En vinterdag i Stavanger

av Endre Harvold Kvangraven, stipendiat i miljøhumaniora, Universitetet i Stavanger

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Jeg har kommet til Stavanger for å forske på forholdet mellom mennesker og fugler i nordisk litteratur på 2000-tallet, og en av de første dagene går jeg ut for å kikke på det lokale fuglelivet. Det er tidlig på ettermiddagen, i begynnelsen av januar, med rim på bakken, temperaturen ved eller kanskje like under nullpunktet, men selv om det er grått og overskya er det sol på fjelltoppene på andre sida av fjorden. Langs stien opp bakken mot Ullandhaug er det rikelig med kråker, men ellers er det nokså stille.

A view across Hafrsfjord in the winter with a yellow boathouse in the middle ground and the water frozen in the foreground.
Vinter i Hafrsfjord (c) Endre Harvold Kvangraven (2020)

Gjennom et glissent skogholt flater terrenget ut, hvor turgåere samler seg rundt utkikkspunktet ved tårnet på toppen. Nede i lia har noen tent et bål og skal til å grille, mens barn leker i skogen. Mellom trærne ser jeg Hafrsfjord i det disige ettermiddagslyset, og går ned gjennom Stavanger botaniske hage, med vanlige arter som svarttrost og rødstrupe. Langs fortauet forbi et boligområde teller jeg femten grønnfinker i en bar tretopp, sammen med noen pilfinker og en blåmeis. Ei ringdue flyr forbi, en flokk med stær, ei skjære, og en gråhegre når jeg nærmer meg strandkanten. Ingenting sjeldent eller spesielt, men ikke så aller verst for en mer eller mindre tilfeldig bytur om vinteren, et noenlunde representativt utvalg av hva man kan forvente å se i urbane områder.

Hafrsfjord er nesten dekka av et lag med tynn is, skinnende i nyanser av oransje og lilla mens sola nærmer seg horisonten. En enslig gråmåke står urørlig på et tak ved vannkanten mens jeg fortsett forbi Sverd i fjell, et monument til minne om slaget i Hafrsfjord, som skal ha utspilt seg her i 872. I Møllebukta, innerst i fjorden, har ikke vannet frosset enda, og det er en god del fiskemåker og stokkender, noen kvinender. Noen unger hiver mat til et par knoppsvaner, og en gråhegre, kanskje den samme jeg så tidligere, har slått seg ned på steinene ved enden av brygga. Folk går forbi med hundene sine, eller sitter ved piknikborda nede ved vannet.

A female Velvet Scoter on the water.
Sjøorre (c) Endre Harvold Kvangraven (2021)

Bortenfor brygga dukker ei siland etter fisk, og turen blir straks mer interessant når jeg får øye på en art som er ukjent for meg, noen store, nesten svarte ender, med hvit flekk på hodet. Det er sjøorre, hanner og hunner, minst ti av dem ute i vannet, en art som er regna som sårbar både i Norge og globalt. Om sommeren trekker de opp mot tregrensa og hekker ved fjellsjøer, men om vinteren samles de ved kysten, hvor de dykker etter bløtdyr og krepsdyr. Jeg har ikke sett denne arten før, har rett og slett ikke tilbragt noe særlig tid i områder hvor man vanligvis finner dem, så dette er utvilsomt turens høydepunkt.

Klokka er fire om ettermiddagen, og det blir fort mørkt. Forhåpentligvis får jeg snart utforska noen av de mer bortgjemte fuglelokalitetene i Stavanger og på Jæren.

A winter’s day in Stavanger

by Endre Harvold Kvangraven, PhD researcher in environmental humanities, University of Stavanger

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I’ve come to Stavanger to study relations between humans and birds in Nordic literature from the 2000s, and on one of my first days I go out to have a look at the local bird life. It’s early January, and the grass is glazed with frost, the temperature hovering at or perhaps just below freezing point. The sky overhead is cloudy and grey, but there’s sunshine on the snow-capped mountains across the fjord. Hooded Crows are perched on the bare birch trees along the path up the hillside to Ullandhaug.

A view across Hafrsfjord in the winter with a yellow boathouse in the middle ground and the water frozen in the foreground.
Hafrsfjord in the winter (c) Endre Harvold Kvangraven (2020)

The terrain levels out towards the top, where walkers gather at the viewpoint by the antenna tower, the surrounding woods a scraggly mixture of native and exotic trees. Most of the visitors seem to have come for view, one group has lit a fire and is preparing for a barbecue, while kids play in the woods. In the dim afternoon light, I catch my first views of Hafrsfjord down below, and descend through Stavanger botanic garden, ticking off common species such as Blackbird and Robin. Past the lawns and hedges of a residential area, I count a flock of fifteen Greenfinches gathered in a treetop, with Tree Sparrows and a Blue Tit mixed in. A Common Wood-Pigeon flies past, a flock of Starlings, a Magpie, and a Grey Heron as I approach the shoreline. Nothing rare or spectacular, but not bad for a more or less random walk in a Norwegian city in winter, a roughly representative sample of what one might expect to see in urban areas.

