Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bo**ocks!

Headed out a bit late this morning to look for yesterday's reported great snipe at Ripagården. Arrived just in time to see someone with the same idea flushing a dark, chunky-looking snipe, the notebook reads:

"flight only (no plumage details...), flushed at close range, looked solid, heavy and pot-bellied in level flight (more reminiscent of woodcock than snipe), no rocking in flight, no call heard. Flew SW and lost to sight in the fog over Gröthögarna."

Almost certainly a great snipe, but it got away... Whilst here I did a circuit of the site picking up waxwing (46 south), chiffchaff (1, easily my latest bird on patch), willow tit (1), crested tit (1) and four bullfinch.

In the afternoon we had a grilling session with some friends at Grytskären. A few good birds here including a shag offshore on the islands, more waxwing (30), nine superb long-tailed tits and two snow buntings. We walked into Ranarpsstrand for a Slavonian grebe before it was time to go home.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bullfinch bonanza

While the family snoozed and had a late breakfast, I got out and walked the stretch of coast between Rammsjöstrand and Påarps Mal. I neglect this bit and I hoped that a water pipit might be lurking there, in that I was right but the real excitment was the number of bullfinches on the move. I did not get big numbers (nearby Kullen had over 3000 through today!!) but it was a great spectacle nevertheless. Bullfinch is a species that I scratch around for most of the time and I usually see a few more in the autumn on the coast. The scale of this years movement is unbelievable. They can be heard over the garden almost all the time...

Highlights of the walk included white-tailed eagle (1K?, Burensvik), goshawk (1, Burensvik), Slavonian grebe (1, Dagshög), waxwing (60+), water pipit (1, Burensvik, great bird and first of the season), bullfinch (total of 34), parrot crossbill (5 south, Dagshög) and snow bunting (1 south Burensvik). Also small numbers of redpoll, twite and yellowhammer on the move. Great stuff.

After lunch took the team for a drag up the beach at Hemmeslövsstrand and Eskilstorpsstrand. A few bullfinch still on the move and five more parrot crossbill (do I keep seeing the same five everywhere?). Otherwise the best of the rest was a superb kingfisher (my first sight record this year...), at least 75 scaup and two Slavonian grebes.

Noctule-type bat hunting during the afternoon at Hemmeslövsstrand.

Last stop of the day was Klarningen (of course), the access track produced a patch year-tick (5 tundra swan), a great way to end a satisfying day in the field. The weather was nice too.

A family party of five tundra swans at Klarningen was a great way to end the day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quick look outdoors

Not much time for birding today but got out in the morning and spent 45 minutes at Klarningen. Highlight here was a 1K peregrine sitting in the field to the north. Just one whooper swan today, 17 wigeon, 20 teal and one tufted duck.

On the way home stopped at Tvehöga by a flock of 40 redpoll (they vanished quickly) and 7 bullfinch. Bullfinch were obviously on the move today, had another 6 at Atteköp and could hear more from the garden, including one nasal 'northern' calling bird. The next patch tick is going to be finchy I reckon. Pine grosbeak would be nice.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's all gone a bit finchy

It's pretty and it's got wingbars but I am sadly no closer to my dream Sibe.

In a rare gap in the rain this morning, I did a four-hour walk between Ranarpsstrand and Öllövsstrand. BK has gone a bit quiet lately but I managed a few good things. Ranarpsstrand was quiet, duck numbers are up though with 85 wigeon, 150 mallard and eight teal about. Six snipe flushed as I walked. Segelstorpsstrand was a bit more interesting with 40 waxwing charging about, four redshank hiding out and five parrot crossbills south.

It had been finchy so far, plenty of greenfinch and siskin about but Öllövsstrand was excellent. The weedy beet field had a flock of 35 mealy redpoll, which included one twite and two goldfinch. Following 'Stoddart's Rule' there should have been 3.5 Arctic redpolls too. Sadly the 'polls were feeding in weeds being thrashed about by the strong southerly wind. But I do not think any Arctics were present; but this winter looks like it could be good for this species. Lots of mealy's are on the move. I need it for the patch list...

