I write very briefly, mainly for the benefit of the North-American readers, from whom I have always got most plentiful comments and most beautiful compliments concerning my trip reports. For the European readers, I must tell that there is nothing outstanding here -- just common species. However, in the splendid Scanian bird magazine Anser I read that somebody collected all the observations of some species mentioned here, like Black Redstart.
2nd April: Lund - Gothenburg - Frederikshavn
3rd April: Frederikshavn - Skagen - Frederikshavn
4th April: Frederikshavn - Aarhus - Kolding - Flensburg
5th April: Flensburg - Hamburg
6th April: Hamburg - Lübeck
7th April: Lübeck
8th April: Lübeck - Rostock
9th April: Trelleborg - Lund
10th April: Lund - Koitjärve
11th-13th April: Koitjärve
Nomen scientificus -- English Name -- Finnish Name -- Swedish Name --
Podiceps cristatus -- Great Crested Grebe -- silkkiuikku -- skäggdopping -- Haubentaucher
Phalacrocorax carbo -- Great Cormorant -- merimetso -- storskarv -- Kormoran
Ardea cinerea -- Grey Heron -- harmaahaikara -- gråhäger -- Graureiher
Ciconia ciconia -- White Stork -- kattohaikara -- vitstork -- Weiss-Storch
Cygnus olor -- Mute Swan -- kyhmyjoutsen -- knölsvan -- Höckerschwan
Cygnus cygnus -- Whooper Swan -- laulujoutsen -- sångsvan -- Singschwan
Anser anser -- Greylag Goose -- merihanhi -- grågås -- Graugans
Anser fabalis -- Bean Goose -- metsähanhi -- sädgås -- Saatgans
Anser albifrons -- White-fronted Goose -- tundrahanhi -- bläsgås -- Blässgans
Branta canadensis -- Canada Goose -- kanadanhanhi -- kanadagås -- Kanadagans
Tadorna tadorna -- Shelduck -- ristisorsa -- gravand -- Brandgans
Anas platyrhynchos -- Mallard -- sinisorsa -- gräsand -- Stockente
Aythya fuligula -- Tufted Duck -- tukkasotka -- vigg -- Reiherente
Aythya ferina -- Common Pochard -- punasotka -- brunand -- Tafelente
Somateria mollissima -- Common Eider -- haahka -- ejder -- Eiderente
Bucephala clangula -- Common Goldeneye -- telkkä -- knipa -- Schellente
Mergus merganser -- Goosander -- isokoskelo -- storskrake -- Gänsesäger
Mergus serrator -- Red-breasted Merganser -- tukkakoskelo -- småskrake -- Mittelsäger
Milvus milvus -- Red Kite -- isohaarahaukka -- glada -- Rotmilan
Accipiter nisus -- Northern Sparrowhawk -- varpushaukka -- sparvhök -- Sperber
Buteo buteo -- Common Buzzard -- hiirihaukka -- ormvråk -- Mäusebussard
Buteo lagopus -- Rough-legged Buzzard -- piekana -- fjällvråk -- Rauhfussbussard
Falco tinnunculus -- Eurasian Kestrel -- tuulihaukka -- tornfalk -- Turmfalke
Phasianus colchicus -- Golden Pheasant -- fasaani -- fasan -- Jagdfasan
Gallinula chloropus -- Moorhen -- liejukana -- rörhöna -- Teichhuhn
Fulica atra -- Eurasian Coot -- nokikana -- sothöna -- Blässhuhn
Grus grus -- Eurasian Crane -- kurki -- trana -- Kranich
Haematopus ostralegus -- Oystercatcher -- meriharakka -- strandskata -- Austernfischer
Vanellus vanellus -- Northern Lapwing -- töyhtöhyyppä -- tofsvipa -- Kiebitz
? Calidris alpina -- Dunlin -- suosirri -- kärrsnäppa -- Alpenstrandläufer
? Tringa ochropus -- Green Sandpiper -- metsäviklo -- skogssnäppa -- Waldwasserläufer
? Tringa glareola -- Wood Sandpiper -- liro -- grönbena -- Bruchwasserläufer
Numenius arquata -- Western Curlew -- isokuovi -- storspov -- Grossbrachvogel
Larus ridibundus -- Black-headed Gull -- naurulokki -- skrattmås -- Lachmöwe
Larus canus -- Mew Gull -- kalalokki -- fiskmås -- Sturmmöwe
