Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lazy Sunday

Took the team to the beach at Eskilstorpsstrand for a picnic lunch in a brisk easterly wind. The continuous flow of low pressure systems and the constant high winds from different direction each day is starting to get a bit tedious...

Eskilstorpsstrand was quiet but produced a black-throated diver (1), great crested grebe (1) and a kestrel that looked like it was migrating north. Walked the beech woods at Tvehöga for an hour listening for flycatchers but no joy. A quick check of Klarningen revealed a wheatear but nothing of great note.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

RBF

With a reasonable westerly blowing it was out to Ripagården for four hours before breakfast. I was hoping for some migrating waders but it did not happen. The highlight was my first kittiwake of the year - a single adult. Early on a few divers were moving; red-throated (9) and black-throated (3). Geese were evident in small numbers with brent goose (25) and barnacle goose (3) being the best of it.

In the afternoon I took the team out for a walk off-patch at Dömestorp and amazingly we connected with a very vocal red-breasted flycatcher - a male but not in full plumage. Stopped in at Klarningen briefly on the way home for whooper swan (2).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Birding - 28/05/10

Nipped out in the morning and walked a few stretches of coast. Vejbystrand/Stora Hultstrand produced six avocet, greenshank (1), common sandpiper (1) and best of all a flock of 41 brent geese. The latter species a patch year-tick and one I missed last year. Walked Grytskaren and Ranarpsstrand next and perhaps had the same flock of brent (43 this time) and two more avocet. Sandwich terns are starting to loaf around. Last stop of the morning was Glimminge which was quiet just shoveler (2) and a single great crested grebe.

In the afternoon the kids and I had to go to Helsingborg, so on the way back we stopped briefly at Hasslarpsdammar. Marsh warbler singing away here and heaps of hirundines and swallows, which received plenty of fruitless attention.

Things look good for a bit of coastal vismig action tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Odds and sods

Migration continues with icterine, garden and marsh warblers coming through nicely. This red-backed shrike was new in at Torekov this morning.

Had a quick look at Torekov and Norra Ängalag this morning before breakfast. Not much doing but a few icterine, gaarden and marsh warblers singing. After breakfast Number 2 and I headed out to feed the ducks at Båstad - not much here either just two dozing goosander and only three mallard to feed! Checked out Klarningen next.

Trouble at mill. Water levels at Klarningen are dropping fast, they were tinkering with the wind-pump today. Work on the bird-tower continues, it should be finished just in time to watch the last of the water evaporate!

Klarningen was quiet, a ringed plover was new in, otherwise just the usual resident wader team. On the way home we unsuccessfully checked out a reported red-breasted flycatcher at Dömestorp, but were rewarded with a hawfinch vociferously chasing a jay and rescued a stunned blackcap from the road.

Road casualty - hope he made it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Too tired to...

We were all too tired to do much today after getting in early this morning. Tawny owl and two thrush nightingales could be heard from the garden at one o'clock. Nipped out late for just over an hour at Yttre Kattvik in light westerlies. A few things on the move; Canada goose (50), red-throated diver (16), black-throated diver (1), red-necked grebe (2), and guillemot (2 & patch year-tick). From the trees came the songs of both icterine and garden warbler.

Postcard from Gotland

Just had a great week on Gotland with the family...

"Look Daddy - a snow owl" - it begins... We stopped on the way for lunch at the delightful, family-sized Porsbjärs nature reserve in Halland. It looks good for owls and grouse, we had a surprise wryneck and the first icterine of the year. We will return.

Spent some time at Oskarshamn, the harbour had Arctic terns and a pair of black redstart busily feeding young.

Our cottage at Puser was close to Paviken (where we had these splendid white-tailed eagles), but a little too far away from the key sites in the south.

Caspian terns were frequently observed, I am still waiting patiently for my first patch Caspian.

We watched this dark gotlandicus grass snake trying to swallow a toad for some time.

Waders were a little disappointing, I failed to find any broad-billed sandpipers, a flock of 18 purple sandpipers in good plumage were some consolation.

The incredible flora of Gotland could not be ignored and we spent quite a bit of time looking at the spring flowers. Hepatica nobilis is one of my favourites.