Thrashing back to the car I had time for the now obligatory flock of long-tailed tits at Segelstorpsstrand and managed another flock of 40 waxwing at Förslöv.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pouring with rain

It hammered down today, without stopping. I did some work on the house but fitted in two little sessions around my driving duties for the team. Spent half an hour looking at the 'big field' at Ljungbyholm. Not much doing here but a big flock of 235 fieldfare was nice (just three redwing in tow) and also 67 golden plver here too.

In the afternoon, Number 1 and I went shopping at the hardware shop and nipped up to Klarningen. It was blowing a gale from the south with plenty of rain. Despite this we notched up three whooper swans, 20 wigeon, no teal and a single tufted duck. Seven snipe charged about in the sky and a flock of at least 25 skylark were either side of the access track. A dull day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rapid assessment

Sped around a bit today trying to track down various things reported recently. As a gambit it failed completely but I still managed a few good birds of my own.

Started off at Klarningen, thin skim of ice on the place but a bit of open water which holds a dwindling number of wildfowl. Just two wigeon and nine teal remain, but one whooper swan was new in. Waiting patiently for all of 20 minutes (!) produced a large group of migrating greylag geese, that included some yelping white-fronted geese (at least 9). The flock headed west and looked interested in Laholmsbukten so I headed off to the north end of Eskilstorpsstrand. A big flock of greylag geese were out on the sea and sure enough there were 13 white-fronts in amongst them. This species has been much easier on the patch this autumn, reflected by the elevated numbers through Falsterbo this year. Also here three Slavonian grebes.

Next stop was Båstad, no sign here of any scaup or kingfishers, just two white wagtails. Moving on quickly to Ripagården, spent some time here but the site was disturbed by men with guns and dogs and more burning bushes. They have finally removed the bush that the red-backed shrikes nest in... Somehow the covey of 12 grey partridges escaped the shooters and their dogs. Over Hovs Hallar a nice rough-legged buzzard laboriously hovered.

Last stop of the day was Påarps Mal, a quick look for shags was again a failure but a kittiwake sauntered south and a superb great grey shrike was terrorising the place. Nice end to the day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

15 years ago this week

Stuck in the house doing DIY today (one hawfinch over...), so here is a little something from the diary (North Uist, October 1995):

"We were not prepared for the 20th and its events, after what was a very quiet first half of the month. Arriving at Clachan Farm I stopped by the gate and saw to my disbelief a small Catharus thrush at the end of the caravan. It hopped off and I told Cath who did not believe me. It took us 2 hours to relocate the bird in what is a very small plantation. I got two tantalising glimpses during this period and had narrowed it down to either veery or (less likely) wood thrush! Just as we were about to give up we walked towards the caravan on our way out and the bird flew up and perched in the lower branches of a pine. I locked on and finally identified it as a veery (4th for WP, 3rd for UK and 1st for Scotland).

Veery, my best UK find. Nicked this image off the internet (it's an adult).

An active little bird, which then started feeding around where we had collapsed (often down to 4 metres). Superb. Warm brown uppers, grey lores, lack of buff eye-ring, gold-tipped coverts, greyish flanks all led to identification of the bird as a veery. The bird was difficult to see after the first day – I never saw it again! Tim (Dix) and Paul (Boyer) both managed to see it over the next two days and Paul saw it once more on the 28th. Only four birders saw it in the end, no one making the effort to get over from the mainland."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Slow Sunday

Excitement today at Klarningen, the first stock (Polish red cattle) are on site, it looks more like Biebzra than BK!

Nipped out pre-breakfast to Kattvik, but the little auk was nowhere to be seen. Spent the day with the kids whilst Mrs B got on with some homework. After swimming we found a flock of 11 waxwing in the car park in Laholm. It was mild and many of them were fly-catching from the treetops.

