Insects for lunch

After two days of adventures on our own (see the updated map), the last day in Bornholm was to be in good company: Alex’s stepfather had arranged a meeting with Mogens, a birder from the island. Our journey started in a farm in the south-east of the island: we met a small group of birders there, and the owner offered us a tour to see the rookery established for years in the trees behind the farm. We learnt many anecdotes there, with clear explanations given in English especially for me (thank you!). Rooks (Corvus frugilegus) nest there, but they leave for the winter, feeding on the coast of Bornholm.

After this interesting morning, we drove to Svaneke (I was still behind the wheel), where Mogens offered us a generous lunch. I tasted some delicious marinated herring from Christiansø. I will remember it for a long time! The most exciting thing at Mogens’ home, though, was the garden: in nesting boxes, I found a pair of Common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and a pair of Common redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus).

Common starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

The box occupied by the starlings was ideally located to see the parents bring mouthfuls of insects to the chicks, right in front of the balcony. You know me, I couldn’t resist the urge of snapping a few pictures, so I put my camera on the balcony’s rail to avoid shaking. I also tried to capture the male redstart, but it stayed behind a bush; nonetheless, the trick with the rail offered me a sharp picture in spite of the great distance.

Common starling
Common starling
Common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

The redstarts dwelled a bit further, so I moved closer and tried to hide behind bushes. Alas, I was still too visible, and they refused to approach. This said, with a hide and more time there is a great opportunity for pictures there.

Common redstart (female)
Common redstart (female)

The afternoon was just as thrilling, as Mogens showed us several swamps in the center of the island. In Ølene, we saw Western marsh harriers (Circus aeruginosus) and Bearded tits (Panurus biarmicus), but also the White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) Alex wanted so much to see. We were waiting for it, talking about it, and at some point, as we were about to leave, I looked in the scope in the direction of a raven moving in the trees… BINGO, there was the eagle, a few branches below! A beautiful adult silently suffering the assault of the black bird.

Then, we moved on to Bastemose. In the weeks before our visit, I had seen on Facebook pictures of Red-footed falcons (Falco vespertinus) in this locality, so I secretly hoped they would still be there. After our mishap with the owl on the first day, though, I stayed cautious. But we saw them, and they showed nicely. If I remember well, we saw two females (no male, unfortunately) perched on top of the fir trees, along the road. On the other side of the swamp, I spotted a Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo). Other raptors caught our attention, and then I decided to scan the trees with the scope: every 20 meters, it seemed, there was a Hobby! The best was yet to come, though: one or two of those took off and started to hunt over the bog. Hobbies eat insects, for instance dragonflies, which they catch in-flight and devour without landing: they took the exact position that’s depicted in the field guide, and that right above us, no higher than 10 meters, I think. I quickly thought about taking pictures, but the tower was a bit shaky, and on such a cloudy background, I was pretty sure I would be disappointed. So I let go, and simply enjoyed the show. It was fantastisk 😀

After a fruitless visit to one last tower, it was already time to go home. I took the ferry back to Ystad, and then to Copenhagen by train, with good memories floating in my head.

Bird inventory


18 thoughts on “Insects for lunch

    1. Tusind tak Hanna 😀
      “Stæren går og solsorten ‘hop’ (hoper?)”, that’s what I learnt at a DOF tur. Here in Helsinki they are in every wetland, flying in big flocks with lots of younglings. That’s always a nice show =)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Bonsoir Samuel,
    Merci pour ce joli sujet. Tes photos sont très réussies, bravo ! Une partie du vocabulaire spécifique à l’ornithologie m’échappe un peu mais tu m’incites à me remettre à l’anglais et je vais essayer de me “remettre les pieds aux étriers”. 🙂
    Belle soirée, à bientôt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Quel endroit super en tout cas! Vous avez eu de la chance de faire ces belles rencontres.Moi aussi je ne connais pas tous ces oiseaux mais à les voir de près on voit bien les différences

    Liked by 1 person

  3. J’aime beaucoup les étourneaux et les rougequeue! Donc merci! 🙂
    Les étourneaux d’ailleurs ont une communication très développée entre eux et ils imitent aussi certains autres oiseaux.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh ben tu sais le pygargue, au Danemark on s’en lasse vite… non je rigole, c’est toujours une superbe obs’. Quant aux faucons, c’est de la migration donc on a eu de la chance, je ne crois pas que ça soit tous les ans pareil. On a raté la Chouette épervière aussi ! J’en parle dans l’article précédent il me semble.
      Quoi qu’il en soit, c’est une très belle île 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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