Wednesday, September 19, 2012

postcard from mexico

First day of the tour to northern Mexico included my first ever encounter with the unbelievable filigree skimmer (Pseudoleon superbus) an absolute stunner.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

wildfowl count

 Two brent goose at Torekovs rev were the highlight of a rapid wildfowl count this morning. A BK year-tick.

It's that time of year again and before jetting off to Mexico I had to dash round counting the wildfowl between Dagshög and Hovs Hallar. September counts are always much lighter than January ones in terms of numbers, so this made the task easier. I normally enjoy the walk but with time running out I had to do it by car for the first time. Highlights along this stretch of coast were; brent goose (2 at Torekovs rev), pintail (2 at the rev), shoveler (2 at Norra Ängalag), bar-tailed godwit (3 at the rev) and three grey plovers (Torekov).

better than nothing

Despite good seawatching conditions at a great time of year I could only put in three hours at the beginning of the day yesterday. I spent my time at Båstad for a change. Winds were a little too light and not much came past close during the session. In these  lighter westerlies, things pop up at different locations and getting everything from one spot is difficult. I plugged away amazed by the steady passage of guillemots in a thin stream, had a couple of long-tailed skuas and enjoyed the small flock of six 1K little gulls feeding just offshore. A merlin stormed south and at least two marsh harriers came in-off. Needless to say things got much better after I left but I thankfully did not miss anything major!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

garden tick!

Had an hour at Klarningen this morning - a brief respite in an otherwise busy day. A few passerines notably some noisy skylarks, four wheatears and at least six whinchat. Waders were scarce but included one little ringed plover (my first here for some time) but otherwise just ten ruff and a greenshank present. A peregrine went through just before I dragged myself away.

Later in the day a taxi-run produced close views of a goshawk and as I locked the car a wood sandpiper called 3-4 times flying over west. Sweet, my first garden tick for some time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


 Ovipositing Aeshna mixta, the most common dragonfly on the wing at this time of the year.

Had a great walk out on Monday morning last but have been too busy doing office-work and getting the garden in shape ahead of my trip to northern mexico next week to blog it out. Walked Gröthögarna up to Ripagården and back. The highlight was a poor encounter with the bluethroat near Norrebrohamn, whiclt trying to find it though a red-throated pipit flew over south. The bushes were not exactly heaving with migrants but there was a steady trickle of sub-saharan stuff and finches were noticeable for perhaps the first time this autumn...

 Aeshna mixta

 A common wasp chewing the head off a Lestes sponsa!

In the afternoon taking advantage of some quite warm weather I hunted dragonflies at a few sites around BK - Aeshnas were dominant with grandis, cyanea and especially mixta on the wing at all the sites checked. Best bird was a hobby over Vysterborg but no sign of any Sympecma here despite a good kick about.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Still undone by flies, anyone know what this hump-backed beauty is?

Nipped out early in the morning for a good walk thrashing the area between Rålehamn and Ripagården. A few common migrants around but nothing obviously going on. The bird of the day was a superb female bluethroat in the rough vegetation around the stream mouth near the harbour at Ripagården. It showed well and was my first autumn bird in BK. More mysterious was the odd crake-like call emanating from the nearby reedbed here. If I knew how to embed an audio file, I would let you hear it. Will try and work out how to do it later.

Later we all went for a walk around the Killeröd loop, picking up the usual suspects; jay, willow and crested tit and hawfinch. But no sign of any nutcrackers today.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

less haste more birds

Spot the pec, I couldn't, I had to wait for Jan to find it!

Nothing quite went right today but I walked away with a nice BK tick all the same! Kicked off fairly early at Eskilstorpsstrand but did not last long, the wind had dropped a notch and backed a bit to the south, lowering my confidence. Needless to say my impatience cost me a long-tailed skua, which went through just after I left. A few little gulls were offshore and a sanderling was on the beach, otherwise it seemed quiet.

Checked Klarningen next quickly and went through the available waders for 45 minutes. A few present with totals of ruff (5), wood sandpiper (2) and greenshank (1). An all-dark marsh harrier was interesting. Heading home for breakfast with the team, I did not think I would be back at Klarningen quite so soon. But sensing a disturbance in the force I checked the Club 300 website to find that a pectoral sandpiper had been found. A BK first. Luckily on arrival Lars H was on the bird and we had a good look at it, it even called once in flight, and it then started behaving badly and ended up right on the other side of the big pool. Great bird and thanks go to Jan for finding it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

polar ice low!