On the way home we dropped into Klarningen. The highlight here was the arrival of the first stock on site, already at work grazing down the grass before winter and giving the sward some much-needed heterogeneity. Birds noted here included wigeon (26), teal (38), ruff (1) and snipe (2).

One last stop saw us searching for the red phalarope at Båstad, I was hoping for a better photo but the bird had disappeared. Just two Slavonian grebe (2) and one white wagtail of note here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mopping up?

The plan this rainy morning was to cruise around the peninsula picking up the birds I missed yesterday that may have been wrecked in the gale. The plan worked well at Båstad where a short search revealed the presence of a reasonably confiding red phalarope, pedalling along the shoreline at Skansenbadet. Patch year-tick and a great one to pull back. A search of the shoreline to the east produced a single chiffchaff but no other seabirds.

It was dark and the bird was flighty, this was the only shot I got!

Next stop was Kattvik harbour. I was pretty sure a little auk was holed up here but despite a good search of the harbour from various angles and walking the rocks to make sure it was not close in and out of sight I could not find it. It must have been asleep amongst the boats or even under the jetty because I walked away empty-handed only to discover later in the day that it was being seen and photographed. It looks tired so hopefully will carry on recuperating, allowing me to see it tomorrow. Also here black-throated diver (1) and another chiffchaff.

Last stop of the morning was a quick look at Torekov rev, just five grey plover (late this year) and one redshank of note.

In the afternoon we gathered up the kids from their grand-parents and took them for a detox walk between Vejbystrand and Ranarpsstrand. I invariably start this walk just off-patch from Vejbystrand, this allows walking the whole stretch with the light behind you, it would also be churlish to avoid the stretch of beach north of the harbour, it may be off-patch but it is good. Another reason is that occasionally as you walk north you can flush something good into BK. It did not work that way today, ten metres before the fence that marks the boundary a shorelark picked up and flew into the southerly wind away from BK... Rats! Walked back to get a good look at it, nice bird but just metres away from being excellent. Still it was a year-tick and my first self-found Swedish bird too.

Scuttling into BK before something worse happened, we walked the beach at Stora Hult, nothing doing here just a curlew and a red-necked grebe. Ranarpsstrand also had a red-necked grebe (arrival yesterday?), a grey plover, five snipe and three redshank. Great day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Windy weather

A 1K little gull one of the highlights of today's seawatching action.

At last a gale from the west, albeit short-lived. I had to fit two sessions in around my domestic duties today but was pretty happy with the rewards. Kicked off about an hour after first light at Yttre Kattvik. We did poorly here for an hour and a half, getting gripped off from both Båstad to the east and Hovs Hallar to the west. It was nice to be able to sit in the car during the windy squalls that came through though! Highlights here included a close Slavonian grebe flying past, at least 40 kittiwake, ten guillemot and 50 razorbill.

When the rain stopped I headed over to Båstad and straight away we were into new birds. Far out my first sooty shearwater of the day was shearing madly (perhaps three during the session to midday). Also here the only gannet of the day, one adult little gull west, and more kittiwake, guillemot and razorbill. Walking back to the car, I searched the shoreline finding two more little gulls and about a dozen kittiwakes loafing about (all offering photographic possibilities at last).

Adult little gull

Most of the kittiwakes involved in the today's action were 1K birds as usual.

Had to nip back to do the school run and then Mrs B and the team dropped me off at Eskilstorpstrand for the final late-afternoon session. Missed the red phalaropes at Båstad by making this decision but as ever Eskilstorpsstrand produced some great birds; had a pomarine skua going high east and a puffin north almost straight away but the wind was dying and things quietened down a lot after that. A solitary snow bunting kept me company.

Happily ignorant of the red phalaropes at Båstad I checked out Klarningen last thing. The wind had dropped away to almost nothing, and so have the numbers of wildfowl at Klarningen. I think the site must be being disturbed. Just 25 wigeon and 25 teal this evening. The four tufted duck remain, as do the pair of mute swan (no doubt having arrived they will never leave).

