It was the last weekend in April when I decided to take another shot at searching for migratory birds so I’ve convinced a friend to join and went at Vejlerne Nature Reserve. The weather was not the greatest and we did not stumble over the migration, but we found some interesting birds. Unfortunately, from all the species that I have seen that day, I will be able to show you only 4 of them because the other pictures were simple to bad or the subjects too far for 300mm reach.
The first place we decided to view were two lakes, Selbjerg Vejle and Lund Fjord. The activity here was very low but I manage to take a picture of a beautiful Mute Swan (Cyqnus olor). I have seen swans later in the day in different locations also but it was the first day I see the Mute Swan instead of the Whooper Swan which I believe migrated north already. The Mute Swan is the national bird of Denmark since 1984 and appears in the fairy tale ‘’The ugly Duckling’’ written by the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The name ‘mute’ comes from the fact that it is not as vocal as the rest of the swan species but it is not actually mute.
Being a little bit disappointed by the low activity on the lakes, we jumped in the car and decided to go in search of new places. On the road, we’ve encountered probably the best experiences for the whole day, two birds of prey (one I’ve managed to photograph but totally unfocused), lots of geese close to the road and a crane. It was the magical but common Crane (Grus grus). For me, it was the first encounter with this bird and it was truly magical, the pictures will totally unjustified the beauty of the bird and of the moment. It flew away further soon after I’ve stopped the car and started shooting him so you will have to satisfy with only one picture, for now. It is one of the only 4 species of crane not classified as threatened with extinction or conservation dependent. Although it is a large, tall bird with 100-130cm (39-51in) height and a 3-6kg (6.6-13.4lb) weight, it is a medium-sized crane.
Our next stop and the last for that day was at some flooded fields called Fjerritslev next to Limfjord. Here we found at least 7 species of birds among which was the Mute swan and the Mallard duck from the above pictures, two species that I will present next and other that were too far or the pictures too bad to distinguish something. The Greylag Goose (Anser anser) is at its second appearance in my blog and probably not the last. This time I’ve seen a pretty big colony of breeding gees, some with chicks. The graylag is a large bird measuring between 74 and 91 cm (29 and 36 in) and can weight an average 3.3 kg (7.3 lb). They feed mostly on grasses which are low in nutrients forcing the geese’s to feed most of their time, often found grazing in pastures with cows and sheep.
The other bird that I’ve managed to capture unacceptable, in my standards, photos was the Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta). He spent enough time at an acceptable distance for me to capture him feeding; I say he but not sure about the sex as the differences are pretty small. Although from distance can be mistaken with a gull, the black and white patterns, the long and curved black bill and the long and pale blue legs, make the Avocet an unmistakable bird. The scientific and English name come from the Venetian name avosetta and it may refer to black and white outfits worn by the European lawyers. And the genus name comes from Latin, recurvus ‘’curved backwards’’ and rostrum ‘’bill’’.
Next to the place where I live there is a small public forest that is used as a breeding spot by her inhabitants. Right next to the house, two Great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) have their territory; they are my sweet little neighbors. I hear them almost every day knocking on the trees, especially in the sunny, calm days. Ever since I have discovered them I have been excited about seeing them even though they are not a rare species but they are definitely a beautiful one. I think my fascination about woodpecker comes from when I was very young; also then the woodpecker was a special bird that was also called the forest doctor (not sure why though). The great spotted woodpecker has a distinctive drumming display, present especially in spring when they advertise ownership of the territory. It’s drumming is faster than for any other woodpecker at around 10-16 strikes per second, typically repeated in one-second bursts. That is how I have discovered them, by following the drumming. They make use of their special adaptation which they share with other woodpecker species, like the zygodactyl arrangement of the foot, with two toes facing forward and two back, and stiff tail feathers used for propping against the tree.
The wondering Carabid beetle (Carabus nemoralis) was actually found some time ago, at the end of March but simply did not fit in the last articles. At first glimpse, it looks just like a simple black beetle, probably disgusting to many, but at a closer look, it is quite fascinating with metallic green elytra and three rows of small fovea. The carabid beetle is a wanted insect around farms because it primarily eats the agricultural pest Gray field slug (Deroceras reticulatum). It definitely captured my attention, especially during the 15 min photo shoot after which was left to his business, too bad my photos don’t make him justice.
Thank you for reading and please leave a comment below with any suggestion, information, story… anything.
Please follow on social media, share if you enjoyed and support if you really enjoyed. Have a great spotting!
For all species found on my spotting adventures, take a look on INaturalist.
The gear that I’ve used for spotting and book for identification, here.