Hafrsfjord is almost frozen over, a vast icy expanse shining in hues of orange and purple as the sun sinks low in the sky. A lone Herring Gull stands motionless at the edge of a rooftop beside the fjord. Past Sverd i fjell, a monument commemorating the Battle of Hafrsfjord, which is said to have taken place here in the late ninth century, I reach the sheltered Møllebukta, which hasn’t frozen yet. Mew Gulls and Mallards are plentiful, and there are also some Goldeneyes. Kids toss food to a pair of Mute Swans, while a Grey Heron, perhaps the same one I saw earlier, sits hunched among the rocks at the edge of the pier. People continually move past, walking their dogs, or sit chatting by the picnic tables down by the water.

A female Velvet Scoter on the water.
A female Velvet Scoter (c) Endre Harvold Kvangraven (2021)

Beyond the pier, a Red-breasted Merganser is diving for fish, and things get more interesting when I spot a species I’m unfamiliar with, some large dark ducks with white spots on their heads. They’re Velvet Scoters, males and females, at least ten of them, a species listed as vulnerable both nationally and globally. In summer, they breed high above sea level, by lakes near the tree line, but in winter they gather by the coast, where they dive for molluscs and crustaceans. I haven’t seen them before, simply haven’t spent much time in the areas where they’re usually found, so they’re definitely the highlight of the trip, a lifer.

At four in the afternoon, it’s quickly getting dark. Hopefully I’ll soon get to explore some of the more secluded birding hotspots in Stavanger and surrounding Jæren.

Vrouwelijke vogelaars, bestonden die wel?

Door Caspar Beckers, Junior Onderzoeker bij Center Connecting Humans and Nature, Instituut voor Science in Society, Radboud Universiteit

Click here to read in English

Voor veel mensen is de wereld van vogelaars een mannenwereld. Gewapend met hun kijkers gaan ze er voor dag en dauw op uit om vogels te spotten. Maar in dit gezelschap waren vanaf het prille begin wel degelijk vrouwen te vinden, sommigen zelfs met een zeer grote impact op de lokale vogelstudie. Zoals bij de vogelstudiegroep van het Amsterdamse Bos, waarin een vrouw gedurende een groot deel van de 20ste eeuw de hoofdrol speelde.

Bien van Drooge samen met Piet Brander op een bankje in het Amsterdamse Bos. (R. Vlek. (2014). Verhuizing van het Vogelwerkgroep-archief. De Gierzwaluw, 52(4), 12–13.)

Bien van Drooge werd in 1907 geboren in Dordrecht. In haar jeugd genoot ze van de stille, waterrijke omgeving van de stad. Als een van de weinige vrouwen ging zij rechten studeren in Leiden. Ze had echter de pech in de economische crisis van de jaren ’30 af te studeren en kon geen werk vinden als juriste. Het is onduidelijk of dat kwam door de crisis of omdat ze een vrouw was. Na een opleiding tot secretaresse in Amsterdam ging ze werken op Schiphol, waar ze dagelijks (inclusief de zaterdagen!) als een echte Hollander naar toe fietste. Tijdens die fietstochten door het Amsterdamse Bos genoot ze van de natuur en het groen. Pas op 46-jarige leeftijd begon de natuur ook haar hobby te worden, na het zien van een film over het Amsterdamse Bos gepresenteerd door boswachter Piet Brander. Hij was veel bezig met ornithologie en wekte daarmee ook bij Bien de interesse voor vogels.

Piet Brander leert haar beter kijken, maar vooral luisteren naar de verschillende soorten vogels. Enkele jaren later word ze lid van Vrienden van het Amsterdamse Bos. Piet vraagt haar om hulp bij typewerk. Het lukt hem namelijk niet om alle waarnemingen van vogels elk kwartaal uit te werken en te publiceren binnen de (K)NNV.

Dat was geen enkel probleem voor Bien, ze werkt dan al vele jaren als secretaresse van de directie van KLM. De samenwerking tussen Bien en Piet zorgt voor enthousiasme onder Amsterdamse vogelaars en samen richten ze in 1959 de Vogelstudiegroep Amsterdamse Bos op. Piet Brander als voorzitter, Bien van Drooge als secretaris. In die hoedanigheid blijft ze de kwartaalwaarnemingen uitwerken tot 1980. Daarnaast neemt ze ook de redactie van het Mededelingenblad van de KNNV Vogelwerkgroep Amsterdam op zich.

