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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Tuesday, 15 February 2011 23:12

thumbWinter goes on

This year alike the last year the cold rules the winter in Bergen, Norway. In spite of a common thought of Europeans from south, this part of Norway usually experience only a few days of snow and cold spells during winter time, the last winters seem to be rather exceptional in this respect. Just to confirm this, the snow was falling again over last two days although we already expected spring to come…

Anyway, there is still one aspect of the weather in Bergen that you can be sure about during the winter time – the sky is overcast most of the time and the short cold days bring only scarce opportunities to go out to do a little of photography…well besides the fact that Im not very keen to wake up in such a weather. Last weekend was better though as the forecast brought the full day of sunlight into the western part of Norway. I love sun here in Norway – it will soon turn the dull dark winter days into a fresh spring and mild summer days with breeze blowing from the sea…

But those days are still to come, for now I have to be satisfied with what is available in February – and that is the weak sun going low above the horizon and setting up again at about 5 p.m. It still does not have the power to heat one up.

The year and the season to come might become a year of a great change for me. After almost four years of “wildlife photography” I finally realized I know nothing about the real wildlife and that the best chance to capture wild animals is to learn their behavioural patterns. I have already started. Together with the learning and time being spent outside there come beautiful moments of happiness that you can only experience when you wake up early and climb up into the hills and woods to catch up the waking nature while all the others are still asleep.

It is only one year ago when I had no clue how much of treasures is hidden around – at that time I was visiting a few spots around Bergen just to have some more photos to upload to the website. Most f the time I got to those places later in the morning and was wondering why there is so little birds around. It began to change last summer when we visited the Dovrefjell park and later during my early visit of Gullfjell mountain – I have finally realised what I knew theoretically but did not apply to myself – as if I thought I should had been more lucky than the others. There is a list of rules that apply to the watching of wildlife, the following ones are those I consider as the prime ones for me:

1.      Knowing the species you want to observe, its habitat and behaviour is crucial for successful watching/photography

2.      Animals are (in most cases) most active right after the dawn

3.      In spite of all the knowledge, you might not see anything outside, the patience pays off

4.      You must keep learning the whole life

So starting learning this year I have found out that the western coast of Norway is not dull, it is the other way around! Meeting one of the locals just confirmed that few weeks ago…”Oh, you mean the Black Grouse…oh yes, I know a lekking place in that moor 150 meters after you pass the gate to the fortress…”. But that was just a beginning. I do not need to go very far to see Black Grouse – the hill we are looking at from our kitchen window seems to be quite popular and well-known lekking spot being situated close to the city centre. The other days I have spent reading more sources and last weekend I finally went out to check a few lekking site of Capercaillie – it seems that these two species will keep me busy the whole spring this year! Hopefully I will get chance to watch them and if I will be lucky, to make some pictures as well. The Capercaillie lekking sites are located in old pine forest preserved on the tophills where the tall trees pass into sparser vegetation and marsh terrain. Looking west from the lekking sites the Atlantic spreads widely with numerous small islands and towards east the Gullfjell massif dominates the outlook. If the snowshoes finally arrive this week I might go checking that snowy place for some birds – winter should be good time to see Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and the top parts host Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) dressed into beautiful white winter plumage…


Lookout towards Gullfjell massif from the Capercaillie lekking site:


But for now there is still some 2 month to wait until the lekking season starts. Fortunately we have got some annual visitors from north resting on the lakes and rivers – Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula), Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), too shy to be captured successfully and flocks of Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus)

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)


After sunny Saturday the cloudy weather takes the rule again on Sunday. I wake up early and go only for a short stroll around the close lake. The early visits is necessary to avoid crowds (in Norwegian sense :- )) of people that feed the flock of ducks that overwinter annually on the lake. The flock includes several pairs of Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope). I planned the visit from last year. Wigeons are smaller than Ducks and stay farther from the people, they are overwhelmed by the ducks who are eagerly snapping most of the bread the people are feeding them with. I do not get a chance to portrait the Widgeons on the water as the surface is covered by ice so I take a few shots of the bird resting on the grazed bank of the lake

Eurasian Wigeon, male (Anas penelope)


On the way back home I hear and see Wren – what a nice encounter! How many did not survive this winter? Already the last winter decimated their population almost to zero… Im hopeless to get a picture of Magpie – these birds are so wise and watch for unusual human behaviour – and believe me, man who stops and point the big eye of the telephoto-lens on them is more than unusual! At least I get one chance to photograph the Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix), that perches on a nearby tree. The last weekdn was not particular bird-wise but it was still very charming…

Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)



Last Updated on Friday, 18 February 2011 08:15
Comments (61)
  • kare šimeček

    ahoj Jirko, ten hvízdák má na pravé noze kroužek, podařilo se ti jej odečíst ?

  • Jirka

    Ahoj Karle, pokud si vzpominam tak jsem byl schopen tam precist nejaka cisla a mozna i pismena - kde se daji dohledat informace o ptaku pokud zjistim cely kod?

  • seo oj  - hani

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  • karel šimeček

    asi nejjednudšší by bylo poslat zjištěné údaje na norskou kroužkovací centrálu - dá se to určitě vygoogleovat - napsat tam datum pozorování, další jeho okolnosti a především údaje odečtené z kroužku. kontakt na všechny kroužkovací stanice je snad stránkách www.euring.com

  • Jirka

    Dekuju za info, zkusim to pohledat, ten krouzek se da odecist - ne uplne ale neco tam je, krouskovano bylo tez v Norsku takze asi zadny prevratny objev :-)

  • karel šimeček

    Jirko, to že je kroužkovaný i kontrolovaný v Norsku neznamená, že to nemůže být zajímavý nález - třeba byl den před tím o 500 km dál anebo je ten samec 100 let starý :-) co já vím ...

  • Jirka

    Mas pravdu Karle, v sobotu jsem to poslal do musea ve Stavangeru - tam byl ptak krouzkovan tak doufam, ze mi poslou nejake informace. Diky!

  • Jirka

    update: tak nakonec nebylo mozne cely krouzek odecist ale stejne se jedna o jedince ze skupiny, ktera byla krouzkovana na tom samem miste. Skoda :-)

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