Highlights of a week on Gotland with the team included a staggering three Swedish ticks! I know, not difficult for me but still... Greenish warblers were located on a number of days, singing their songs from the tree-tops. I managed to time my visits to Hoburgsklippan to avoid all the good birds but still managed a self-found white-billed diver (tick Number 2). On the last night a corncrake started singing from the field behind our cottage (Number 3). Other goodies included a brief Richard's pipit on the deck, the abundant collared flycatchers, a superb perched female Montagu's harrier, penduline tit at the nest and singing rosefinches. My total of birds seen in May now stands at 179 and there are still more to come...

Monday, May 17, 2010

You savvy?

Took the kids out this morning. This seemed like a good excuse to twitch off yesterday's singing Savi's warbler at Farhult. So off we went. Walking down to the far end of the reedbed we were soon listening to the Savi's reeling away. Nice one. Also here; gadwall (pair), ringed plover (40), my first grey plover of the year, dunlin (9), spotted redshank (3) and greenshank (1).

Checked out Sandön on the way back. More gadwall (4) here, as well as bar-tailed godwit (1), little gull (1 2K) and grasshopper warbler (heard). Nearer home and back on-patch we dropped in at Ranarpsstrand for our lunch. A cool westerly kept us in the car for this but we ventured out for a short walk. Mating avocet were the highlight but we also had two sparrowhawk north.

In the afternoon Martin Åkesson rang with news of a red-footed falcon off-patch near Skottorp. I could not go straight away but headed out later to miss the bird by 3-4 minutes... On the way home dropped in on Klarningen and in a 20 minute session had one honey buzzard (my first this year) and a female merlin streaking north.

Typically the red-foot returned just as I was sitting down to a meeting at Number 1's new school... Will it stay another day?

Klarningen - water levels are up, the pump was on briefly last week and construction has started on the bird tower.

Long day - 16/05/10

Kicked off early again this morning, walking between Ripagården and Gröthögarna. Two cranes bugling right over my head woke me up. Barnacle geese (160) are still on the move. The seaweed at Dalen produced a single ruff, also two greenshank later on. Watching from the point produced plenty of razorbill (10) commuting past. Again small number sof red-throated divers on the move and two black-throated.

Took the kids to feed the ducks at Båstad after breakfast, a few scoter offshore and one male scaup (easily my latest on the patch). Headed for Klarningen next to have a good look round but the phone rang twice, Martin Ekenberg and Martin Åkesson were watching an alpine swift on Kullen (an hour south)... Alpine swift is a mega here evidently, judging by the attention this bird got. If birds like that were nearby I was determined to stay on patch and see what was about. We went up to Hovs Hallar for a look. Not much doing here in an hour and a half, just 6 swifts through!

A evening/night session beckoned as I still needed tawny and long-eared owl for the year and nightjars are in too. Started at Flytermossen where swifts were abundant (40) and a big flock of house martin (55) and barn swallow (20) were flying about. Nothing unusual in the reedbed. Checked the wetland at Norra Ängalag too, just two dunlin on the coast. Lastly I drove slowly round Älemossen - too cold for nightjars tonight, but did hear both tawny and long-eared owl.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Birding - 15/05/10

Horrible wet weather early on but out I went. Tried Gröthögarna again. More thrush nightingales in with four heard. Barnacle geese were on the move, 300 passed inland during my walk. The spotted redshanks from the other day were still present. At the point I stopped to check out migration, a little bit passing, ie a good day to sit and watch! I had a nice group of 15 red-throated divers go by that included a nice black-throated. Would have been good to stay but I had to get back.

It really started to rain after breakfast but we suited up and headed out. We recce'd a few far-flung bits of BK. I think I may have finally driven all the roads... Off-patch we tried for dipper at Benmöllan, no idea if they breed there but it looks good habitat. We had singing wood warbler, grey wagtail (1) and both pied and spotted flycatchers.

Leaving the kids with their grand-parents, Mrs B and I headed out to Sandön and Rönnen. Sandön was quiet (high water levels), although on the way back careful examination of the north side of the island revealed some godwits (1 bar-tail and four black-tailed) and 15 dunlin flew by. Rönnen was slightly better with five Temminck's stints, five ruff and a couple fo wood sandpipers.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tripping!

