Monday, January 14, 2008

International Waterfowl Count

Each year in January I take part in the International Waterfowl Count (IWC for short). It is done in most of the European countries on the same weekend in January. This year we counted birds this Saturday and Sunday. I am fortunate to count them near my home on a river which is not often visited by people. It was warm on Saturday and even some sun was stretching its rays into my direction. Later I was wet from a short rain shower. I didn’t see many birds, like usual. There were lots of Moorhens, Little Grebes, some Great White Egrets. I saw and heard a Black Woodpecker, warning every bird around that I was there.

It was the third time I did my Waterfowl count. Three years ago, it was about -10 degrees Celsius and there was about half meter of snow. Frozen snow, so that I could walk on it. It was really beautiful although my fingers almost fell off of cold. I needed the rest of the day to get myself warm again. That year I had to walk longer distances, so it took me two days to do it. Last year I did the half of that distance. I shared it with my friend’s dad. It is much easier this way and we are both happy. Last January it was cold, cloudy, no snow and almost no birds. I was glad when I was back at home.

I took many photos this Saturday, it was just beautiful. The water, the trees, the moss, the nature itself. I came upon some hunters, hunting the pheasants. They were shooting. Lots. At some point I met them. I had seen them before they could see me. When one of them noticed that I was there, he shouted to his colleague: “Tone, don’t shoot!” (Tone was his colleague’s name). Scary. I saw only two birds after that and I was only half way through. And I saw a child with a pistol. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This is not usual in my country that boys of about 12 years would carry guns and pistols. Really scary.

On my way down the river I collected some shells. Perhaps I will make a bracelet of them one day. They are small, about 1 cm big. First I have to clean them of all the mud. They had been lying there for centuries, I guess because once there was a shallow lake here where Ljubljana stands today (many thousands of years ago).

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