46 year old, Swedish, Bed and Breakfast owner at Segerstads fyr (Victory City Lighthouse on Öland Island), bird watcher, bird guide, journalist and photographer; Christian Cederroth was also a ringer volunteer at Blue Hill Escape for 2 weeks. Tatiana and Bertrand, from France, asked him a few questions
Christian overlooking the Langkloof valley to the south of Blue Hill on an early morning bird ringing excursion. Photo: Alan Lee
Hi Christian! You are a very passionate birder, where does it come from?
Actually I am interested in many things: music, sports, nature… But definitely the craziest thing is bird watching! This passion comes from my grandmother who showed me everything about nature when I was young. Birds are fun, interesting, sweet…They are all around the word and always different. At the age of 8 I gathered money to buy my first telescope.
Christian and a splendid male Cape Sugarbird. Photo courtesy of Christian Cederroth
How do you live your passion in your daily life?
I try to work with my interests as far as I can; I am a bird guide for example. I’ve also chosen my house in one of the best bird watching places in Sweden. And I never travel without trousers and binoculars!
Verreaux's Eagle - probably just over a year old. Photo courtesy of Christian Cederroth
What do you need to be a bird watcher?
Two things: bird book and a pair of binoculars!
According to you, which qualities do you need to be a good bird watcher?
The two main things are: interest and experience. You need to be active as often as possible. It also helps to be patient!
Orange-breasted Sunbird: Photo courtesy of Christian Cederroth
How many species have you seen until now?
I may have seen 3 600 species all over the word, among them the ones I always dreamt about. For instance, the spoon-billed sand piper: just 100 of them still exist.
Are you often travelling to see birds?
Yes, of course, I have been to about 50 countries all over the word. Don’t ask me which one was the best, it’s too difficult!
Ground Woodpeckers - watching the Verreaux's Eagle when this photo was taken! Photo courtesy of Christian Cederroth
So, what are your impressions about South Africa?
It’s a fantastic country and not only for bird watching!
You are at Blue Hill Escape for 10 days, tell us more!
Well, I am a ringer volunteer. It’s not the first time I do ringing, I have experience but here I learn a lot about how South African ringers are working. Alan also taught me many things about local birds, he is an expert! Blue Hill Reserve is a very good spot to observe special, rare and endemic birds.
Ringing. Photo courtesy of Christian Cederroth
You have observed birds for 38 years, have you noticed some changes?
A few species increase but a lot decrease; the big thing is we don’t really know why. Of course, pesticides, hunting and habit destruction are somehow responsible. Where I live many birds are dying because of lack of vitamin B and there is no research done to explain this phenomenon.
Protea Seedeater - a species in decline. Photo courtesy of Christian Cederroth
What is your best memory concerning bird watching?
This is a hard question to answer! I think it is when I saw my first bearded Vulture. It was in Israel, we were supposed to drive a long way in the desert and then to walk 6 hours to maybe see something…On the way, at the top of a little hill, we stopped to watch birds around a dead camel; we didn’t realize that just next to them was a big bearded vulture! Looking at us it started screaming and running to take off, spreading its two meters wings… Really impressive!
Last question: have you already planned your next travels?
Yes! Croatia, for a Gull meeting; later… Peru; and after that come back to South Africa.
To find out more about Christian, and see more of his photos visit:segerstadsfyr.se