Niet alleen zorgt ze voor een goede redactie van het mededelingenblad en de kwartaalwaarnemingen, ze zorgt er ook voor dat alle waarnemingen en studies netjes bewaard worden. Door haar goede band met Piet krijgt ze de kans om zijn waarnemingen vanaf 1934 uit te werken en te behoeden voor verlies. Zonder Bien zou in 1968 de uitgave van ‘De vogelwereld van het Amsterdamse Bos’, gestoeld op 30 jaar vogelgegevens, misschien nooit het daglicht hebben gezien.

Maar Bien was veel meer dan een zeer nauwkeurige en hardwerkende secretaris. Ze was een echte veldornithologe. Kijken én luisteren kon ze goed. Ze heeft dan ook veel inventarisaties gedaan, niet alleen in het Amsterdamse Bos, ook de parken van Amsterdam werden geïnventariseerd. Zij organiseerde deze inventarisaties. Zelf nam ze het Beatrixpark voor haar rekening. Ze kon zich meten met de beste ornithologen van Amsterdam, ze werkte hard en secuur, ze ging op vogelexcursies door heel Europa en ging zelfs naar de excursies van het 13de Internationale Ornithologische Congres in de Verenigde Staten (gratis met het vliegtuig via de KLM). Desondanks werd ze niet gevraagd om lid te worden van de meer prestigieuze ‘Club van Nederlandsche Vogelkundigen’, al zag ze dat enkele van haar mede-Vogelwerkgroepgenoten daar wel voor werden gevraagd. Ze werd wel erelid van de Vogelwerkgroep Amsterdam en de KNNV.

Zoals zij het vogelen leerde van Piet Brander, zo gaf ze op haar beurt dit weer door aan nieuwe generaties vogelaars. De jonge vogelaars in de dop durfden haar niet met Bien aan te spreken, ze zagen haar als een statige dame en ze werd door hen mejuffrouw Van Drooge genoemd. Ze kreeg veel respect omdat ze iedereen hielp met vogels kijken en luisteren: ze wist elk nestje en interessante plek in het Amsterdamse Bos te vinden en aan te wijzen. Op latere leeftijd terugdenkend aan deze tijd vond ze het bijzonder dat tijdens het vogelen een verscheidenheid aan personen, scholieren, leraren en arbeiders, professoren en psychiaters, conciërges en postbodes, als gelijken met elkaar omgingen.

Bien van Drooge (of Mej. mr. J.H.U. van Drooge zoals ze vaak haar artikelen onderschreef) was een zeer opmerkelijke amateurornithologe die veel heeft betekend voor de vogelstudie in het algemeen en voor die van het Amsterdamse Bos in het bijzonder.

  • Bestuur VWGA. (1984). Bien van Drooge erelid KNNV-Amsterdam. De Gierzwaluw, 22(1), 1–2.
  • R. Vlek. (2006). In memoriam Bien van Drooge (6 januari 1907-8 juli 2006). De Gierzwaluw, 44(2), 18–20.
  • Bestuur. (2006). Herinneringen aan mejuffrouw van Drooge, door jonge vogelaars van toen. De Gierzwaluw, 44(2), 21–22.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (2006). Vogelstudie, een heerlijke hobby voor jong en oud. De Gierzwaluw, 44(2), 23–26.
  • R. Vlek. (2014). Archief van de VWGA en rechtsvoorgangers. De Gierzwaluw, 52(4), 14–25.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1982). Herinneringen aan Piet Brander. De Gierzwaluw, 20(4), 121–123.
  • R. Vlek. (1999). In memoriam: Johan J. Frieswijk. De Gierzwaluw, 37(4), 10–16.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1978). In memoriam Dr. Piet Hirschler. Mededelingenblad Vogelwerkgroep Amsterdam, 16(3), 14–14.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1963). Het Amsterdamse Bos in 1962. Het Vogeljaar, 11(2), 46–48.
  • P.W. Brander, & J.H.U. van Drooge. (1962). Steeds rijker wordt het vogelleven in het Amsterdamse Bos. Het Vogeljaar, 10(2), 307–310.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1962). Eén week „vogelen“ in Noord-Amerika. Het Vogeljaar, 10(5), 407–410.
  • P.W. Brander. (1977). Een stukje historie en voorhistorie van de VWG. Mededelingenblad Vogelwerkgroep Amsterdam, 15(1), 17–19.

