Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
At Yehayu, after negotiating the fence around the site, highlights included a black bittern (1, a great rarity in this part of China and at this late date too), great egret (1), grey heron (1), upland buzzard (3), great bustard (2 flying past), black-headed gull (2), a common kingfisher dying on the ice, Naumann’s thrush (1), chinese penduline tit (heard only) and pine bunting (2). A tolai hare here was nice too. Towards the end of the day we started losing momentum from fatigue and headed for Jesper’s home for an enjoyable evening meal.
The next day we headed out again, this time to the botanical gardens on the outskirts of Beijing. In the garden proper were berry-laden bushes with plenty of light-vented bulbuls and both dusky and Naumann’s thrushes in good numbers. Azure-winged magpies were common and three introduced crested mynas flew over. At least two Chinese grosbeaks perched up nicely for scope views. We checked an area of conifers briefly for Chinese nuthatch and then moved on to tackle the ridge behind the gardens for a few special birds. The ridge walk produced a small group of curious plain laughingthrushes and we heard the Chinese hill warbler.When we finally got down (after searching in vain along the busy paths for Siberian accentor) and found a pair of very busy Chinese nuthatches storing pine nuts for the winter. A great bird. A good flock of Pallas’ warblers was present here too, we had seen odd individuals during the day and also a handful of red-flanked bluetails. Mammals seen here were red and Père David’s rock squirrels. Another great day out.
So huge thanks to Terry and Libby, I sat on my flight to Delhi absolutely exhausted after 48 hours non-stop socialising and birding - a great stay in Beijing.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
In the afternoon I suddenly found out that there had been a Siberian chiffchaff at Öllövsstrand yesterday, so off I went late in the day for a fruitless search of the coastal scrub. Vasaltheden produced the only good bird of the afternoon, a 1K peregrine flying past south.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
A quick look at Petersberg revealed that the tufted duck flock has swollen to 60 but there was little else to excite.
Last stop of the day was Malen, where predictably the kingfisher zoomed past. The shoreline vegetation had a handful of redpoll and a crested tit called in the background. Out at sea the surf scoter pursued it's solo career but a huge tonnage of sea-duck are drifting south towards it and I fear it may get harder to see. The seaducks north of here included 150 eider and perhaps 170 scaup but they were too far for an accurate count/identification.
Spent the afternoon in the garden but it was peaceful, just a few redpolls over.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
In the afternoon we lunched at Dagshög under a blue sky - just 92 golden plover over and a goshawk through on the way back to the car. Mrs B dropped me at the bottom of Sinarpsdalen on the way back to chase Martin Ekenberg's pygmy owl but all I got was a decent walk home. Highlights of the trek were a very vocal great grey shrike and a single hawfinch.
Friday, November 4, 2011
As I drove home a text message came through that Olof Jönsson (of Corvo 2009 fame and Swedish birding royal) had found a 1K Richard's pipit at Torekov! Back at home though the team were far from prepared to hit the field and the next 20 minutes strained matrimonial relations somewhat. But with a BBQ packed and the kids dressed we headed off and arrived to find a small gallery enjoying the bird. Sadly it was not in very good shape, limping heavily with a damaged right leg. Great to see it though and despite it's injury it was feeding strongly on the swarms of flies, brought out by the sun and mild temperature. Nice BK tick and great to be able to watch it for 20 minutes before heading south for a grilled sausage with the team.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Having dropped off Ma B at the train station for her return to Blighty, I ran some errands and then headed for nearby Klarningen. Just as I made the turn off the main road the phone went, an SMS stating that an adult gyr falcon had been seen an hour before on Tjällran. I reversed back onto the road and within twenty minutes was at Norra Ängalag quizzing a falcon sitting facing me on the distant island. No way of knowing if this was the same bird but I doubt it, because it was a peregrine! The poor light and longish range were not ideal for being sure though and I gave this bird a thorough going over just to make sure I had got it right. A quick video through the scope and I was happy. Well, actually pretty unhappy as gyr is one of my most-wanted BK birds.
During this process I had occasionally heard a strange nasal 'tchuee' call from nearby. Checking the bushes produced a departing goldcrest flock but the calls stopped and I went on with my falcon. I got home, checked things through, put on Calls of Eastern Vagrants in the background and my heart sank when the CD got to Pallas's warbler... Pretty inexcusable. You snooze, you lose. I got back in the car and headed back but a good walk around the area in the gathering dusk failed to turn up the goldcrest flock, just a single wheatear.