Larus argentatus -- Herring Gull -- harmaalokki -- gråtrut -- Silbermöwe
Larus fuscus -- Lesser Black-backed Gull -- selkälokki -- silltrut -- Heringsmöwe
Larus marinus -- Greater Black-backed Gull -- merilokki -- havstrut -- Mantelmöwe
Columba palumbus -- Wood Pigeon -- sepelkyyhky -- ringduva -- Ringeltaube
Columba livia domestica -- Feral Pigeon -- pulu -- tamduva -- Strassentaube
Streptopelia decaocto -- Collared Dove -- turkinkyyhky -- turkduva -- Türkentaube
Strix aluco -- Tawny Owl -- lehtopöllö -- kattuggla -- Waldkauz
Picus viridis -- Green Woodpecker -- vihertikka -- gröngöling -- Grünspecht
Dendrocopos major -- Great Spotted Woodpecker -- käpytikka -- större-hackspett -- Buntspecht
Alauda arvensis -- Common Skylark -- kiuru -- sånglärka -- Feldlerche
Anthus pratensis -- Meadow Pipit -- niittykirvinen -- ängspiplärka -- Wiesenpieper
Motacilla alba -- White Wagtail -- västäräkki -- sädesärla -- Bachstelze
Lanius excubitor -- Great Grey Shrike -- isolepinkäinen -- varfågel -- Raubwürger
Prunella modularis -- Hedge Accentor -- rautiainen -- järnsparv -- Heckenbraunelle
Troglodytes troglodytes -- Winter Wren -- peukaloinen -- gärdsmyg -- Zaunkönig
Erithacus rubecula -- European Robin -- punarinta -- rödhake -- Rotkehlchen
Phoenicurus ochruros -- Black Redstart -- mustaleppälintu -- svart-rödstjärt -- Hausrotschwanz
Turdus merula -- European Blackbird -- mustarastas -- koltrast -- Amsel
Turdus pilaris -- Fieldfare -- räkättirastas -- björktrast -- Wacholderdrossel
Turdus philomelos -- Song Thrush -- laulurastas -- taltrast -- Singdrossel
Turdus iliacus -- Redwing -- punakylkirastas -- rödvingetrast -- Rotdrossel
Phylloscopus collybita -- Chiffchaff -- tiltaltti -- gransångare -- Zilpzalp
Regulus regulus -- Goldcrest -- hippiäinen -- kungsfågel -- Wintergoldhähnchen
Parus major -- Great Tit -- talitiainen -- talgoxe -- Kohlmeise
Parus caeruleus -- Blue Tit -- sinitiainen -- blåmes -- Blaumeise
Parus palustris -- Marsh Tit -- viitatiainen -- entita -- Sumpfmeise
Sitta europaea -- European Nuthatch -- pähkinänakkeli -- nötväcka -- Kleiber
Certhia familiaris -- Northern Treecreeper -- puukiipijä -- trädkrypare -- Waldbaumläufer
Garrulus glandarius -- European Jay -- närhi -- nötskrika -- Eichelhäher
Pica pica -- Magpie -- harakka -- skata -- Elster
Corvus monedula -- Jackdaw -- naakka -- kaja -- Dohle
Corvus frugilegus -- Rook -- mustavaris -- råka -- Saatkrähe
Corvus corone cornix -- Hooded Crow -- varis -- kråka -- Nebelkrähe
Corvus corone corone -- Carrion Crow -- nokivaris -- svartkråka -- Rabenkrähe
Corvus corax -- Raven -- korppi -- korp -- Kolkrabe
Sturnus vulgaris -- Starling -- kottarainen -- stare -- Star
Passer domesticus -- House Sparrow -- varpunen -- gråsparv -- Haussperling
Passer montanus -- Tree Sparrow -- pikkuvarpunen -- pilfink -- Feldsperling
Fringilla coelebs -- Chaffinch -- peippo -- bofink -- Buchfink
Fringilla montifringilla -- Brambling -- järripeippo -- bergfink -- Bergfink
Chloris chloris -- Western Greenfinch -- viherpeippo -- grönfink -- Grünling
Carduelis carduelis -- Goldfinch -- tikli -- steglits -- Stieglitz
Spinus spinus -- Spruce Siskin -- vihervarpunen -- grönsiska -- Erlenzeisig
Pyrrhula pyrrhula -- Bullfinch -- punatulkku -- domherre -- Gimpel
Emberiza citrinella -- Yellowhammer -- keltasirkku -- gulsparv -- Goldammer
Note: There were some question marks. Those birds were seen from moving vehicle and could not be well identified.
