Monday, November 6, 2017

Another Rewarding Birding Day

Tuesday p.m., 31 October

I know I've been waxing lyrical about birding since I embarked on this hobby, but if it sounds pleasant, why not? Besides, there are countless blogs out there that are focused exclusively and enthusiastically on birding, and I don't get tired reading them and viewing their bird photos. So I'm going to say my piece too.

These days when the weather is mostly dark, cloudy and rainy, we have to take advantage of any day when the sun is out and the sky is clear or partially cloudy, as long as there's enough light, to go birding.

Monday would be perfect as the sky was completely clear but I had to work during the bright hours, so I couldn't follow my hubby when he set about birding. When he reported his finds at home later in the evening, I wished I had joined him too. But I was happy that he found a lifer that day.

So the following day when I had my job done early, we both traveled to the same place in hopes of seeing the same bird. It was partially cloudy but sunny enough to see the birds clearly.

The first ones we spotted were the waxwings (sidensvans in Swedish) , hundreds of them perched on the tops of the bare aspen trees. They repeatedly swooped down on the nearby rowan trees and nibbled on the berries and flew back to the treetops.

I also noticed a couple of female pine grosbeaks (tallbit) festively mingling with the waxwings.

After observing and photographing them to our fill, we proceeded down the narrow pathway where hubby found the European goldfinches (steglits) the other day. Unfortunately, they were not around that time, or maybe hiding in the bushes.

We were not disappointed though, for something wonderful happened while we were there. A car was parked, and a man, obviously an ornithologist, was on a voluntary mission, tagging the common redpoll birds (gråsiska), counting them and releasing them afterward, and then he would submit the data to the Museum of Natural History.  All of a sudden, he offered me to hold one of those birds, showing me how to "finger" it. Oh, yes!, I was thrilled to hold this one small cute bird that had eluded me before this moment. I had seen some before from afar but couldn't capture them clearly, and now, I had one in my fingers! I was so grateful for this new experience!

When we were about to leave, he suggested a place where we could find a rare bird here in the north pole, the great egret, which thrives mostly in warmer places. Off we drove to the said place, which we have never visited before. The area appealed to us, was beautiful actually. We saw some swans and other ducks, but the egrets were not around.

We moved on to another part, exploring the shoreline until we came to a section where a narrow strip of land jutted into the sea, called spit (?). Many swans and ducks floated offshore, but still, we couldn't find the egrets. Wrong timing, perhaps. We're going back there another day.

Anyhow, we saw hundreds upon hundreds of common redpolls and arctic redpolls flying together in a flock, crowding the trees, dangling from the twigs while feeding on their seeds acrobatically. The show was a delightful treat for us! We tried to take innumerable pictures of them in action, which was quite difficult due to their constant movement, distance and poor lighting.

Darkness started to set in at around 3:00 p.m., which is the case during this season in this part of the world, so there was no way to take clear and sharp images. But we have had our fill of this visual birding feast!

The sun had sunk low, the birds had flown away, and so we had to leave too before the last glint of sunlight vanished. We marched back to our car parked at the wood's trailhead, our souls infused with an ample dose of metaphoric vitamins that strengthened our psyche.

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