Thanks go to Thomas Svanberg for translating the gyr falcon BMS alarm onto the local SMS network which at least got me close to some birds today!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Klarningen was the next stop and rather routine it was until too I heard a sandpiper flying in from the north. WTF! It was a wood sandpiper and dropped in on the main pool, strutted about a bit, had a wash and then headed south. A really late record and my first in BK since early September! The weather is unseasonally mild and there are going to be plenty of late records to be had I think. The two ringtail hen harriers were still on site and other highlights included three shoveler (my first in November) and a little grebe.
Picking up Ma B and the kids we headed out for lengthy tour of BK. First stop was Axelstorps Ravine. No sign of any dippers here in a quick look. Lunched at Kattvik harbour where a solitary red-necked grebe bobbed about and then headed Gröthögarna where we had a great walk. Highlights here included my first November wheatear, 35 waxwing, a showy great grey shrike and a late flying female Aeshna mixta. Last stop of the day under a weak sun was a quick look at Torekov, the rocks south of the harbour had just two shags and then it was time for home.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Hit Båstad at dawn today hoping for a kingfisher year-tick but the little bugger is proving incredibly difficult. It has been reported daily for about a week, but it must be hiding up under the wooden walkways or flying in occasionally from the Stensån because I cannot find it. Frustrating.
But a thorough going over of the harbour did produce some good birds; the surf scoter and little auk remain entertaining numerous visitors, also here a huge and noisy flock of 300+ waxwing, a black redstart, and late chiffchaff and blackcap.
Klarningen was pretty quiet, the flock of teal (180) also contained a few wigeon (5) and shoveler (3). Two ringtail hen harriers hunted over the wetand and a rough-legged buzzard hovered out the back. On the way home I dropped into Petersberg for a quick look and was surprised to find 47 tufted duck in residence and the flock included a single female scaup (my first freshwater one in BK). Two little grebe here too. Six hawfinch passed over high, calling that high-pitched "tsrrii" flight-call that is often a giveaway to their presence overhead.
In the afternoon we all headed out to look at Farhult and Sandön. Farhult was quiet, no geese here just 9 Slavonian grebes and a lonely shelduck of note. Driving round to Sandön via Stureholm produced a single great grey shrike and again no geese. However when we got to Sandön we found plenty of geese. At least 1000 barnacles and 500 greylag but the only other species I could find were white-fronted geese (about 44).
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Morning birding around Gröthögarna for me this morning. Slightly foggy start but it burned off quickly leaving me scratching about for birds. A few goldcrest flocks provided some excitement. All the highlights came at Ripagården; black woodpecker (1) and black redstart (1), although Dalen had two wheatears again and Norra Ängalag a massive total of 12 collared doves!
In the afternoon we all went for a walk around the harbour at Båstad. The surf scoter seems to be making itself at home, together with a female scaup, just offshore. Really rather obliging. Likewise the little auk has made itself comfortable. New birds today though were at least 25 waxwing, another black redstart and a single chiffchaff.
A quick look at Klarningen on the way home failed ot produce anything noteworthy.
Friday, October 28, 2011
A mild, calm, perpetually grey day. I was out all day getting some walking in ahead of an upcoming panda thrash in China. I hope I will be fit enough, bamboo always grows on such steep slopes... and pandas only grow on bamboo!
Effectively covered the stretch of coast between Vejbystrand and Glimming plantering today. That's a lot of mileage and with minimal return today sadly. Highlights were the long-staying 1K great skua (still happily married to his porpoise corpse) at Stora Hultstrand, nine twite at the same location, two redshank, a wheatear and a Lapland bunting at Ranarpsstrand and a curlew at Segelstorpsstrand. At the turning point at Glimminge I bagged a chiffchaff. Still plenty of invertebrates about and a good show of late migrants, but nothing to compare with the isabelline wheatear on nearby Kullaberg.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Moving onto Malen, I was hoping for a kingfisher, they have been scarce this year in BK but recently birds have been reported from this location. I still need it for the year so will have to track them down. No luck today, but did see the 1K surf scoter again and also had the little auk (again).
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I headed out for a three hour walk around the Gröthögarna circuit and it was very quiet. Thrushes were much in evidence though, fieldfares overhead and a slight fall of robins and blackbirds apparent. Otherwise vis mig was poor. Two wheatears on the weed at Dalen were nice late birds. I encountered the occasional small group of tits and goldcrests in the junipers but camping with them failed to produce any glory. The plantation at Ripagården was deathly quiet. The big surprise of the morning was a water rail, flushed from the base of a stone wall at Dalen, where it was attempting to hide. A definite new-in migrant then!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Been busy the last few days but got out for three hours this afternoon and headed for Torekov. The easterly winds are driving the sea as low as I have ever seen it and there was plenty of habitat to comb through at the rev. I gave it a good go but could not find the recently reported purple sandpiper, but did get a single grey plover and a redshank. The latter my first in BK for six weeks, they seem to be scarce everywhere in Sweden at the moment. Two small flocks of brent geese went south during my watch, totalling 15 birds, it is turning into a good autumn for this species. Also three gannets milling about. I left after a sub-adult white-tailed eagle repeatedly buzzed the rev driving everything away. I think it had its eyes on a dead eider near my position, so I walked off to check the rather quiet woodland inland and left it to it.