First snow bunting of the season all on its own at Eskilstorpsstrand this afternoon.

Not a bad day, dipped little auk (small numbers through during my midday break) and the two grey phalaropes. Will try for both tomorrow, they may hang about...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chuffing freezing

Had a waxwing in the garden briefly this morning. After dropping everyone at school-work I went ot Segelstorpsstrand and had a kick about. Still two chiffchaff here, despite the sub-zero temperature, but my Sibe hopes are receding as the winter seems to be taking an early grip on the land. Vis mig was apparent this morning with plenty of chaffinch on the go, also a few skylark, brambling, greenfinch and yellowhammer in the mix. When it's cold like this morning you really get a feeling that these migrants are fleeing ahead of something bad, occasional hordes of jackdaw going south looked panic-stricken. The beach had one curlew and five redshank (the latter have been scarce in BK this autumn and this is the largest gathering I have seen for some time). Looking north on to Öllövsstrand produced one sorry-looking barnacle goose. Walking back to the car I bumped into another autumn flock of long-tailed tits (10).

Dodging the hail squalls I drove up to Torekov for a quick look at Påarps Mal. Had a great flock of 120 brambling on the ground feeding in a recently harvested maize field. They stuck close to the car and were spooky but still one managed to get taken by a sparrowhawk... Påarps Mal produced no shag, my main reason for going, but a black guillemot (1) and a black woodpecker (heard only) made the trip worthwhile.

Back on the school-run I had a blackcap at Förslöv (my latest patch bird but with me at home all autumn, I am sure I can do better).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Båstad!

Busy day today but had to take Number 2 to the dentist in Båstad, which allowed time for duck-feeding (Number 2) and searching for yesterday's reported little auk (me). The birding started at the dentist's though with 35 excellent waxwing in the 'garden'. Being a UK-conditioned birder I still take an inordinate amount of pleasure from seeing things like waxwings, hawfinches and rough-legged buzzards. It's great! The harbour later had black-throated diver (1K), great crested grebe (8), gannet (2) and nine razorbill (but no micro-auk or even the long-tailed duck of yesterday...).

Nipped into Klarningen quickly en route to our next assignment. Been watching this site for over a year as it has developed and filled up with water and finally a pair of mute swan have deigned to visit. They must be really fussy, the first whooper swan arrived when it was just a muddy idea of a wetland! Obviously wildfowl are still moving, four tufted duck were new, otherwise wigeon (50), teal (67) and goldeneye (4) numbers were stable. They are still working on the bird tower but it is starting to look like we may be able to take up residence soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dirty twitcher!

Addictive stuff this twitching, instead of thrashing the patch this morning I let myself down gently after Öland by going to see the pectoral sandpiper at Rönnen. Had to do the school run first though and had five waxwing new-in on patch at Förslöv.

The pec was a great bird. Also here a lone shelduck, one dunlin, two greenshank and four curlew. Pretty quiet. Checked Sandön on the way home for hen harrier (1), grey plover (3), waxwing (15) and bullfinch (2). Managed 20 minutes on-patch at Ranarpstrand before the DIY beckoned. Very quiet here with just teal (5), wigeon (30), snipe (4) and linnet (1).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hat-trick on Öland

We all went to Öland for three days and it was fab!

The main drag through the Ottenby reserve down to the southern tip of Öland is excellent for getting close views of stuff - this fantastic grey grey shrike stopped us in our tracks as we headed down for the accentor on Day 1.

The star of our long-weekend was this MEGA black-throated accentor! It stayed just long enough for us to get amazing views down to two metres on the Friday and then disappeared overnight in time for the Saturday crowds (sounds familiar...). Team Benstead does not twitch much but this bird was truly splendid.

We rounded off Day 1 by finding this skulky reed warbler (in October!) at Sebybadet. The weather had gone wrong for continuing arrivals of Sibes sadly but the family appreciated the incredible blue-sky birding.

