Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lapland!

After two days of working in the house I broke out today to make the most of a blue sky and almost zero wind. Things got a little chilly (-11 at dusk just off-patch) but it was a glorious day of winter birding.

Kicked off at Norra Ängalag chasing yesterday's dusk report of the 1K gyr falcon (fast becoming my nemesis BK bird). Straight off I spotted a falcon sitting out offshore on Tjällran - a female peregrine... I watched it for some time and eventually it hauled itself off the island and set off purposefully. It had it's eye on a jackdaw and unlike many peregrine chases it was quickly obvious what the outcome was going to be and sure enough after the third attempt the peregrine lightly hijacked the jackdaw and flew towards me to feed on the shore nearby. Superb. It mantled the prey and killed it and almost immediately was fending off a male peregrine (the other half) that appeared from nowhere! It was not going to share though and ate it's prize in a leisurely manner over the next hour. The male sulked over on Tjällran.

In the background during all this was a light passage of red-throated divers south and even a gannet. Walking back through the car park (which was blocked with snow) I disturbed three hawfinches from the farmyard feeders.

Next stop was Torekov rev. Stomping about here produced a few more good birds. A dunnock crept about in the snow. The redshank was still quietly feeding in the shallows and I flushed a snipe by the stream outflow. No sign of yesterday's reported water pipit amongst the meadow pipits but I did find a skylark feeding on the foreshore. Sea levels were really low (often the case after easterlies) and it was not until I was about to drive off that I noticed a small offshore table-sized reef regularly washed by the tiny waves that had three purple sandpipers on it. Offshore on Vinga an adult white-tailed eagle surveyed the sound. A quick listen at Flytermossen failed to turn up any reedbed specials so I moved on to Ripagården.

Ripagården had some good birds too, I flushed a 1K goshawk from the foreshore near the car park and a Lapland bunting flew over calling (the best bird of the day without a doubt). Also here two black guillemot, a species that seems rather scarce this winter for some reason. A great session despite the fact that gyr falcon remains to found. 

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