Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Postcard from Stora Karlsö

Stora Karlsö has been on our list of things to do for some time and last week we got the chance to visit.

Stora Karlsö is a magical place to get away from the crowds, we were lucky in that there were few people staying on the island and no day-trippers in the three days we spent here.

28/5 arrival on the island and afternoon birding
The speedy ferry takes just over half an hour to rush us from Klintehamn to the island. As we near the place the large numbers of razorbills and guillemots becomes apparent. After settling in to our accommodation we all head out for a walk around the west side of the island. At the top of the steps to the lighthouse we are greeted by a song-flighting barred warbler, a splendid sight. Rosefinches and thrush nightingales sang lustily and the sun shone down. Having completed a leisurely circuit it becomes apparent that any migrant woodland passerines were going to be drawn to the big trees around the accommodation at Norderhamn and Hien. I walked these areas again, finding a pair of barred warblers, a red-backed shrike and a late brambling. The best bird though was a hawfinch, flushed from the ground in amongst the scrub at Norderhamn and watched perched in a tree before flying off. [This was to be our best find - not recorded since 2008 and few records before that.] As dusk gathered we enjoyed the hubbub of the nearby auk cliffs and watched as pairs of velvet scoter took exploratory flights into the interior of the island.

29/5 a full day on the island
This was our only full day on the island and it rained through the night and on through the morning. This did nt deter us from tramping about though. A slight fall of spotted flycatchers and red-backed shrikes was evident and we also found two singing male marsh warblers and a female black redstart. The barred warblers performed well and we got great views of various rosefinches.

30/5 last morning
Getting up early to search the cover around the accommodation was a pleasure this morning but the hard work produced little reward, a singing cuckoo being the most exciting new arrival on the island. As we boarded the ferry we heard of a red-breasted flycatcher at Hien, but by then it was too late. It was a shame that there was no organised method of sharing information on the island. There was a whiteboard but it just contained a retrospective list of the best birds seen each day, with no observer names or locations for the birds, which was rather frustrating.

A fantastic place and we all want to go back for a longer stay one day.

Gotland diary

Just back from nine days on Gotland with the family. If you have never been, then go!

21/5 driving to Gotland the long way through Blekinge

Driving cross-country gave me an opportunity of checking a few sites en route and we stopped first at Hercules dammar. A quick look here confirmed that we should try and get back on a camping trip during the summer. A white stork sat on top of a nest at the stork centre and the environs of the pools was busy with dragonflies, with Erythromma najas being a year-tick. A hobby was hunting dragonflies too and high overhead four black terns shuttled between wetlands.

Hercules dammar was a great site, reminiscent of very good 'Broadland' habitat but with more wildlife! This Erythromma najas was my first of the year.

Driving through Blekinge we stopped hopefully at three Coenagrion armatum sites. I was astonished by these spots (they seemed fairly ordinary, I always thought this species was a bit picky habitat-wise). Sadly we failed to turn up the species at any of the sites - too early I guess - but we did find a new Coenagrion lunulatum site near Berntorp.

22/5
We timed our arrival on Gotland perfectly to coincide with Sweden's eighth Western Bonelli's warbler. Just half an hour from where we were staying and quickly under the belt before we went fossil-hunting. In the afternoon I checked out nearby Närsholmen but there was little evidence of a fall. As usual I was surprised to find breeding turnstones, I always think of them breeding further north.

23/5 Torsburgen
Before breakfast I checked a very quiet Närsholmen and then had a look at a new site, the nearby Lausviken. Fantastic spot for waders that produced knot (1 - year-tick)), a flock of 17 broad-billed sandpipers (ditto), 32 dunlin, ruff (2) and greenshank (2). After breakfast I finally got round to checking the cottage garden and found the obligatory male collared flycatcher singing by his nest-box.

Spent the day with the team. The highlight being a sunny walk around the incredible plateau hill-fort at Torsburgen. Bird-wise rather quiet but great for invertebrates with small pearl-bordered fritillary and best of all 1-2 swallowtails (the latter my first in Sweden).

A walk around Torsburgen produced my first Swedish swallowtail butterflies.