Last stop of the day was Påarps Mal where the shoreline produced another redshank and the rocky offshore outcrops at least two shags. Then all the birds were put up again, this time by a hovercraft...
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Plenty of in-off finch action on the headland this morning with high flocks coming in from the west and just carrying on east overhead. At least thirty crossbill in amongst the commoner species and a low Lapland bunting called a few times overhead but did not appear to drop in. Bullfinches have started to appear in small numbers with at least eight during the walk. Gannets milled about offshore.
Ripagården produced the best birds in some ways with two grey wagtails, a great grey shrike and my first waxwings of the autumn (25 streaking south).
Picking up the team we all walked to the sea down Sinarpsdalen. I was hoping to make contact with the 1K golden eagle I saw sneaking along Hallandåsen and probably into BK two days ago. Just before lunch I got text telling me there was one offshore on Hallands Väderö. Well at least we knew which direction it would come from if it came our way! We had lunch at a suitable vantage point and blow me if the bird did not turn up flying in from the west just as we were packing up; a nice clean 1K bird and my first in BK since December 2007! It was also 221 for the year! Following close behind it was a rough-legged buzzard.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
In the afternoon we all went down to Båstad to look again at the juvenile surf scoter. There it floated, hardly changed position since yesterday, ten gannets fed behind it out in the bay. A walk up to Hemmeslövsstrand produced little of note, although we found a surprising number of 1K black-headed gull wings and a few dead auks.
The winds are going east for the first time in ages, it looks good for a BK yellow-browed warbler, but where to look?
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Off to to the sea at Ripagården for me today for a six-hour seawatching session that was full of birds and exciting moments, but failed to deliver anything heavy-weight sadly. Winds are on the light side and SW but veered west during the day. Huge numbers of gannets on the move today, I logged 222! In amongst these seabirds I teased out three fulmars (all late in the session), a massive 15 great skuas, one little gull and three little auks. The other big movers today were kittiwakes (52). Eider were moving too with 99 past and I also had two long-tailed ducks heading south.
Raptor migration provided a little entertainment too with hen harrier (1), goshawk (1), sparrowhawk (4), merlin (1) and last but not least my third BK short-eared owl and my first in-off. Fantastic stuff.
Winds continue to blow but from the NW in the morning, so I know where I will be!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
First stop with Mrs B was a half hour session at Kattvik. This totally persuaded me that seabirds were moving with gannet (20) and kittiwake (2) past. But it was better for late waders with the common sandpiper still in residence and a greenshank over south calling. The black redstart was still hopping about on the bank of seaweed here too.
Delivering Mrs B to her doom I spent the next hour-and-a-half sitting at Båstad, enjoying the best seawatching of the day. Plenty of gannets here too with 67 logged west, just one kittiwake though. A superb close flock of 100+ scaup swept past - the Laholmsbuktens wintering flock doing a flyby. Not one but three sooty shearwaters appeared, one flying close by for a season's best view. Other highlights included; Slavonian grebe (1), great skua (3), little gull (1K) and little auk (1). Then it was time to pick up a barely human Mrs B and go get some lunch.
In the afternoon I managed two-and-a-half hours at Ripagården, where it was more of the same really with Slavonian grebe (1), gannet (49), nine great skuas (huge) and two more little auks. Not a bad session but no year-ticks for me.
Late on Number 2 and I headed up the hill off-patch at Tockarp for some walking, bumping into yet another great grey shrike.
More seawatching tomorrow...
Monday, October 17, 2011
Had a three hour walk around Gröthögarna and Ripagården this morning. A light southerly breeze kept me company. Visible migrants were finchy and thrushy today with two goldfinch, five twite and one redpoll competing in the sky with a good number of redwing and a few fieldfare. One mistle thrush was amongst the many thrushes gorging on berries on the headland. A 1k peregrine tabbing south may well have been migrating too. One of the best birds of the walk was yet another great grey shrike, it will be a record month for this species for me no doubt.
