Friday, April 18, 2014

Today's highlight was this hunting osprey found in the afternoon at Stora Hultsstrand and drifting it's way north.

Had a walk in the morning around Öllövsstrand and Vasaltheden. The easy highlight being my first whimbrel of the year, hugging the coast as it flew north silently. Also here grey partridge (pair) and a few wheatears, including a female.

Later we checked out Ljungbyholm for nine ruff and nearly 40 shelduck on the flooded bits of the big field. Nearby Stora Hultsstrand produced an osprey drifting north and looking for food on the go.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

year-tick bonanza

Wheatear was a predictable addition to the year-list today, still only present in low numbers though with just four seen around Gröthögarna.

After nearly three weeks away on tour, a walk around Gröthögarna in the late morning produced a good crop of year-ticks. It was good to be back on patch and I enjoyed the fine weather. Highlights of the walk included; peregrine (1), gannet (4), four green sandpipers, plenty of chiffchaff and white wagtails, migrating barnacle geese, three goldfinch (at last), a male blackcap and the first swallow of the year.

News of a king eider at Eskilstorpsstrand sent me over that way later in the day and we eventually found it in the company of velvet scoter. A nice 2K male, my first in that plumage for some time and probably my first king eider in Halland too. A white-tailed eagle here spooked everything and so we headed for Klarningen and a picnic.

Klarningen was great with a good selection of waders; oystercatcher (2), little ringed plover (2), ruff (5), snipe (1), curlew (1) and green sandpiper (1). A total of eight swallows was the icing on the cake. Seven year-ticks takes the BK year-list to 136 and I am still somehow ahead of the competition.

This white-tailed eagle put many of the seaduck in Laholmsbukten to flight, including the 2K male king eider I was chasing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dolichophis jugularis

Another new reptile for me - Dolichophis jugularis or black whip snake - this youngster was caught by some Norwegian herp-freaks that we met wandering the ruins of Kaunos near Dalyan.

Later the same day one of the team found this basking adult.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

reptile tick

Got a new reptile this morning, Nile River softshell, a big terrapin that can be found in the river at Dalyan, SW Turkey. A great start to the tour for me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

pipit cock-up

Got back to Klarningen for a cold hour this morning and got a much better look at the pipit I saw three days ago - it was a rock not a water... littoralis rock pipit continues to cause confusion... school-boy error though.

Plenty of birds on site though despite this disappointment. Best bird was the first little ringed plover of the year, a nice early bird. Waders were well-represented with oystercatcher (2), redshank (1) and curlew on site. Otherwise the teal flock has built to 87 and there were pairs of both shoveler and gadwall.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

polecat (20140325)

Not how I hoped to find my first BK polecat... Dead on road at
Västra Karup.

Nipped out in the afternoon for a look around for firecrests again. On the way stopped for a dead polecat at Västra Karup, my first in Sweden and the first Artportalen record for BK.

It was bitterly cold in a NW wind at Yttre Kattvik and I saw no small birds of any kind. On my way round to Ripagården I stopped for a huge gathering of gulls following a plough and picked up four adult lesser black-backed gulls. At Ripagården things were slow but there were four white wagtails on the beach and two song thrushes in the plantation.

Monday, March 24, 2014

rock pipit at Klarningen!

Had another good morning in the field which kicked off with my first moorhen of the year at Lindab in the village.

First up today was a good look in the plantation at Ripagården to see if I could latch onto a firecrest during the mini-influx that we seem to be experiencing in southern Sweden at the moment. No joy on that front but it was god to be out. Two lesser-black-backed gulls in a huge gathering of herring gulls were new for the year and several chiffchaffs and a song thrush were belting out their songs. It was calm on the sea and there were several red-throated divers (17) offshore, the start of the build-up that will see thousands departing inland in early May.

I could not resist a look at Klarningen before lunch and an hour here was excellent. The easy highlight being a rock pipit in summer-plumage (initially mis-identified as a water pipit...). Rock pipits are regular winter visitors to coastal BK but I never thought I would see one away from the shoreline! A nice record. Also here barnacle goose (2), wigeon (37), gadwall (4), teal (67), snipe (5) and redshank (1).