With the lucky underpants freshly laundered and starched and back on, what if anything was going to happen today. Well I started with my first lie-in this month and then instantly regretted it when I realised there had been a deluge of dotterel late yesterday along the west coast. There would never be a better chance to get one in BK...

I quickly headed out to work some of the bigger fields in the Halland part of BK, but the wheat was up and growing and apart from the harrowed bit at Klarningen, I could not find any suitable habitat. Whilst I was doing this Martin Ekenberg rang to tell me there was a trip of 16 dotterel just 900 metres outside BK on the other side of the ridge (nice one Henrik!). I stuck it out though and checked all the fields and was rewarded with my first Klarningen avocet, which dropped in from on high, calling as it came.

Arriving finally at the dotterel site, I was staggered to find a 2K female Montagu's harrier quartering the fields in front of me. A Swedish tick and further proof of the power of the pants! The trip of dotterel took a little longer to find but we were soon watching them too. They are always good to see in spring and incredibly they constituted another Swedish tick! I will be able to join Club 300 one day at this rate!

Perfect spring dotterel field, if only there had been a field like this in BK this spring I might have been a contender. Still 16 dotterel is an impressive number (a NW Skåne record apparently) and if I turned round I could see the one-true kommun which was strangely comforting and slightly galling at the same time. How long will I have to wait to get Montagu's harrier and dotterel on the patch?

Giving Mrs B the afternoon off I took the kids swimming. On the way home we dropped into Klarningen for 20 minutes. No sign of the avocet (no feeding opportunities I suspect at this stage, but they will breed next year I bet) but we had not been there five minutes when a white stork appeared over towards Båstad and slowly worked its way directly overhead, slowly drifting north. BK tick number 232. Get in!

White stork going north over Klarningen, plugging away at this fledgling wetland is paying off.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bank holiday blues

Nipped out early to Ripagården this morning to see what was about. Two cranes called from Gröthögarna as I got out of the car. The wood produced a few new migrants including wood warbler (1) and spotted flycatcher (2). Walking north produced four yellow wagtails and a singing thrush nightingale. Overhead my first BK swifts of the year (5). Slightly disapppointed I headed back to the car. From the carpark I could see a birder peering into a bush towards Dalen, I walked over and found him looking at a male bluethroat. Nice! Went home for breakfast determined to return to Gröthögarna with the team for a good look around.

A birder called Morten showed me this after an unproductive hour-and-a-half at Ripagården. Bluethroat number one today!

The kids managed to walk right round Gröthögarna from Dalen to Torekov during the day and we saw some good birds. Almost immediately we bumped into another superb singing bluethroat that sat up and allowed us all scope views.

Bluethroat number 2 on Gröthögarna was watched by the whole family through the scope as it sang in full view.

Other good birds seen on the walk included two excellent spotted redshanks, four wood sandpipers, another bluethroat (three in one day!) and a few spotted flycatchers. Walking back for the car, I bumped into the two cranes heard earlier in the day as they flew in to roost.

Dead fulmar

One of a pair of cranes currently using the wetlands on Gröthögarna.

Picking up the team at Torekov rev later on, I had time to look at the place quickly. Plenty of disturbance out on the rev today, but this seemed to push the birds nearer and we got great views of two turnstones and my latest-ever purple sandpiper.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grasshopper!

Up again early and out the door to look at the Halland part of BK; the main aim being to check various sites for grasshopper warbler. Dawn at Eskilstorpstrand was clear and quiet, a few red-throated divers remained but they hardly bothered with attempting to migrate as the skies darkened and rain threatened soon after dawn. An osprey drifted north with an entourage of irate gulls.

Whooper swan at Petersberg, a pair seem to have taken up residence in the chain of wetlands in this bit of Halland. Sadly the Petersberg brown-field site is scheduled for housing so I will lose this excellent little wetland in due course. Shame!

Petersberg had a confiding whooper swan and the high pitched flight-call of a hawfinch alerted me to its progress overhead. Walked into Eskilstorps dammar next and right at the far end heard a faint and apparently distant snatch of grasshopper warbler song. Looking around I was surprised to find two birds just behind me in the short grass, they dived off into a clump showing streaky undertail coverts. Sub-song? Walking back two spotted flycatcher were out in a bare field, hawking from clumps of earth. As I left it started raining and it set in for the day. This did not stop me visiting Klarningen; not much there though unless you like copulating curlews.

