Sunday, January 31, 2010

A blackbird moves in

Another of the birds that has literally moved in with my family in Bogense is this blackbird. It stays all year in their backhouse which is used as a tool shed slash storage slash repair shop. Here the bird reside living off the old apples and flying in and out of a broken window or a hole under the door. Even though the dogs of the house hunts anything remotely resembling prey this bird is left alone; it's part of the household and the dogs know it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A bird moves in

When visiting family in Bogense on Fünen I often marvel at the live-and-let-live attitude regarding the swallows. These fast and slender birds have their regular nests under the eaves, in the gatehouses and inside the stables, and even though their droppings regularly soil anything placed underneath nests and resting places (including laundry, bikes and tools), they are still tolerated. And I have to confess, they do enliven the place with their chattering and busyness.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A row of birds

Another of the birds that has really taken to the city is the seagull. Competing with the pigeons for our garbage, and often winning, this bird of the sea seems to like life on terra firma very much.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pigeons again

In yesterdays post I told you about my troubles with pigeons, and though they do annoy me, I don't see them quite like flying rats like many people do. Even though there are a lot of them in Copenhagen, like here on the City Hall Square, they do have a function by cleaning up a lot of the mess we humans leave on the streets. On the other hand they're carriers of diseases and their droppings don't do the city much good. But part of our tax money is used to breed more of them in the tower of Copenhagen City Hall. Here 200 - 300 of them have their residence, which is an old tradition still being kept. No wonder there's a lot of them around here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lens bugs

When I'm out photographing in the city, I've often been more than a bit annoyed about pigeons. I like photographing statues, but often these feathered pests have taken residence on top of my motive, and I either have to wait until they clear out or try to shoo them off, with the result that my surroundings find me rather hilarious. The first two photos are from Rome and the last is of the Dragon Fountain in Copenhagen, which is usually covered by pigeons.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gliding on wings

As told in yesterdays post there's plenty of birds among the deer of Dyrehaven north of Copenhagen. On a bright sunny day you can see birds of prey high in the sky gliding on widespread wings like this common buzzard. Suddenly it sees a mouse or a bird and goes into a mighty dive. And if you're ready for it, you can actually catch it on your camera. BTW the common buzzard is the most, well, common bird of prey in Denmark.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Black and red

Dyrehaven north of Copenhagen is not only home to deer as I've told about in previous posts, but also to a wide variety of birds. This black woodpecker is a rare bird in Denmark with only 200-300 pairs and the largest one; it's the size of a crow. I saw it by change when I was actually out "shooting" deer. Tomorrow I'll show you another bird that I happened to spot the same day.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A common bird

The great tit is one of the most common birds in Denmark so to get a photo of these is not a problem. The only problem is to get it to sit still long enough to actually take the photo.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

To spot the spotted

The woodpeckers in Denmark has been on the decline for many years, so it is rare to see great spotted woodpeckers like this one, and doubly so in the middle of the city. This one I spotted (no pun intended:-)) in Valbyparken, a park literally at my doorstep.

Friday, January 22, 2010


The parks and gardens of Copenhagen are a haven for small birds like this redbreast. Many people actually feed them in their gardens to attract more of them, which I find great as long as they keep on doing it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A pest or a plus?

At the harbour and the lakes of Copenhagen you'll find a lot of cormorants. These birds are a course for debate here, as many (mainly fishermen, professional and amateurs alike) see this bird as a pest as it do like the fish in the water. Others see it as a plus that should be protected.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A hovering kestrel

Taking a walk in an area of Copenhagen that hasn't been developed yet called Tippen I saw this kestrel hovering a few meters above ground looking for mice. It went on for 10 minutes or so, with me happily snapping away and it totally ignoring me. Actually this isn't as rare a sight as I thought as a number of kestrels breed here in the middle of the city along with a great number of other birds. The area has been changed to a protected area so hopefully it'll be kept as it is, a great piece of nature open to the public.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Roaring to the world

The roaring of the red deer stags in Dyrehaven at autumn rivals even the noise of the visiting kindergartens. As with the fighting in yesterdays post you have to keep out of the way because these stags only have eye on their harem and on competing stags. On a couple of occasions I nearly managed to get trampled by some of these animals as the stag tried to keep his ladies in line.

Monday, January 18, 2010


At autumn you might get lucky to see the fights between the red deer stags which can be quite spectacular when out walking in Dyrehaven north of Copenhagen. Just don't get in the way because these boys are oblivious to anything other than their opponents (and the ladies of course) when in rut.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A white red deer?

