I find it harder and harder to gather 6 new different species that I have observed between all my photos. One reason is also the winter period with the absence of insects which make a great proportion from my discoveries. I recently took a look on my list on INaturalist and from 170 different species currently spotted, 87 are birds, 61 insects, only 8 mammals, and other taxa. I plan to improve my mammals list with my new trail camera that I hope will not get stolen like my last one. The good thing is that I see more and more pictures that I want to share even if the species was already presented and that is a sign that my wildlife photography has improved.
October was a prolific month for me with 13 days of going out and photographing and with lots of beautiful sunsets. All species that I will present next were spotted in October, in different days and mostly around sunset hours.
I found the Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) in a meadow close to the house, there was a flock of them roosting in some trees at the edge of a small lake. The sun was almost gone so the light didn’t help me much and they were also hiding between the branches but I still managed some decent shots. The Yellowhammer is a Eurasian bird but it was also introduced in New Zealand and Australia. It has a very close relative, the pine bunting (Emberiza leucocephalos), with which it can interbreed. It usually feeds on seeds but it adds invertebrates to its diet especially in the breeding season when it also feeds the chicks with invertebrates. In turn it is prayed by raptors, host of the common cuckoo and parasitized by fleas and internal parasites. The nests can be raided by rodents, other small mammals and corvides raising the rate of nest failure to 60% as seen in a 2012 survey in Germany.
Another passerine bird that I have spotted was the European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), this time in a tree at the edge of a lake. Like the Yellowhammer, the Goldfinch is also a seed eating bird that occasionally includes invertebrates in its diet. Because it eats thistle seeds, the goldfinch is associated with Christ’s Passion in Christian symbolism and his crown of thorns. The goldfinch, appearing in pictures of the Madonna and Christ child. Because of their beautiful plumage and pleasant song, the goldfinches are commonly kept in captivity as pets around the world. It the 19th century, in Britain, many thousands of birds were trapped each year to be sold in the pet trade. Now, wildlife conservation efforts are made against trapping and the destruction of the habitat.
‘’To walk on water like a Little Grebe’’ I am pretty sure this saying doesn’t exist but it should, just luck at the one I’ve photographed. The Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) is the smallest member of its family with only 23 to 29 cm (9.1 to 11.4 in) in length. He is a very skillful swimmer and an excellent diver being able to pursue fishes and aquatic invertebrates under water where it can spend long time before returning to surface. Many times when I spot a little grebe and he spots me, he will dive and disappear as I cannot see where he emerges again. They also use the vegetation skillfully both to hide and to nest.
I have two lakes in a 30-minute range, by car, that are also protected habitats for birds. On one of them, I found a place where it is possible (allowed) to go closer to the water and the reed is missing from that place giving a chance for a lower perspective. That is where I have photographed the next three species and
The Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) is a distinctive duck that winters in Denmark, breeding taking place more north. The only duck that it can be confused with is the American Wigeon (Mareca americana), at shape. I am not very versed in duck shapes but when I see creamy-yellow crown of the male I am most certain about the identification. It is also a lowed bird and as it forms sizable groups in winter they can become really noisy competing with the Black-headed gulls.
The Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) is another duck that I have seen that day, closer to the edge so I could get more detailed images. Don’t let the images full you, this is the smallest extant dabbling duck (family Anatinae) with a length of only 20-30 cm (7.9-11.8 in) and an average of 330 g (11.5 of).At hatching they weigh only 15 g (0.53 oz). I will put a picture that I have took days ago(end of February) with the Teal next to a Wigeon so you can spot the difference. Males have a distinctive wide and iridescent dark green patch of half-moon- or teardrop-shape that starts immediately before the eye and arcs to the upper hind neck. This is another noisy species that also breeds in Denmark. Like almost all water birds, the young’s leave the nests soon after they hatch and are attended by their mothers another 25-30 days.
While photographing the duck I have noticed some Rooks (Corvus frugilegus) being busy on the land nearby. The scientific name ,,frugilegus’’ comes from Latin and it means ‘’fruit-gathering’’. Although their scientific name suggests they would be fruit eaters, they are actually opportunistic eaters feeding on anything from seeds and fruits to insects, small birds and mammals to carrion. About their intelligence there are allot of articles written and it is well known they are one of the most intelligent birds but in some challenges they can even exceed the abilities of chimps. I found them, like other corvidaes, fun to watch and interesting to photograph. It is always likely that I could find a crow and many times they could be found doing interesting things that are worth a photograph, like bothering raptors which they enjoy.
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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.