Female ornithologists in the Netherlands

By Caspar Beckers, Junior Researcher at the Center Connecting Humans and Nature, Institute for Science in Society, Radboud University

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie

The world of (amateur-)ornithology feels like it was and is a man’s world. Men armed with binoculars follow birds wherever they can find them. This is no different for ornithology in The Netherlands. But if you look closely, it is possible to spot some women amongst those men. Some had a large impact on (local) birdwatching studies. One such important female ornithologist was at the heart of the Bird Study Group of the Amsterdam Forest. This will be a short story about Jacobien (Bien) van Drooge, an amateur ornithologist living in Amsterdam.

Bien van Drooge together with Piet Brander on a bench in the Amsterdam Forest. (R. Vlek. (2014). Verhuizing van het Vogelwerkgroep-archief. De Gierzwaluw, 52(4), 12–13.)

Bien was born in 1907 in a typical Dutch town surrounded by water and nature. She enjoyed the quiet environment, but her interest did not initially extend beyond that. She pursued a law degree, being one of the few female students of that time. Whether due to the economic crisis in the 1930s or her being a woman, however, she struggled to find work as a lawyer. Instead, she became a secretary for the KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) board instead. For the next 35 years, she cycled through the newly created Amsterdam Forest almost every day, and enjoyed the ride through nature. At the age of 46, when she saw a movie about the Amsterdam Forest, she decided to join excursions and to pick up nature study as a hobby.

It was on one of these excursions that she met the forester Piet Brander in person. A dedicated birdwatcher, he helped her with visual identification and especially with listening to birdsongs. He was both knowledgeable and thorough, but lacked the time to systematise his data, and the skill to put his ideas and research on paper. Bien started to help him, eventually typing out all the quarterly observations of birds in the Amsterdam Forest.

They became a powerful duo, founding the Bird Study Group Amsterdam Forest (later it became the Bird Study Group Amsterdam), coordinated by Piet as chairman and Bien as secretary. Bien was also the editor of the group’s newsletter. After World War II, Piet entrusted his observations from before the war to her. She archived these observations in combination with her work for the study group. It was because of her work that the conclusions of 30 years of bird studies in the Amsterdam Forest could be published, putting the forest on the radar for all Dutch ornithologists.

But Bien was more than just an accurate and hardworking secretary. She was a great field ornithologist herself. She could identify birds as easily with her binoculars as by their song. She observed a lot of birds and helped with many inventories. She even organised the inventories of the Amsterdam city parks. Even though she was an outstanding field ornithologist and one of the most important people of the study group, making several bird watching trips throughout Europe and once even to the United States, she was never asked to join the more prestigious ‘Club of Dutch Birders’, possibly because of her gender.

Just as she learned how to look and listen for birds from Piet, so in turn she passed her knowledge on to new young ornithologists. She was always happy to share her binoculars and help others with identifying birds. These young men never dared to call her Bien; she was always miss Van Drooge to them. She rightfully earned this respect, since she helped everyone with the study of birds. She felt strongly that bird study was a hobby for all. Later in life, she fondly recalled how in watching birds everyone, from teacher to baker, to lawyer to psychiatrist, was equal.

Bien van Drooge was a remarkable amateur ornithologist who was of great significance for the study of birds, especially in the Amsterdam Forest.

  • Bestuur VWGA. (1984). Bien van Drooge erelid KNNV-Amsterdam. De Gierzwaluw, 22(1), 1–2.
  • R. Vlek. (2006). In memoriam Bien van Drooge (6 januari 1907-8 juli 2006). De Gierzwaluw, 44(2), 18–20.
  • Bestuur. (2006). Herinneringen aan mejuffrouw van Drooge, door jonge vogelaars van toen. De Gierzwaluw, 44(2), 21–22.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (2006). Vogelstudie, een heerlijke hobby voor jong en oud. De Gierzwaluw, 44(2), 23–26.
  • R. Vlek. (2014). Archief van de VWGA en rechtsvoorgangers. De Gierzwaluw, 52(4), 14–25.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1982). Herinneringen aan Piet Brander. De Gierzwaluw, 20(4), 121–123.
  • R. Vlek. (1999). In memoriam: Johan J. Frieswijk. De Gierzwaluw, 37(4), 10–16.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1978). In memoriam Dr. Piet Hirschler. Mededelingenblad Vogelwerkgroep Amsterdam, 16(3), 14–14.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1963). Het Amsterdamse Bos in 1962. Het Vogeljaar, 11(2), 46–48.
  • P.W. Brander, & J.H.U. van Drooge. (1962). Steeds rijker wordt het vogelleven in het Amsterdamse Bos. Het Vogeljaar, 10(2), 307–310.
  • J.H.U. van Drooge. (1962). Eén week „vogelen“ in Noord-Amerika. Het Vogeljaar, 10(5), 407–410.
  • P.W. Brander. (1977). Een stukje historie en voorhistorie van de VWG. Mededelingenblad Vogelwerkgroep Amsterdam, 15(1), 17–19.

