Blog Image

Uncle Henry´s Universe.

About the blog

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.

Barranco del Infierno.

Nature Conservation, Travel Posted on Tue, March 31, 2020 02:00:18

Barranco del Infierno (“Hell’s Gorge”) is a ravine and a Nature Reserve where only 300 people can enter a day, in order to preserve the environment and not alter the development of the species, the flora and the fauna. To visit the ravine a previous reservation is essential. They open the entrance at 08.30 and it costs about 8.50 euros for an adult tourist. (Cheaper for children and locals)

When we visited Adeje in the south of the island of Tenerife, just over a month ago, we rented an apartment next to the reserve border. Ideal for exciting hikes in the mountains along winding goat paths. It was warm and steep, but the view was always seductive.

Canaries (Serinus canaria) and Canary Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus canariensis) sang everywhere, and African blue tit (Cyanistes teneriffae) was often seen among the bushes. Sometimes it rattles on the ground when a lizard ran away. Tenerife lizard (Gallotia galloti), an endemic species. The male is large and has a blueish stain on both sides of its head, the female is smaller with brown lines on the sides or molted.

The entrance to the ravine was just 100 meters from our accommodation so we took a chance and went there early one morning, hoping that there would be an opportunity to visit the reserve, but no! Only bookings are possible. The ravine is so popular to visit and only 300 guests are admitted per day. We bought tickets for a visit a few days later.

Then came Calima, the sandstorm and ravine closed immediately for visits. In 2009, a deadly accident happened, and the ravine was then closed to visitors for six years. Today, it is open again after extensive maintenance work to secure the trail. Our booking was moved forward a few days but, in the end, we got a clear sign.

The instructions are clear. All visitors wear helmets – all the time. No one is allowed to leave the hiking trail and on some extra risky paths one should not stop but be in motion all the time.

The further into the ravine you get, the steeper the rock walls feel. You are asked to be quiet during parts of the hike, a sympathetic condition that I would like to salute at all, but here is the idea that you should hear stones that collapse and be warned in time. We keep up the speed to keep a distance from a group of loud visitors who laugh, talk and shout to each other …

It was an exciting landscape and according to all the nice information boards there were lots of interesting endemic species of all kinds, both terrestrial and aquatic. For the invertebrate it should be around 416 species among which the groups of arthropods, millipedes, arachnids and mollusks stand out… I say!

The trail ended at the highest waterfall on Tenerife, about 200 meters high. Here water flows all year round and a small levada leads it via an old mill down to Adeje.

Wish we had a little more time to explore the gorge. Three and a half hours it was thought that the tour would take, and you knew that more visitors were waiting for the day. It did not get completely relaxing. Probably prefer “our own” nature reserves, where there is endless space, hardly a human and absolutely no cactus.

But as I said, very interesting and exciting. Well maintained! Well worth a visit.

No problems with the language, it’s universal. The Barbary partridge (Alectoris barbara) say, do you have a sandwich?



Report from our bird table.

Everyday life Posted on Sun, March 29, 2020 23:30:04

The restaurant is open for a few more weeks, the nights are still cold, and snowfall usually pops up during the month of April.

As today’s bird visitors retreat and dusk falls, other guests show up at the diner. Tonight, a badger came by for a decent portion of sunflower seeds. It munched eagerly and seemed pleased with the service at our place. (excuse the quality of the picture, it was taken with the mobile phone through the kitchen window)

We live in a break between winter and spring now. I have not heard the male lynx shouting from the mountains in the last nights, maybe he has met his female and have finished courtship. Instead shouts a tawny owl persistently, and at dusk the male Eurasian woodcock performs a courtship display flight over the countryside and our little farm, oårt oårt oårt – oårt PISSP!

Delightfully! New voices begin.



Another hard week …

Bear, Golden eagle, Wolf, Wolverine Posted on Sun, March 22, 2020 20:19:15

… in paradise! I love this time of year, at least if the weather and winds are on mine and the eagles’ side. They have been playing against the blue sky almost every day, often in wonderful acrobatics. At one point, five eagles were close together for a short while, and my task then was to quickly assess their age based on what plumage they had. For a moment I was almost stressed, but it went over after a cup of hot chocolate and a sandwich with fried eggs.

Midday thaw is strong now. The night’s ten minus degrees quickly turn into comfortable seven to eight plus degrees. The fresh wolverine tracks at Wednesday’s scouting site look much older already after a few hours. There will be no tracking this day, no time right now, work with the eagles must go first.

Also stumbled upon spring’s first bear track. Always nice but surprisingly early this year. It gives a little extra excitement to the working day to know that there is a grumpy friend in the neighborhood, who just woke up in a wet bed, pushed the plug out of the butt and is insanely hungry after a long winter sleep.