24/5 south Gotland
My pre-breakfast look at Närsholmen was rather quiet, just one collared flycatcher. Nearby Lausviken was better though, although I am always a sucker for waders. Today's quota included knot (2), Temminck's stint (1), curlew sandpiper (2, year-tick), dunlin (35) and 16 broad-billed sandpipers. Driving away I finally picked up my first red-backed shrike of the year.


Närsholmen is a great spring orchid spot with plenty of elder-flowered orchids, but interestingly burnt-tip orchids were early this year and got me thinking about trying for Lady's slipper orchid...

Picking up the team we all headed down south. First stop was Grötlingboudd where the hide pool produced a single black-tailed godwit (year-tick) and 8 Temminck's stints. Next stop was Falludden. I really love this site, it has migrant trap written all over it. The marshy woodland here had at least two red-breasted flycatchers, I climbed into one of the large bushes and enjoyed close views of these great little birds. With time pushing on we elected not to visit Stockviken, a move that I was later to regret... It rained most of the afternoon and Hoburgen was deserted, just one yellow wagtail flying about. Back at home I discovered that a white-winged tern had been spotted at Stockviken during the afternoon and so headed back down south after dinner. I had just half an hour on site but this was enough to enjoy the splendid white-winged tern, along with a supporting cast that included a female red-necked phalarope, a Caspian tern, five garganey and some displaying ruff. A good day for birds.

25/5 north to Fårö
My pre-breakfast session at Lausviken produced another different set of birds although the broad-billed sandpipers remained (though just 8 this morning). New in were 35 gadwall, a white-tailed eagle, six Temminck's stints and right out in the middle of the bay a single black-tailed godwit (which eventually flew south right overhead).

Picking up the team once again we headed north. First stop was a chance to look for penduline tit at Landträskdammen. Unfortunately 'we' were quickly distracted by Odonata and found Gotlands first colony of Coenagrion armatum and plentiful Sympecma fusca (both lifers). I was on cloud-9. The armatum find is easily my best to date in dragonfly terms here in Sweden.

Coenagrion armatum

Moving on we headed for some fossil-hunting at Lickershamn, a site that conveniently was also hosting a 2K yellow-billed diver. It took some time to find but I got great views. Also here one black-throated diver (adult) and a single Slavonian grebe. Last year we never got close to visiting the island of Fårö, but with Ma B on board we went the extra mile and got on the ferry and had a fun afternoon looking at the crazy limestone formations on the beach and even managed a fantastic male Montagu's harrier low over the road at one point. But then we had to drive back...

The famous 'rauksteinar' at Langhammar beach on Fårö. Well worth seeing and surrounded by a large Arctic tern colony.

26/5 Kallegateburg
Spurred on by our success with dragonflies we tried to find Sympecma paedisca - a species only known in Sweden from two sites on north Gotland and only recorded in two years by the same couple. Everyone who has searched since has dipped and we too failed to find any despite coming up with plenty of fusca. Both sites were man-made and unremarkable, but I would love to come back at the end of April to have a proper look.

Slavonian grebes breed on many of the waterbodies on Gotland.

The focus of the day though was our visit to nearby Kallegateburg - the famous site for Lady's slipper orchid on Gotland. Fantastic habitat, although very dry this year. Although we had one close encounter with a nutcracker it was the invertebrates and flora that stole the show. Runnels of water next to the boardwalk produced my first Libellula depressa of the year. Boggy pools held raft spider (Dolomedes fimbriata) and the butterflies included my first Swedish little blues, dingy skippers and northern chequered skippers. It was a magic place and then we reached the slipper orchids. Magic, they were just opening, perhaps 5% being properly open and all in mint condition.

A northern chequered skipper at Kallegateburg, I have a feeling this may have been a lifer.

A female Libellula depressa laying eggs on a small stream whilst being buzzed by Libellula quadrimaculata males. The male depressa were busy holding territory overhead.

I do not botanise much but this species has fascinated me for some time. Great to finally get to see it and the site where it is found on Gotland is just superb.

27/5
Spent seven exhausting hours at a kid's amusement park (Pippi Longstocking's place) today and driving home we were rewarded with a corncrake that flew across the road in front of the car at Bjers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

armatum, who art in heaven

Look at the claspers on that! I nearly fainted when I realised what the little green Ischnura-like damsels were that were flying low through marginal vegetation at Landträskdammen this morning.