From Lund, where I live and study at the moment, we went to Gothenburg (Göteborg). On the way there were many nice places along the Western coast of Scania (Skåne) and Halland. Lots of geese, and waders, too, although it was so early. Also spectacular Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea), Shelducks (Tadorna tadorna) and swans. For me, however, the most spectacular birds were the Red Kites (Milvus milvus). They seem to be even more common in Scania and in Halland than I had ever imagined.
From Gothenburg we took a boat to Frederikshavn in Northern Jylland, Denmark. We saved money for the night by staying awake in two places which were open till the next morning. This method (called Svilengrad method according to a Bulgarian border town), proved useful in Eastern Europe, too; is highly recommended to get acquainted with original inhabitants and learning the local languages. A tip for people who meet Finns using this method: you had better to be a rich person if you offer "as many tequilas as you can drink", because the seven thousand years (according to the great Estonian scientist of the origins of Fenno-Ugrians, Professor Ago Künnap, who can prove that we were the first in most parts of Europe, and the migration theory from the Urals is bullshit) of Fenno-Ugric evolution in the North-European forests has prepared the great nation of Finns to exploit that kind of situation with amazing efficiency. Also the habit of ordering a whole pot or two of vodka-cola to a table may turn into economic failure for the non-Finns of the paying party.
At five o'clock in the morning we headed to Skagen, the northernmost cape of Jylland, which is famous of its huge flocks of migrating birds. A Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) had been seen there some days before. Nice sunrise, but the weather was hell. Typical of my fortune, that when I manage to persuade my traveling company to sacrifice one whole day for birding, by describing Skagen as a paradise on earth, it was everything else. The hard storm wind had made the cape empty. It was freezing, totally freezing. Even though we had some antifreeze in our blood and one bottle of whisky stored for acute emergency, it was almost impossible to step out before eleven o'clock. But never mind, the masochist stubbornness drove us to the outer cape, where it was possible to perform the following little experiment: Lean with your full weight back towards the wind, and the wind kept you in the position of about 70 per cent corner to the land. Incredible!
So, there were no birds at the cape -- or yes, there were huge flocks of gulls -- all belonging to the common species. There were also of course such interesting but not quite unusual birds like Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), Eiders (Somateria mollissima), Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and Coots (Fulica atra), the latter being in the swamp in the middle of the cape. The few migratory birds there consisted of some White Wagtails (Motacilla alba), Robins (Erithacus rubecula), Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita), Dunnocks (Prunella modularis), Wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) and such. One Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), lots of Skylarks (Alauda arvensis) and Yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella). After walking there and back, across and through every bush of the cape, and after having a picnic under a hill there, I managed to give a final coronation for the whole trip by sinking into the swamp. You may guess how funny it was to return to Skagen in the freezing wind. In the evening started a snow-storm, like as a scorn of divinities. There was a curse over us. I must return to Skagen some better time, because after all, it should indeed be a very special place.
Next day we were again in Frederikshavn, wading in half snow, half water -- freezing -- facing horizontal rain-snowing and having coffee with whisky to survive. We came into mutual agreement that my fantastic nature trip was completed, and it was time to head south, away from snowstorms and wind. We went to Aarhus, a very nice university town. There we spent a day, and then went to Germany via Fredericia and Kolding. We chose Flensburg. I had no passport, because it became obsolete in February and I am still waiting for the new one, but it did not matter (I should have had it, because Sweden and Finland have not signed all the Schengen agreements yet.).