Before I went home I tried for the penduline tit seen yesterday at Skottorp's wetland, typically I failed to appreciate where the bird was and left empty-handed.

Eskilstorpsdammar - water levels are dropping fast here too, but not as quickly as at Klarningen across the river. I think Klarningen is leaking, either through undisabled former drainage pipes or maybe they struck a lens of sand during the land-forming process. The good news is that the windpump is connected up, so it may be operational. The system at Eskilstorp is rainwater dependent (it takes drainage water from agricultural areas to the west), so in dry springs it can be very low.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A purple patch with blue bits!

My most-wanted BK bird falls at last. Finding bluethroats is always good, but this one was special.

Singing his little heart out. After six months without a patch tick, yesterday's collared flycatcher notched up the 230 and this little beauty was 231. What next?

Hard to believe that a week ago I was worried about losing my mojo. What a three day period I have had! The ninth saw me finding a marsh sandpiper off-patch, yesterday I found a great reed warbler on-patch and Mr Ekenberg found a collared flycatcher nearby and today it continued in a similar vein...

I have been boring Mrs B rigid with my master plan for this May - simply put to find a bluethroat on the patch. Ripagården-Hovs Hallar has a good track record in May for this species, so I headed there this morning pre-breakfast (ignoring the build-up of red-throated divers down the road in Laholmsbukten - they recorded 3200!). I had hardly got started when I flushed a small passerine from the vegetation along the shoreline. My brain screamed "bluethroat" and it was! A fantastic male, that started singing as I watched it. Superb. This is a tough bird in spring on the west coast of Sweden; amazingly it is about as hard as finding your own on the east coast of the UK these days. Sent an SMS to Martin and he rang for news and got to me very fast. The bird sat up on a clump of Rosa rugosa and sang lustily. Walked the rest of my route around the site, picking up 250 migrating barnacle geese, a single wood sandpiper, a hobby in-off and a fine male red-backed shrike. And so to breakfast.

With an appointment in Helsingborg, Mrs B and I headed south off-patch for the day. Before the meeting we squeezed in quiet flying visits to Sandön (90 more barnacle geese on the move and a nice hepatic morph female cuckoo) and Farhult (four spotted redshank and my first bar-tailed godwit of the year).

Gregory Peck! Hasslarp has an excellent record of turning up pectoral sandpipers in May. After three roller-coaster days the family are forcing me to change my lucky underpants, so things should quieten down tomorrow.

After the meeting we just had time for half an hour at Hasslarp. An inspired choice as within ten minutes I was looking at NW Skåne's 13th pectoral sandpiper! Superb! I spend a lot of time looking for waders and to finally find two scarce species in one week is rather excellent! The supporting cast looked good too, at least three Temminck's stints and a few wood sandpipers. What a day.

Ortolan bunting is on the top of the most-wanted list now, a few records today from around Halland and Skåne suggest this one could fall too with luck.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The fantastic Mr Ekenberg!

Yesterday at Flytermossen, amid the rain and cacophony of water rails and Acro warblers I thought I could hear the chatter-grunting of a great reed warbler right at the back of the pool. So this morning the pre-breakfast session took me back there in much better weather. Sure enough as I approached the reedbed the bird was singing close by - result! Great reed warbler is a good bird for BK and follows on from my first record in May last year. I wonder if they are regularly through in May these days? On the pool three pochards were nice, always scarce in BK, and a thrush nightingale was belting out its song.

Checked out the rev, which true to current form was rather quiet. Two Sandwich terns were good to see, my first this month. Offshore things were moving on a small-scale; barnacle goose (37), common scoter (16), velvet scoter (16) and red-throated diver (12). And so to home. I put the news out about the great reed warbler and went to muck out the car - a much over-due and rather unpleasant job. Martin Ekenberg rang me for directions to the warbler and as I chipped congealed sweets and soggy biscuits from the livestock area of the car I idly wondered if he would find something I had missed. Martin lives in the village and is an active local lister in the NW Skåne region (currently topping the Microbirding NW Skåne league for the year), he has been known to find a good bird or two...

