As I was letting you know from the about me section, I am starting this journey from scratch. And for you to realize how low I am starting, I am letting you know that the first series of pictures you would see are taken on auto mode with my dslr. I am planning to learn shooting in manual mode in the near future so soon you will see some attempts.
For the first few articles on this blog I used older pictures and older stories as I started collecting them months ahead, first I wanted to have a good start than the launching date of the blog got postponed and that’s how you will end up seeing pictures from spring in autumn.
This article will be composed of photos taken on different days and different places like the forest, in a park and at the sea. For the end of the article, I will keep the best photos that I manage to take until now and as I consider the best bird that I manage to find.
My parents came to visit me in Denmark so I took them to different places to see as much as they can in the little time that they had for this visit. To take advantage of this situation I took with me my ‘’big’’ lens and try to shot anything that I found. Because I am still struggling with the camera settings, I have made the mistake of deactivating the autofocus so, in consequence, I cannot use many of the pictures I’ve taken.
The first place that we visited was an enclosed park with lots of dears but I will not show you the dears as I am trying to discover wild, not semi-wild, life. Anyway, from all the pictures taken in this park I can show you first some of a Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) that was wandering close to the little lake found in the park.
A small and common gull of 38-44 cm (15-17 in) length, the Black-headed gull is a bold and opportunistic feeder so probably the individual in the picture was scanning the place for some scrapes. A nice fact that I’ve discovered about the gulls is that they are long-lived and this particular species can reach an age of maximum 33 years old. It can be seen from the picture that the gull is in the process of changing his winter appearance to a summer one, from a white head with a large dark smudge behind their eyes to a black head.
A bit too far for my 300mm lens was a flock of the largest European pigeons, the Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus). Can be easily recognized by the large size 300-600g (10-21oz) and the white present on their neck’s. They build simple nests in trees which are often attacked, particularly by crows, forcing the disturbed young’s to leave them as early as 20 days from hatching. The adult pigeons feed their young’s with crop milk, also known as pigeon milk. The pigeon milk is a substance secreted by the crop, an organ usually used by birds to store food. The pigeon is one of only three species of birds that produce a milk-like substance, the other ones being the flamingos and the male emperor penguin).
Walking 100 meters away from the deer park we reached the seaside where a pair of gulls were happily feeding. Still not 100% sure that they are Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) because of their completely white heads but still reddish feet. They are very similar to the Yellow-Legged Gull(Larus michahellis) and the Caspian Gull(Larus cachinnans). The Herring Gull is the most spread in northern Europe and the white head is a summer characteristic according to the Collins guide. I also found some Herring gulls the next day when we went to visit a small port in Aarhus.
Near some bushes, in the evergreen grass, a well known, well-spread bird was searching for her food. I have seen this species many times, but I have noticed that is braver in the more populated areas, thus I was able to take a much closer look. The Blackbird (Turdus merula) is a very active, very interesting bird that keeps me locked every time I have the opportunity to watch her behavior. The males are completely black having only an orange eye ring and an orange beak which is belied to have an influence in breeding. The Blackbird has a melodic song and a number of other calls that are used in different situations.
Before showing you my favorite pictures I want to show you some that made me curious. Driving to get to work, my girlfriend passes a piece of land where a flock of Whooper Swans (Cygnus Cygnus) decided to inhabit. I did not expect to see such a large bird in such a small body of water, especially an entire flock of them. I did not figure it out what they were finding to eat there but they stayed about one month until eventually the water disappeared and the people start working the field. According to Wikipedia the record mass of a Whooper Swan was recorded at a wintering male in Denmark, a favorite place for wintering, with a weight of 15.5 kg (34 lb). In the spring they migrate to the breeding grounds in subarctic Eurasia, probably being also the place where these ones went.
I again have to thank my girlfriend for spotting the next protagonist. As we were returning home from a walk through the forest and the beach on a sunny but chilly day, my girlfriend spotted from the car two birds sitting in a tree next to the road. She had the impression that they are some kind of owls and she was right, there was a pair of Tawny Owls (Strix aluco). It is the first time I see owls in nature and with birds of prey being one of my favorite animals I was super excited to have the opportunity to find this two. They accepted me to get pretty close as this is an area next to a well-visited museum and a road that leads to it. The Tawny owl is a nocturnal species and being that it was at sunset when we’ve spotted them, they were probably out in search for pray. As with most owls, it has a silent flight owed to its specialized feathers. Unique structures at the wing’s trailing edge and a comb-like secretion break up the turbulent air making the owl’s flight silent, which is crucial when approaching the pray. It’s silent flight combined with the fact that the Tawny owl is a very territorial bird, especially in the breeding season, makes it a dangerous animal to approach, even by humans. Attacks on humans were reported, sometimes even without provocation, probably the most famous one being the attack on the renowned photographer Erik Hosking, who lost an eye when attempting to photograph near a birds nest in 1937. I hope I will see them again and will be able to share with you more photos with this species because it is an awesome one.
Thank you for reading and I encourage you to leave a comment below and share your experience with one of the species described or any other species you have spotted.
For the full list of spottings (even the ones with bad photos) follow me on Inat.
Equipment I use for photography and book for identification, here.