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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.

Summary

Everyday life, Golden eagle, Kayak, Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, June 15, 2020 09:40:36

My internet service provider decided to turn off the copper wire network at the end of the month before they had completed the fiber connection … so now we are many loyal customers who are slightly irritated. (The fiber connection should be ready this autumn, but we have heard that for several years now!) After some calls to the support and some less successful solutions, I have now switched to another company. And a few seconds later – woops, a well-functioning internet via 4G.

Summer is here, great! First kayaking trip completed. If paragliding is freedom in the sky, then kayaking is freedom at sea. Both are refined nature experiences, subtle silence, and freedom to be where rarely others are. You move quietly and show up unexpectedly, which is why it is important to respect the home peace zone for both humans, animals, and breeding birds.

When we are free from our work with nature reserves, we like to visit other nature reserves … Okay, a little geeky maybe, but it is relaxing and interesting to visit other types of nature than the ones we find on a daily basis. Last time we visited Gullrosas Berg (Mountain). Gullrosa is a traditional name for a cow, and according to legend, a cow of that name should have crashed and died in the ravines that run across the mountain plateau and the reserve. Nowadays there are no grazing cows in the area, it is exclusively a nature reserve and outdoor area.

Cloudberry flowers and common cottongrass shone white on the marshes. Atmospheric, hope for good berry season this year.

The varied forest and beautiful views made the visit pleasant. A nice reserve that we would love to visit again. We walked the “tough” trail with a little steeper section, the family trail may be next time.

In conclusion, I would like to tell you that we were ringing this year’s new golden eagle kids this week. In one of the nests, which I could not see into but had only heard one kid, there turned out to be two. Both in good health. Lovely! Three kids ringed total.



A little bit of everything

Golden eagle, Nature Conservation Posted on Sun, May 31, 2020 09:35:38

We saw, we nail, we carry, and we lift. We have a very varied job; it will never be boring!

The work on maintaining hiking trails continues, a lot of chainsaw for us but it makes it easier for the visitors. Enjoying the same view during lunch as the lynx did last winter.

New picnic table to the nature reserve Abborrtjärnsberg. Rough lumber and heavy to handle, lucky that we have tools and machines to our aid.

Up in the mountains, the vipers are rarely gray (male), they are usually very dark, almost black and the zigzag line on their back is barely visible. The females, on the other hand, are brown. This charming lady we found because she was hissing so loudly as we passed her resting place.

The work with the golden eagle has now gone over to the control of known nest to see if there are youngsters. So far, we have found two successful breeding’s, with one kid in each nest.

Unfortunately, our biggest golden eagle nest had fallen during the recent storm. Lots of fresh twigs, grass and other tree material indicate that nesting was in progress when it happened. We found neither eggs nor chicks in the remains of the nest, perhaps a marten or fox had cleaned up after the accident.

If you know how big the key is for a Toyota Hilux, then you also understand how big a feather from an adult gold eagle is.

The hot and dry summer 2018 gave rise to drying stress on many spruces, they became weakened and an easy replacement for the bark beetle. They have become very numerous and if the summer gets hot and dry this year, we fear an unusually large attack from bark beetles.

Small piles of brown powder show where the larvae are. The only way to prevent them from becoming adult bark beetles that swarm and create even more bark beetles… is to remove the bark.

First, twig the trees and cut it at the root. Then remove the bark using tools from the beginning of the century. It is a heavy and hot work in the summer heat.

Usually we do not care about bark beetles in protected areas, they are part of the ecology. This year, however, the government has asked us to look at it a little extra, if there is a major attack, we do not want it to hit surrounding forests.



Flowery hiking trail

Everyday life, Nature Conservation Posted on Wed, May 06, 2020 21:08:23

In a blossoming sea and with a sky of birdsong, our work continues to clear hiking trails in the nature reserves.