Sebybadet also produced my first waxwings of the autumn, they should be on-patch now too I reckon.

The highlights of Day 2 included my first Swedish dusky warbler (Triberga läge) and also my first steppe eagle (here with a white-tailed eagle). After ignominiously dipping one in Skåne with Terry on New Year' Day, it was a wonderful moment when this sub-adult bird appeared overhead with four white-tailed eagles at Ottenby.

Other highlights included a strong supporting cast of stuff at Ottenby including a good red phalarope, purple sandpiper, black redstart and bearded tit, an Arctic redpoll at Kapelludden and rough-legs were on the move throughout the island. We also saw more birders than I have seen all year. Great trip!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quick look at Klarningen

Number 2 and I checked out Klarningen this morning. They are still working on the tower hide so we went for a walk. The wetland has gone quiet, just 50 teal and four goldeneye. The silage bales still scattered about probably spook the geese I guess. The walkabout produced 18 snipe, including one with an odd nasal call (?). Quite a few finches around including six twite, two redpoll and 65 brambling. The best bird though was a late wheatear (1K).

Stopped briefly at Båstad, a brisk NW wind produced three guillemot and a red-throated diver in 20 minutes and probably deserved more time but we were on a mission...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Garden tick!

Spent the morning in the garden, doing autumn jobs. My main hope was that I would finally secure a jay out of the big influx this autumn for the fledgling garden list. Sure enough at 11 o'clock two flew north quite high. Result!

After lunch I nipped out for a couple of hours and had a look at Ripagården. No wind and the sea mirror calm. Still struggling for alcids though, just one great crested grebe of note on the sea. Two grey wagtails were feeding in the harbour area. A thrash around in the woods and bushes produced blackcap (1), chiffchaff (3), willow tit (1), coal tit (1), jay (1) and redpoll (2).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hard work!

Did plenty of walking along the coast today hoping for a Sibe - no joy. Still confident, goldcrest numbers are climbing and there are a lot of chiffchaff around...

Kicked off the day with a little light garden work, repaid with a lesser spotted woodpecker nearby. Light movement of fieldfare and redwing evident too.

Took Mrs B and Number 2 out for a quick walk around Glimminge and Vasaltheden in the morning. We were hoping to cosh off the black redstart reported yesterday but my relationship with this species on the patch remains poor (yet to be self-found, miss half the ones I twitch). At Glimminge, greylags were still on the move and curlew (1) and redshank (1) were on the shore. The cover at the edge of Vasaltsheden had three jays and a chiffchaff and a lone crossbill flew south. Back inside the plantation we found a big flock of 30 goldcrests.

In the afternoon I was dropped off for a four-hour walk between Segelstorpsstrand and Rammsjöstrand. Segelstorpsstrand produced a huge total of nine chiffchaff, as well as one blackcap and another party of long-tailed tits. Öllövsstrand had four chiffchaff, a few goldcrests but was swarming with finches and sparrows. A flock of 50 brambling were feeding along the shoreline here, also big flocks of greenfinch (50) and tree sparrow (200). But the best was a flock of 40 twite feeding on weeds in a crop of beet. Vasaltheden was hosting some thrushes with plenty of blackbirds and fieldfares and a few song and mistle thrushes. A second look at Glimminge produced a jay and two bullfinches. Finally I found a good flock of tits near Rammsjöstrand but the best it could come up with was one coal tit. Walking out I discovered a small, newly-created wetland just back from the coast. Might pull in birds but is sure to be interesting for dragonflies when it matures.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Twite!

Three twite at Ranarpsstrand today were a nice little bonus. I saw so many recently in Georgia that it took me some time to realise that it was a BK year-tick (210).

Checked Ranarpsstrand again this morning. Been very quiet here for wildfowl lately but still two greenshank and a grey plover knocking about. Wildfowl were migrating through though with lots of greylag heading south after the last two nights of frost and a nice flock of seven bean geese sneaking past too. The almost flat calm sea and great light allowed good viewing of three Slavonian grebes and a razorbill. Out on Grytskären an imperious peregrine kept a look out, occasionally sallying out to persecute some passing migrant (unsuccessfully). Three twite came to see me at the end of the watch, tame little fellahs.

