Friday, August 31, 2012

bits and bobs

Exit stage left.

Yesterday, I managed a fit in a little birding into the working day. A quick look at Båstad harbour produced very little - six goosander. Spent my lunch break at Klarningen where there were quite a few passerines around; wheatear (5), whinchat (14) and reed bunting (3). A few waders around too, six ruff being the highlight. Later in Båstad a honey buzzard snuck through. Not seeing HB's in any numbers in BK so far this autumn.

Today I spent the hour after dawn at  Öllövsstrand, a few waders were present in the bay by the harbour, including 8 greenshank and there were a few common passerine migrants about. Later we all went to Sandön, a trawl through the available waders here produced little of note but we all enjoyed watching the fishing osprey here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New bridge camera - Nikon P510

In the absence of a big lens for my SLR I have opted for the impressive 42X Nikon P510, if it works well I will be taking this on tour with me instead of the heavy SLR set-up. First impressions are that it easily outcompetes my old Panasonic FZ35 in terms of distance work and produces nice images. It should work well for herps, birds and large invertebrates I think. You cannot beat an SLR for fiddly macro work though! Full review of the P510 later perhaps. This young grass snake was not impressed when I unearthed it the other day at Petersberg.

 A quick look-in at Båstad harbour produced a single yellow wagtail yesterday. This is a cropped image taken at range.

Yesterday was just one of those days when nothing goes to plan. Dropped in on Båstad harbour for fifteen minutes chasing birds with my new bridge camera, a yellow wagtail was on the grass here and tree pipits were evident overhead (they remained a low-level part of the audioscape for the rest of the day). Did a spot of work, lunching at Kattvik where a single Arctic skua was the only highlight. Then the school rang and I had to pick up one of the kids who was under the weather.

Escaped later and had an hour at Klarningen en route to the do the weekly shop. Klarningen was cold and wet and aside from a fly-through adult hobby it had little to recommend it! Waders here though included; ruff (3), common sandpiper (1), spotted redshank (1), greenshank (3) and a single wood sandpiper.

A poorly-looking black-headed gull at Båstad yesterday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

sun

It's almost inevitable that just when I get some work in the gardens of the rich and famous, the sun bursts out and immediately makes me wish I could get out in the field. Spent the day in Torekov and managed half an hour at the rev with Sam at lunchtime. Things were very quiet though, just 200+ golden plover, 10 distant knot and 15 dunlin.

Driving home caught a honey buzzard slipping through the village and did a lightning circuit of the Lindab ponds, picking up a Sympetrum danae for the atlas square.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

autumn

Got some pond-dipping in with the team in the afternoon by carefully dodging the downpours whilst driving between sites. We tried the small pond at Petersberg first and caught some water beetles that looked seriously confusing to the untrained eye. Not sure what this one is yet but am going to have to work out a good way of photographing them, I may have to build a small tank for on-site underwater photography. This one is so shiny that you can see a reflection of both me and Number 2 in the photo!

Actually got out early this morning for a look at Klarningen. It really felt autumnal just after dawn and birds were on the move. The access track held yellow wagtail, wheatear and whinchat and a small flock of 21 golden plover was present in the fields. Greylag geese are massing too with over 300 on site this morning. Working through the wildfowl produced a couple of pintail and two shoveler. The spotted crake was still dashing about like a mad thing along the edge of the large Juncus bed. Everything spooked briefly when a sub-adult hobby (2K?) flew down the river. Waders included some dunlin (6), ruff (1), common sandpiper (1), spotted redshank (2), greenshank (4) and 11 wood sandpiper. At least 68 yellow wagtails left the site and headed south during the session perhaps the most memorable event of the day.

Checked out Petersberg and heard what may have been a brief snatch of song from a great reed warbler, I tried tape-luring to confirm but got no response...

Mid-morning saw us all out dodging heavy rain showers whilst doing some pond-dipping. The sunny spells produced some great dragonfly action. At Petersberg we had three Aeshna species bombing about and we turned up a great crested newt and a grass snake. The pond at Frestensfälla was busy too with Sympetrum danae and Aeshna juncea all busy breeding. But more rain threatened so we headed for home a lie-down.

Low-level pan-species listing continues to provide both headaches and enjoyment, this lovely hopper (Cicadella viridis) at Frestensfälla gave itself up pretty easily but many identifications elude me and the list of TBI is growing daily. Just have to hope we get snowed in this winter I guess.

Lestes sponsa are present in good numbers at most waterbodies in BK. Still no sign of a breeding location for Lestes virens though.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weak migration and another longhorn

 Number 1 found my first Stictoleptura rubra for me this afternoon on a walk around the Killeröd-Önnarp loop with the team. This is the female and we watched it egg-laying on a conifer log.

Got out a bit late this morning to look for migrants around Gröthögarna. Nothing much doing just a few tree pipits, three red-backed shrikes and a scattering of warblers and chats. Nearby Torekov rev produced a few waders, notably three sanderlings, but no big surprises.

In an overcast afternoon we all headed out to walk the Killeröd-Önnarp loop. Birds were few and far between but included a black woodpecker heard and a spotted flycatcher sallying out into a clearing. Invertebrates were good but a bit of sun would have helped matters. Even so number 1 found me a brace of Stictoleptura rubra - a new longhorn beetle for me. Later I had fun trying to photograph Aeshna juncea in flight but was defeated by the low light levels.

Number 1 managed the double, finding me a male Stictoleptura rubra later on! Longhorns can exhibit surprising sexual dimorphism.

Aeshna juncea captured in flight in poor light, you can just make out the yellow spots behind the eyes, a diagnostic feature when trying to rule out subarctica.

Friday, August 24, 2012

another spotted crake!

No wildlife photos today, the most exciting object that strayed into the view-finder was the Danish Royal yacht Dannebrog, anchored just off Båstad.

