I have no heavy training... Barely Elementary School. Preferred the wilderness, it became my university, but I got muddy boots and experience instead of School knowledge so my English was therefore quite inadequate. This blog is a project to improve my skills in English language.
We all have our own universe, welcome to visit mine.
Snow and cold are back and the search for tracks from predators continues. No tracks of lynx yet, but a nice sight of two adult golden eagles eating on a dead capercaillie yesterday. And some good wolf tracking today.
Beautiful as a postcard, the snow depth still allows you to use a car, at least if it´s tall and a four-wheel drive. Driving is demanding, you don’t want to get stuck. It is very far to the nearest tow truck …
The waterways start to freeze again. Ice sculptures in a water world where the neck is king and otters his companions.
Tracking two wolves that go together, markings indicate that they are a pair. Collects several DNA samples. More work remains to be done before we know what it looks like in this territory this winter.
Today’s tracking ends when the crescent moon rises above the fir tops. It has been a good day!
First advent yesterday. Premiere for gingerbread, almonds, raisins and mulled wine. Now is the time to enjoy the darkness!
Advent lighting is installed on our oldest log cabin. Paper stars and Advent candlesticks in windows and on tables, the scent of candles lasting until Christmas. Enjoy the atmosphere during the darkest time of the year. It’s the best time for reflection, good books, blankets and sofa corners!
There are times when I leave the forest and walk the streets of the city like a normal man… (old jungle saying)
When snow, mires and tracking sucks, and the longing for gray peas and yards of homemade sausage becomes overwhelming. Or when the yearning for architecture almost burns in your body, preferably Art nouveau … Then you go to Riga!
Or for any reason. All causes are good. Riga offers an abundance of interesting architecture, exciting history and food of the highest quality. We had some very pleasant days in Riga this week.
Oh, I always wished I had a sphinx at the cottage …
After twenty days of gray weather, rain, wet snow and even more rain … it’s probably no wonder the thoughts go to Madeira, an archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal, and with a fantastic summer all year-round weather!
We (My wife and I) were to Madeira for the first time in February this year and were not disappointed. Sunshine almost every day, mild winds and around 20 degrees. Stayed at a small charming hotel centrally located in Funchal, the equally charming capital of the island. No bigger than you easily get acquainted with it on foot.
Madeira lives on tourism, and the small population of about 300,000 inhabitants receives about 1.5 million tourists annually … Yet the island does not in any way feel as touristy as most other tourist destinations, at least that’s our impression. Everyone we meet was relaxed and pleasant, salespeople or those who want to make us eat at their restaurant, where anything but pushy. Just nice and friendly, apologize immediately when we told them that we have just eaten. Honest smiles, jokes and laughter.
A cable car runs from
Funchal up to the tropical garden with panoramic views of the city and the bay.
Recommended! In the morning the queue is insignificant but when a cruise ship
has arrived it can extend along large parts of the boardwalk. So, choose the
Another cable car goes halfway down again, to the Botanical Park. A given visit for anyone interested in plants. The floral splendor was not overwhelming, as I heard it is in the spring, but compared to snow and ice at home, so …
Some days we took a local bus up the mountains to the 27,000 ha Parque Natural da Madeira and hiked along some “levadas” in the Laurel forest. Levadas is constructed water channels which run through the forest following the contours of the landscape and clinging to the cliffs and steep-sided valleys. Wonderful hiking trails that offer everything from panoramic views to dense rainforest and where you hike through tunnels, along narrow paths and sometimes even under waterfalls.
The Laurel forest, also
called laurisilva, is a type of subtropical forest found in areas with high
humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures. A previously widespread
laurel forest type, which covered much of Southern Europe 15-40 million years
ago. Madeira Natural Park has today Europe’s largest area of original laurel forest
and is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Smaller areas of the same type are only
found in the Azores and the Canary Islands.
Laurisilva is extremely
rich in species of all kinds and many are endemic. During our walks we had great
sightings of both Madeira Firecrest and Trocaz pigeon, two endemic bird species
for the area.
Our visit to the island provided many wonderful experiences, but endless remains to be seen and experienced. Hope we get the opportunity to come back.
Gray weather, plus degrees, wet heavy snow. I track winter’s first wolves today. A couple marking their territory. A new couple? Maybe, DNA samples will hopefully provide answers.