I think the most exciting tracking I’ve ever done is when I followed day-fresh bear tracks one spring night with the full moon as the only light source. Damn, then I probably had a maximum heart rate!

The work week ended with a practical collaboration with a wolf. On my way to the scouting site for working with the eagle, I encounter very fresh wolf tracks. Some wolf I do not see, and the tracks disappear into the hard crust. I’ll track down the wolf until it’s time for the eagle. What I do not know is that the wolf takes over the work of tracking and tracks me during the day.

When I am on my way home after the day, I again meet fresh wolf tracks but now in my own tracks from the morning. And I who thought I was ready for the day! Just to take the baton and begin to track the wolf again. It became a long working day.



Silence.

Everyday life Posted on Mon, March 16, 2020 19:16:51

We are under attack by a virus! The news reporting is alarmingly loud, but our world has become much quieter…

At 8 o’clock this morning, Norway closed its border. And both SAS and Norwegian have decided to put most of its fleet of aircraft on the ground until further notice. None of this is in my mind during the morning walk along the little river where we live. The river is full of water now and its sound therefore deafening. As I reached the top of the ridge the river goes more silent and the bird song takes over. Eurasian Siskin, a Common Chaffinch and suddenly a Winter Wren. It is amazing how one of our smallest birds can have such a remarkably strong voice.

It wasn’t until I enjoyed the bird song that I suddenly realized how quiet it was around me. The occasional frequent car traffic through our valley with Norwegians, who are going down to our shopping centres to trade goods at half the price compared to home, has ceased … there is not a car and during two hours of walking only one airplane is heard.

I think most of us are aware of the air pollution that exists around the world, but how many thinks of all sound pollution … If you start with sound recording, then you are immediately enlightened! The sky is so full of aircraft nowadays that it is almost impossible to get a clean atmospheric sound. Something that you do not want to include is always present. The sound of the aircrafts often overlaps, and the rumbling diesel engines from commercial traffic are mixed with car traffic and motorcycles, and chainsaws, and it is astonishing how far out into the wilderness that the happy but enervating melody from the ice cream truck reaches!

However miserable and scary the virus pandemic is, it will be interesting to follow the development in the near future. We get to see a community around us that we haven’t experienced in many decades, if ever. At least, toilet paper stocking should be a fairly new phenomenon.



Golden eagle 2020

Golden eagle Posted on Sat, March 07, 2020 17:20:34

Now this year’s inventory of the golden eagle will start. Let’s hope for sunny days and strong winds for the rest of March and early April. The lynx inventory season is over for this winter, but we continue to track wolf and wolverine month out.

I have not found any tracks this week but got nice hiking trips on foot or with snowshoes. It is a wonderful time now at the end of winter, when the night’s minus temperatures quickly turn into heat as the sun rises.

Tracks of red foxes often cross my hike, it´s mating time and you often hear them shouting, even during the day. The woodpecker drums, black grouse play on the marshes and crossbills are full of nesting boards, it goes towards spring.

In the first golden eagle territory I visited during the week, the business was in full swing. Both adult eagles were present and a kid from previous years. They were playing in the wind, seemed to enjoy it. Sometimes the female disappeared into the snow-covered forest to warm the nest for a while, all snow must be removed before hatching can begin.

The large nest is well hidden in the snow-covered forest.



Paragliding Tenerife

PG / PPG, Travel Posted on Sun, March 01, 2020 13:42:45

Adeje, Tenerife, the closest place for us Scandinavians to get really nice thermal flying, they said. Weatherproof, they said. No one mentioned hectares of cactus, the calima sandstorm or coronavirus …

Adeje, paragliding place for frozen Scandinavians

My idea was to start the flying season a little nicely, to carefully train the skills for the season. When the local flight guide said that today we fly Jama, and the others in our small group of paraglider pilots – of horror erupted; Oh no – the cactus landing! I knew I was in trouble.

The landing site was quite small, but that was not the problem, it was adequate in other circumstances. But it was thermal, which means that you do not fully know where / when you land. Lifting and sinking relieve each other in an unpleasant way considering all the cactus that surrounded the landing.

If you came in too low, you got to hug the cactus. If it lifted and you went to the right or left, you got to hug the cactus. If you got too far, you got stuck in power lines, before you fell down and got to hug the cactus… I refrained, did not feel like a suitable first flight for the holiday.

I talked to an experienced German pilot and we agreed that the landings were safer at home, where greenery usually meant grass and not cactus like this. I really hate cactus, he said, and that was even before he made his flight and got his knees full of cactus thugs …

Taucho and Ifonche are two fantastic takeoff at Adeje, both with several big and nice landings. From Ifonche I got a nice flight in the area around the fingers and the flat rock. Great views of mountains, canyons, Adeje and the coast down by the sea.