The phone rang!

Look what Martin found!

Collared flycatcher is a very scarce spring over-shoot in our neck of the woods, last seen in BK in 1977 (I was 12 and lived in another country then).

These poor shots show most of the important bits; nice large white patch above the bill, full white collar, large white patch at base of primaries. No worries about this one being a hybrid! Excellent find Mr Ekenberg.

Yes, the phone rang and it was Martin, he was watching a spanking adult male collared flycatcher at Flytermossen. Throwing the hoover and the shovel out of the car I zoomed off and arrived to find the bird (and Martin) waiting patiently. Luckily it was not where I had been birding in the morning, otherwise I would have been a bit miffed! We watched the bird for ten minutes and then it flew to the island in the lake and showed rather poorly for the slowly increasing crowd before coming back to the roadside for the photos above. Great twitch, superb bird.

Back at home I finished off the car and then we all headed out to walk the coast between Vejbystrand and Ranarpsstrand. Counted breeding birds mostly, but also recorded 1-2 turnstone, an avocet and there were unusual numbers of sand martins about.

Cute

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A small spring fall, a pine marten and a self-found birthday treat

Marsh sandpiper was the first rare bird I ever saw - 18th August 1979, a first for Norfolk (back when they were rare in the UK). Great to find one today.

It has long been my custom to spend my birthday birding and today was a great day in the field (good to be born in May, thanks Mum!), although the weather left a little to be desired it did result in a few birds dropping out of migration.

Started off with a morning on my own in BK, first stop was Torekov rev. Large numbers of blackcap and willow warbler in every tree and bush. Searching the woods and coast here produced the first wood warblers of the year, plus two more spotted flycatchers. As I walked to the car, I spotted another year-tick streaking past, a splendid hobby (better late than never). Checked Flytermossen next, the harsh conditions of the last few days have made things hard for migrant insectivores and many are feeding in unusual locations, basically anywhere with concentrations of invertebrates. At least five whinchats were feeding in the reedbed here. Four water rails squealed away and both reed and sedge warbler were singing.

Surprisingly things were a lot quieter at nearby Ripagården, although some blackcap, a pied flycatcher and about seven yellow wagtail were evident. A single green sandpiper was either a late migrant or possibly a failed breeder (autumn already?). A large gathering of 150 barn swallows hawking over the sea here was yet another sign of the appalling weather we are having at the moment. Best 'bird' here though was a superb pine marten seen briefly but well on the edge of the wood - only my third sighting in Sweden. Walking on up to Hovs Hallar was mostly just good exercise, although another large flock of 100 barn swallows contained house martin (20) and sand martin (1).

After lunch took the team off-patch for a look at what was about at Sandön and Rönnen. Sandön was superb, the first birds to be spotted were the four, epic black-tailed godwits that arrived yesterday. Out on the exposed flats with them there were at least five spotted redshank and a single dunlin. Working through the numerous redshanks and greenshanks I was surprised to find a mint-condition adult marsh sandpiper in my 'scope. Bonus! Put the news out (thanks Mikael) and then enjoyed close-range views of this slender little gem. I see plenty of marsh sandpipers most years, but always in winter, so getting good views of this summer-plumage bird was fantastic. Overhead an osprey fished and my first swifts (2) of the year whizzed north. Sublime.

Last stop was Rönnen where the pool held a superb, rather gingery summer-plumaged Temminck's stint, one ruff and six wood sandpiper. A nice end to a day which actually produced some sunny weather towards the end.

I just popped my head out the Velux window whilst on the phone and had a roding woodcock fly by and could also hear a thrush nightingale singing up the hill. Sweet!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Four degrees and wet...what happened to May?

Horrible weather this morning, but rolled out for a pre-breakfast session that was pure torture. The vicious NE wind made for an unpleasant session at Ripagården and an hour here produced just fluffy eider ducklings and signs of foraging wild boar (unusual at sea-level here). Another hour at Torekov was slightly more clement but equally unproductive.

