Thursday, May 14, 2009
The big day - birding with TT
Today I showed Terry Townshend around a few sites in NW Skåne and neighbouring Halland and we had a great day. Terry lives in the middle of Copenhagen, but (like me) is a Norfolk boy, so I tailored a day to show him some good wader action and then get him into some dunes (to make him miss Winterton) and finally show off some great beech woods. It worked really well, but lets start at the beginning.
Before I picked up Terry at Ängelholm station I nipped into Ranarpstrand for a quick look - this move was repaid with four avocet and a peregrine streaking towards Kullen. Terry's train was on time and we headed off to Sandön. No sign of yesterday's white-wingers but a fantastically obliging grasshopper warbler demanded our immediate attention. See Terry's blog (no doubt) for photos. Highlights here included gadwall (male), 8 little gulls (one adult), grey plover (9), two fishing ospreys and swift (1 & year-tick).
Next stop was Rönnen and a spring wader bonanza. Our Temminck's stint count hit 15 but they were thinly spread out and there may well have been more. We kept getting diverted by the stonking little stints (3) and curlew sandpipers (3 & year-tick). Also here were fluffy lapwing chicks (first of the year), a single whooper swan, ruff (8), wood sandpiper (7) and dunlin (19 - scarce this month so far).
Last stop along this stretch of coast was Farhult. Here it transpired we either just missed or horror-of-horrors overlooked a white-winged tern! We did see knot (1), little ringed plover (pair) and had a brief encounter with a marsh warbler. Despite Terry's early start he was keen-eyed and alert and showed me most of the above birds. This theme continued through the day...
A short drive up the motorway took us to a quiet stretch of the Halland coast. Here we put Terry's dune-birding prowess to the test and he eventually found me my first Swedish tawny pipits. [I was starting to feel like a chauffeur at this point]. Excellent result (the bird not the chauffeur bit) and we were both chuffed. The pair showed really well, allowing us to enjoy the subtle but nevertheless attractive plumage, and the male made an effort and started some desultory singing from a nearby pole. Superb! A few scoters floated offshore and a couple of goosander slept along the beach.
Last stop of the day was the hugely impressive Dömestorp beech wood where we lunched. Here we hunted down a feisty little male firecrest, that eventually gave good views. The site also produced abundant wood warblers, pied flycatchers and a pair of hawfinches. A great day out, thanks to Terry for great company and for proving emphatically to me that I should get some sleep (....but it's MAY!!!...).