Thanks to the County Administrative Board of Stockholm, and its generous contribution of sunflower seeds, a bit of farmland was turned into a “piece of Provence” at the nearby nature reserve Angarnssjöängen, foremost a bird habitat.
The sunflowers have been a beautiful eye catcher for visitors to enjoy throughout the summer.
Now the flowers have withered. All that remains are the heads packed with sunflower seeds.
Today the field is a sad and dreary sight, but the large crowds of goldfinches and one or two blue tits don’t seem to bother, as they pick the fatty and nutritious seeds from the flower heads. Hopefully the seeds will help them make it through the winter.
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Well, I didn’t post much last year. Or rather, I did write several posts, but very few got posted. The main reason was an annoying unstable internet connection at our countryside cottage where we use to spend 4-5 months every summer. Some days internet worked , but at a snail’s pace, other days not at all.
Anyway, I have decided not to let all them posts all go to waste, so here’s one from last August about the cutest of minks.
It all started when a next door neighborwrote on Facebook thata mink was strolling aroundon herpier. We hurriedoverto her house,hoping the minkwould still be there.
It was, and for the first time,at very close range, and with slightly increasedpulse, Roffe could photograph aminkin the wild.Itseemed completely fearless andposedwillingly.
Two days later I suddenly discovered him / it on our own jetty, munshing the fish guts Roffe had left behind for the fox and seagulls after cleaning his catch.
Even though it’sso cuteand youjust want topick it up like a pet andcuddle with,aminkisnotan animalyou want inyourlake. It destroys your fishing nets, eats the fish, and worse, the birds nesting close to the shore and their eggs.
Yesterday’s mission was to find and catch a glimpse of the hawk owl that was reported seen in the area. Aftertwo kilometers walkwe reached the old barnwhere the owl was lastseen, and we decided to give ittwo hours toappear.
It didn’t take long, though, until it swept down from the blue sky and landed on the roof ridge.
Gazing and preeningin the sun for about half an hour, thenit suddenlymade a head-first dive down into the rough grassand disappeared.
Slowly and cautiously, we approached the placewhere it had landed. Theowllay still, half hidden in the grass and didn’tseem tonoticeour presenceuntil thecamera began clicking.
The sound was obviously annoying and after less than a minute it got tired ofthe photographerinterfering with its meal, and took offwiththe prey inits claws, probably a mouse or a vole.
When the rare bird alert beeps on your mobile phone you must be ready to drop whatever you are doing and just rush. Last time this happened, the alert was about an egret heron.
The egret is a rather rare sight in Sweden, and especially this time of year when most lakes and rivers are frozen. However, this winter has been fairly mild and rainy, and there are plenty of open water in streams and small lakes.
The white-throated dipper or European dipper (or just dipper) is a cute and loveable little bird, easy to spot thanks to its white bib and often seen on the rocks round which the water swirls and tumbles. Dives into the water and can easily swim under water with help of the wings.
Snow covers large parts of the country and it’s more Christmassy now than during the Christmas holiday itself. This is also the time of year when you can see large flocks of the beautiful and “punk” looking waxwing invading trees and bushes, especially in areas with lots of berries like rosehip, juniper and rowan.
Unfortunately, waxwingsare also said to benotoriouswindow hitters. The prevailing opinionis that they becomeintoxicated bypossiblealcoholformed in theberriesthey eat, and thus easiercollide withtransmissive orreflective surfaces.
Twice this fall we have been fortunate to see bears in their natural habitat. The second encounter happend on a sunny afternoon, when we were driving around on small forest roads hoping to see some elks (mooses) to shoot (with the camera, i.e).
Suddenly Roffe stopped the car, rolled down the car window and pointed at a sunlit stone some 40, 50 meters away on a clearcut.
-Look at that stone over there, he said. Doesn’t it look weird, or is it just the sunlight playing tricks on us?
Suddenly the “stone” began to move and we could see the outline of a bear.
We were both ready with our cameras in the lap and Roffe’s clicking the camera, as if it was an AK-4, immediately alerted the bear.
Well, we just wonder how many such “stones” we have have passed throughout the years while walking or hiking the woods and wetlands searching for berries and fungis.
Today is a very special day – celebrating 25 years since the fall of the Berlin wall.
The wall seen from the west side.
Though most of the Berlin wall was dismantled, a 1,3 kilometer stretch was saved as a memorial of freedom. The stretch was painted / decorated by 118 different artists from 21 different countries and became East Side Gallery, the world’s largest open-air mural collection.
After spending four months at our Paradise, it was finally time to return home last week and we are now slowly adjusting to city life again. There has not been much work done on the blog these past months, the summer has been way too gorgeous to be spent hunching over a laptop. But piles of pictures have been taken of both bear encounters, beavers, and birds and they will be posted eventually.
Today’s post is from a trip in September to the nearby Gröntjärn nature reserve. This is an area of exciting geology with traces of the most recent Ice Age about 8500 years ago, for instance many so called kettle holes. When ice blocks buried below sand and gravel melted, the ground subsided and formed steep sided hollows of which many were filled with water. The most notable of them all is this strange, greenish glittering lake, like a turquoise gem, surrounded by tall pine trees.
The lake is known for its unusual hydrological conditions. It has no brooks running to or from it and a natural water-level difference of 14 meters due to a complicated interaction between surface water, groundwater, and the groundwater flow.
Its beautiful turquoise green colour is an effect of the groundwater, which is free from particles, unlike the water in streams, together with the reflections from the sky and the surrounding trees.
After a three-kilometer walk around the lake we were ready for lunch. The area is well equipped with picnic tables, grills, and wind shelters. We had decided to skip the hot dogs this time and instead make us some charcoal buns.
Charcoal buns is a provincial dish from way back, a kind of pancake with salted pork or bacon (the modern version). Rich and robust food from a time when lumberjacks, navvies, charcoal burners, and log drivers had to live away from home for months and work under primitive conditions. This was food containing few and sustainable ingredients – flour, water, and salted pork – and was baked in pork grease in a cast iron pan over open fire.
All you need is pet bottle with pre made batter (always 100 ml less water than flour, and a pinch of salt) and a container with pre fried chunks of salted pork or bacon. Serve with lingonberry or cranberry sauce. Enjoy!
Oh yes, I almost forgot, the iron cast pan! That one can be heavy to carry in your rucksack, but there are special light metal pans with long handles.