Ripagården produced another 1K wheatear, a fresh-plumaged and strikingly rufous bird. A good look in the plantation produced just goldcrests and the usual suspects (including at least one crested tit). The walk back was enlivened by bumping into a female lesser spotted woodpecker, a real surprise.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
That said, I put some time in today and nothing amazing materialised just some nice birds. Kicked off at Klarningen at first light. The pools held 11 whooper swans, which moved on fairly quickly once the sun got going. The greylag goose flock pulled down a single white-fronted goose during the hour I spent going through the wildfowl. Fifteen shoveler remain and the teal flock numbered 250 this morning. The great grey shrike remains and was chasing fieldfares today, it seems particularly pugnacious this one. I spent another hour tramping about in the stubble, hoping for something good but had to settle for linnets and skylarks, before heading for Eskilstorppstrand. Nice flattish sea here but nothing offshore and little overhead action either. Looking north into Skummeslövsstrand produced more in the way of seaduck including 17 scaup and one long-tailed duck.
In the afternoon we al went for a walk along the shore between Ranarpsstrand and Segelstorpsstrand. A peregrine was sitting out on Grytskären and the foreshore had a small number of twite, my first of the autumn. Offshore at least five Slavonian grebes, keeping company with a brace of red-neckeds. The sunny weather produced a red admiral sighting, going south. Best bird here though was my latest BK wheatear, a very rusty 1K individual that was not from round here. Segelstorpsstrand had another Slavonian grebe and the gardens produced two chiffchaffs.
On the way home we stopped briefly at Ljungbyholm for 350 golden plover and a great grey shrike.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Damaged herring and dead birds presumably discarded by fisherman at Kattvik after the storm, this haul included a 1K red-throated diver, two razorbill and two guillemots. I hate mono-fil netting!
After Kattvik I checked out Torekov rev (just 64 wigeon of note) and then walked the woods hoping hoping for a yellow-browed warbler. Just one flock located and all it contained were goldcrests and the usual suspects.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
More seawatching for me this morning. I arrived fashionably late yet again at Yttre Kattvik to find no parking space in the carpark and the news that I had missed a Sabine's gull and the entire gallery had missed another great northern diver, reported at sites either side as it went west. That's seawatching! Settled down quickly and enjoyed a two-hour spell that produced; fulmar (6), sooty shearwater (1), gannet (38), knot (1), pomarine skua (1K), great skua (6), kittiwake (65) and one little auk. But still no Leach's petrels or red phalaropes, so when a significant contingent departed for Båstad mid-morning I went too and this paid off handsomely.
The first hour at Båstad was incredible. Arriving we were straight on to a red phalarope just off the pier. A 1K Sabine's gull followed quickly and then the first of two Leach's petrels. Great stuff. Also here seven brent geese (west), a scaup west, three little gulls and a close little auk.
During the morning someone told me that a Sabine's gull had been reported on a ploughed field east of Båstad. With a sinking feeling I presumed that it was on the fields along the access track to Klarningen [and this did indeed turn out to be the case]. So when Båstad had produced the goods I nipped up to see if the Sabine's gull was still there. It had gone, but the site's first little gull (an adult) had taken it's place. A quick look at the wetland revealed nothing untoward.
Last stop of the day was a quick 40 minutes at Eskilstorpsstrand, this proved to be inspired as I shared the beach with a fantastic 1K Sabine's gull that shuttled up and down the beach.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Had a great sea-watching session today but I missed two good birds, one a BK tick, so it was a bitter-sweet experience. I spent five hours at Yttre Kattvik, arriving to find a quality team had already assembled and recorded a great northern diver. Not much I could do about that.
Loads of birds going past, with the flavours of the day being great skua (12+,but uncountable really), kittiwake (241, BK year-tick...) and razorbill (49). Last week's favourite the gannet could only muster 38 individuals today. Other highlights included two Slavonian grebes, four fulmar, three sooty shearwaters (BK year-tick), a rough-legged buzzard in-off, two Arctic skuas, a little gull and five little auks (another BK year-tick). Without a doubt though the best bird was a really close adult Sabine's gull, sauntering past with a gang of kittiwakes. Adults are very scarce in Sweden and this one was very late. Terns were typically scarce with just one Sandwich and two Arctics past. Other non-seabird notables were a great grey shrike and a grey wagtail.
With just 1.5 hours remaining and with no sign of a Leach's petrel I decided to head to Båstad and try there. This was my downfall, had I stayed I would have been the proud owner of a second-hand Cory's shearwater... Gutting. But Båstad is good for close views of things and in the hour here I got great views of five great skuas, a frisky flyby little auk and also a tired-looking little auk which motored into the harbour and back out again. A single barn swallow enjoyed the late afternoon sun.