Family visit to England

I haven’t written for a while because I have been on a family holiday to England for two weeks.

During our visit we visited London and saw some of the site such as,

Buckingham Palace

buckingham palace

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

houses of parliment

The London Eye

london eyeand St James’ Park where we saw many birds

heron st james park

We went out on a boat trip along the river Nene with my aunty and uncle

boat-1and saw Great Crested Grebe

great crested grebeCormorant

cormorantand Mute Swan

mute swan-2 mute swan-1

We went swimming

kelly learning to swim

and spent some time at the sea side crab fishing and sunbathing.

sunbathing crab fishing

Hawk Owls plus an accident with an axe

I have located two different pairs of breeding Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) during last weekend. 

Hawk OwlThey nest in holes in trees.  This nest site was made by a Black Woodpecker.

hawk owl nest

One pair have large, mature young that can already fly and so were difficult to photograph

Hawk owl young-1 (1320 x 990)The other pair however, have young that have just left the nest and although they cannot fly, they are very good at climbing.  They were very difficult to locate sitting in trees.

Hawk Owl chick-3 (990 x 1320)But once located, they did not move.

Hawk Owl chick-4 (990 x 1320) Hawk Owl chick-2 (1320 x 990)

While carving a Birch spoon today I chopped my fingers with the axe (I was keeping an eye on Kelly instead of concentrating on what I was doing).  I had read an article on Facebook that Cayenne Pepper is very good at staunching the flow of blood so I tried it out.

handIt did not stop the bleeding within 10 seconds as the article states, but within a minute it had stopped.  The base of the fingers is not an easy place to apply a dressing, but I have taped the two fingers together and that seems to have worked ok.

Curtain rail completed

We were at the cabin last weekend.  On Friday it was warm and sunny

kelly enjoying sunKelly enjoys cleaning and tidying, which is good because I don’t!

kelly cleaningShe also also becoming very interested in nature.  In this picture she was learning about ants and  they get in your nappy!!

learning about natureWe wanted to have curtains in front of the beds to make it darker when sleeping, during the 24hrs of summer daylight and hide the beds away during the day.

We couldn’t find a curtain at the right length so I decided to make one.  The hangers for the rail (which are screwed to the ceiling) I made out of pieces of Birch, screwed to pieces of Pine.

birch hangers for curtain railThen I cut, pealed and dried a Pine sapling (this I did two weeks previously)

curtain rail-2Once it had dried and sanded and smoothed the sapling.

Here’s the rail fixed in place

curtain railand here’s the curtains in place

curtains on railI spent a lot of time trying to photograph birds, but there are very few birds this year (probably because spring is so late.  This Siberian Jay is the best picture I took.

siberian jay

A new house and a new camera

We have now purchased a new house, 2kms outside of Nattavaara.  We will be moving there in the autumn and I will write more later in the year.

house in laplandI have also purchased a second-hand camera; Panasonic Lumix FZ-38 which is a hybrid super zoom camera.

So far I am pleased with the results….

red squirrel-1 (888 x 684) siskin-4 (866 x 652) whooper swan (873 x 645)Some of the pictures in my previous post are also taken with this camera.

The only problem is that there is no remote shutter release for this particular model, so I have made one myself using a shelf bracket, a spanner for draining radiators and an air release cable that I have had laying in a box for many years.

fz38 remote-1When you compress the air bulb connected to a 5m cable

fz38 remote-4the air forces a metal rod out of the other end.  In the first picture the bulb is not compressed

fz38 remote-2In this second picture the bulb is compressed and the rod pushes down on the shutter release button to take a picture

fz38 remote-3The remote works very well!

A day at the cabin

Last Saturday i spent the day at my cabin.  As you can see there is still ice on the lake.

spring at my cabinand there is still a lot of snow on the ground

cabin spring 2015Very similar conditions to when I spent my first spring there in 2008.

I went for a long walk while at the cabin and found a trail of feathers

featherswhich led to the remains of a male Capercaillie

capercaillie remainsI imagine he had been displaying and was unaware of a Fox creeping up on him.  You can see Fox droppings in this picture

fox droppings

I also found some fresh Mink droppings

mink droppings

Black Grouse were also displaying at the cabin

black grouseand there was a hare

hareThe most common birds in the forest just now are Siskin

siskinand Brambling

brambling-1 brambling-2Reindeer are also calving at the moment

reindeer and calfOf course while out walking I made fire, cooked coffee and grilled sausage!

grilling korv

Things are starting to happen

The weather is getting warmer during the day (up to 13 degrees) and so the snow is melting faster.  Summer migrant birds are arriving such as;

Whooper Swan

Whooper swan laplandBrambling

brambling sweden laplandPied Flycatcher

P1000922and Capercaillie display

capercaillie-1 capercaillie-2 capercaillie-3Though I found a nice location to photograph beaver last week

beaver laplandthe rivers and streams are now in flood and so the beaver are more difficult to find.

Felling and splitting birch

During the last few weeks when the weather has permitted, I have been out felling Birch trees.  This is much work during the winter because before you can fell each tree, you have to dig down through at least one metre of snow to reach the bottom of each tree.

20150411_132715Once I had felled several trees, i cut them into desired lengths and loaded on to the snowmobile sledge and transported them home.

20150411_122237Last weekend (with my father-in-laws help) we cut the trees into logs

20150502_131313and I used Ingvar’s electric log splitter to slit the logs to help them dry.  These logs we will use at our cabins.

20150502_131348