Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Birding - 21/10/09

Grytskaren - a small collection of islands and rocks offshore from Ranarpstrand. Today it produced my first (albeit distant!) purple sandpipers of the autumn.

A rather disturbed night (one sleep-walker and another dreaming of evil pumpkin-heads), meant a late start to a great morning's birding. Managed to get to Grytskaren by 0845 in the end. The good news is that I am now completely mobile - nine days after the op! I guess I should have rested more in the early days...

Plenty to look at Grytskaren all of a sudden, with a definite wintry feel to the avifauna. Best birds here were; red-throated diver (2), black-throated diver (4), Slavonian grebe (8), gannet (1 south), razorbill (1), purple sandpiper (3 - the leg colour still visible at 900m), kittiwake (3), common crossbill (heard) and redpoll (10). The seabird action was bizarre in offshore easterly winds, but it has happened before...

Nearby Ranarpstrand was also entertaining with three more Slavonian grebes, evidence of a large passage of brambling and skylark, and grey wagtail (2 south). Lervik had eight crossbill (south). Driving north to Torekov, stopped at Ängelsbäck to check out a flock of 350 golden plover, it is exciting to find this number feeding on the patch, but a good look through revealed nothing unusual.

Påarps Mal (Torekov) is a regular roosting place for the small number of shag that frequent my neck of the woods in the winter. Managed seven today, most lurking just offshore in small groups, also here six fly-by snow buntings were nice. Moving on the the rev had the whooper swan again at Flytermossen. The rev was not exactly jam-packed with birds but a flock of 17-19 snow buntings, proved impossible to count as they moused around in the seaweed and rocks in front of me - superb, several frosty-backed old males. Also offshore here my first long-tailed duck of the autumn - one of my favourite birds - with a single velvet scoter.

Last stop of the 'morning' was Ripagården, three parrot crossbills here were new for the site list but were eclipsed by close views of a pine marten feeding (?) in a mountain ash. My second pine marten of the year! Also here water rail heard in the reedbed.

Picked up the kids and had a great walk down Axeltorps Ravine, through the beech woods. I had hoped to pick up the first dipper of the autumn, but a rather noisy game of "Sharks!" got in the way...

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