Checked out Klarningen this morning hoping for yesterday's reported knot. No sign of that unfortunately but compensation came in the form of an adult spotted crake. A different bird to the 1K seen two days ago and you have to wonder whether they did not quietly breed at the site this summer. Waders included ruff (2), snipe (a massive 43), spotted redshank (2), greenshank (2) and wood sandpiper (8). Passerines included at least four yellow wagtails and a whinchat.

On the way home checked Eskilstorpsstrand which briefly hosted a flock of ten sanderling - the first double figure congregation of that species for me in BK. Checked Båstad briefly too but just a few common sandpiper knocking about.

In the afternoon Mrs B and I headed for Sandön and Rönnen for a wander. The water was high at Sandön and wader numbers were low but included a single turnstone. It was all happening at Rönnen though, with a huge collection of greylag and barnacle geese that we did not have time to count. The coastline produced three avocet and three sanderling. But it was Lilla Viken that impressed, it was heaving with stuff; little ringed plover (2), knot (84), dunlin (21), broad-billed sandpiper (1 1K), ruff (1) and a collection of Tringa. Superb.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

watching the sea

Had two-and-a-half hours seawatching with Håkan this morning. Started unfashionably late enough at 0840 and things were rather quiet throughout. The 8-9m/sec westerly wind failing to deliver anything really exciting. We had one or two distant skuas, one of which was an Arctic and another further out could have been a long-tailed. Difficult birds immatures at range. I did not leave empty-handed though, two sanderlings beetled past at one point bringing me to 199 for the year in BK. Also logged were seven common scoter, one gannet, four golden plover, one grey plover, 38 knot (good number) and a turnstone. Abandoned the session and went home to do some office work and clean the bathroom...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back again!

After five days in the UK attending the Bird Fair I had a pleasant and productive day in the field today.  Kicked off at Klarningen where things appeared fairly quiet until I noticed a manic 1K spotted crake dashing about on the edge of the Juncus, whilst checking through the waders from the stock gate. My 250th BK bird I think and a welcome addition to the list. Spotted crakes were heard sporadically here in the spring but my money is on this being a migrant. Also here plenty of snipe (26), two spotted redshank, four wood sandpipers and two ruff. Three whinchat and a tree pipit were knocking about too.

Torekovs rev had some birds in too with waders making up the majority of the notable stuff; 70+ rosting golden plover, one grey plover, at least 15 knot (some amazing adults), a little stint, a bar-tailed godwit and some shanks. Similar species noted at Gröthögarna too in smaller numbers but the show was stolen by an immature red-backed shrike and a brief view of a wryneck.

Last stop of the day was at  Ripagården where things were quiet until a goshawk arrived and put the fear of raptor into every bird along the coast. When everything flushed I craned around trying to find an eagle only to discover the goshawk later sitting on a rock in the bay. Nice end to the day.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back home

Back home in Sweden and could not resist a quick look at Klarningen in the morning. It really is starting to feel autumnal here and raptors were evidently on the move. Had a few buzzards through plus single osprey, marsh harrier and sparrowhawk. A peregrine came through too and caught a lapwing but I suspect that was local. Water levels are high, I guess it kept on raining here in my absence. Waders as a result were rather thin on the ground but included greenshank (2), spotted redshank (1), wood sandpiper (1) and ruff (1). Slim pickings.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Strumpshaw with Ed

Last orders. It's getting perilously close to the end of the Norfolk hawker (Aeshna isoceles) flight-season now in the UK but that did not stop Ed and I connecting with an obliging individual at Strumpshaw Fen this afternoon. A classy Odo.

Had a wander around Strumpshaw Fen this afternoon with my mate Ed Parnell. We spent a lot of time chatting, found an obliging Norfolk hawker and Ed show-cased his Nikon P510, a totally awesome bridge camera. I am still struggling to get the best out of my dslr and I think the 180mm macro really needs to be twinned with a tripod to get the best results. It's a steep learning curve and the added pressure of trying to identify all the invertebrates is exhausting me!

Birds were rather quiet during the walk but the muddy margins produced a couple of common sandpipers, a green sandpiper and we heard a greenshank.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

giant woodwasp

A family gathering today produced a nice little bonus in the shape of this ovipositing female giant woodwasp (Urocerus gigas). They are quite common in the UK but this is the first I have had a good look at. The ovipositor is deep within the conifer log it was egg-laying into, you can just see the black base of it below the abdomen on this shot. I always thought the evil-looking tube sticking out the back was the ovipositor but this is just the sheath apparently!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Norfolk magic

A long time coming. Alpine swift on my UK list finally, thanks to a long-staying bird twitched as soon as I heard about it (on the third day!).

I have never been a very good twitcher and these days rarely stir for a rare (unless it it a lifer) but the belated discovery that an alpine swift was at Sheringham added a pleasant UK tick on a trip up the coast with the team. Arriving at the top of Beeston Bump we were immediately treated to close flyby views but again the 180mm macro was not really up to the task. Looking forward to getting a 300mm in the near future.

Always nice to look west from Beeston Bump, especially when an alpine swift is in the same view.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

lovely longhorns

 Took this shot believing it to be a longhorn but it is actually a chrysomelid - one of the reed beetles Donacia marginata. Thanks to Mark Telfer for the id.

 My rapidly increasing passion for invertebrates is turning up some really interesting species groups for me. Hoverflies have been a huge hit and I will try and post some photos soon. Another great group is the longhorn beetles which are just mega!

 Rutpela maculata - it might be common and widespread but it looks good. This was taken today on a walk around Blickling Lake in Norfolk.

Strangalia quadrifasciata - a BK longhorn spotted around Killeröd last month.

Stenurella melanura in BK at Frestensfälla last month.