Why do I photograph birds?

by Karoline Holmboe Høibo, Faculty of Arts and Education, University of Stavanger

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When the alarm clock rings at three in the morning, because I am planning to enjoy a beautiful dawn, I often ask myself: why do I photograph birds? It’s the same when I crawl out of a tiny tent after 17 hours in the hide, cold, stiff and desperate for the toilet, with nothing to show for it but a couple of starlings on my memory card. At those times, I wonder if I should have spent the time with my children instead. But, once I have managed to get myself up and out, I rarely regret the lack of sleep. There is little that makes me as happy as seeing a buzzard come sailing in over the fields of Jæren to land on a fence in front of my camera lens. It’s like a little rush that I simply must have more of. So, I pack my bag and go out again. Preferably several times a week.

Jays fighting
(c) Karoline Holmboe Høibo, used with permission

I have always walked lots and been out in nature a lot. It was largely the opportunity to, and hope of, seeing something exciting that drew me outside. But I think we seldom saw that many wild creatures, when I was growing up. Perhaps we made too much noise, but lack of knowledge and lack of practice in using our senses to spot them were probably equally important factors. I had turned 38 before I saw my first owl. By then, I was part of a group of photographers and ornithologists who shared their expertise. Photographing birds represents an insight into a secret world for me; access to the mystical and inaccessible which could only be reached via nature programmes on TV in my childhood. With increased knowledge of bird species, their habitats and behaviour, and practice at paying greater attention to things around us, I have many more and far stronger experiences of nature as an adult.

In the winter of 2020, there was a Hawk-Owl at Sandnes. I went out several times to take photographs, and every single time I got into the car to drive there, I got butterflies in my stomach. The simple joy of seeing animals and birds remains at least as great today as it was when I was nine. The trips to Sandnes also resulted in some photos that I am particularly happy with. Birds have always had a central place in art, because of their beautiful plumage, the formations they fly in, and the fact that they represent something magical. These creative and aesthetic elements of photography are absolutely central to why I do it.

An owl in flight against a backdrop of woods
(c) Karoline Holmboe Høibo, used with permission

The art of bird photography goes hand in hand with presence. I have heard many say that they have never heard the birds sing so loud nor experienced spring as strongly as during the corona lockdown. It was the same for me. The peaceful days, when all social life and leisure activities had been cancelled, offered a lot of time for solitary walks in the area. That was when I got to follow the Great Crested Grebes’ courting over several weeks, and see new Tawny Owl chicks as they emerged from the nesting box. I got to experience light that changed according to the weather and time of day, the changing of the seasons and not least the patterns of birds’ lives. For many, experiences of nature are strongly linked to a form of self-realisation through mountain hikes and exercising on skis. I have been there too. But, bird photography can, to a far greater extent, represent outdoor life on nature’s own terms. Sometimes, the Dotterel stands by the road and the best option is to take a picture from the car window. Other times, I have to walk a mile into the wilderness to find what I’m looking for. When a bird then appears, it is useless to chase it. I get good pictures when I take the time to wait for the bird to come to me. The hours go by quickly when I just sit and listen and wait for something to come over the marsh. The strange thing is that I very rarely get bored. The wait provides a space for me to be at peace with myself and tranquil. And suddenly something happens that requires my full attention, because when a bird is to be photographed in flight, using the right technique and with good composition, I become completely focused and in the moment. At one with nature, one often also becomes more at one with oneself.

Hvorfor fotograferer jeg fugler?

av Karoline Holmboe Høibo, Fakultet for utdanningsvitenskap og humaniora, Universitetet i Stavanger

Click here to read in English

Når vekkeklokka ringer klokka tre om natta fordi jeg har hatt ambisjoner om å få med meg det vakre morgenlyset, har jeg ofte stilt meg spørsmålet: Hvorfor fotograferer jeg fugler? Like så når jeg kald, stiv og tissetrengt krabber ut av et lite telt etter 17 timer i skul, uten annet enn et par skjærer på minnebrikka. Da lurer jeg på om jeg ikke heller burde tilbragt denne tiden sammen med mine barn. Men når jeg først har kommet meg opp og ut, angrer jeg sjelden på en kort natt, og det er lite som gir meg en slik følelse av lykke som når fjellvåken kommer seilende inn over jordene på Jæren og setter seg på en gadd foran mitt objektiv. Det er som en liten rus jeg bare må ha mer av. Derfor pakker jeg sekken og drar ut igjen. Gjerne flere ganger i uka.

