Recently I obtained a new field of interest, while enjoying the outdoorlife; watching birds. Over the last weeks and months this interest has grown and I must say I am enjoying it more and more. I always liked seeing birds in the backyard, feeding them in winter and just watching them as they lived in and around my backyard in Holland the year round. Other than that I did not pay much attention to them.
Since I moved here, to Sweden, my outdoorhobby has increased and I spent a lot more time in the woods and because I had no job, I had time to sit still and watch birds more closely. Scandinavian winters are longer than I am used to and to get through the much longer evenings I ordered several of BBC's wildlifedocumentaries, all with Sir David Attenborough, one of my largest inspirators ever. One of these documentaries is "The life of birds". This documentary really sparked my interest is this form of wildlife and it was a true eyeopener. I found a whole new world to explore, right around me!
With the coming of spring I started to see and notice birds and their behaviour. I noticed new species of birds arriving on an almost dayly basis as they returned from the winteringgrounds. During the wintermonths I loaned some books on birds from the local library and I was able to name a few birds I saw and identify others with the help of these books. I was as thrilled as a child!
One thing I noticed, and I would have been a sorry case if I didn't, where the very large groups of gulls in the fields in our area. We have a large river in the direct vicinity, which explains their presence, I think. These groups mixed with equally large groups of grey crows, making for great displays of black and white in the fields. Today those groups have largely vanished. I think the birds moved on, up north, or the groups have disbanded with each bird looking for a place of its own.
Last week, mondaymorning I woke up and was greeted by a very noisy morningchoir of birds. Large amounts of small birds had settled in a few trees next to our backyard and their calls were quite loud. It was not a single species, but we saw at least three, all mixed up. As daylight grew stronger these birds left the trees en masse and landed in the fields to forage, from time to time rising from the ground as waves.....
I was able to identify these birds;
Buskskvätta, (Saxicola rubetra)
Rödvingetrast (Turdus iliacus)
Sädesärla (Motacilla alba)
Later that day I found one of our cats feasting on yet another species; Gulärla, (Motacilla flava)
While searching and googling to determine the birds I saw, I came across a great site with beautiful pictures of birds found in Sweden; Lars Lundmark's birdpictureblog
16 april; I was waiting for my kids at school and was watching large groups of small birds, swarming the fields. Suddenly I saw them all shooting away, like little bullets, heading for the nearest trees and shrubs, appearantly to seek shelter, giving of loud, shrilling calls. As I turned and look to the sky I saw the reason for their panic; a Pilgrimfalcon floating through the sky. He was circling and hovering, giving me the chance to have a good look at him!
On the 19th of april I was treated to yet anthor few birdspecials; While driving to school to pick up the kids I saw the first swallow of the season! I think this brave little aeronaut has seriously misjudged himself, thinking winter was over... Judging by its brown colour, short stubby body and zigzagging flightpattern it was a backsvala (Riparia riparia), that I saw whizzing by, crossing the road right in front of my car... The backswept wings and forked tail were the main giveaways, though...
Later on that day, after i dropped of my oldest daughter at her very first scoutingmeet, I toured around a little and passed a field. Right next to the road there was a couple of cranes, behaving very oddly, jumping up and down, sometimes throwing chunks of moss and grass, flapping their wings and swaying and bobbing their heads. I could witness this display for about 10 minutes, but than something disturbed them and they flew off, but in a perfectly synchonised way. One just above the other, beating their wings as if one..... It was an awesome sight.
Last night I heard a sound I hadn't heard befor; the hooting of an owl, right next to our yard! Unfortunately it was dark, so I could not see him.