland support a very special vegetation with, for instance, Dwarf Mouse-Ear, Great Fen-Sedge, Gotland Rock-rose, Fleabane (Inula ensifolia), Anthericum ramosum L., White Stonecrop, and Biting Stonecrop.
Fardume Lake is a bird sanctuary where among the birds you can see and hear are cranes, grey geese, Great Bitterns, and a multitude of song birds including nightingales. The sea eagles and golden eagles which nest in the neighbourhood can often be seen soaring over the lake. The neighbouring island of Furillen just off the coast (accessible by causeway) is very interesting for ornithologists thanks to its large population of waders and waterfowl.