Among the red deer in Dyrehaven there's 14 - 15 that are white in colour despite their name. Here it's a hind among more common red coloured ones. The white red deer are not albinos though but only a variation in colour as far as I have been able to determine.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In the dark

In Dyrehaven you can get really close to the deer, as I've told you about, but that doesn't help much when they lie in the undergrowth on a sunny day. That wreaks havoc with the light sensor on the camera. Here I've opted for a silhouette effect instead of getting the stag in full colour and getting the background all washed out in the process.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How to cover-up a failure

Normally I show my best photos here, but as everyone who has ever taken a photograph knows, a lot of the photos end up in the trash can. Either they have bad lightning or they're blurred or the colours are way off. The photo of the day of a red deer stag roaring to the world was blurred beyond repair, so I opted for a crop, a conversion to b/w and blurring the surroundings even more. I'm actually kind of pleased with that result, even though I normally prefer to get it right in-camera.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Red Deer

Just north of Copenhagen is a large park called Dyrehaven (literally the Animal Garden) filled with deer; sika, red deer and roe deer. And here you can get really close to the animals as they are used to two-legged spectators. The park was originally for the king only as a hunting reserve close to Copenhagen, but now it's open to the public. The photo here is of one of the red deer stags, the largest of the deer species in Denmark.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Three in a row

The parks of Copenhagen have attracted quite a large population of gray herons. These three I found in Frederiksberg Garden trying not to get too cold feet - one cold foot is enough.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The fastest squirrel in the zoo

This photo taken Sunday in the Copenhagen Zoo is testimony to yesterdays post about squirrels being hard to capture on film. Running like the proverbial Road-Runner through the okapi's enclosure I half-way anticipated it to go meek-meek. If I hadn't been in the process of photographing the more sedate okapis I wouldn't have been able to get this shot. Maybe it thought it was crossing in front of the tigers?

Monday, January 11, 2010

An elusive animal

One of the most difficult animals to photograph is, in my opinion, this one; the squirrel. Even though it's used to people it is very shy and very quick so to get good close-ups requires a lot of patience and a lot of luck. I'm still working on getting a really good one... This one was taken at Vestre Cemetery in Copenhagen where the squirrels enjoy the abundance of greenery and the relative quiet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Birds in flight

To get those elusive photos of birds in flight you just have to be standing next to someone with a giving heart and a bakery worth of bread to give. When the birds flock your biggest problem is actually to follow the same bird without getting other birds in the frame.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Like a duck in water

This mallard really likes to be in water. The "show" went on for 10 minutes or so in Valbyparken, a park in Copenhagen.

Friday, January 8, 2010


When people feed the birds at the ponds in the parks of Copenhagen word tend to get around pretty quickly. The resulting chaos of ducks, gulls, pigeons and other birds can be rather fun to photograph.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fighting for food

When visiting the parks of Copenhagen you'll actually notice how much wildlife that has adapted to city life. Especially the birds enjoy the availably food. From time to time they have to fight for it though like this duck that tries to escape an attack from a couple of sea gulls. It did get away with its bread ... this time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Black Sun

In Denmark we got an expression called sort sol (literally black sun). This is when a great flock of birds (often starlings) almost blackens the sun and the sky at sunset and is a phenomenon mostly seen in marsh areas at autumn. Big was my surprise to see this bird flock in Ljusdal in Sweden at wintertime. I think they are waxwings as these are the only birds I've seen in big numbers around here. With this setting of the sun, I'll end my theme from this winter-locked Swedish town for now. Tomorrow a new theme will start with the urban wildlife of Copenhagen and surroundings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Waxwings and rowanberries

In Sweden they have a saying that if there are a lot of rowanberries then it'll be a hard winter. With -22C and great numbers of rowanberries on the trees they haven't been proved wrong this winter. One bird that enjoy the berries is the waxwing. Many birds that eat these fermented berries get drunk but not the waxwing, as it's got a very large liver perfectly suited to this task.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Owls looking

These two curious owls followed our every move when we visited Järvzoo, even though they are night owls. They are great grey owls of which Sweden's got between 400 and 3500 depending on time of year and how much food they've got. Their main dish is small rodents like mice, voles, hares and the like. In Sweden it's endangered mainly due to loss of areas to nest because of intensive logging.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

White on white

The snowy owl is perfectly camouflaged in the winter. Even from a few meters away and the bird in the open it can be difficult to spot, as this one was. With around 100 pairs in Sweden this bird is also considered endangered.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Properly dressed

The musk ox is an animal properly dressed for the Swedish winter. It was re-introduced to Sweden in 1971 when 5 animals emigrated from Norway, and those have now turned into 12-15 animals. Not exactly a large population but protected and nursed as they are, they might in the future turn into something more.