If you are not alarmed by the record melting of the polar ice this summer, then you should be. You have to wonder if some pacific seabirds are not on their way to us though. Sweden's first Pacific diver is overdue...

a tale of two seawatches - part 2

Undaunted by the events of Wednesday, I headed out again for another seawatching session at Yttre Kattvik in a similar (just a little too light) westerly blow. This time on arrival I found Bengt and Lars already in place and relaxed somewhat, not much was going to get past us today. More seabirds available today too, I quickly got to grips with an Arctic skua (one of perhaps four, definitely two, seen during the four-hour session) as it scragged a Sandwich tern and dropped back onto the sea. Gannets (4), fulmar (1), kittiwake (2) and little gull (1) were all recorded today and were all conspicuously absent on Wednesday. Black-throated divers loafed offshore.

The big bird of this session though was a brief but close view of a male pallid harrier, picked up at the last moment overhead by Lars. We all got on to it, although I quickly and wisely made the choice not to try and get bins on it and enjoyed it sans optics. A blistering bird, we were pleased but slightly miffed that it had crept up on us so well (behaviour reminiscent of the juvenile pallid I had at the same spot last autumn). My first adult male in Sweden! Typically whilst we were congratulating ourselves (and Lars) we missed a sooty shearwater, reported off nearby Hovs Hallar at the same time. Two marsh harriers also came in-off during the session but there were surprisingly few raptors recorded this week coming across the bay. Excellent birding though!

a tale of two seawatches - part 1

Wednesday saw me out seawatching at Yttre Kattvik in an 8 metres per second westerly wind. After dropping the kids at school, I spent seven long hours here and it was quite stunning how few seabirds were passing. The one exception was what I thought looked like a good Balearic shearwater at 1230. Distant sure,  but the mode of flight and lack of silver underwings screamed Balearic. I tried in vain to get the only other observer present on to the bird but it was slipping through low to the waves, seldom breaking the skyline and he failed to find it despite it being present for 3-4 minutes. It was missed completely at Hovs Hallar and claimed as a sooty by the guys at Ripagården... Don't you just hate when that happens? Not sure what to do with the record now but certain that I was right! So you wait all day for one bird and then it is contentious!

Other birds were few and far between but included three black-throated divers, a late grey plover and a light passage of guillemot (8). The latter the only sign that things might be moving on the sea. Early autumn seawatches here can be very subtle, very few birds moving and then bang a groovy shearwater goes past.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

50 minutes

Had 50 minutes at Klarningen today. A superb adult (probably female) peregrine was stirring up the duck and waders so the counts were probably quite good. Totals of greenshank (6), ruff (6), wood sandpiper (3) and snipe (5) were hardly the stuff of dreams though.

But salvation is around the corner, with a nice low pressure system delivering seabirds to us tomorrow hopefully. A Cory's appeared just north of BK at dusk, will it hang in Laholmsbukten for me tomorrow?

Monday, September 3, 2012

20 minutes

Hawfinch have been regular over the garden this week and sure enough two flew over at 0900 this morning. Yesterday I had five hawfinch over and even heard a lesser spotted woodpecker in a nearby garden.

Today I managed just 20 minutes of dedicated birding time, dropping in to check Klarningen on my way home in the late afternoon. The light was poor but 20 minutes was probably enough to indicate that nothing unusual was happening on site. A scattering of the usual wader suspects was evident, seven ruff being the highlight! The sun shone though, a real rarity this year.

First day of autumn

Male Sympetrum danae or black darter, quite a few still flying on Hallands Väderö this weekend.

Spent the 1st of the month with the team on our annual pilgrimage to Hallands Väderö, it is sadly too pricey to visit often but we always enjoy our day here each year. For a change nothing turned up on mainland BK to make us regret the journey. I think a light fall of common migrants may have taken place we certainly found spotted flycatchers and redstarts in every bush. Fifteen yellow wagtails were flying around the Kapelhamn area and that was about it. We spent most of our time looking for invertebrates but failed to find any brown hairstreaks. A painted lady was my first of the year though!

 I think this is Arion rufus, although the complex is tricky to identify.

Painted lady at last!

 Managed to identify this fly (Tachina fera), the larvae feed on noctuid moth caterpillars.

At the end of a long day walking the island the 'Nanny' was a welcome sight and somehow accommodated the huge number of people leaving the island on the last boat out!