Hallowed be thy name. Ever since I started looking at dragonflies in 1986 I have wanted to see Coenagrion armatum or Norfolk damselfly. It went extinct in Norfolk in 1957 and has not been seen in the UK since. Well today I found a thriving colony at Landträskdammen in northern Gotland, not only a much-wanted lifer but the first record for the island. Result! Within seconds of identifying my first armatum I turned round and was face to face with my first Sympecma fusca. Too good. Two lifers in two minutes. Also present here were Coenagrion pulchellum, Coenagrion hastulatum, Leucorrhinia rubicunda and Libellula quadrimaculata.


Sympecma fusca - not the most exciting looking of the European Odonates but this one over-winters as an adult which makes it special in my book. My second dragonfly lifer of the day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sun at last

My mate Sam rang me yesterday excited about the sand martin colony in the gravel pit at Förslöv. So the first thing Ma B, Number 2 and I did today was drive down and check it out. It was bustling with activity and there must have been 350 nestholes in the sand-face. Nice one!

Next we went for a short walk around the Killeröd loop, not much bird action here just plenty of singing tree pipits and goldcrests and a single siskin.

Today's sun brought out the insects again, a morning walk aroud the Killeröd loop track produced a few grizzled skippers.

Small coppers are commonly encountered at the moment.

I still find the dubia/rubicunda species pair hard to call, this is dubia (black pterostigma, goodish size black spot in base of forewing). Other good pointers I have noted are the shape of the antehumerals and the distribution of colours on S2 and S3, and the hind wing patches are blunter on dubia (at the trailing edge).

In the afternoon we all checked out Rönnen, hoping for broad-billed sandpipers. We skunked out, despite 16 being reported earlier in the day. We did connect with a pair of garganey, recently hatched lapwings, three Temminck's stints and single bar-tailed godwit, common sandpiper and greenshank. Nearby Sandön was really quiet with just a curlew and three Sandwich terns.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Village birding

A quiet couple of days with some interesting garden action. Yesterday a male pied flycatcher finally returned and started singing in the garden, really late but at least he is back and there are vacant nestboxes, so hopefully a female will be forthcoming. Today the garden produced a black woodpecker and flyover greenshank. A little grebe on the Lindab pools nearby was my first in the village.

I did manage an hour at Klarningen today, which produced a massive count of 22 Temminck's stint - a career best for me and definitely notable, a big day for this species with good numbers elsewhere in the region. Otherwise Klarningen was very quiet with just one wood sandpiper and one common sandpiper. A big movement of swifts was obvious overhead and five wheatears outon the grassland were presumably migrants.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Late purp

Pretty busy day but I managed an hour of birding at each end of the day. An hour at Torekov rev in the morning was fairly quiet, the little ringed plover pair remains and out on the furthest point of the reef was a single purple sandpiper (my latest BK bird by four days). I ducked into the wood briefly before heading off to immerse myself in the liquid singing of a couple of garden warblers and enjoy the effort of the wood warblers.

Håkan rang in the afternoon to tell me about a nice double at Hasslarp - pectoral sandpiper and Mediterranean gull, both found by Mikael Olofsson I think. Perversely it made me head for Klarningen, well you never know! Klarningen was rather quiet though, very few duck present but one of them was a male garganey. Otherwise just two greenshank, four wood sandpipers and two redshank.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More lunulatum found

Spent a couple of hours at Torekov this morning. A pair of little ringed plovers seem to be in residence, explaining the odd flyby sightings of late at the rev. The woods had at least two garden warblers singing amongst the nearly complete ensemble of songsters. Round the back of Flytermossen was a singing thrush nightingale and a hunting hobby.

Checked out the pools at Bösketorp for dragonflies at midday, picking up my first spotted flycatcher of the year in the process. Conditions were less than perfect - quite windy and patchy sun and occasional rain - but I was pleased to find another colony of Coenagrion lunulatum. Also here a few Libellula quadrimaculata, including one watched leaving the water and emerging.