Sunday, March 23, 2014

arctic roll!

Had my first proper morning in the field for some time today and it was packed full of birds. I worked the coast between Stora Hult and Gröthögarna searching in vain for a large congregation of feeding eider but sadly failing. No king this year perhaps...

Stora Hultstrand had single Slavonian and red-necked grebe and redshank (2), as well as a decent-sized flock of common scoter (130+). Nearby Grytskären had a single flyby curlew and more redshank. Ranarpsstrand produced a single flyby white-tailed eagle, another red-necked grebe and (far inland) a flock of 200+ golden plover took to the air. Segelstorpsstrand was quiet (just five great crested grebe). At Glimminge I heard my first reed bunting song of the year and also bumped into three twite.

The king eider search continued north. I dropped into Rammsjöstrand (a rare event), no eiders here but the small birdy bay just north of the harbour had some redshank (2) and a pair of gadwall. Next stop was Påarps mal and here I got three year-ticks in no time at all. A white wagtail was feeding along the shoreline, as were at least three dunlin and back in the juniper there was a pair of linnet. Offshore at least two shags on the rocks. The rev was busy with birders when I got there but I had a quick look, counting one dunlin and 17 purple sandpipers out on the rocks before the crowds sent me scuttling on my way.

Last stop of the morning was a look at Norra Ängalag but before I got there I was stopped in my tracks by the Rålehamn redpoll flock. Back again and still containing an Arctic redpoll (this bird was last seen on 1st February) . I got reasonable views on the deck through the scope but the bird was very skittish as usual so no chance of a photo. Also in the mix, at least three twite and 25 linnets.

Very little time remained to me to examine Norra Ängalag but a quick look revealed a pair of gadwall and yet another redshank.

In the afternoon we all walked in Sinarpsdalen, the only bird of note being a single jay, although the kids made so much noise they were probably disturbing birds down on the coast...

hat-trick (20140321)

Friday saw me bagging a hat-trick of BK year-ticks by chasing down a few glaring omissions. The day started well with a flock of 200 golden plover at Ljungbyholm whilst chauffeuring Mrs B to work in the morning.

After that it was hunting for grebes. The sea off Båstad was rather quiet (just one long-tailed duck and singing chiffchaff) but from here it was apparent that most of the action was to be found off Eskilstorpsstrand, so that is were I went next. Quite a few duck offshore including big numbers of scoters (both velvet and common) and 170 scaup. In amongst them after quite a search I finally found my first Slavonian grebe of the year. Another singing chiffchaff was an indication that this species has now arrived on a broad-front, but still no wheatears???

Last stop of my short session was a look at Petersberg. The tufted duck flock has built to an 280 individuals and my first BK red-necked grebe of the year briefly emerged from the reeds. A jay here was interesting, are they moving at the moment?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

birding the E6 corridor

Had much to do today but still squeezed in some quick looks at three sites along the E6. First up was Brandsvig, wet here this year but no birds to speak of strangely in a very speedy appraisal.

Next stop was Hasslarp, plenty of birds here including white-fronted goose (32), barnacle goose (2), gadwall (9) and shoveler (2). My first red-necked grebe of the year put in an appearance too.

Last stop was Klarningen where five gadwall and four shoveler were present.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Had half an hour in the field and checked Grytskären and Stora Hultstrand quickly. A few wigeon and teal only and a bitter rain-laden westerly soon put me off!

Monday, March 17, 2014

ross' gull goes past!

I elected to be a good boy today and collect some firewood from the nearby workshop despite the reasonable sea-watching conditions. As I trundled my loads down the hill to the house I was happily oblivious of the adult Ross' gull that was passing BK under the eagle-eye of Nils Kjellén. Rats!

When the news went out I was fairly cool about it but decided to get down to Torekov after I had finished my work and see if the bird had stopped off at the rev. With the dinner slow-cooking in the oven and the kids picked up we headed out to Torekov to see what we could find. No sign of the Ross' - that would have been too good! But we did find the first BK redshank of the year and at least 17 purple sandpipers. 

Driving home we found a curlew wandering the field son the outskirts of the village, year-tick number two.