Crested Lark, Tofslärka, Toplærke
It was the Danish Queen that almost
ended the tale. Put an end to 200 year Scandinavian
population of Crested Larks.
Quite a suitable way to end it, when you think about it.
But then again, every year of Crested larks is expected to
be the last one and, as these pictures show, its not over
Here a Crested Lark ( Galerida cristata ) is standing on the
rails of the railway station at fishing hot house Hirtshals,
northern Jutland, on Wednesday May 16. 2007. And on the next
picture the female bird, one out of the last two known
breeding pairs of Scandinavia is lifting up her skirts,
doing the best a she-bird can do to attract daddy, who not
too far away, is singing his heart out, at the top of the
station building itself.
|Everything looks nice, but then….
Things have to look neat during a royal visit, and in
Hirtshals, that meant a nest had to go.
And so it happened. Everything was cleaned, a few days prior
to the royal visit, and as a consequence one well known,
preferred nesting spot, for Galerida cristata, was spoiled,
down at the harbor, some sunny day back in June 2003.
I don’t know what they were thinking of in Hirtshals. That
could have marked the end of, what is Scandinavia’s last,
and Europe’s northern most, breeding Crested Larks, but
luckily as these pictures show, at least one pair is still
going strong, and nesting near the railway station overlooking
the harbor-area and the North Sea itself.
But Crested Larks are going down.
Showing an unbroken decline since the middle of the twenties
century, from the species being part of our landscape, both
sides of the Great Belt, reduced to something like 300 to
500 pairs in the 1970ties, to now a days, two remaining
pairs, one of which is pictured here in Northern Jutland
this June 2007.
The Malmö-city-bird of the past.
And the species is on a retreat in Europe as a whole. The
last bird out of a small Norwegian population was seen, as
far back as in 1972, and for most European countries the
story is the same.
In Sweden the last breeding Railway Larks, Järnvägslärkan,
as they are called due to the preferred habitat in the
suburbs of major cities, industrial areas and railway
stations, were seen during the start of the 1990ies. Last
bird seen in 2004, if not for one individual Crested Lark,
that hit the media this spring (2007), apparently having
survived civilization, observed by fans at a parking lot in
Lund (southern Sweden)
The parkinglot of Willy’s food store in the city of Lund.
Crested larks are a threatened species for sure, and the way
things are going, the mayor of Malmö, in southern Sweden,
will soon have to find a new official city-bird to take over
after Tofslärkan, (Crested Lark) who, at present, are
showing no signs of a revival, hinsidan.
Of coarse the Malmö citizens could go to Hirtshals.
Steffen Ortmann / photoeditor