Took the team for a walk around the boundary of Klarningen in the afternoon and this was a bit better. Migrants were more obvious and included my first spotted flycatcher of the year. The trees along the river acting as a corridor for small flocks of passerines again. A ruff was the only wader of note, aside from the usual residents. Water levels continue to fall on site. Looking across to Eskilstorpsdammar produced the usual greenshank (1) and a pair of comfortable looking whooper swans. The best bird came as we drove down the track on the way home and a superb 2K peregrine whacked into the gull flock for the hell of it and flew off on its way.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Windy weather

Spent the morning doing stuff around the house, I was too horrified at dawn by the strong NW wind to go out. Tomorrow might be different though, rain overnight might drop some migrants on us. It stayed windy all day...

Did get out in the late afternoon for a brief look at Slottet (marsh tit and pied flycatcher but again no lesser spotted woodpecker) and checked out the pools at Bösketorp. Plenty going on here with little grebe (pair nest-building), moorhen (1) and a brooding common crane.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's back!

Spent a decidedly chilly pre-breakfast period in the field, first walking Grytskären-Ranarpsstrand and then quickly visiting Stora Hultstrand. Both were worth doing. The first walk produced barnacle goose (17 north), shoveler (4) and my first patch avocet of the year. Stora Hultstrand was worth checking, it looks good for waders at the moment, and produced avocet (1 - possibly the same bird), purple sandpiper (6 flying by - a little strange), greenshank (1) and my first turnstone this year. A big flock of Numenius flying past proved to be mixed - perhaps ten curlew and 18-20 whimbrel.

My first patch grizzled skipper.

After breakfast I took the kids out for the day. We did a big walk around Önnarp firing range, which was rather quiet (until we got there...). Saw some birds though, plenty of tree pipits and pied flycatchers around and had a nice hawfinch perched up briefly. Number 1 found me my first patch grizzled skipper. A dead common shrew went down well and was adopted (which reminds me to check, they may still have it!).

Common shrew.

On the way home we checked out a few wetlands (seeing Ginger Rogers for the first time) and hit the beach at Segelstorp to reward the kids for a hard day in the field. It was almost warm by now and they waded about happily in the water and I got told off by a (no doubt) well-meaning onlooker for abusing my children. I tried to explain that their mother was a sea-otter but it got lost in translation...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Still lost it!

Nipped out before breakfast for a walk between Ripagården and Hovs Hallar. Best bird shot past the car park just after I arrived - a speeding female merlin. Otherwise a quiet session, three singing thrush nightingales at Hovs Hallar were nice though.

In the afternoon took the team for a short walk at Skottorps våtmark, quiet here too with just gadwall (pair), wood sandpiper (1), grey-headed wagtail (1) and three singing sedge warblers. Checked Klarningen and Eskilstorpsstrand on the way home with nothing of note at either.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lost my mojo!

Mrs B and I wandered aimlessly around off-patch hoping for a few of the birds that have been seen recently without success. The marsh sandpiper was gone from Hasslarp, but we managed to scare up three wood sandpipers, three common sandpipers, a ruff and a little ringed plover. The bitter SW wind soon saw us off the place though. Sandön was very quiet too, with just three greenshank and a gadwall representing the migrants.

At Rönnen we were unsurprised to discover that the black-tailed godwit had moved on and little had replaced it. Decided to check Sibirien on the way home, the same (?) flock of common scoter was there togther with a small group of scaup (8). No sign again of the black scoter, but I bet he is still out there somewhere.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Birding - 03/05/10

Tried Eskilstorpsstrand again for an hour this morning, got there nice and early but nothing moving on the diver front, did they all leave yesterday? Made do with a whimbrel and five long-tailed ducks and then got too cold and moved on to Klarningen. Klarningen is drying out at a rapid rate but produced a few wetland birds including whooper swan (1), little ringed plover (1), another whimbrel (heard only) and the almost resident lone greenshank.

Took the team out for a walk across Älemossen before lunch. Highlights were singing cuckoo and a female red-backed shrike (easily my earliest bird here). Frustratingly played hide-and-seek with a possible wryneck. Birds really buzzing up here now with lots of blackcap, pied flycatcher (first females of the year) and tree pipits.

