Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
We spent an hour at Ripagården first. As we arrived we noticed a small group of mistle thrushes feeding along the shoreline. Out on the sea-ice a couple of miserable-looking ringed plovers were the first of the year and looked very out of place. We trudged about in the deep snow hearing a black woodpecker, offshore were at least 8 goosander and two coot and out on the farthest tip of Gröthögarna, a big goshawk sat around before drifting south.
A quick look at Torekov also produced a few good birds. The harbour held at least three goosander and a female smew. Offshore black guillemot numbers continue to rise with at least six recorded, also here a Slavonian grebe and three great crested grebes. No sign of any shags in the roost here though and also no sign of any purple sandpipers.
Life goes on...
Monday, February 22, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Spent the day looking after sick children and then had half an hour at Torekov. The rev looked pretty bleak under a blanket of snow, huge ice buildup on the rocks offshore and tiny bergs floating about on the sea. Five male goosander looked superb against this backdrop. Male smew would be hard to spot! Not much doing on the bird front otherwise, although seven goldfinch at Flytermossen looked rather out of place given the conditions. Nearby at the harbour had two adult shag on offshore rocks as well as a nice summer plumage black guillemot and a single coot. More snow forecast tonight...
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
14/2 Melghat TR, Maharashtra
A weird day, arrived late in the night at Chikaldara, the hotel was noisy and very dirty and I was grumpy. Sorted out new bedding eventually. A morning walk around the grounds of the hotel produced some new birds including red-whiskered bulbul, tawny-bellied babbler, black-lored tit and Tickell’s leaf warbler. The guide was arriving at 0930 apparently, was there something I didn't know about hunting for forest owlets? No, it transpired that the guide was a random muppet. He tried hard to find me an owl in a three-hour walk through rough terrain in the heat of the day, but I could tell he was not a birdman. So in the afternoon I used him to help find the right guide, and eventually we tracked down a far more likely looking candidate to use at dawn tomorrow.
The walk was not without its interest, though I was in a foul mood after the events of yesterday evening [a driver had dropped my scope]. Some good birds; more tawny-bellied babblers, orange-headed ground-thrush, verditer flycatcher, Alpine swift and dusky crag martin. The riverbeds were mostly dry but on pools in some stretches Anax immaculifrons was flying – monster! Tailed jay (Graphium agamemnon) was also on the wing.
In the evening had a brief flight view of an Oriental scops-owl as it fled the beam of my spotlight. Others calling nearby.
15/2 Melghat TR, Maharashtra
Today had a much better feel to it and I was confident of the usual Indian happy ending. The driver and I got out the door at 0530, picking up rufous-naped hare and a superb jet-black common palm civet en route. Arriving at Semadoh just after first light we rustled up Bhola (our guide) and discovered that I was also to be accompanied by two Indian tiger researchers, a charming young couple (Sandeep Sharma and Trishna Dutta). We rattled off in the research jeep, an aging Maruti jeep that had a top speed of about 40 km/h and rather eccentric steering. En route we had fantastic views of two groups of grey junglefowl and had a single wild boar.
After 45 minutes driving Bhola guided us into an innocuous looking bit of teak woodland, bordering farmland and we got out to search it. It only took ten minutes before a cry from Bhola had us converging on the first of a pair of forest owlets that were hanging around the area. To say I was relieved was an understatement. We photographed the first owl high in a tree for fifteen minutes before another cry from Bhola alerted us to the other half of the pair, a more photo-suitable bird, which flew after a short while to a higher perch. Superb and my third tick of the trip.
Spent the rest of the morning chatting as we drove. Sandeep and Trishna visited a range office, to recruit help from the Forest Department in their research. On the way back we bumped into a large group of gaur by the road. Took an enjoyable lunch at Semadoh and then headed for the hotel and report-writing.