Another colony of Coenagrion lunulatum found today this time at Bösketorp pools. They will probably prove to be widespread in BK. The lack so far can be explained by the fact that I am usually birding solidly until the end of June.

That John Hurt moment - an adult Libellula quadrimaculata emerges at Bösketorp pools.

In the afternoon Team B headed for Rammsjöstrand. The sedge marsh here looks famous for dragonflies but again conditions were less than ideal. Nevertheless it produced small numbers of Coenagrion hastulatum, my first Coenagrion puella of the year, a single Coenagrion pulchellum and the inevitable Libellula quadrimaculata. I think this site is outside any of my Atlas squares but I am going to keep an eye on it all the same. Nearby at the new wetland I was pleased to find at least three little ringed plovers and a couple of wood sandpipers.

Another look at Coenagrion hastulatum, this one from Rammsjöstrand.

Female Coenagrion pulchellum are variable!

My first Coenagrion puella of the year was kicked up at Rammsjöstrand today.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

All quiet on the western front

Headed out to tramp around Gröthögarna this morning. I gave it a good go but the highlight was three singing icterine warblers. Also though an increase to four thrush nightingales, the pair of cranes and a hawfinch. The 'best' bird though came at the end near the car park at Norra Ängalag, a flyby collared dove - a new bird for Gröthögarna.

We all headed out for lunch at Klarningen, but they were working on the site with tractors... Ground-nesting birds get pretty short shrift here sadly. At least they did not harrow them this year I suppose. The best birds were a pair of grey partridge, a species hard hit by last winter and these were my first this year and the first reported in BK too. Good to have them back at this regular site. Whilst we lunched I spotted single greenshank and wood sandpiper and a pair of cranes migrated overhead. Water levels continue to drop, why don't they turn the wind-pump on? I guess I will have to ask!

The rest of the cool and overcast afternoon was spent looking for dragonflies in hardly ideal conditions. We checked out the lake at Pennebo, thinking it was in Skåne and would count for the Atlas, only to find out later that it was in Halland! It looks a great site though and we will go back. Dragonflies on the wing here were Pyrrhosoma nymphula, Coenagrion hastulatum, Leucorrhinia rubicunda and Libellula quadrimaculata. The weather and time got the best of us but we dropped in on Gånarp too for more Coenagrion hastulatum, Leucorrhinia rubicunda and Libellula quadrimaculata. Another off-patch site to revisit next month.

Plenty of teneral Coenagrion hastulatum at Pennebo and a few good males.

Leucorrhinia rubicunda was seen at both sites covered today, this one at Gånarp.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Luck of the Irish

Had my first BK swift at last as I came over Salomonhög at midday. The Scandinavian high has broken down now and we have cloudy unsettled weather. Still warm enough for dragonfly action though so after lunch I headed out to Hålehallstugan.

In June 2008 I found a single male Coenagrion lunulatum (my first) at Hålehallstugan and have seen none since. I went back this afternoon and found about 35 individuals at the site. So far the only colony known in BK.

Cordulia aenea were emerging too, these guys wander away from the shoreline to emerge. The furthest exuviae today were about 20 metres from the water's edge!

My first female Coenagrion lunulatum - a plumage tick, that blue S8 mark is a good tell.

It was a good session, because I confirmed the presence of a colony of Coenagrion lunulatum (only the second time I have seen this species). Also here Libellula quadrimaculata and Cordulia aenea. Birds noted included a green sandpiper, 30-odd sand martin, sedge and reed warbler singing and a monster hawfinch just over my head. On the way home I checked out Ranarpsstrand, but I don't think I have ever seen it quieter, just one male gadwall and a flyby little tern.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blue-tail

Highlight of a short amount of time in the field today was this Ischnura elegans, my tenth odonate of the year.

Took things easy after yesterday's night session. Had an hour to look at Norra Ängalag (two dunlin) and Torekov rev (fluffy eider and a whinchat). A new odonate for the year was a single male Ischnura elegans. Soon be time to hunt for pumilio.

Great snipe!

