Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mårten and Olof score big - American black duck in BK!!!

With an incredibly low battery on my reserve camera I managed this poor record shot of the black duck before the camera retired for the day! It will not surprise you that there are better images of this bird on the internet.

With the clock ticking before a 23-day tour of Central America, I was busy packing when I received some astonishing news. American black duck at Dagshög!! I dropped everything, grabbed the gear that was not already packed and trundled off to Dagshög for a look. I have been a big fan of Olof Jönsson since his epic Corvo marathon in 2009 and he has found me several BK ticks since then. But this bird takes the biscuit. He was with Mårten 'duck-king' Müller... A great find, only the fourth Swedish record and a huge surprise addition to my BK tally!

Friday, November 7, 2014

three crossbill day

 Five two-barred crossbills were the highlight of three hours searching the gardens of Segelstorpsstrand for Sibes.

Inspired by Paul's find yesterday I headed to Segelstorpsstrand to search for Sibes. No joy as usual but there were a few good birds around. There were lots of mobile flocks of crossbill flying about and patiently hunting out the flocks whilst they fed led to my first parrot crossbill of the year and at least five two-barred crossbill. Searching the gardens turned up a flock of three blackcap but no other warblers. A 1K hen harrier floated south.

Two-bar

 In the late afternoon the kids and I had a look for the yellow-browed warbler but we had left it too late and came away with a hawfinch sighting.

Great spot

Thursday, November 6, 2014

yellow-browed!

At least four snow buntings at Torekov this morning, my first of the season.

After eight days in the UK it was great to be back in the field in BK today, despite the soggy weather. I checked out Påarps Mal first but there was little to see. Further north in Torekov proper I tried to find yesterday's little auk in the harbour but it had already departed. Four shags on the rocks here though and a peregrine paid a brief visit unsuccessfully hunting a starling. At the rev the easy highlight was four snow buntings and a redshank. Checked Ripagården for the reported parrot crossbills without success.

Wondering if I was destined to get a year-tick for my troubles I decided to head for Båstad harbour for another crack at little auk. Unfortunately there was way too much disturbance here with the harbour basin still being dredged and the damage from last winter's storms being repaired. So I figured on Klarningen next but Paul Cook rang me just as I got out of town, he had seen a yellow-browed warbler briefly in his lunch break and needed the id confirmed. Where was he? Only in the grounds of the dagis my daughter went to for three years!

Meeting up with Paul, he filled me in and I walked off down the footpath finding the bird quickly just where he had left it earlier, despite it remaining completely silent. What a great bird. I put the news out once I had got some decent images and Kent and Håkan popped out to have a look at it whilst I waited in vain for the bird to call and tried to get images. In the end I had to drag myself away to pick up the kids.

Yellow-browed warbler, one of my most-wanted BK birds finally falls.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

woo hoo!

Cracking day in the field today together with the kids, who kept themselves amused in typical fashion and enjoyed a superb burst of weather, with sun and ridiculous temperatures for the time of year.

Kicked off at Ripagården hoping for the three species of crossbill that have been hanging round. No dice with crossbills but the session here was not without excitement, most of which was offshore. The stiff southerly breeze produced a surprising number of seabirds. The best of which was a fairly close-in 1K pomarine skua. Further out a steady trickle of little gulls and kittiwake was evident and there were reasonable numbers of gannet in the mix too. Pleasant birding. Met up with Bengt here and as he was going south we went north!

Still a few cranes knocking about

Next stop was Yttre Kattvik just to see what the wind conditions were doing to sea-watching here. There were gannets going past but the gull passage was reduced. Interesting. Having promised the kids a burger for lunch our next stop was on the way - Klarningen. Some great birding here too with seven cranes flying in as we approached and quite a few geese on the ground. A quick look through the greylags and barnacle geese revealed at least four tundra bean geese and 11 white-fronted geese. The best bird here though was a redhead smew - only my second record of the year. Amazingly the curlew sandpiper remains, although this should not really be a surprise when we you consider that we have yet to experience temperatures consistently below double-figures this autumn...

After all this excitement we retreated to have lunch and run a few errands during which time I failed to notice that my phone was trying to tell me something. Jobs done we drove to Torekov, parked and finally received a text message saying that the rose-coloured starling was still being elusive!!! Where was it? Less than 300 metres from where we had parked! It took a while for members of the small team hunting for the bird to find it but there it was - a BK tick and one missed during a China trip two years ago. Amazingly this bird was found in the same place and on the same date as the one two years ago. The finder? Bengt of course. BK now has three records of this species and all come from Torekov.

Record shot of the rosy starling

Paul Cook had been one of the people trying to contact me during my 'lost hour' and he eventually joined us to have a look at the bird too. Before he arrived though the most surprising bird of the day drifted through the nearby gardens - a willow warbler, my first in October! Great day out.

Monday, October 27, 2014

dusk half-hour

Had a very short session at Klarningen at dusk today but it produced my latest ever BK marsh harrier - a female, that drifted through the site flushing at least 12 snipe. Also present were six shoveler and the very late curlew sandpiper.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

sibe chiff

Henrik J found a great candidate for an acceptable tristis today in the rain, I had a brief but close encounter with one in BK in 2009 but failed to get a photo and did not submit it. This was a much more satisfactory encounter. [This photo is disappointingly soft which can no doubt be attributed to the thick raindrop filter employed at the time]

It rained most of the day but we dragged ourselves out to Klarningen whilst chauffeuring the kids. Not much doing here but the curlew sandpiper remains and five shoveler were in. News of a Sibe chiff sent us on to Torekov pretty smartish were we hooked up with Håkan J, who kindly found me the bird. It was with a regular chiffchaff which allowed a nice comparison. Sadly no calls for us, although it responded with interest when we played a segment of Siberian chiff song. Henrik had also spotted a shorelark but we could not find it among the jumble of stones on the rev in the time available. There was though at least one purple sandpiper out there and a single dunlin. A flock of 25 twite fed nearby quite unconcerned by our presence and then we had to get home and out of the rain.

