A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: jim.labbe

Urban Birding from Dublin to Stockholm

European Bird List, todate



The great thing about birding is that you can do it almost anywhere and almost anytime. So far I have been birding casually as I go, while on walks, on trains, and by bike. Since I have spent most of my time in cities so far, I have ticked off most of the most common urban species found in Northern Europe. The Midlands of Ireland did afford some rural sightings, but most of the species listed below I encountered in urban parks and greenspaces, which I explored whenever there is an opportunity.

Some photographic highlights include the Magpies of Phoenix Park, Dublin (they are everywhere), Great Grey Heron on the streets of Amsterdam (see above), the White Stork in Volenpark, Amsterdam, and the Oyster Catcher in the pasture outside of Amsterdam. Oh yes and I must not leave out the noisy Eurasian Coots of Amsterdam’s canals. I watched these feisty birds collecting garbage for their nests on several occasions. Their young make the plaintive whiny noises as if begging for treats from their parents.

Coming to Europe opens up a whole new parallel universe of species that fill the similar ecological niches, especially in cities. I am very grateful for the staff at Portland Audubon for the copy of Birds of Europe they gave me as a going-away gift. It has been invaluable so far.

European Bird List, to-date

Rock Dove – Dublin, Ireland
Hooded Crow – Dublin, Ireland
Great Comorant – Dublin, Ireland
Coal Tit – Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland
European Robin - Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland
Magpie - Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland
Grey Heron - Dublin, Ireland
Rooke - Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland
Mute Swan – Dublin, Ireland
Wood Pigeon - Dublin, Ireland
Common Swift – Dublin, Ireland
Grey Wagtail – Drogheda, Ireland
White/Pied Wagtail – Drogheda, Ireland
Barn Swallow – Drogheda, Ireland
Herring Gull – Drogheda, Ireland
House Sparrow, Edgeworthtown, Ireland
Chaffinch – Bawnboy, Ireland
Blackbird - Longford, Ireland
Winter Wren - Bawnboy, Ireland
House Martin – Bownboy, Ireland
Tufted Duck – Dublin, Ireland
Jackdaw – Dublin, Ireland
Common Pheasant – Banagher, Ireland
Eurasion Coot – Amsterdam, NL
Oyster Catcher – near Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lapwing – Broek in Water, NL
Collard Dove – Marken, NL
Great Crested Grebe – Amsterdam, NL
White Stork – Amsterdam, NL
Eygptian Goose – Amsterdam, NL
Rose-Ringed Parakeet – Amsterdam, NL
Blue Tit – Arnhem, NL
Eurasion Jay - Brussels, Belgium
Barnacle Goose- Stockholm, Sweden

I have seen various mystery raptors from the train while traveling from Hamburg to Copenhagen to Stockholm, however have yet to identify anything.
Also I am not sure if it is really legit to count these but I did enjoy seeing them:
Hawk Owl – Skansen (Open Air Museum), Stockholm
Great Grey Owl - Skansen (Open Air Museum), Stockholm

Oyster Catcher near Amsterdam

Eurasian Coots

Barnacle Geese in Stockholm

Wagtail in Stockholm

Posted by jim.labbe 01:03 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Launching Mij Blaag

Dublin - Amsterdam - Brussels - Copenhagen - Stockholm



Welcome to my travel blog where I will attempt chronicle my travels in Europe and South America from July 1, 2009 to April 1, 2010.

In my desperate attempt to come up with a witty blog name, I satisfactorily settled on something Dutch that would remind me of home. Okay, okay let me just explain it so you can appreciate how clever I am (or not).

Netherlands will be home base while in Europe so something Dutch seemed fitting. As some of you know Mij is a cat that adopted me about thirteen years ago and who now rules the feline roost at my home in Portland. I have come to learn that the second entendre for her name (The 1st: "Mij" is Jim backwards) is the Dutch word for "me." "Blaag" is a Dutch term for a poor homeless child wandering the streets. Not exactly my situation, but there will be a measure of truth in this forlorn image when I want to dramatize my homesickness. So there we go: Mij Blaag. It will remain to see how much I make time for it. (It is hard to imagine spending too much time sitting in front of a screen recording everything I've done).

My initial feelings about this trip in general are ones of gratitude. Gratitude for all the people (some of you may be reading), relationships, opportunities, and circumstances that have allowed me to take this trip at this point in my life. I can't imagine embarking on this adventure if I didn't have such a wonderful home and community of family and friends in Portland. I am very fortune to be able to explore this amazing planet and its people and places. I want to keep that sense of gratitude in mind and heart as I go forth and deepen it along the way.

To catch you up, here's the short chronology of my travels since I left Portland on June 30th. After arriving in Dublin July 1, I traveled for 10 days with Celine Fitzmaurice in Ireland and spent 4 fabulous days with her in Amsterdam. Then I briefly visited Arnhem and Nijmegen in the eastern part of the Netherlands en route to Brussels. I was in Brussels for a week staying with Andrea Broadhaus who was house-sitting for a friend. She generously put me up for about a week (and inspired me to do this blog) while I finished up some work related stuff and prepare for the journey ahead. It was wonderful to have an inexpensive and beautiful place to get my feet on the ground, and in Brussels of all places! We explored the downtown, took day trips to Brugges and Ghent, explored a great neighborhood park and natural area, and danced some tango. I left Brussels on Friday July 24. Now I am in Stockholm after two days of beautiful train rides and not-so-great hostel stays.

Rather than go into more detail, I'll try to catch you up thematically in future posts. In the meantime below are some photos for your viewing pleasure.


Me in Dublin


Gresham? No Dublin


Birding in Phoenix Park, Dublin


Celine and her friend Petria Malone in Banagher, Ireland.


Jim and Grainne Malone jumping rope.


Leo and baby Ailis at the Malone-Family peat bog.


No Dumping (Ted!)


Grey Heron on sign in Amsterdam


Jim and Celine atop Westerkerk


"Celine In Amsterdam"


Biking to Voledam


Dutch dinner prepared by Hennie Emans, our fabulous host in Amsterdam


Oyster Catcher near Amsterdam


Andrea in Brugges with Fries.


Birds eye view of Brugges.


Tango in Brussels


Biking in Brugges

Posted by jim.labbe 02:05 Archived in Sweden Tagged preparation Comments (6)

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