Category Archives: Birds

Swallows, swifts and a heron

A couple of videos of birds from this morning. First, a group of swallows (lævesvale) and a few swifts (tårnseiler) were hawking after insects above the tree tops in the garden today, desperate for food in the record cold weather!
Second, a grey heron (hegre) flying past.

Greenfinch eating goatsbeard seed

Tragopogon pratensis ( Goatsbeard; Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon / Geitskjegg) is allowed to self-sow in my garden as it’s not only edible, it’s decorative when the seed head opens and  is also a useful plant for attracting birds to the garden. This greenfinch (grønnfink) dispatches one seed every 3 seconds!

Dandelions for bees, beetles and birds

Before my D.A. (Dandelion Awakening) I would religiously remove and cut down as many dandelions as I could, but nowadays my garden perennial beds are full of them. As I’ve written before, dandelions have become probably my most important vegetable in the winter months. I dig up the roots from my garden beds, where I’ve deliberately let them grow, in the autumn, store in my cellar and force them as I need them in cooler rooms in the house. These wild dandelions grow themselves, the only energy I use on them is in the digging and moving to store! A perfect vegetable! There are 11 pages in my book Around the World in 80 plants about the multitude of food uses for dandelions and how you can make a whole meal of them and cycle home after the meal on tyres made of dandelion rubber! But there’s so much more to this miracle plant and I’m sure you’ve read of its many medicinal properties including it being an anti-cancer powerhouse!  Sat in the garden, a Eurasian Siskin (grønnsisik) just landed on a dandelion head showing it’s also an important plant for birds in addition to bees, beetles and other insects! Make sure you leave a few dandelions to seed and you may also experience a magical moment like this!

Bulfinch visit at Apple blossom time

Bullfinches (dompap in Norwegian) have an unique biannual appearance in the garden. They feed from autumn to early spring on natural food and on the bird feeder. Of the natural foods, I’ve seen them feeding on nettle (nesle) seeds, maple seeds (sycamore and Norway maple / platanlønn og spisslønn) as well as buds of plums. They then disappear in March, but return again every year about the time when the apple trees are coming into flower. I presume they are interested in the ripening buds, but have never seen them eating them.  A pair appeared again in the garden two days ago and here are a couple of short films. In the second, you can even here a snatch of bullfinch song. I’ve never heard that in May before, but they do sing weakly in late winter sometimes.
There could hardly be more blossom on the apples this year! Looks like yet another good year.

Female Pied Flycatcher

Sat in the garden this evening and I noticed both male and female pied flycatchers (svarthvit fluesnapper) having a bath in a bucket planted up with the water plant chinese arrowhead (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=19451). The female sat conveniently above the bucket for me to film! You get a quick glimpse of the male sitting by the water at the start of the first film!