Saturday, June 30, 2012

papa's got a brand new camera

Spent most of the day playing with my new camera, things are going to be a bit macro for a while! Syrphus torvus btw.

Spent an hour at Klarningen this morning, plenty of waders about, including three greenshank, a spotted redshank and quite a few wood and green sandpipers. Young waders too with fluffy redshank and little ringed plovers indicating successful breeding. Wildfowl present included a male wigeon and a pair of shoveler. A quick look at Petersberg revealed two great crested newts.

In the afternoon we walked Vasaltheden, hoping for a dragonfly to photograph, no luck there and very few invertebrates about after all the cold weather. The heath at Segelstorpsstrand was better with a rapid grass snake, a few hoverflies and a few idas blues on the wing.


Coreus marginatus

A Sciapus sp. (Dolichopodidae) at Segelstorpsstrand, it transported me back to Borneo watching the antics of this fly on an oak leaf, I may never leave BK again.

A tatty female idas blue at Segelstorpsstrand, several were flying over the small area of heathy vegetation today. Only my second record in BK, presumably I am overlooking them.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lestes we forget


Having missed that splendid time in mid-June when just Lestes dryas is flying it was time to re-learn the differences between female sponsa and dryas in the hand. The ovipositor on sponsa (top picture) just reaches the end of S10, on the much more robust dryas below it storms past the end of S10.

Field-tested my new net today and found it to be splendid. Will do a review when I have given it a thorough working over. The sun shone today so we headed out into the field in the afternoon for some dragonfly survey work. Despite the sun things remained on the cool side with the temperatures just breaking 15 degrees!

Hit the pond at Mäsinge first and walked the shallow Equisetum-choked mire, hoping for dryas with the kids chirping behind me - no sign of any Lestes! The nearby pond was better but still low numbers of stuff and nothing unusual, except for the first sponsa of the year. Next we tried the excellent series of small mires at Rammsjöstrand and here the first damselfly we saw was a dryas! We found at least three in the end and plenty of recently emerged sponsa too. A few Aeshna flushed out of the mires too.

Male Lestes dryas, present no difficulties in the hand.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

dirty twitcher

Superb!

Been busy since I got back, mostly defrosting the children after their morning 'swim-school' (12 degrees, wind, rain + outdoor pool, I feel cruel) and praying for sun. Did have time for this little beauty after tea today though. Obligingly tame as always, a nice bright female red-necked phalarope. My first in BK since the bumper year of 2009, when I saw three! Thanks to Mats and Kent for putting the evening news out.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Postcard from the Pyrenees


Just finished a two-week tour of the French and Spanish Pyrenees. The birding was OK but spent most of my time looking at bugs and herps. This crazy sawfly on the first day is probably Rhogogaster viridis but there are a few lookalikes.

Sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) go high into the Pyrennees at the southern extremity of their range.

 This freshly emerged apollo (Parnassius apollo) looked good in the early morning light on Canigou.

 Lamping at night around one of the hotels in Spain proved great for amphibians and even produced my first southern smooth snake (Coronella girondica).

I have been wanting to see a male midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) with a backpack of eggs for some time. It came to pass on this tour!

Fat toad.

We found two asp vipers on the tour, this one was nearly knelt on by one of the team!

 Great to get photos of large psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus) on the Spanish side, another species in a herp-rich tour.

With just over 1,000 species of plant logged by the botanists over the two week period, it was all rather bewildering for the non-botanist (nob?). I confined myself to enjoying the more way-out species as usual such as the splendid Leuzea conifera.

 One of my most enjoyable finds was of a pair fiery clearwing (Bembicia chrysidiformis) near Tremp. It has a widespread distribution, just sneaking into Kent in the UK, but is never easy to find.

Never a great trip for Odonates but we scored a few mostly widespread species including this Crocothemis erythraea.

Pyrenean brook newt (Euproctes asper) is a firm favourite on this tour and usually not too difficult to locate.

Western green lizard (Lacerta bilineata) was added to the list on the penultimate day in the field whilst walking the fantastic Ossoue valley near Gavarnie.

The tour ended with a chance to walk the busy trail up to the famous Cirque de Gavarnie. Superb.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

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Grizzled skipper flying yesterday near Rammsjöstrand.

The sun came out in the afternoon and the temperature crept up above 20 degrees for the first time in a long time. We all headed out the door and had a picnic and walk between Mäsinge strand and Rammsjöstrand, taking in the excellent mire and new wetland as we went. Birds were few and far between, but we had a flock of 8 resident (?) barnacle geese along the coast and flushed a single spotted redshank off the new wetland. Likewise dragonflies were restricted to the commonplace and we failed to add any new species to the Atlas square or the Odo year-list

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

bloodsuckers!

Showed the kids the medicinal leeches at Ilasjön this afternoon, they preferred the dragonflies...

The sun shone this afternoon for a change so we lumbered out for a BBQ at Ripagården. No bird action here but we recorded the first Brachytron for the Dragonfly Atlas square at Ilasjön, so all was not lost and the sausages tasted good in the sun. The kids enjoyed the horror of the huge medicinal leeches here.

Spurred on we walked around Petersberg next, just one Cordulia flying here amongst the commonplace damsels. Nearby Klarningen produced three male garganey, a pair of shoveler and a couple of greenshank. The coots have hatched off young and the place was full of young birds. No sign of any redshank or little ringed plover chicks yet though.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

still chilly

It was so cold today we did not need a net for the Odonates, we just picked them up...

Nipped out in the afternoon to check the lake at Pennebo, just outside BK in Halland. En route we stopped at the pond at Frestensfällan to get a long overdue BK year-tick - little grebe! At Baramossa we stopped for a nice roadside green sandpiper and also had a pair of spotted flycatcher.

At the lake it was about 10 degrees with a fresh westerly blowing. We worked through the commonplace damselflies sheltering along the track and flushed the odd Libellula quadrimaculata. The best of it was my first Calopteryx virgo of the year. So cold you could pick it up.

Coldest June day in Stockholm yesterday for 84 years...

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Portrait of the author as a pissed-off, soaking wet and cold birder. Will summer ever actually arrive?

Spent two-and-a-half hours tramping the coast between Öllövsstrand and Mäsinge strand during the late morning. Almost nothing to show for it, bar a couple of singing thrush nightingales and a ton of rain. 

In the afternoon the whole team accompanied me to Sinarpsdalen and we had a good look at the valley mire. The sun came out but it was still windy and not much was showing on the Odo front. We were greeted by a trio of raptors at the car park though - red kite, buzzard and honey buzzard. Sweet.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

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Busy with the kids most of the day on a shopping run to Hyllinge, but we managed a quick look at Hasslarps dammar in appallingly windy conditons. Number 1 found a nice sheltered spot with four species of damselfly but nothing unexpected. Rönnen next where we quickly coshed off a summer-plumaged little stint but should have checked the new top pool. A pec was found there this morning, together with two broad-billed sands...

Last stop was Klarningen, not much doing here but three whooper swans flew in. It was so cold and windy they did not seem out of place. Are we heading for another dreadful summer?