Cold but bright

Now that I’m finished with Hungary, I decided I would post some more recent stuff (Marci will like that :p). Therefore, from now on we will follow two timelines in parallel: the one we’ve always followed, which continues, and a new one, which starts now (I haven’t decided yet whether it would go forward or backwards… maybe both, which would actually make a total of three timelines… :D). Don’t get lost!

Autumn had been quite interesting. No real cold spell, but a lot of rain. Sometimes, it had rained for three days straight, and each morning, on my way to the office, I could see the ditches were fuller and fuller. Last weekend, at last, the skies cleared and the temperature dropped close to zero. I had been forced to postpone an excursion with my friend Mark two weekends in a row, because it was raining all the time, but finally, this was our chance!

I offered him to join me during the morning, but to my great surprise, he said he would join me on my sunrise-seeking trip. We arrived in Viikki at 7.30, long before the actual sunrise time. So we walked to the edge of the reedbed, following paths I now know by heart. I showed him some birds, like this Blackbird (Turdus merula) singing on a wood pole by the side on the duckboards. Well, in the dark of the woods, we could barely distinguish its outline, but we heard it loud and clear!

Leaves fell around us, and I was startled every time one reached the ground. “Is there a bird foraging on the ground? Was there something up there that made it fall in the first place?”. But no, most of the time the leaves had decided to fall on their own.

No crazy hue colored the clouds when the sun came, but the view from the bird tower was nice.

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Sunrise in Budapest

After our escape to the wilderness, we were back in Budapest for a few days. Then I would have to fly back to Finland, but in the meantime I had things to do… the first one being to see the sun rise over the city. This time, the second day in a row, I couldn’t enlist Marci, so I woke up alone, tried not to wake up the cat who had elected to share my bed, and ran for the bus. I drowsed the whole way to Széll Kálmán tér, but then I energized myself and started to climb the Castle Hill.

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Calendar for sale!

I’m happy to present my first photography product, a calendar for the upcoming year!

It’s been crafted with love and care, with some of my best pictures: each one was taken during the month it illustrates 🙂 There are shots from Finland, Denmark, and a few surprises 😉
The European price is 40€, including shipping fees. I also deliver outside Europe, but there might be custom taxes, so please contact me.

OFFER: until Friday 27.10, the price is only 30€ !

If you are interested, head to this page to get a quote: Calendar 2018

Below are two pictures included in the calendar: can you guess which months they illustrate? 😉

Hortobágy

Hortobágy National Park was the ultimate goal of my trip to Hungary. I had heard about the place several times in the past, and more recently, the WP Big Year birders dubbed it the “best birding site in Europe”. A visit to Hortobágy was already planned when I read this last comment, but it got me really excited. A day in the puszta was a nice introduction to birding in Hungary, and I expected wonders in this second national park.

I was not disappointed.

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Puszta

The Puszta is the Hungarian Great Plain, the region of endless horizons, and of sunny and dry days too. What I imagined was wide grass fields with Great bustards (Otis tarda) at every corner, but it turned out that most of the plain is nowadays cultivated. I know this should not have surprised me, but still, I was disappointed. Oh, and there are only a few bustards left…

Still, in this desert remain a few protected areas, sheltering some remnants of the past from human lust. Our destination, after leaving Szeged, was Kardoskúti Fehértó, the White Lake of Kardoskút. Marci had some friends of his parents there who planned to rent houses in the plains. That’s how we found ourselves in a big cold mansion in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and in the distance, a farm. As we arrived, a red moon rose to greet us.

This picture was taken by my friend, like a few others in the article. Pay him a visit and follow his Facebook page, it’s worth it 😉

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Szeged

The third largest city in Hungary, Szeged lies in the Hungarian steppe close to the Serbian and Romanian borders, at the confluence of the Tisza and Maros rivers. Marci and I travelled there on my fourth day in the country, we made a short break in the city before moving east. Szeged is often called the “city of sunshine”, and it was sunny indeed when we were there.

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First steps in Budapest

In May, I went to Hungary to visit my friend Marci. He and his girlfriend Linda had visited me in Copenhagen last year, and had since then asked me times and again when I would go to Budapest. Since I had no idea about my future, I dared not plan something that could conflict with a potential job, so I kept delaying… until I landed this job at RELEX, one that leaves me a lot of freedom, as I’ve mentioned in the past (we’re hiring, by the way 😉 ). It was about time to go, so I planned this trip for the upcoming spring. 10 days, that was probably too much to spend in Budapest only, but luckily Marci had many surprises and half-surprises in store for me.

But let’s start with the capital.

I don’t have so much to say, so I will try a new format for this article. I will follow the photo-log layout used by kirilson in his own posts, basing my tale on the pictures instead of having them complementing the words. I hope you’ll like it; please do not hesitate to share your thoughts on the idea.
EDIT: now that I written it all, I realize I actually had a lot to say. Sorry, not sorry 😀

Of course I saw the Parliament, maybe the most iconic building in the city. It’s seen here from the other side of the Danube, but we’ll have more occasions to get acquainted 😉

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A weekend in Texel: gulls (VI)

Too soon came the end of this trip. On Monday morning, the sun stayed hidden as we cleaned the house and visited the small harbour of Oudeschild. There was nothing to see there save for some impressive construction work, and shortly after we found ourselves waiting for the ferry under a drizzle. Noone fed the bird on the trip back, but gulls kept playing in the wind, following the ship without a wingbeat.

Young gull, Herring or Lesser black-backed

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A weekend in Texel: tulips (V)

Most of our day was devoted to birdwatching along the Utopia wetland, a large area made of sand and water that hosts lots of geese, waders and spoonbills. The path is restricted to pedestrians and bikers, therefore birding is quite relaxed, and the distance still allows some quality observations; I was happy to show some spoonbills to the whole family, especially when one started to fish right in front of us.

Brant goose (Branta bernicla)

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