Taucho, Paragliding Park overlooking the sea.
Ifonche takeoff lies above the ravine to the left of the fingers.

Another flight I unfortunately had to refuse was the flight from the area at the volcano Teide. Too bad, it would have been absolutely fantastic, but security must go first.

I had not seen the landing and had to expect at least 3 minutes of flight through dense clouds before locating it. Without a GPS that you were used to and trusted, the flight was very dangerous. I had just downloaded an app with gps-function but had not gotten to know it yet. Thought it was a badly chosen opportunity to test it for the first time. If you get lost in the clouds, the risk is obvious that you will crash somewhere in the mountains, and so much worse vacation employment is hard to imagine.

The next day it started blowing hard, then came Calima, the sandstorm that burned like a jet engine in the skin. Hard to breathe, hard to see but exciting to experience.

The rest of the holiday was spent on hiking. Not bad employment either.

When the news began to report on coronavirus at a hotel down the coast, that 1,000 people were quarantined, I began to worry a little about the return journey. Being forced to remain in the cactus kingdom for another fourteen days would be a horror. But everything went well. Come home yesterday to bare ground, today the snow is winding down, seems to be tracking again in the coming week.

End of the holiday, wolves and eagles – watch out! I will be back.



Yearning!

Everyday life Posted on Mon, February 17, 2020 11:29:27

Now that the roar of rally cars has been silenced, the fireworks have gone out and thousands of visitors have left my workplace, everything is calm and enjoyable again. The roads around Nyckelvattnet, which I regularly patrol, were a new route for Swedish rally this year. There is no doubt that they drove the route faster than I usually do, but I am also quite sure that I see more animal tracks than they do. It’s a matter of priority! 😉

It is an amazing time we have ahead of us, and I do not want to miss a day out of it, but still, you and I are probably beginning to long for hot summer days. Traveling and staying in nature becomes so easy then. – just wait until the stinging insects awaken, then it becomes a different tune! Okay, I know, but it doesn’t help. Blue sky, small fluffy clouds, strawberries and whipped cream … Outstanding!

Or relaxing days in midsummer time with bird song and bumblebees buzzing.

Aaaah, just dream, it’s coming soon. It should only rain a little first, and snow, and blow, and rain and …



New week, new adventure.

Everyday life Posted on Mon, February 10, 2020 11:36:23

No more comment on the weather, there is, say no more …

Continues searching for tracks from lynx, wolverine and wolf. The conditions are difficult, along the same gravel road the surface varies between bare ground, ice or snow cover so deep that I am forced to give up and turn! Spring fungus thrives, small birds sing, the black grouse are in full swing and even a capercaillie rooster played at the top of a pine tree.

Found some weird mushrooms in a spruce forest. Witches cauldron (Sarcosoma globosum), also known as the Charred-Pancake Cup is a near-threatened fungus native to Nothern Europe.

The winds looked promising, so I took a day off and traveled to Ålleberg, a legendary mountain for aviation sports in Sweden. There has been schooled in glider since the beginning of the twentieth century. There is a nice glider museum and a lovely flying spirit.

The winds were weaker than expected, but some small flights were still included during the day. We were some paragliders, some delta wings and a bunch of older men with radio-controlled gliders. It was a pleasant and rewarding day with other aviation enthusiasts, and not least, a day with useful basic handling of the paraglider.

Unfortunately, the landing site was quite wet and muddy, so there was some after-work that night. The equipment must be cleaned and dried.

… The week ended with a little wolf tracking and a wolf poop, so it was a pretty good week anyway.

Poo = DNA = successful work



Thumbs up!

Everyday life Posted on Mon, February 03, 2020 19:25:04

Thank you for keeping your thumbs up, winter came back but unfortunately a bit short. But it was beautiful as long as it lasted. Up in the mountains it´s still pretty good with snow but down in the lowlands it looks more like spring.

I searched for tracks during the week but found none of interest. A short time between the snowfalls always makes it a little difficult, the animals must move a bit for us to find their tracks.

Hope for better luck in the coming week. The cold seems to stay for at least a few more days.



Kitschy!

Everyday life Posted on Sat, January 25, 2020 15:40:25

It is considered very kitschy with sunsets, I know, but they still feel like a gift when you go home after a hard day’s work!

This work week has largely been about heavy work with chainsaws. Tiring but still nice for the body, it gives good night’s sleep.

The weather is slowly moving towards winter again, at least there is a minus degree at night. Next week it may even be some snow, we’ll see, keep your thumbs up for it to be so. It would be nice with a little more tracking before it is time for the inventory of golden eagles again.



Next »