The forest is quiet, only a few ravens shout in the distance. Snow melting in recent days makes tracking difficult. Rivers and streams are large and difficult to pass, it does not hinder the wolves, they are not afraid of water, but I must take long detours.
wet. Steps on through woods and over marshes. Hope to find droppings for dna
samples but find none today. Better luck tomorrow, as I continue backwards in
the wolves’ tracks. If they have eaten, they have probably also made number
The days are short now. Dusk is already falling and it’s time to get back to the car. Breaking for the day becomes natural when the tracks suddenly come from thin ice. It has worn them, but I am not going to try if it also carries me …
Geneva with its jewelry, Rolex watches and chocolate are fucking expensive! A pizza and a beer cost at least twice as much as in Sweden. But with that said… End of complaint. The city is a fantastic gem that I hope to return to.
An attenuating circumstance is that local traffic is free for tourists. Tram, bus and even some boat lines on Lake Geneva are free. (We got a free pass from the hotel we stayed at.) This means that you don´t have to stay downtown, if it is close to a stop, you can easily and conveniently reach the entire city center. In addition, the city is no bigger than you can easily walk around the central parts.
One of the
city’s most visible landmarks are Jet déau, one of the world’s highest water
fountains, located in the bay where Lake Geneva flows into Rhone. It sprays
five hundred liters of water per second up to 140 meters in height.
one of the greenest cities in Europe, 20% of the city is covered in green
areas. And there is liberating free from rubbish. I don’t think I saw a single
junk anywhere! At one point, I saw a young man smoking a cigarette at a bus
stop. When he was done, he looked for a trash can, found one further down the
street, went there and threw his fag-end before returning to the bus stop! Hello,
the rest of the world, please copy!
Mentioned in this context should also be the botanical garden, Jardin Botanique, created in the early 19th century. This fascinating park and “living museum” have 16,000 plant varieties and the world’s largest herbarium. Sculptures, theme areas, bird ponds, restaurants, children’s playground and lots of giant greenhouses filled with exotic plants and environments. A facility where it is easy to spend a whole day.
To the west of the botanical park is Adriana Park, an even larger park area (46 hectare) with about 800 tree species. There is also the Palace of Nations with the United Nations Office, the second largest United Nations Centre after the United Nations Headquarter in New York.
Geneva is really packed with interesting sights and lots of international organizations have their headquarters there. One of them is the Handicap International, which together with the Genevan artist Daniel Berset stands behind the monumental sculpture “Broken Chair” on the Place des Nations. Initially calling on all States to sign a treaty to ban landmines, but today with an extended meaning. This gigantic work of art, facing the United Nations “Flags Valley”, is twelve-meter-high and made of 5.5 tons of Douglas fir wood. A thought-provoking creation and a tourist magnet where selfies and group photos replicate each other.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that the city contains lots of exciting architecture, both modern and older. The old town, picturesque and genuine as they usually are, offers exciting hikes in narrow alleys. St. Pierre Cathedral is probably a given visitor’s destination for those who are interested in John Calvin, one of the leaders of the protestant reformation. Inside the church is a wooden chair used by Calvin… Personally, I attach more importance to the Broken chair, but Calvin’s chair is probably a nice piece of furniture in its own way.
We got the first real snowfall and the first attempt to find wolf tracks failed. No hurry just waits some day so they can move. Dreaming of paragliding instead, I have both paragliders on service.
October 2016. Barbara and Kevin at Flytaly picked up at the airport and we had to make a detour as the annual peace march between Perugia and Assisi was going on. About 100,000 people who manifested for peace and against indifference. They condemn war around the world and calls for international institutions and individuals to take a stand against violence of all kinds. They came from about 500 cities across Italy to walk the 24 km route – an event which has been held annually since 1961.
An hour later, I took off from Monte Subasio with all of Umbria under my feet. What a seductive panorama! A moment later, I look for thermals over a small village just south of Assisi, when suddenly the sound of drums and trumpets mixes with the whisper of the wind. When I look down, I saw a procession following a small brass band. It was an incredibly suggestive feeling to soar high above the houses and hear the music flowing out of the narrow alleys. A memory that is still strongly alive.
Other memories of the week are summer warm days in October, the scent of wild herbs on the slopes of Mt Subasio National Park, two curious young red foxes near the cave where Saint Francis of Assisi once meditated and lots of other impressions from the stunning village of Assisi. An in many ways exciting religious center, although that not really my cup of tea. And the memory of Italy’s food and wine of course! I am also a great admirer of the complex creation; Grappa.