After lunch I took Numbers 1 & 2 to the beach and we had a nice hen harrier (female) in-off, which was pursued by various birds until out of sight. At the end of the day we had a quick walk at Ripagården, no sign of the wryneck reported yesterday and just one grey-headed wagtail of note.

Throughout the day though it was evident that a huge volume of birds had arrived overnight or are transitting through BK. Blackcaps and lesser whitethroats were everywhere, the latter often giving away their presence with that crazy little sub-song they do.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nearly!

A bad shot taken in haste to try and record part of a high-flying flock of migrating red-throated divers. This is perhaps one of the more exciting aspects of migration in this neck of the woods. Observers further north recorded 1300 birds this morning.

A day of not connecting with stuff! Hit the beach at Eskistorpsstrand early this morning but just five minutes too late for a chance of a yellow-billed diver reported a little further north. One of the features of birding Laholmsbukten is the incredible passage of red-throated divers in early May. Birds collect rapidly offshore over a few days and then fly high in huge flocks before heading overland. This morning saw at least 360 down my end of the bay, but I must admit that counting this phenomenon is difficult to do accurately. Many divers go over and then chicken out and head back to sea, so there is a constant to-and-fro that is hard to keep track of.

Walked in to Eskilstorpsdammar next, picking up a great female merlin en route...

"You looking at me?"

The pools were quiet with snipe (3), curlew (1), greenshank (1), cuckoo (male), tree pipit and a few other migrants including redstart, whinchat, lesser whitethroat and chiffchaff. From the pools you can just see water at Klarningen and this produced ruff (2), greenshank (1) and wood sandpiper (1).

After breakfast took the gang out for a walk between Lervik and Ranarpsstrand. Highlights were few and far between; purple sandpiper (1 Grytskären), greenshank (1), common sandpiper (3), little tern (6 at Ranarpsstrand), sparrowhawk (1 north) and yellow wagtail (1 north). The bad news was a couple of little egret probably travelled through BK whilst we were walking along, did we miss them too?

Finally nipped out for a quick look at Torekov in the evening. The rev was quiet, although I managed to leave my 'scope at home which did not help. Highlights included; shoveler (male), little tern (1), more redstarts (a big influx today?) and a displaying redpoll. Flytermossen had a marsh harrier (male) and a singing reed warbler.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mayday! Mayhem!

Did some office work in the early morning, eventually picking up an email from Ed Parnell in the UK asking if I had been to see the black scoter yet - doh! It was the first I had heard about it, so I put it on the 'To do list' for the day. Whilst working I had a garden tick from the window (a pair of collared doves) and updated the garden list. Still a woeful total at just 92 species, but some quality birds in there if you are a Norfolk boy.

The gallery for the black scoter twitch today. The cultural differences between the Swedes and the English are never more obvious than in a gallery such as this. In the UK the first question on arriving at a site would be "Is it still showing?" and then, if an affirmative answer is received, "Where is it?". Things are a lot quieter in a Swedish gallery (which I often enjoy) and you often get to find the bird yourself (ditto) or not... [BTW it's OK to shout and jump about when you do see the bird, in this case the scoter was at least 200m offshore and beyond scaring].

Working speedily through the essential tasks, we all piled in the car and headed for Sibirien. No sign of the black scoter sadly and eventually rain put paid to our efforts at birding or playing on the beach and we left. The gallery apparently divided into two factions, some saw the bird and others did not. Was it there? Who knows? I did see a nice flock of about 85 common scoter, 15 scaup, a scattering of great crested and red-necked grebes and five little terns. Stopped off at Grytskären on the way home briefly, but the rain caught up with us again. Some hirundines in though, with barn swallow (35), house martin (10) and sand martin (10) hawking in the lee of the nearest island.

After lunch, I took Number 1 birding and we headed first to Petersberg. The reedbeds here had singing sedge (1) and reed warbler (1) and a male marsh harrier was getting busy. Next stop was Klarningen which was quiet, although ruff (2), whinchat (male) and wheatear (male) suggested a bit of movement. The greenshank (1) was still over at Eskiltorpsdammar.

Just looked through my day's images and found this, I was searching so hard for blackie it seems that I failed to spot the stellar supporting cast, and I missed the black scoter too (can you spot him hiding at the back? shout if you can).