Dokkas nestbox cleaning

Last weekend I was in the village of Dokkas where I was helping Dokkas Hunting & Fishing Club with a nestbox project which has been running for many years.

The nestboxes are for Smew

and Goldeneye

We cleaned out the boxes and replaced damaged ones

Here you can see both old and new boxes

After the work was completed we gathered for……you’ve guessed it, coffee and sausage around a fire.

It was a very enjoyable morning and thanks to everyone at “Dokkas Jakt och Fiske” for keeping the project going.

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A busy week

It’s been a busy, but interesting  week  for me.

On Monday I was involved in a Finnish radio program about Arthur Leidgren and our new nature center in Dokkas.  It was an interesting experience for me as an Englishman to have to talk in Swedish and have my answers translated into Finnish.

If you are interested to hear my friend Alf talking Finnish and me talking Swedish you can listen here.  Select 17:30 – 18:00 and listen from 05:30 minutes on the player at the bottom of the screen.

I was back to Dokkas again on Friday to meet with representatives from Gallivare kommun, to discuss designs and costings for repair/construction of the bird towers and walkways for the nature center.

There was a nice variety of birds there including; White-tailed Sea Eagle, Whimbrel, Tufted Duck,

Wigeon,

House Martins and Waxwings

On Saturday myself and Teres joined a group of local birdwatchers in Hakkas for a mornings birdwatching.  Our sightings included; 3 Little Gulls, 1 Arctic Tern, 4 pairs of Slavonian Grebe, 1 Rustic Bunting, 1 Smew, several Ruff, and Wood Sandpiper

We ended the morning with a warm fire, coffee and sausage.

My favourite time of year

This is my favourite time of year here in Lapland.  Everyday there are new species of birds arriving and you just never know what you will find.  Yesterday I was out for the hole day visiting different areas.

I started at a wetland area just outside Nattavaara.  Before I had got out of the car I could here 2 Rustic Buntings (Emberiza rustica) singing.  One came very close to investigate, but was moving all the time and I could not get a good photograph of it.

I also found a Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

displaying or “lekking” on an island in the middle of  small lake

In Dokkas there was a Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) singing.  On the lake in Dokkas there were five Little Gulls (Hydrocoloeus minutus).  There is a colony of Little Gulls which breed on the lake.

There was one male Smew (Mergellus albellus) and many Goldeneye

Another nice surprise was a pair of Common Scoter just in front of the bird tower.

I have not seen Common Scoter in Lapland before.

I cooked my evening meal at the side of Lina river just outside Dokkas

I cooked fried sausage, noodles and coffee

I made this simple fork to eat the noodles with, but splitting a piece of Alder at one end and inserting a small wedge to keep the two prongs open.

Majbrasa in Dokkas

Yesterday we held the first event to help raise money for the nature center we are creating in Dokkas  called Majbrasa.  Majbrasa has much history but now it is a celebration of longer days and the arrival of spring, and the burning of old to make way for the new

We opened the old school in Dokkas and put information up on the walls so that people could see and read about what we are planning to do

We also had a room in the school where we served coffee, cake and hotdogs

and another room where a local family performed live music

We also had an activity for children to go out in the forest and search for items on the paper provided to them

People began arriving at 7pm

Some people purchased sausage and cooked over a small fire

others enjoyed the warmth of the brasa are went inside the school for coffee, cake and hotdogs

We left at 9:30pm and people were still there enjoying the live music

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As we drove home there was a female Capercaillie standing on the road refusing to move

Dokkas 23-4-11

Yesterday I was in Dokkas (the village where we are trying to create a nature center) for the day.

My first visit was to the Jerttlompolo Nature Reserve, created by Arthur Leidgren due to the are being incredibly important to both migrating and breeding birds.  Unfortunately the lake there was still frozen but there were two Bean Geese, I Robin singing (not a common bird up here) and one Tengmalm’s owl singing during the day.

I then visited the much larger lake in Dokkas, where we have two birdwatching towers

We will be repairing the towers during the summer and we are currently seeking financial support to build another tower with access for disabled  people.

As I sat in one of the towers I heard another Tengmalm’s Owl singing.  There was also a Woodpigeon singing on the far side of the lake (which is another rare bird up here).  A pair of Kestrels have set up residence in one of the Goldeneye nest boxes we have put up and although the lake is frozen, there were four Whooper Swan present.  There was also a White-tailed Sea Eagle circling over the lake, 2 Common Cranes flew west calling and I saw the first Meadow Pipit of the year.

I made a small fire on the edge of the lake to cook coffee and grill some sausage

It was a beautiful warm sunny day and really nice to just sit there and look and listen.  There was even a Fox that ran within two metres of me carrying a vole in  its mouth, so I guess it has young nearby.

Where the snow had melted I found many Cranberries left from last summer

Goldeneye and Smew nest boxes

Yesterday we had two Yellowhammer in the garden and three Whooper Swans flew over calling.

I drove to the small village of Dokkas yesterday where I was helping Dokkas Hunting & Fishing Club with a nest box project which has been running for many years.  The project was originally started by this man

Arthur Leidgren,

but more about him later.

There were 10 of us there

to clean out about 60 existing boxes around the edge of Dokkas lake

and put up 25 new ones.

The boxes are especially for two species of ducks; Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and Smew (Mergus albellus) which used to be very common but due to more intensive logging, there are very few trees large enough for them to nest in now.  We travelled around on snow-mobiles, but both the snow and ice are melting very fast now and driving conditions were very difficult.

It took two and a half hours to complete the work.  We put dried moss in all the boxes for the birds to lay their eggs in.

This is the original type of box Arthur made (he cut them from trees in the forest and carried back great distances on his back).

Some of the new boxes we fixed up with nails

and some were fixed with two webbing straps

In two boxes we found Red Squirrel when we cleaned them out and in this box we found a Tengmalm’s Owl sitting on eggs

After we had completed the work we gathered around a fire on the shore of the lake for coffee, buns and sausage.

We are currently seeking funding to create a nature center in Dokkas in memory of Arthur Leidgren and if anyone reading this knows of any funding sources within the EU, please get in touch.

I am also creating an extra page on my blog about Arthur and the work we are doing to create the nature center.