Spent just over an hour walking Segelstorpsstrand hoping for something special. More greylags going over. Also migrating rough-legged buzzard (1, 1K) and woodlark (1). Worked hard for a total of five chiffchaff and double-figures of goldcrest.

Picked up the kids in the afternoon and whisked them off for 45 minutes at Påarps Mal in the sun. No sign of any shags again, I seem to be struggling to connect at the moment. Did see one grey plover and a big flock of feeding golden plover (285) nearby at Slätteröd.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Foggy Sunday

Did a short session before breakfast at Påarps Mal, but a hard frost overnight meant that the coast was fog bound. As I drove towards the site at dawn I was constantly dodging grounded robins and song thrushes. The car park had a good number of calling brambling too. Out in the gloom I could hear small numbers of grey and golden plover and a lone dunlin.The fog lifted briefly and I enjoyed hunting amongst the goldcrests in the coastal juniper - just one chiffchaff and one blackcap.

After lunch we all went out to check Klarningen to find Martin Åkesson on site, we had a pleasant chat which made up for the low number of birds on site. The geese seem to have gone through and we could only scare up about 100 wigeon, 32 golden plover, a dunlin and 8 ruff. Buzzard migration was obvious though with 55 through in an hour. Big day for them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Leave calmly by the nearest available exit

Plenty on the move today, Sweden is being inexorably drained of migrants. Walked the coast between Norra Ängalag and Ripagården this morning. Raptor migration was noticeable straight off with rough-legged buzzard (1, my first of the autumn) and at least 32 sparrowhawks all in-off. A short stop at Gröthögarna to enjoy this spectacle resulted in five brent geese past close-in and 100+ barnacle geese in a high flock south. Several flocks of jackdaw too this morning. Ripagården had a few birds on the ground, including; lesser black-backed gull (1), grey wagtail (1), blackcap (1), long-tailed tit (8, my first BK birds since January!), willow tit (heard), crested tit (1) and the red-backed shrike (1). Walking back I had a hunting ringtail hen harrier at the back of Gröthögarna.

Picked up the team and we went for a picnic at Dagshög. Not much happening here until a Lapland bunting flew past calling away. Afterwards we checked Torekov harbour (2 guillemots) and the rev which had a single brent goose, four grey plover and a bar-tailed godwit (my latest patch bird). [Others had pale-bellied brent and curlew sandpiper during the day, which would have been nice.]

Friday, October 8, 2010

Big vis mig missed this morning but caught the back-end somehow

Worked in the garden this morning, there was no indication of the epic vismig going on further north and I was happily clueless. We did get out after lunch though and walked Segelstorpsstrand with the kids. There were a few things knocking about here, a wood lark over was nice and redpoll (2), common crossbill (12) and parrot crossbill (7) were all recent arrivals.

Much later Mrs B and I went for a therapeutic walk without the kids between Stora Hultsstrand and Ranarpsstrand. During the walk we had a total of wood lark over south. Big day for wood lark with over 150 south from nearby Grötvik. Other highlights included; barnacle goose (5), red-necked grebe (1), oystercatcher (1), curlew (2), snipe (4), greenshank (1), grey plover (2), wheatear (1) and mistle thrush (7 south). Just one chiffchaff during the day and still no sign of any Siberians.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bawling bairns

Had a noisy and wet hour and a half at Klarningen with a disgruntled and rather stroppy child (Number 2) this morning. When things returned to calm, normality we had a pleasant time watching a small flock of golden plover (60) wheeling in the air above the car, our only refuge from the rain. Also on the ground here were; wigeon (70), teal (60), ruff (2) and snipe (at least 10). You do not have to spend too long at Klarningen before something flies in or past and this morning we were rewarded with 10 white-fronted geese which pitched into the stubble just north of the wetland.