Jays fighting
(c) Karoline Høibo, used with permission

Jeg har alltid gått mye på tur og vært mye ute i naturen. Det var i stor grad muligheten for- og håpet om å få se noe spennende som trakk meg ut. Men jeg synes sjelden vi så så mye vilt i min oppvekst. Kanskje bråkte vi for mye, men vel så viktig var nok mangelen på kunnskap og oppøvelsen av sansene. Jeg ble 38 år før jeg så mi første ugle. Da hadde jeg kommet inn i et miljø av fuglefotografer og ornitologer som delte av sin kompetanse. Slik representerer fuglefotograferingen for meg en innsikt inn i en hemmelig verden; en tilgang til det mystiske og utilgjengelige som i min barndom bare kunne nås på naturfilmene på TV. Med økt kompetanse om fuglearter, habitat og oppførsel, og øvelse i evne til å legge bedre merke til det som er rundt oss, har jeg i voksen alder langt flere og langt sterkere naturopplevelser.

An owl in flight against a backdrop of woods
(c) Karoline Holmboe Høibo, used with permission

Vinteren 2020 var det ei haukugle i Sandnes. Jeg var ute flere ganger for å ta bilder, og hver eneste gang jeg satte meg i bilen for å kjøre ut, kunne jeg kjenne hvordan sommerfuglene kilte i magen. Den barnlige gleden av å se dyr og fugler er minst like stor i dag som den var da jeg var 9 år. Turene til Sandnes resulterte også i noen bilder jeg er blitt svært glad i. På grunn av sine vakre detaljer og formasjoner, og representasjonen av noe litt magisk, har fugler alltid hatt en sentral plass i kunsten. Den kreative og estetiske dimensjonen av fotograferingen er også helt sentral for at jeg driver med dette. Kunsten går hånd i hånd med nærvær. Jeg har hørt mange si at de aldri har hørt fuglene synge så høyt eller opplevd våren så sterkt som under korona-nedstengingen. Slik var det også for meg. De rolige dagene der alt sosialt liv og fritidsaktiviteter var avlyst, ga mye tid til ensomme turer i nærområdet. Da fikk jeg følge toppdykkernes kurtisering over flere uker, og nye kattugleunger som hoppet ut av kassen. Jeg opplevde å registrere lyset som endrer seg etter vær og tid på døgnet, årstidene som skifter og ikke minst fuglenes livsmønster. For mange er naturopplevelser sterkt knyttet til en form for selvrealisering gjennom toppturer og treningsturer i skisporet. Jeg har også vært der. Men fuglefotografering kan i langt større grad representere friluftsliv på naturens premisser. Noen ganger står boltiten ved veien og det beste er å ta bildet fra bilvindu. Andre ganger må jeg halvannen mil innover vidda for å finne det jeg leter etter. Når fuglen så dukker opp, nytter det ikke å jage den. De gode bildene kommer når jeg tar meg tid til å vente til fuglen kommer til meg. Timene går fort når jeg bare sitter og lytter og venter på at noe skal komme over myra. Det underlige er at jeg svært sjelden kjeder meg. Ventingen gir et eget rom for tilstedeværelse og ro. Og plutselig skjer det noe som krever min fulle oppmerksomhet, for når fuglen skal fanges i flukt, med riktig teknikk og en god komposisjon, blir konsentrasjonen altoppslukende. I ett med naturen blir en gjerne også mer i ett med seg selv.

Vil du se flere av mine bilder, besøk gjerne min instagramkonto: karolinehoibo_photography

Mid-January Waterbirds

By Dr Elle-Mari Talivee, Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

Eestikeelse postituse lugemiseks vajuta siia

My favourite time for bird counting is in the middle of winter by the seaside. I became interested in ornithology when I was a schoolgirl. Since the 1990s, I have spent one weekend almost every winter as an amateur ornithologist on Hiiumaa, an island in Western Estonia. There, I take part in the international mid-winter waterfowl census. As a bird count it has a fairly long history: the first mid-winter water-bird survey in Europe took place in 1967 and, back then, Estonia was among the initiating countries. The idea is to determine the numbers of the European populations of waterfowl and to know where they spend the winter. The count is done from the air, by sea, and on foot/by car beside the seaside. It is a perfect opportunity to get to know seabirds better and at the same time to help scientists collect data  – that also reflects climate change – with the help of birds.

