Thursday, May 26, 2016

the tau of mothing

Ed Parnell came over for the weekend recently from Wymondham in my old home county of Norfolk and I promised him Aglia tau, one of two species of Saturnid here in BK. We only had to wait half an hour before this guy came blundering to our light trap in the dark beech woods above Klarningen. What a beauty.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Orthetrum ransonnetii diagnosis

Desert skimmer (Orthetrum ransonnetii) made it onto the Western Palearctic list in 2007, just too late to be included in KD's field guide. I recently found one in northern Oman and offer you this brief photo comparison with Orthetrum chrysostigma to aid identification.

Orthetrum ransonnetii - note the white hind wing membranule, lack of waist and dark subcostal crossveins.

Orthetrum chrysostigma - note the dark membranule with small adjacent yellow border in the hindwing, the waisted abdomen and the pale subcostal crossveins.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

the emperor

The kids tried my new emperor moth lure recently and pulled in BK's first ever Saturnia pavonia when this male zig-zagged around them. Incredibly (because they had no net) they presented it to me in a pot when I returned from putting out a trap!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Madagascar Odonata highlight No 4 - a new Nesocordulia to science

We found at least five new species to science during this amazing tour but none was more exciting than KD's discovery of this new Nesocordulia at Mantadia National Park. This genus is restricted to the islands of Madagascar and the Comores.

Madagascar Odonata highlight No 3 - a new Lestes to science

Our last potentially new species to science was a surprise Lestes! We were tired at the end of the tour and it took a while for the penny to drop as we went through photos at the end of the penultimate day. Luckily by working suitable habitat on the last day we came up trumps. An elusive species that took to the tree-tops as soon as it was disturbed.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Madagascar Odonata highlight No 2 - our first new species to science

After the excitement of re-discovering Crocothemis striata, we did not have to wait long for our first new species to science. KD found this little 'Diplacodes'-like libellulid whilst searching an almost odo-free marsh at Ranomafana. He failed to bag a specimen on the first visit but the weather was kind and we got a second chance. There are plenty of known unknowns on Madagascar many of which we also found but this was a genuinely new species! Sorry to go Donald Rumsfeld on you!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Madagascar Odonata highlight No 1

Day 1 of the inaugural Odonatours bash in Madagascar started with a bang when KD re-discovered Crocothemis striata, this species has been unrecorded since it's description in 1981 so this was a great result. Madagascar rocks!

Monday, December 21, 2015

trees and sea

Dragged the team out for a walk around the woods around the Önnarp firing range today - it was ridiculously mild and almost bird-free. Warm winters are always a bit dull here. No hard weather movements and always a curious lack of birds...

Tried Grytskären for a while and this was better the mild weather encouraging more grey heron (4) than usual to attempt to over-winter. Also here a mobile flock of at least 25 dunlin - a large flock for winter here in BK. Also here a nice close Slavonian grebe.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

misty morn

Horrible misty, drizzly morning but I got out for a little while. Checked Klarningen at dawn. Ducks are on the move and still using the site; mallard (77), teal (5) and a solitary pintail. Next stop was Eskilstorpsstrand, nice conditions on the sea for looking through the sea-duck but the visibility was rather poor. A close flock of 175 scaup was a treat though and in amongst them were three pochard (a real surprise) and about 35 tufted duck. Also here gannet (2), long-tailed duck (4) and Slavonian grebe (3).

return of the black duck!

Had a day in the field today - first job was to chase down the black duck re-found yesterday by Mikael Olofsson. It was almost the only duck (with it's female partner as usual) just offshore which made things easy. Offshore two gannets, a few kittiwake and a Slavonian grebe.  No sign of any water pipits here though so I moved up the coast to Påarps mal, a late reed bunting greeting me at the car park and there were tow waxwing in the junipers. An adult white-tailed eagle flew in and sat on the rocks scaring all the birds away just as I arrived. More gannets and kittiwakes here and a few whooper swans going south, ahead of colder weather up north. Last stop of the morning was at Torekovs rev where I finally caught up with some water pipits (they came in very late this year). Two birds in amongst a mixed flock of rocks and meadow pipits. Also here little grebe (1) and dunnock (1).

In the afternoon I worked Lervik and Grytskären but only came up with two goldfinch before I had to go.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

more chiffies

Had a nice afternoon walk around Rammsjöstrand and Mäsinge this afternoon. The weak sun was enough to get two chiffchaff feeding in the gardens along the front at Rammsjöstrand, also here a small flock of teal (9) and two grey heron. All signs of the mild weather. Walking south to Mäsinge produced a big flock of siskin (150+) feeding in the alders, 20 whooper swans heading east and seven waxwing south. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

back in the saddle

Been hard to get out of the office since I got back from two months abroad but got back into the field today and I am even back to blogging after a mostly moth-related hiatus! A first season of mothing became rather time-consuming!

Today I checked Påarps mal for water pipits but it was very windy from the SW and small passerines were difficult to pin down. Offshore there was a large concentration of gulls that proved to be mainly kittiwakes (at least 150), as awell as six gannets. Two dunnocks in the car park were a good reminder that temperatures were hovering near double figures in December!

To get out of the wind we headed for Båstad and enjoyed some mild December birding here too with white wagtail (2), wren (1), chiffchaff (1) heading up the notable passerines. In the harbour a kingfisher kept calling from a concealed perch. Offshore we had a flyby great northern/white-billed diver, that looked like the latter but I need better views for a BK first... As dusk approached a pre-roost gathering of hawfinches got into double figures here - my largest flock to date in BK.

As dusk approached we went for coffee at Klarningen to look for raptors. Nothing doing on the raptor front but there were still wildfowl on site, although nothing exciting.