Took the kids out after school for a picnic tea at Klarningen. We were hoping for some rain - a novelty these days - but we just missed it. Klarningen was quiet (well, until we arrived); Temminck's stint (3), ruff (3) and wood sandpiper (15). I kept shushing over-the-top exuberance and eventually heard a distant grasshopper warbler (by the river?). At 1720 I heard a possible great snipe!! The kids sat quietly for a while but the bird did not call again and in the end we had to get home.

Luckily I was able to get back again for dusk and try and confirm the record. A flock of 38 goldeneye flying by must have been migrating. My return trip paid off handsomely when a quail started singing at dusk, probably from across the river. I was starting to have doubts about the great snipe, when just after 2130 a bird started bibbling strongly for about five minutes. There were probably two birds in the end with singing from two different locations, although I never heard both at the same time. A great BK tick and perhaps the first singing spring bird ever, Klarningen produces the goods yet again. On the way home I bumped into a tawny owl on a fencepost.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden century and more dragonflies

The aptly-named variable damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum) - one of a bunch of Odo year-ticks at Eskilstorps dammar today.

The day started well with a shelduck whizzing past the house and then whizzing back the way it came just for good measure - species number 100 on the garden list!

Dropped in on Petersberg and sat by the river for a while at lunchtime (hoping for kingfisher) but had to settle for two common sandpipers and a pair of grey wagtail. Walked into Eskilstorps dammar next hoping for some Odonata action on a baking hot May day. Everything is early this year and I was not disappointed. The walk in resulted in at least 8 whinchat and five wheatears. This chain of pools situated alongside the river looks like it has great dragonfly potential and certainly produced some interesting early species today; Pyrrhosoma nymphula (1), Coenagrion pulchellum (50), Coenagrion hastulatum (1), Enallagma cyathigerum (10), Brachytron pratense (4), Cordulia aenea (2), Leucorrhinia rubicunda (4) and Libellula quadrimaculata (10). Also map butterfly on the wing here. A few birds noted too with little ringed plover (pair), wood sandpiper (8) and sedge warbler (1). Over on Klarningen a single male shoveler caught the eye but then I had to yomp for the car and get on with other things...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Klarningen garganey drought breaks

Migration in Sweden has been ongoing since the end of February, but we are now entering the exciting phase (at least for former UK birders like me). The later arriving migrants such as honey buzzard, red-backed shrike and icterine warbler all having a special cachet for me. This honey buzzard spotted from the car today was my first this year.

I always try and spend my birthday in the field and today was no exception. Kicked off early morning at Klarningen and finally found a pair of garganey at the site, these should be regular spring birds from now on I reckon. Also here were eight rather elusive Temminck's stints, nine ruff, one common sandpiper, at least 40 wood sandpipers and three whinchat. Cuckoos have arrived in force now, with singing birds or females at all today's sites.

After picking up the team and dropping Number 1 at school we headed to Hasslarps dammar. Birdsong filled the air, with grasshopper warbler (1), reed warbler (2) and sedge warbler (4+) singing away. Overhead two swifts added themselves to the year-list. Waders included common sandpiper (1), greenshank (1) and wood sandpiper (15). Driving away from the site we stopped just north of Hasslarp village for a migrating honey buzzard - another year-tick.

We just had time to check Sandön and Rönnen before picking up Number 1 from school. Sandön was very low, with plenty of exposed rocks and sand. Highlights in 40 minutes of spotting included; bar-tailed godwit (10), spotted redshank (5), greenshank (5) and an immaculate adult little gull.

Rönnen was even quicker but we just had time to look at Lilla Viken - six Temminck's stints stole the show here, otherwise quiet with just one ruff and one wood sandpiper.

After picking up Number 1 we headed for a birthday picnic at Ranarpsstrand. Sitting in the sun, sheltered from the SE wind it was all very pleasant. Out on the rocks sat an untidy huddle of nine ruff, also here one gadwall and one shoveler. Lounging back and relaxing, I occasionally scanned the skies and the approaches. I was delighted to pick up two black terns, that drifted down to have a look at the rocks before slowly gaining height and drifting north. Superb and a great end to our time in the field today. The last few days has seen a huge movement of black terns, just glad to have cashed in on it - only my second BK record!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gröthögarna magic

The best bird at Gröthögarna this morning was this short-eared owl, only my second in BK.