My day-long walk in January begins as soon as the sun rises (in Estonia in mid-winter there is enough light to recognise species about 09:30) and ends at twilight around 15:00. A spotting scope, binoculars, a bird guide and a notebook together with a pencil (pens tend to freeze) make up the necessary equipment. Then, the counter has to mark down all the seabirds they spot: in Western Estonia, they are usually long-tailed ducks, common goldeneyes, smews, common and red-breasted mergansers, velvet scoters, different seagulls, and mute and whooper swans. White-tailed sea-eagles sit on the stones in the water. Sometimes a fisherman is the only one you meet all day long; you are more likely to encounter a red deer walking out from the coastal forest. The cherry on the cake would be some Steller’s eiders, rare but bold and fancy-looking birds that like the little bays of North-Western Hiiumaa. Besides birds, I am always looking for seals: the warm winters have been harsh for ringed seals in the Baltic Sea, but the curious greys sometimes just poke their heads out of the water in the middle of seabirds.

As a researcher of literature, I am also very fond of stories told about birds. Every winter I try to catch a glimpse of the black-throated loon. The Estonian language belongs to the group of Fenno-Ugric languages and in the ancient tales (and old patterns and petroglyphs) of these peoples, the whole world began from a bird’s egg: and in some of these stories this bird is a loon. In his documentaries about Finno-Ugric heritage, the Estonian President, writer and filmmaker Lennart Meri, used a swan- or loon-like water bird as a kind of leitmotif referring to the common past.

Talvituvate veelindude jälil

Elle-Mari Talivee, Eesti Teaduste Akadeemia Underi ja Tuglase Kirjanduskeskuse vanemteadur, PhD

Click here to read this post in English

Linnuloendustest kuulub minu lemmikute hulka kesktalvine merelindude loendus. Hakkasin hobiornitoloogiaga tegelema koolipõlves ja 1990. aastate keskpaigast olen peaaegu igal talvel veetnud ühe jaanuarikuu nädalavahetuse Hiiumaal, võttes osa rahvusvahelisest talvituvate veelindude loendusest. Linnuloendusena on see igatahes väärikas ettevõtmine: talvituvaid veelinde hakati Euroopas kokku lugema 1967. aastal ja eesti ornitoloogid olid seejuures ürituse algatajate hulgas. Loenduse mõte on saada ülevaade Euroopa veelinnupopulatsioonide arvukusest ja sellest, kus need veedavad talveperioodi. Loendust tehakse lisaks mererannalt tehtud vaatlustele ka lennukilt ja laevalt. Ühtpidi on see vaatlus suurepärane võimalus õppida tundma merelinde, teisalt aidata aga teadlastel koguda infot, mis ühtlasi peegeldab kliimamuutusi – ja teha seda lindude abiga.

Loenduspäeva pikk mereäärne rännak algab siis, kui on piisavalt valge, et linde ära tunda – jaanuaris  umbes poole kümnest – ja lõpeb pärastlõunases hämaruses kella kolme paiku. Põhivarustusse kuuluvad vaatlustoru, binokkel, linnumääraja ja märkmik koos hariliku pliiatsiga (pastakad kipuvad külmuma). Loendaja peab üles märkima merelinnud, keda kohtab: minu lemmikmarsruudil Kõpu poolsaare põhjaküljel on need enamasti aulid, sõtkad, mitut liiki kosklad ja kajakad, tõmmuvaerad, kühmnokk- ja laululuiged. Mõnel kivil merel istub ikka merikotkas. Mõnikord tuleb vastu üksik kalamees, rannametsas kohtab punahirve. Päeva teeb eriti rõõmsaks kohtumine neid väikseid merelahtesid hindava kirjuhahaga, vahva välimusega haruldusega, kes justkui inimest ei pelga ja laseb end lähedalt imetleda. Lindude kõrval loodan ikka näha hüljest: viigritele on soojad talved olnud rasked, ent uudishimulikud hallhülged pistavad teinekord ranna lähedal pea veest välja küll.

Elukutselt hoopis kirjanduse uurijana köidavad mind väga lood lindudest. Mõneski soome-ugri loomisloos saab maailm alguse linnumunast ja vahel on see arvatavasti olnud järvekaur, keda samuti talvisel mereseljal kohata võib. President Lennart Meri soomeugri pärandit käsitlevais dokumentaalfilmides on veelind omamoodi leitmotiiv, mis kordub kaljujoonistel, rahvalauludes ja mustrites.

Extremadura: un paraíso de la observación de aves en el sudoeste de España

Por Diana Villanueva Romero, Profesora Contratada Doctora, Universidad de Extremadura

Click here to read in English

El lugar en el que vivo, Cáceres, es un destino turístico muy popular entre aquellos deseosos de apartarse de las rutas conocidas. En 2005 apareció en la edición online británica del National Geographic que sobre todo prestó atención a su rica historia—su parte antigua fue declarada Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO en 1986—célebre cocina, museo de arte contemporáneo así como su amor por la música.[1] Solo al final de este artículo, hay una referencia al Parque Nacional de Monfragüe, uno de los enclaves naturales más codiciados por los amantes del avistamiento de aves.

