Thursday Thoughts – A Forest Man

Our old apple tree lost one of its trunks in the storm some weeks ago, maybe that was a sign. Time to go.

My father was a forest man. ( In the header a photo from a walk in Fulltofta, where he worked) Since early childhood he roamed the forests, watching birds, collecting eggs (this was 70-80 years ago, when it was not forbidden to collect eggs) and learning about nature around him. He passed away last Friday. I had hoped for him to stay through spring, but at least I was fortunate enough to be with him his last hours.

We always talked about the forest and his work there, and what he had seen and observed during all those years, 50-60 all in all. He had witnessed many stories from the animal world, but also stories from the many young men he guided and taught. Sometimes he found dead people in the forest. A rugged story was about a 10 year old girl, Helen, who disappeared on her way home from school, in 1989. She was found a week later, murdered.

My father saw the car in the forest the day she was kidnapped, and as the car passed him he heard a child screaming from the trunk of the car. Unfortunately he did not get the number, and this haunted him for years. The police got his description of the car though, and it was sent out in media all over Sweden. My father cooperated with the police for some years after this, and he became friends with the head investigator. Not until 15 years later, they finally found the murderer, and the car fitting my father’s description.

This was one of the most talked about murder histories in Sweden. I remember it well. Nothing like this had ever happened here before.

He was a forest man, yes, and what he did not know about forests and its inhabitants was hardly worth knowing. I only wonder – who will I call now with all my questions?

I am not a bird photographer, but I sometimes try when they come to one of my feeders. I know my father would have liked them. So, here’s to you, sweet dad! Birds from my garden this winter.

Starlings were one of his favourites – and mine too. Nowadays some of them stay as the climate is changing for the warmer.

A brambling waiting for me to fill the feeder.

The Western jackdaw is a very intelligent and social bird. They often visit our garden to pick up what the smaller birds have left on the ground.

The hawfinch usually visits when there is snow and the temperature has fallen some degrees below zero. His company here is a European greenfinch.

A beautiful bird, only seen in my garden during winter.

At the end of my post, I want to share a story from his best friend, living in Canada and for many years a ranger in Banff national park. He is also the author of several nature books, Halle Flygare, Alberta:

When I was young, your dad and I roamed fields and forests looking for birds’ nests to collect eggs. One day we went to a big oak tree, where we knew a tawny owl had her nest. Your dad climbed the tree and found the nest, but the owl flew out and attacked me, hit my head and took my red cap. We found it later in the forest. We only took one, white egg for our collection.

Thanks to your dad I became interested in the natural world, collected eggs and bought myself bird books. This bird interest has stayed with me throughout my life and I have travelled the world on numerous guided bird adventures. My list of birds is now containing more than 3000 species.

Thank you, Hälle, for calling him every week, all these years, and thank you for sharing this story with us!


49 reaktioner på ”Thursday Thoughts – A Forest Man

  1. Beautiful memory of your father, but I’m so sorry he had to live that nightmare. The poor little girl. I’m sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a very special person.

  2. what a vast wealth of stories you have to remember your father by – the story of the little girl though is harrowing and must have haunted hi.
    Love the starling pic – perhaps birds will become a new avenue for your camera!
    p.s. I still have the small collection of birds eggs my father had a young boy – from him I learned to know and love birds and so much of nature.

    • Laura, thank you.and thank you for telling me about the birds eggs collection. My father has still got his somewhere. Love it that you too had a natureloving father. I will searchh for my fater’s collection.

  3. You say you are not a bird photographer, but these are beautiful, especially the starling and greenfinch. I reckon your father would be thrilled with them and proud of you for taking them!

  4. Dear Ann-Christine
    we are so sorry that you lost your father. Our condolences.
    What a nice text about your father.
    We have lots of the elegant jackdaws, of starlings and finches here as well. Dina has some blackbirds tamed. They sometimes come into our house with her. They are coming when she calls them.
    Great bird pictures. Thanks for sharing
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. My condolences Ann-Christine. You wrote a nice blog in which we get to learn something more about you dad. Thank you so much and I’m sure he will live forever in your heart.

  6. Oh, my heart goes out to you … my deepest condolences. You have delivered such a beautiful ode to him with your bird photos. May you always cherish the beautiful memories of him 💌.

  7. You’re not a bird photographer? Could have fooled me! What a lovely post in honour of your nature-loving dad, and his bit-part in criminal history too. How lovely to have memories, and his life-long interests and enthusiasms carried on through you.

  8. Dearest Ann-Christine, I hope you are doing OK in this time of grief. Beautiful photos of the birds. I am sure I would have loved to sit and talk to your father about forests trees and birds 🤗💖

  9. I’m happy you have many happy memories of your father, A-C, but I’m sorry you didn’t have more time with him. He must have had some amazing stories. I love your bird shots.

  10. Pingback: Thursday Thoughts – A Forest Man – ALPHAβrow

  11. Your father sounds like a person who lived a life of wonder, appreciation, and helpfulness. You have reason to be proud and so does he. I wish you comfort in your loss and joy in your memories, Ann-Christine. ❤

  12. Am softly smiling at the first of your Dad and daresay forest stories . . . thank you for sharing . . . you will remember many as the years go by ! They bring love and peace and many smiles – I know! You and I are both connected to ‘forest countries’ . . . Lutheranism in Estonia has slowly declined to almost nought but ‘Taara Usk’ > ‘faith in nature’ has become paramount amongst the very modern young . . . and, I have to smile again – there is nought wrong with your bird photography Milady . . . all the photos are evocative 🙂 !

    • You are so kind, Eha, thank you. I am glad that Taara Usk rules many young today. Does taara mean faith? I have read about a rescue group in Ukraine lead by a woman called Taara. How interesting.

      • ‘Taara’ is the old faith of and in nature in Estonia. One cannot stop an earthquake, storm or flood – so the young generation is actually atavistically ‘sensible’ ! Interestingly – for financial reasons actually I live in the 70-year-old ‘Estonian Village’ south of Sydney which had to be passed onto the Oz scene few years back for financial reasons.. It is now called the ‘Taara Village’ !!!

  13. So sorry for your loss Ann-Christine, and condolences also to his dear friend.
    What a beautiful tribute! Your father would have been proud.
    And, btw, those bird shots are excellent!

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