Another morning session on Gröthögarna for me today. I have birded this area reasonably consistently for four years and so was overjoyed to get three site ticks in four hours! A great session. Walking the back trail against the light at the start of the walk was almost immediately brightened up by a soaring short-eared owl, which floated about idly sparring with a marsh harrier before drifting off. Birds had dropped out all over the site, good numbers of whinchat and grey-headed wagtail evident and a few pied flycatchers. The thrush nightingale was singing away lustily - still no others in BK, a late arrival for this species this year. Walking on into Ripagården I was overtaken by a male pochard heading north, my first for the site. The reedbed still had a singing reed warbler, with sedge warbler singing nearby too. The final icing on the cake came back near the car at Norra Ängalag - a reeling grasshopper warbler. Offshore on Tjällran sat a single turnstone. Great session.

Two cranes remains at Gröthögarna.

In the afternoon we walked Vasaltheden (marsh harrier) and nearby Glimminge (hobby) and checked out Greviebackar for pasque flowers. Nice day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Here be dragons!

First brood of goldeneye this morning at Petersberg. Aaaah!

Kicked off quite early at Eskilstorpsstrand this morning. Plenty going on here with more red-throated diver migration evident (just 100 knocking about off BK but bigger numbers just to the north). Three summer-plumaged long-tailed ducks were nice to see although distant. The best bird was a male garganey hammering south - is that it then? Eight little gulls came in close and landed nearby for a while too, magic birds. Other notables included; black-throated diver (2), great crested grebe (5), and greenshank (1).

Klarningen next, where a big wader influx has occurred since I last looked in. Pick of the crop were four fantastic Temminck's stints, but also 12 ruff and 35 wood sandpipers in this morning. Other birds here included little ringed plover (2 pairs) and a calling cuckoo. Dropped in on Petersberg in time to see a goshawk being escorted off the premises by two irate hooded crows. Also here a singing sedge warbler and a fly-over hawfinch.

Spent the rest of the day with Team B tramping around a few wetlands in the sun and scaring up four species of Odonata; Leucorrhinia dubia at Bränneslätt mosgöl, Pyrrhosoma nymphula at Frestenfälla and Coenagrion hastulatum and Libellula quadrimaculata at Lya. It seems too early for all these species!

Quite a few emerging Leucorrhinia at Bränneslätt mosgöl today, all the ones we got a look at were dubia.


Pyrrhosoma on the wing to, here at Frestenfälla, a reliable site for this species.

Number 1 spotted this grizzled skipper at Frestenfälla and shouted 'Do I get an ice-cream?' Mmmm ice-cream moments.

Map butterflies are smart little chaps, again Frestenfälla is a reliable site for this species too.

A new site near Lya looks like it might have potential, this Coenagrion hastulatum was another year-tick.

We watched this Libellula quadrimaculata in the final stages of emergence. Furry little fellows!

Wings pumped and ready for flight. The dragonfly season is off!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Marvelous May

Nipped out for a couple of hours walking around Gröthögarna this sunny morning. Whitethroats have arrived in force now, many males singing on the walk round. A light passage of tree pipits and barnacle geese was evident overhead. A singing thrush nightingale was a pleasant year-tick and out on the marsh a pair of cranes were bugling. Stopping for half an hour at Norra Ängalag produced a few waders - whimbrel (1), common sandpiper (1), green sandpiper (2N), greenshank (2) and turnstone (1). In a nearby bush my first BK sedge warbler of the year chattered away. Walking back to the car I muttered to myself that I had deserved an ortolan or a wryneck, when I looked up to see a wryneck perched up on a juniper! Nice one.

In the afternoon Mrs B and I headed out to check Ranarpsstrand. It looked quiet but a thorough check of the offshore rocks produced some great birds. The stars were a superb pair of garganey, only my second BK record (the first also at Ranarpsstrand). A single avocet flew in and started to feed - another BK year-tick. Also here gadwall (2), shoveler (3), whimbrel (6), common sandpiper (1) and yellow wagtail (9). Driving round Stora Hult we stopped to admire a migrating osprey at Lervik. Stora Hult was quiet, a few red-necked grebes offshore and a gang of 12 sand martins. No rotting seaweed on the beach so we walk south off-patch to Vejbystrand and check the beach there. More weed means more birds - two avocets, two common sandpipers and six more yellow wagtails.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grey-headed wagtails moving

Had a bit of time in the afternoon to check out Klarningen and a few sites up on the hill. Klarningen is drying fast but looks good for waders still. Ducks have moved on though, just three teal and a handful of mallard remain. I am amazed that the site did not attract a garganey this spring, still time I suppose. Waders included the usual residents plus one greenshank and 16 wood sandpipers. At the back at least four yellow wagtails, included my first grey-headed wagtails of the year.

