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.