On the way home we stopped off at the top end of Eskilstorpsstrand for red-necked grebe (2), common and velvet scoters and three cracking black-throated divers.

The kids kicked up a rumpus in the afternoon too, so I packed them in the car and we headed out for a walk around Öllövsstrand. This is a lovely bit of countryside, coastal and packed with cover and one day I will find something good here! This afternoon's highlights included fourteen grey partridge, a redstart and a flock of 50 linnets.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Patch tick!

I am not sure my thrash-birding approach to getting over this cold virus is working but at least I am seeing some birds. Kicked off this morning by walking Ripagården to Hovs Hallar, hoping as ever to hear a Siberian warbler or pipit to add to the patch list. No joy on the scarce migrant front but did get some good birds. The best thing was my latest ever red-backed shrike (1K), feeding quietly but looking a little tired (origin?). My first in October. Also here a monumental 10 jays, five over-flying parrot crossbills, a redstart (another October first) and a close white-tailed eagle.

This white-tailed eagle flew up from the beach on the way back to the car at Ripagården this morning.

Drove to Torekov next and was passing the golf course when I saw this hunting...

Ooooh, a 1K red-footed falcon, perhaps only the second recent BK record and an excellent patch-tick.

Yep, a red-foot, got really close and took some truly awful flight images (not the above, took that later...), before it flew off east and away. The photos were so poor, I almost bought a DSLR on the spot. Another day. Headed to the rev next and was surprised to find very few birds on the ground; grey plover (3), dunlin (1) and bar-tailed godwit (1). Had a good look in the woods which produced a few goldcrest, more jays and a nice green woodpecker. As I walked back a lonely brent goose batted past north.

Driving home I could hardly believe my eyes when I spotted this on roadside wires just outside Torekov...

The same wires that gave me a hawk owl last year... It was equally tame and allowed a swift redress of the photographic balance. Sweet!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sandön calling!

Limax maximus - the leopard slug, out during the day at Hasslarp.

Panic on the streets of Sandön.

The culprit, a 2K+ white-tailed eagle.

If these SE winds keep blowing we will be able to walk to Denmark soon. I have never seen Sandön so low.

With errands to run off-patch it was time to hit the coast between Farhult and Sandön in a flurry of flying visits. Also managed to squeeze in a short look at Hasslarps dammar first off. Pretty quiet here despite a good number of wigeon (185), as well as shoveler (10), gadwall (1) and little grebe (1). A few song thrushes knocking about and small flocks of chaffinch were often spotted flying south.

Tried Rönnen first, lured by tales of the flock of little stints that have taken up temporary residence. Six! Fantastic. Also here white-fronted goose (2), ruff (1), spotted redshank (2) and greenshank (1). As I walked back to the car a slow procession of an eventual total of 8 migrating jays drifted west just inland.

Farhult was fabulous. On arrival a very close 1K hen harrier appeared over the dunes and fought with the local crows. All the geese went up - white-tailed eagle and before I could look at it, I noticed a migrating short-eared owl going west offshore. Spoilt for choice, I opted for the owl (a year-tick) and watched its leisurely progress abruptly interupted by a group of greater black-backed gulls. Meanwhile the eagle was casually checking through the geese for the odd lame duck. The geese included a further 12 white-fronts. Plenty of waders here too with oystercatcher (10), avocet (1), ringed plover (3), grey plover (10), knot (2), dunlin (150) and bar-tailed godwit (1). As I trudged back to the car, my peripheral vision noted an Arctic skua harassing a common gull, it quickly gave up and flew off south and inland. Not a bad 55 minutes.