Trapped in a fence with eight obviously wild wolves, the situation was becoming unsustainable … and I called desperately for the animal attendant to let me out!
beginning of my career as a wolf lecturer, I was in great need of wolf photos.
Photographing wild wolves was very difficult so I asked a zoo, and as a wolf
tracker I got the benefit to photograph wolves in a zoo fence. I was brought
into a pack of about eight wolves. A wolf pack that had not grown accustomed to
humans (sometimes puppies are snatched up to become more social to humans and
easier for visitors to see) The animal attendant locked the gate after me and
left his phone number, it was only to call when I wanted him to let me out.
I had the
same equipment as when I was in the wilderness, the same type of clothing and a
camera with 300 mm telephoto lens. When I started sneaking after the wolves to
take my pictures, I immediately discovered that it was a disastrously bad idea.
They rushed around like crazy and were completely frightened!
After a few fruitless attempts, I gave up. It was pointless and the wolves also so stressed that I decided to cancel. The few pictures I got were just as blurred and bad as the ones I managed to take on wild wolves.
After the animal attendant let me out, I snuck up on a hill far away from the wolf fence. From there it was much easier to photograph them. That a man was on the outside of the fence, the wolves were quite comfortable with.
of wolf meetings in the wild, this is exactly how I know the wolf. Not as a bloodthirsty
beast prepared to kill people, but instead an animal that most of all avoids
us, and who are usually very careful about what is new or different from the
The metrologists have threatened with lots of snow, but the week has been pleasant with a good temperature, brilliant sunshine and fantastic mornings. It started with work in the county’s northernmost nature reserve and ended with a day off in one of the southernmost.
fantastic autumn weather, we wandered around the Päggonätto nature reserve and
placed signs to try to curb unauthorized motor vehicle traffic on the marshes.
Päggonätto is 620 hectares, so it takes a while to walk around it with heavy
signs, iron skewers and sledgehammer.
also offered some work with chainsaw. We felled contorta pine in one reserve
and cleared the boundary in another.
We saw several moose during the week and had a nice sight of a golden eagle over one of the marshes in Päggonätto. We also saw some northern bird species such as Snow bunting, Bohemian waxwing, Pine grosbeak and Siberian jay. The highlight was nevertheless a brief but fine observation of two wolves. It was in an area that has long been empty on wolves, now it’s just that they manage to avoid the poachers this winter.
The week ended with a free day devoted to bird watching and a visit to Dyrön, one of our county’s southernmost nature reserves. Lovely hike in a different kind of pine forest than we are used to. Observation of a white-tailed eagle instead of a golden eagle, red deer instead of moose and a red fox instead of wolf. But that’s fine too!
The northern bird species were represented by a large group of Smew that hunted together.
reserve ends out in Vänern, Sweden’s largest lake, an inland sea with a lot of
coastal feeling. A completely different landscape than we have in the northern
part of the county.
The lake is the largest lake in the EU, third largest in Europe, after Ladoga and Onega, and in 26th place in the world.
The winter cold is creeping up and it’s time to start this year’s bird feed. And it immediately makes me think of squirrels …
The record was set on Christmas Eve 2017 when nine squirrels feasted on sunflower seeds. Only eight can be seen in the picture, but the ninth sat in a birch next door and shouted his frustration that the restaurant was full at the moment!
This summer, as I sat in the woods below our cabin, I saw a squirrel digging things out of hiding in the ground that it then ate. It was around to several different places. As I researched the matter, I found shells for sunflower seeds. Squirrels are not only greedy bird food eaters; they also hide food for future needs. Expensive friends, but okay, it’s worth it. They are really entertaining to study.
Our squirrel is the red one, Sciurus vulgaris, also called Eurasian red squirrel. They are members of the squirrel family, Sciuridae, commonly just referred to as “squirrels”. They include over a hundred arboreal species native to all continents except Antarctica and Oceania.
When I was in Geneva, I got to see another type of squirrel that I had never seen before. The Siberian chipmunk, Tamias sibiricus, a species that originally came as pets to parts of Europe in the sixties, but which has subsequently formed viable tribes in forests and parks. (The species is listed as an invasive species of the EU) Squirrels are cute little creatures but like many other species, they pose problems when they settle in areas where they have never been. (The gray squirrel is another example from the UK)
I suppose I´m some kind of caretaker for nature reserves (warden, ranger..?) who also works with environmental monitoring and endangered species. Tracker since the mid-eighties, mostly wolves and other predators, and once in a while assistant in various research projects with inventories and telemetry.