Up at Frestensfälla a cuckoo was singing. Nearby at Hulrugered, I screeched to a halt for a female ring ouzel, typically shy I never saw it well except in flight. In the same hedgeline were two male redstarts, four song thrushes and a pied flycatcher. Last stop of the day was at Ehrenstorp where a big flock of grey-headed wagtails (30+) and meadow pipits (40) were feeding in a recently harrowed field. Also a female whinchat here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An hour in the field

Spent half an hour at Rålehamn at lunch time, despite the sunny weather a brutal cold NE wind kept things on the chilly side. Not much moving along the coast, just a few things hunkered down out of the wind - teal (1), shoveler (1) and greenshank (1). I spent the rest of my hour walking Flytermossen (Torekov), quiet here with no Acro song just two common sandpipers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A brace of year-ticks

Nipped out early this morning to search for both ring ouzel and wryneck recorded near my house on the 1st. No joy but did get grey wagtail at Sinarpsdalen, they obviously breed here, but no sign of any black redstarts this morning.

Spent an hour at Torekov rev too, where my first turnstone of the year was strutting up and down the jetty, other highlights here; the flighty little ringed plover again, purple sandpiper (2), a wood warbler and another grey wagtail.

In the afternoon, I managed an hour-and-a-half divided between Sandön and Rönnen. At Sandön I was oblivious to a nearby stonechat and so did not see it, but that kept things pure at least! Some good birds here as usual with a fine osprey struggling with a large sea-trout, four bar-tailed godwits, five greenshank and three excellent little gulls. Rönnen was better with a nice pair of garganey, little ringed plover (1), Temminck's stint (1 - another year-tick), dunlin (2), spotted redshank (1), greenshank (2) and wood sandpiper (1). Five or six blue-headed wagtails looked superb tripping about on the short sward.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nice hobby

Had an hour and a half walking Gröthögarna in the middle of the day after waiting in vain for a chimney sweep to turn up. Grrrr! Gröthögarna was pretty quiet, a few terns and swallows were drifting north and I had my second whitethroat of the year. Frustratingly the first dragonfly of the year shot by - probably a Libellula quadrimaculata. The best bird came on the way home - smart hobby crossing the road at Slättaröd.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Swedish tick - third time lucky!

After a leisurely start to the day Team B headed north off-patch to nearby Påarp, our third attempt in as many years to twitch a nearby black scoter. This attempt differed though in that we actually saw the bird, albeit at long range! Nice bird and with just 20 common scoters. It should come round BK on it's way south... Strong supporting cast this morning at Påarp with a staggering 950 oystercatcher and 75 whimbrel. Seventy-five! Other wildfowl included gadwall (pair), pintail (16) and shoveler (6). Superb.

Some observers counted 1700 oystercatcher at the site in the morning. I could not get the roosting flock present during my time at the site over 950 though and photos back this up.

The huge flock of 75 whimbrel at Påarp was rather fluid with birds heading east on migration and others dropping in. The volume of calls was wonderful. Great birds.

After Påarp there was time to check the dunes at Tönnersa strand. I yomped up and down recording a few notable birds; red-necked grebe (10), crane (9 north), black woodpecker (heard) but no interesting migrants.

We had to stop at Klarningen briefly as we were passing, water levels still declining and wood sandpiper numbers may also have peaked, just 20 today. Other waders of note; little ringed plover (1), ruff (4) and greenshank (2). Also a 2K lesser black-backed gull and two yellow wagtails here. Driving home over the top we had a pair of cranes at Atteköp and a soaring goshawk over Sinarpsdalen. Great Sunday birding.