Flensburg is a nice town, lying at the border to Denmark. In the night we applied the Svilengrad method. Next day we went to Hamburg. All the time that we spent in the regions of Schleswig and Holstein I tried to look for the intermediate forms of hooded and carrion crows, but didn't see any. Only "pure" individuals. (However, in Scania I saw again two white-winged crows -- I think somebody is collecting information of them, too. Contact me and I can check out better notes of those observations.) On Monday afternoon we left Hamburg and went to Lübeck, where we stayed for two days. And from Lübeck we traveled to Rostock. On the way from Lübeck to Rostock (in Mecklenburg) there were lots of nice wet fields and marshlands, where I saw lots of geese, swans, and also Cranes (Grus grus) and White Storks (Ciconia ciconia). I wondered a bit about the White Storks because it was only the beginning of April. Do they really return so early? Here I had better sights to observe the geese and identify them by species. There were also red kites (Milvus milvus).
In Rostock I saw a Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) in the central park and occasionally met a fellow-member of the Paneuropean Society, which was nice. Late in the evening we left by boat for Swedish harbour of Trelleborg, and the ferry between Rostock and Trelleborg is only 5 DM (student price), so that's really a cheap one, especially since you can sleep the night in the boat and save there, too.
OBS! In Trelleborg harbour a male black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) was singing on the top of the railway station building in the morning night at four-five o'clock on 9th April. So, it was one of the 400 pairs of the species breeding in Scania. I hope the one collecting that information gets this. I also noticed that many migratory birds, including Chiffchaff, White Wagtail and Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos), had arrived in Scania during my absence.
We went to Lund via Malmö and had one day and night time to rest before the next trip, which was to Koitjärve, where we were invited to a "Culture Camp" of the student organisation of the Estonian minority in Sweden. On the way the sun was shining and I had good opportunity to watch birds, too. Red Kites, and many of them! And two Rough-legged Buzzards (Buteo lagopus) -- first of them in Scania, the second one in Halland. And perhaps the most lucky observation was the Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor). Also lots of waterbirds, geese and Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus), swans, Shelducks, Cormorants... And a Raven (Corvus corax)! Ravens always bring luck to me, so that the particular day was to be for my fortune, and it was to bring a new lifer, too, later...
Koitjärve is situated on the border of Halland and Western Gothenland (Västgötland), on the Halland side, and I do not unfortunately know the lake's Swedish name. Koitjärve is Estonian and means "Dawn Lake". A beautiful place. Lots of deciduous forest, and swampy forest, and coniferous forest, too. The Culture Camp was a real success, indeed, as you can imagine, when the students of three northern nations meet -- well, actually only we three were non-Estonians: only one real Swede and two Finns, the remaining 30 being Estonians, part of them of the Estonian minority in Sweden (which is due to those who escaped to Sweden during the soviet occupation), and part of them from Estonia. Amount of beverage huge. Very nice atmosphere, everyone like old friends together, although we met most of them first time. So we drank for three days, sang 80 Estonian drinking songs (and some Finnish, Swedish and German as well), observed culture from all the sides, and it was nice to discuss politics in a place without dilettantes who must be first cleared of basic facts of the real essence of the Boogie in the East.
And I observed birds, too! There were Marsh Tits (Parus palustris), and a Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) was wooing every night. But, the greatest moment for me was the moment when on the very first day there, only two hours after arriving (so that I was still in a proper condition of reliable bird-observation) I climbed up to the "sacred hill" with a memorial of Tallinn scouts and the flag. Something almost crow-sized and green rose into flight in front of me. Green! It was something from the top of my "most-wanted" list. A Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)! One of the few last rather common European birds which I had not yet seen (as you know, it does not breed in Finland). It flew to a pine very near to me, totally quietly, and then, with elegant "jumps" climbed up along the tree, turning discretely to the other side of the tree at the same time. Oh, how superb bird it was! Like a toy, almost. And so green. Green is a holy colour -- colour of the dawn of the better tomorrow. After a moment of acquaintance it flew away, leaving me in disbelief. Had I seen something real, or was it only a dream?
Ants gave me the answer. When I returned to the very place where the Green had flown up, I found an ant-nest, where the woodpecker had been eating ants. It had dug deep holes into the nest. So, it was real. I waited for it a long time, hiding in some distance, and I returned to the holy hill many times in the evening, but it didn't come back that day. Next day, and the day after that, however, I managed to see it again. Now I have only one woodpecker species left in Europe, which I have not seen, and that one is somewhat holy, too, being a symbol for Finnish nature protection -- namely the White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos).
I'll return to Scanian bird reports after some more trips now, as I am trying to release myself from the yoke of Balkan wars, to receive the spring of Scania on field, as a free liberal birder.
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