It’s a crappy job, but someone has to do it…

Wood anemone, common hepatica and alternate-leaved golden-saxifrage will be our floor throughout the day’s work in Gultberget nature reserve.

Common wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella, with fresh sour taste, covers the ground between coarse spruces and has also found a sanctuary in the crevice between two tree trunks.



Disarray

Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, April 20, 2020 08:47:26

There has not been much snow in this winter, but more wind, which has caused some disruption along our hiking trails in the nature reserves.

Because of the corona pandemic, many seek refuge in our nature reserves. We have more visitors this spring than ever before, especially in the southern more densely populated part of the county.

Here in the north there is still snow in the altitudes and many roads are wet with thawing, but we have started to look at the southernmost reserves in our area of work. Ginbergsängen is one of them and there was a lot of clearance required before the hiking trail was open. We were two with chainsaws that worked all day even though the distance is only 3 km.

Now we only have 65 km to go before the work on the hiking trails is ready for the summer.



Housing shortages

Everyday life, Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, April 06, 2020 23:08:19

In today’s production forests there is a housing shortage. The proportion of old and / or dead trees is too low. In rational tree cultivation, there is rarely room for the natural cavities that old trees get over time. Nor do they accommodate generations of carved holes from woodpeckers.

The housing shortage is overwhelming. Although we have quite a few birdhouses on our farm, newly set up are immediately occupied. Sometimes I can barely turn my back before a bird flies in and inspects. Of ten new birdhouses last year, all tenants received!

Today I picked up some birdhouses to set up in the nature reserves. The larger ones at the bottom of the image are for boreal owl. They often use old housing holes after the black woodpecker. Our largest woodpecker, black as coal and with a fiery red crown (Male) The female has only the top hind crown in red. You’ve probably heard them drum in the spring, especially on dry tree trunks with good acoustics. They can be heard up to 4 km! Powerful and methodically, like a machine gun, wacka–wacka-wacka-wacka…

Now this spring, if you hear something similar, knock-knock-knock-knock – Aaii, damn …

then it´s probably me who nails up one of all these birdhouses!



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?



Working week

Everyday life, Nature Conservation Posted on Sun, November 03, 2019 15:06:53

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.

In a 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.

The week 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.

The nature 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.



Squirrels!

Everyday life, Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, October 28, 2019 09:33:53

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)

Other squirrels I previously posted on the blog are Gambian Sun squirrel, Malabar giant squirrel and Three striped palm squirrel.



The Longhorn Beetle.

Nature Conservation Posted on Thu, October 17, 2019 07:58:26

The Longhorn Beetle, Tragosoma depsarium, are categorized as “Near Threatened” (NT) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future.

The big beetle has disappeared from large parts of our country, but it occurs on some premises in our landscape. It needs older sun-exposed wood for its egg laying, preferably coarse pine trunks. Today, the species is threatened due to lack of suitable habitats.

10 years ago, we got hold of several very rough pine logs from a local sawmill. They were almost 6 meters long and up to 80 cm in diameter. Too rough for the sawmill to handle. I ordered a timber car to place them in sunny places in the Stormyren nature reserve and still remember the driver and his very suspicious look … He was used to transport wood out of the forest not the other way around!

It took 10 years before we could see that it succeeded. This summer we found lots of holes after the beetle. Now the rough logs can serve as nurseries for generations of beetles for many decades to come. Nature conservation can take its time but when it succeeds it pays off with interest.



The light in the tunnel!

Nature Conservation Posted on Mon, October 07, 2019 11:22:31

Since Alice Cooper wrote on his Facebook page that he would like to walk through Tilas Stoll, the nature reserve suddenly became a much hotter tourist destination!

Today we have a little over 200 nature reserves in our county Värmland. Högbergsfältet is one of them. It was founded in 1979 and is a mining area near Lake Yngen. Tilas Stoll is a mining corridor leading into the Krakbo mine. For security reasons it has been closed for a few years but is now open to visitors.

Go there! It is a strong experience, well worth a try.



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