El ornitólogo amateur Juan José Viola introduce a dos de sus hijos en la observación de aves a orillas de la Charca de los Arenales (Cáceres, España) (Fotografía perteneciente a la colección personal de Juan José Viola)

No en vano más de un 26% del territorio de la región en el que se sitúa, conocida como Extremadura, fue declarada Zona de Especial Protección de Aves (ZEPA) en 1979: 71 ZEPAs en total. Muchos aficionados a las observación de aves vienen a Extremadura cada año para descubrir la belleza de sus variados paisajes y disfrutar día tras día de esta actividad. Algunos deciden hacer coincidir su visita con alguno de los eventos relacionados que se organizan en diferentes partes de Extremadura cada año: de la Feria Internacional de Turismo Ornitológico de Extremadura (FIO)[2]  que se celebra en el mencionado parque nacional y que va ya por su decimoquinta edición, al Festival de las Aves de Cáceres,[3] o el Festival de las Grullas de Navalvillar de Pelas (Badajoz).[4]  

Un grupo de avutardas despliega sus alas sobre los LLanos de Cáceres (Cáceres, España)
(Fotografía perteneciente a la colección personal de Juan José Viola)

En todos estos eventos es posible encontrar grupos de niños y adolescentes agolpándose en cada stand para conseguir ver lo que se está haciendo y poder participar. Algunos participantes ofrecen talleres donde se colorean dibujos de algunas de las aves más representativas que han hecho de Extremadura su hogar—el milano real, la grulla, la avutarda, el buitre negro y el leonado, el rabilargo, el mochuelo, y la omnipresente cigüeña blanca—mientras que otros pueden consistir en crear una historia o un disfraz con la apariencia de alguna de estas aves. Lo más hermoso de esta experiencia es que al final del día estos jóvenes aficionados volverán a su casa volando literalmente con las alas de la imaginación inspirada por las apasionantes experiencias del día y sabiendo más aún de las aves que ya han aprendido a querer.


[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/2015/02/spanish-cities

[2] https://fioextremadura.es

[3] https://festivaldelasavescaceres.juntaex.es

[4] https://www.turismoextremadura.com/es/explora/Festival-de-las-Grullas-de-Extremadura/

Extremadura: A birding paradise in the southwest of Spain

By Diana Villanueva-Romero, Associate Professor (Profesora Contratada Doctora), University of Extremadura

Pulse aquí para leerlo en español

The place where I live, Cáceres, is well known as a tourist site to those wanting to travel off the beaten path. In 2015, it was featured in the British online edition of National Geographic which mostly paid attention to its rich history — its Old Town was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 — renowned cuisine, contemporary art museum, as well as its love of music.[1] Only at the end of this article is there a reference to the National Park of Monfragüe, one of the nature enclaves most coveted by birdwatchers all over the world.

Amateur ornithologist Juan José Viola introduces two of his sons to birdwatching by Los Arenales Pond (Cáceres, Spain) (Photograph from Juan José Viola’s Personal Collection)

Not in vain more than 26% of the territory of the region where it stands, known as Extremadura, was declared Special Protection Area (SPA) in 1979: 71 SPAs in total. Many birdwatchers come to Extremadura every year to discover the beauty of its varied landscapes and enjoy day after day of birdwatching. Some may decide to make their visit coincide with many of the birding events organized every year in different parts of Extremadura: from the Extremadura Birdwatching Fair (FIO)[2] located in the above mentioned national park, already in its fifteenth edition, to the Birds Festival of Cáceres[3] or the Festival of the Cranes in Navalvillar de Pela (Badajoz).[4]

Great bustards spread their wings over the Plains of Cáceres (Cáceres, Spain) (Photograph from Juan José Viola’s Personal Collection)

In all these events it is always possible to find groups of youngsters cramming over every stand in order to get a glimpse of what is being done and asking to be part of it. Some exhibitors may offer a coloring workshop where kids learn to color drawings of some of the most representative avian species that have made Extremadura their home—the red kite, the crane, the great bustard, the monk and the griffon vulture, the azure-winged magpie, the little owl, and the ubiquitous white stork—while others may entail creating a story or a costume representing any of these birds. The beauty of all this is that, at the end of the day, these young birders would go home literally flying on the wings of the imagination kindled by the vibrating experiences of the day and knowing more about the birds they have learnt to appreciate.


[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/2015/02/spanish-cities

[2] https://fioextremadura.es/en/

[3] https://festivaldelasavescaceres.juntaex.es

[4] https://www.turismoextremadura.com/en/explora/Festival-de-las-Grullas-de-Extremadura/

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