I took enough wildlife spotting trips last autumn but not all of them were full of new species discovered or maybe not enough species for a full article so in this one I will present the new species spotted in more than one trip. All pictures were taken in the late summer-early autumn, in different places in Denmark.
It was more of a walk than a trip but one day, me and my girlfriend, got out of the house and went at the sea side to check out a structure that is built every summer there. I took my camera with me and managed to find some gulls and crows to practice on. Because they were more used to people I could get closer and take portrait-like shots. One of the subjects was a juvenile Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) that was probably resting and also hoping someone will maybe drop some food. Gulls are a tough group of birds to identify because of their quite large number of species and few clear differences between them. Juvenile gulls on the other hand are, as many would say, the toughest group of birds to identify. Good luck for me that I knew the area and that there are usually only Herring gulls and Black-Headed Gulls flying there so I had a strong starting point. There are few key points for indentifying gulls and those are size and shape, color pattern, their behaviour that includes the vocalizations and, the habitat they are found in.
In another trip to the sea, these time much further from home, to the Northern Sea, and accompanied by some friends, I have discovered some other sea birds. Even though I have been to a bird reservoir where I have expected to see many birds and get many photo opportunities I was not as lucky and even though I have spotted few species the photo opportunities failed to present them self. A group of European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) flew nearby and I managed to take some decent shots that I’ve cropped. In Iceland, where it spends its summers, the appearance of the first golden plover is thought to be identical with the spring arrival and it’s always covered in the media. Another fun fact about the plover is that it inspired the apparition of the Guinness World Record Book. Because he could not settle which game bird was faster, the golden plover or the red grouse, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Breweries realized then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular. The first Guinness World Records Book was soon published.
A group of gulls and terns were resting at the sea side but decided to stick together so they don’t give me the chance to separate any of them especially that my range was only max 300mm. There were 3 different species of terns in the group and two of gulls. The only one that I managed to separate and get a closer shot was the Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis). The Sandwich Tern like other terns is known for its loud and frequent vocalizations but this tern, unlike the others, is not as aggressive towards predators. It relies on the density of the nests, often at 20 cm apart, and on other more aggressive species that share the same nesting grounds. Also a tern specific characteristic is the plunge-diving for fish and the offering of fish by males to females as courtship.
Returning again close to home I choose to show you some pictures from a day when I have spotted many animals but either was species that I have already described, either the pictures were not good enough, but you can see all the species on
On a trip to a neighboring city I have stopped on a lake close by to check for wildlife and with some luck I spotted two new species for me. One of them is this beautiful Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) that was resting on a stick. It allowed me to take an extensive photo shoot but unfortunately because of its positioning I did not get great compositions. Another big dragonfly that can reach up to 70mm (2.8 in) in length and 110 mm (4.3 in) wingspan. It breeds in water line vegetation in well-vegetated, small ponds, often in garden ponds. When hunting it can get well away from water and may be found hawking woodland rides well into the evening.
The other species seen that that day was the Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) that I have never seen before or after. Unlike the Southern Hawker, the Spotted Flycatcher just gave me few seconds to photograph him and he was also in a dark area at the cover of some bushes. M. striata is a hunter that uses perches to spot the pray that flies by. An interesting skill that is believed to be acquired because it was the victim of the nest parasites like the Common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is the ability to recognize its own eggs ceasing to be a victim.
Other species that I have seen in those trip are: Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Great Tit (Parus major), Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus
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For all species found on my spotting adventures, take a look at INaturalist.
The gear that I’ve used for spotting and book used for identification, here.