Anatomy of a Finnish sunset

I had spent the whole day inside, working on my computer. I went out before sunset, took my bike and rode along the shore to a place north of Hietaniemi. I tried some shoots, see how long of an exposure I could use, but it was cloudy, and I expected the evening to be very boring. I walked a bit to the south, to the marina I had noticed the day before. Suddenly, the clouds were lit from beneath, they seemed incandescent. I stopped, tried to make some pictures but the moment didn’t last.
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The best possible welcome party

Sometimes, you don’t need sophisticated celebrations. Sometimes, all you need is a sunset offered by the best city in the world.

Kuusisaari, Helsinki, Finland

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Sunset in Søborg

Some news about me: I have finished my studies. I got my master, and I’m now back to Helsinki, the city I love, for some time. I’m looking for a job, but in the meantime, I enjoy the lovely weather and the gorgeous birds.
I’m very late and I have many pictures to show you. We start today with a sunset I saw next to where I live, in Copenhagen. Generally, sunsets with some clouds are the best, because, after disappearing under the horizon, the sun reflects under them in an explosion of colors. That day, I was afraid there would be too many clouds, and when I arrived on top of my favourite hill, the sun was hidden.

laajalahti

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Kings of Bornholm

Soon after my escape to Skagen, I visited Bornholm. A Danish island located south of Sweden, it is home to a variety of sceneries quite different from what I’m used to around Copenhagen, including cliffs, sand dunes and dense forests. I was with my friend Alex, who invited me to spend a few days there at his family’s place (during the nights) and on the roads (during the days). Here is a map of our peregrinations.

These were mad days, as you can expect from two like-minded people fond of nature and discovery. We were lent a car by his family, but since Alex doesn’t have a driving license, I was the entitled driver all day long. Given that I hadn’t driven since January, I was really nervous at this idea, even though I knew I would do it. My nervosity increased when I saw that our coach was an old gasoline Opel sedan, quite the opposite of the small diesel Renault Clio I’m used to when I’m at home. But no worries, after short-lived hesitations for the first steps (ok, wheel turns maybe), I got quite used to it, and discovered a car very comfortable and easy to drive. At that moment, I was pretty sure we would survive this ride… (spoiler alert: we did!).

So here we were, driving east from Rønne en route to Ekkodalen. A Northern hawk owl (Surnia ulula) had elected to stay on the island for weeks, probably the young bird that was found injured and healed at the local “raptor show center”. It was sighted the day before our arrival right in front of the house in Ekkodalen, so we set sail with high spirits; alas, the bird was nowhere to be found that day. Anyway, we took a walk in the forest, enjoying the warm weather and the numerous birds swarming around: Common ravens (Corvus corax), my first European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus) in Denmark, Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) in the pine forest, Common whitethroats (Sylvia communis) and other passerines… we tried the echo place (Ekkodalen means “the echo valley” in Danish), but weren’t convinced.

After a nap in the ruins of an old castle, we drove to the eastern coast of the island, bought some food in Nexø and walked along the sea. We saw some birds there, among those many ducklings, but soon time forced us to go back to Rønne. After a delicious dinner, we headed north. Our plan was to see the sunset from Hammeren, a rocky peninsula guarded by the castle of Hammershus. We arrived there just as the sun started to hide behind a thick layer of clouds (but the light while we drove was gorgeous!), and started to walk along the cliff. Soon, we could witness black and white shapes flying from the open water to a place hidden from view, down there. Razorbills (Alca torda) nesting in the cliff! From where we stood, it was impossible to see the eggs or the chicks, but I felt elated. I knew there would be more coming on the day after, though. Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) nested on top of the cliffs, in the grass, and a group of sheep we scared received an aggressive welcome when they arrived a bit too close to the eggs.

bornholm

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An evening by the sea

Kalveboderne is a body of water between the islands of Amager and Sjælland, in the south of Copenhagen. I’d biked along a few times when coming back from Vestamager, but I wanted to visit the other side also. All winter, I saw reports of Little grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Smews (Mergellus albellus) in the area. The evening promised to be sunny, so I set sail in the late afternoon, with the sunset in mind. Here is the map of my peregrinations.

When I arrived on site, I was greeted by the Airbus A380 from Emirates leaving the airport on its way to Dubai. What a monster! I need to go planespotting again…

In the water, ducks and grebes teemed: Little grebes, Great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus), Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), Wigeons (Anas penelope), Goosanders (Mergus merganser) were on a frantic search for food. Further away, there were also large flocks of Coots (Fulica atra), but no trace of the Smews.

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

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