Friday, October 24, 2014

another two!

The white-tailed eagle was hunting again at Klarningen...

With new optics in the bag it was time to go for a test drive. Hit Ripagården first thing and had a tidy little session. I could hear bearded tits in the reedbed from the harbour and wandered over to have a peek. Nine birds were present and they occasionally called and flew up out of the reedbed and back again but I did not have to wait too long before they plucked up the courage to depart high to the south. A scarce bird in BK and my first record for three years. Whilst standing by the reedbed a loud cough produced calls from two water rails. Checking the sea produced a surprise short-eared owl, angling to come in-off at Gröthögarna it was intercepted by hooded crows as it made landfall and chased north again, eventually hitting the coast at Hovs Hallar! Looking south and at long-range I spotted the black redstart that Bengt found a couple of days ago on the harbour breakwater. Nice run of birds!

Driving over to Klarningen to test my new scope produced a few good birds. The white-tailed eagle adult was tearing about chasing after wildfowl when I arrived. Otherwise fairly standard fare here with good numbers of lapwing (250), golden plover (300) and shoveler (7). Amazingly the 1K curlew sandpiper is still present. This time I found it feeding on the grass with a small flock of lapwing! No-one else has reported this bird during it's stay and I am starting to doubt my sanity...

Last stop of the day was at Lya where a fine great grey shrike was predictable but welcome nonetheless.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

two BK year-ticks


Shorelark - a scarce bird in BK, only my third record since 2007.

Got out for an hour-and-a-half after lunch and mopped up a few niggly omissions to the year-list. First stop was Stora Hultstrand where the shorelark found yesterday by Håkan J was showing well. A good supporting cast here too with a Slavonian grebe on the sea, three brent geese and a greenshank.

Just had time for a look at Ranarpsstrand and managed to find a jack snipe very quickly, allowing to time to enjoy three more Slavonian grebes and a flock of four greenshank.

 Jack



late curlew sandpiper (20141014)

I somehow forgot to blog a day last week! Too busy. Had an hour-and-a-half at Klarningen in the middle of the day. The big surprise was a 1K curlew sandpiper, my latest ever in BK, although I was to see it again. There was a big flock of geese along the access track including white-fronted goose (14), greylag goose (750) and a massive 160 barnacle geese. Other wildfowl from the tower included two pintail and six shoveler. A lone crane passed south.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Klarningen dusk

Had an hour-and-a-half at Klarningen at the end of the day with number 2, whilst number 1 socialised nearby. We found a big flock of plovers along the access track - 350 lapwings and 50 golden plover. The corvids were up in the air when we got to the tower and we did not have to wait long before the reason appeared. A massive adult white-tailed eagle lumbered into the air with a hugely distended crop, it had obviously been feeding on something, and flew off south.

Red kite getting the treatment from some jackdaws

Water levels were up nicely after all the rain and duck numbers continue to increase here with wigeon (111), teal (195) and a single shoveler. Two red kite and a single rough-legged buzzard were nice. Passerines were evident with goldcrests calling from the nearby willows and a small flock of redwing on the ground and in amongst 350+ starlings. The big surprise though was the continued presence of the 1K curlew sandpiper.

Monday, October 20, 2014

skuas at last

Still too busy to bird but could not resist an hour-and-half of seawatching at the end of the day. With Number 1 off school sick and needing the doctor I spent most of the day indoors but then we wrapped up and sat in the car down by the sea to see of we could nab a skua or two. Embarrassingly any species would be a year-tick for me! In the end I came away very happy, with three species under the belt.

It took a while for them to come round but a 'huge' flock materialised in the corner of the bay. At least nine pomarine skuas (including some fully-plumaged adults), six Arctic skuas and one great skua. Other birds of note during the session included a gannet, three Slavonian grebes and a black guillemot.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

lap bunt

Plenty of chiffchaff knocking about this morning but no sign of any eastern visitors. A good day out though.

Had a very saitisfactory session out in the rain this morning. As I packed the kids into the car for the school run a hawfinch flew over the garden. First stop though was Påarps mal where I spent sometime in the garden - chiffchaff, goldcrest and 11 long-tailed tits before moving down to the coast. Here I was treated to a flock of 16 brent geese that flew in from the north, as well as a migrating rough-legged buzzard and a superbly energetic 1K peregrine chasing crows and generally making a nuisance of itself. Surprisingly there were no roosting shags here.

Svarteskär had shags though, 7 on the rocks and one fishing offshore. Last stop of the day was the rev which again produced some nice birds. A female/immature merlin dropped in with it's lunch. Three ringed plovers were my latest ever in BK. Bashing the weeds along the strandline pushed out more two wheatear, chiffchaff, a single dunnock, a reed bunting and the bird of the day - a superb Lapland bunting which circled about calling before landing on the beach for a grilling through the 'scope. A BK year-tick.