Last stop of the day on this whistle-stop tour was Sandön. The place was packed with geese, all up in the air, as the same white-tailed eagle did the rounds. Fantastic numbers and if I learnt one thing in Norfolk it was how to go through geese. The majority were greylags, but with perhaps 2500 barnacle geese in attendance. It did not take long to get to a count of 23 white-fronts and more diligent searching unearthed two tundra bean geese, a cackling goose (plastic) and best of all a single pink-foot. Gone are the days of the easy pink-footed goose year-tick. Each one is lovingly appreciated and enjoyed nowadays. Other notables here included; water rail (1), grey plover (4), knot (1) and coal tit (1). As I drove back home, the white-tailed eagle followed me into Ängelholm, a huge companion on a great day of local birding.

Monday, October 4, 2010

White-fronts!

Walked between Ranarpsstrand and Segelstorpsstrand this windy morning. A light passage of blue tit, chaffinch, siskin and barn swallow evident. Ranarpsstrand had five migrating white-fronted geese, sneaking through in a flock of greylag geese. Also here grey partridge (2), grey plover (1), curlew (1), dunlin (24), redshank (1, scarce at the moment) and greenshank (2).

Had a good look around at Segelstorpsstrand for migrants, but did not turn up anything. Some good stuff though with a nice adult black-throated diver (1), lesser spotted woodpecker (1) and my first coastal jay on patch. The latter are really moving this autumn.

Back at home, working in the garden was interupted by two hawfinches, giving a few flybys and even landing on occasion.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lazy Sunday afternoon

Anyone for tennis? Best thing today was the currently quite regular red squirrel in the garden. They get more annoying in the winter when they start attacking my fat balls... errm...

Managed a short walk at Killeröd this morning, but I have finally succumbed to a nasty cold after fighting it for a week. Not much seen although willow tit was nice. The probably highlight was a flock of geese, mostly greylag geese but I thought I could hear pink-feet too. The kids were making a racket though and we had to let it go...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

the nutcrackers are coming!

Walked between Norra Ängalag and Ripagården this morning before breakfast. A scattering of migrants evident on the walk with small numbers of song thrush, redwing, fieldfare, chiffchaff and goldcrest. The trees at Ripagården produced a tit flock, including crested (1) and willow (1), but no sign of any Siberian interlopers.

For lunch we all went out to grill stuff over a fire. Tried Glimminge first but too windy (curlew 1). Headed for Eskilstorpsstrand instead. After lunch we walked the beach for black-throated diver (3), Slavonian grebe (2), ringed plover (2 - getting scarce), grey plover (2) and dunlin (5). On the way home we stopped off at Klarningen for a quick look - nothing much to report, just 14 ruff remain. Driving home we found single nutcrackers just outside Båstad and at the top of Sinarpsdalen. Nutcrackers are on the move, brace yourselves!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October!

Enough sun this morning to get the last few Sympetrum danae at Klarningen on the wing.

Well we got to October, conditions look excellent for a 'patch' yellow-browed warbler but can I find one?

Nipped put to Klarningen for two hours before lunch. More work being done on site so after a brief look from under the tower (stairs nearly done!), I went for a walk. The main pool was still hosting the flock of 40 barnacle geese, as well as equally stable counts of wigeon (86), teal (105) and pintail (2). Waders included golden plover (5), dunlin (5), ruff (16) and snipe (6).

The highlight of the walk around the north end was a single jack snipe flushed twice and seen well in flight before it flew across the river to Eskilstorps dammar. Looking over into Eskilstorps dammar produced a single gadwall in amongst the mallard. I still need this for Klarningen but it looked settled today! A glance through a flock of flying wigeon produced a single shoveler. The riverside trees were as usual during migration periods quite good for small birds and produced 5-6 goldcrests, already looks like we are going to see more of these little chaps this year than last autumn.

On the way home more evidence of migration with a hawfinch over the road at Eskilstorp and a jay in Sinarpsdalen. The latter moving in good numbers apparently this autumn.

After lunch went out to pick sloes at Norra Ängalag - rather quiet, although a nice flock of 160 goldenplover on the inland fields. A quick stop for shag at Påarps Mal failed but the garden at the end of the lane had four crossbill and a blackcap.