Thursday, December 12, 2013

blue sky birding

With blue skies forecast for today I abandoned my computer and house work and shot out the door, it has been awfully grey lately and I am not used to being at home at this time of year...

Hit the beach between Hemmeslövsstrand and the top of Eskilstorpsstrand, hoping for a great northern diver, my bogey bird this year. Reported a few days ago, it failed to put in appearance yet again. The big surprise was the huge number of herring gulls feeding along the shoreline and it did not take long to find at least two 1K caspian gulls in amongst the flock. There may have been more!

Meanwhile the flat calm conditions and good light were good for a look through the available seaduck. Highlights included a nice close flock of at least 110 scaup and a Slavonian grebe, an oystercatcher flew south at one point and the beach had six feeding snow buntings. The oystercatcher was my first BK bird in December.

Afterwards I had lunch at Klarningen. A little action here with whooper swans on the move - 34 through and ten on the ground. They are moving late this year. Otherwise quiet, a kestrel and rough-legged buzzard in residence and just three mute swan, four tufted duck and a goldeneye representing the other wildfowl.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

idiot!

Ripagården took a hit in the storm on Friday. Four gaps in the pretty row of fisherman's huts, three huts remain in and around the harbour but where is the fourth?

Although tired I actually felt like getting out into the field this morning. Sadly I arrived at Torekov to find that I had neglected to bring a coat and some gloves with me... Not something you want to do here even during a mild December, like the one we seem to be experiencing. I checked the rocks off town, no shags. I had a quick look at the newly profiled beach at the rev - two purple sandpipers - and dropped in on Ripagården to have a look at the damage there. Four stock doves shooting past were a surprise and then I had to go home to warm up.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

just a vacancy

Number 2 was ill today, so we spent most of the day wrapped up on the sofa watching Dr Who. But we did manage to get down to Båstad to feed the ivory gull only to find the usual spot devoid of rare gulls. Looks like it has moved on and my bid to get ivory gull on my 2014 year-list with a steady supply of tasty fish has failed...

Monday, December 9, 2013

feeding the ivory

One from the stock-file, this was taken on the day the ivory gull arrived, it looks much stronger now. Will it stay to January 1st?

Nipped out this morning to feed the ivory gull. The east pier has really been chewed up by the storm but one thing had not changed it still hosts a very hungry ivory gull. The bird flew around me, it's wings almost brushing my face whilst I unwrapped it's fish and then I left it in peace.

Checked Klarningen before home. It was predictably quiet, just nine whoopers and a kestrel. A big flock of 65 starlings though was a nice indication of the mild weather we are experiencing this winter. Over the top I looked for great grey shrikes on Älemossen, no joy but three jays flew by.

07122013 - another seawatch...

Would there be any left-overs after the big storm. Sadly I arrived just after dawn and missed a great skua coming out of the bay. Two hours was enough to convince me that nothing much was moving in the 9m/s NW wind. Four gannet sand three species of grebe being the highlight...

Friday, December 6, 2013

rats!

Spent the best part of a miserable, cold and very windy day seawatching and failed spectacularly!  The first part of the day I looked out from Båstad, which was a mistake the seas were huge here and from such a low vantage point I saw very little. The seemingly resident ivory gull was scant consolation.

Next I tried Yttre Kattvik which was an uncomfortable place to be in gale-force NW winds but at least a few birds were going through. I had missed grey phalarope and two great northern divers though... Whilst here I got put onto a petrel skimming low through the waves at great range, a possible European stormie, but at that range we will never know. Two amazing things about today though, the dearth of birds and those that went by were far out. Difficult but I could have done better.

As I drove home through Kattvik I flushed a green woodpecker, I could not hear him laughing at me over the shriek of the wind but I bet he was...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

feeding the ivory and a disappointing seawatch

I got to the ivory gull this morning to find he was already full of herring! Dropped off some more food though to see him through the approaching storm...

Getting down to Båstad was problematical this morning when Mrs B nicked the car at the last moment, after being let down by a normally reliable bus service. I got the kids to school and me to Båstad, thanks to help from a friend and walked up the pier to feed the ivory gull. He did not seem to be so pleased to see me today and a member of the small gallery watching it admitted they had already delivered a nice fresh herring that had been enjoyed to the full...

After a very brief look at the gull I retreated to the breakwater at the harbour mouth to do some seawatching. It soon became apparent that the wind was backing southerly rather alarmingly, the sea was calm and only a few birds were passing closeby. Two gannets and a black-throated diver were my highlights in two hours... If we survive the overnight storm that is rattling the house at the moment  and I can get out tomorrow to the sea it should be interesting at Båstad I reckon.

Five waxwing kept me company in Båstad as I waited for the bus.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ivory recognition

Pleased to see me - it's mutual

Just fifteen minutes in the field today when I went down to Båstad to feed the ivory gull in the pouring rain. He looks pretty chipper now and flew straight in from the other pier when I arrived with food. It does seem to recognise me already, not surprising I suppose in an animal that must make it's living feeding off scraps from other predators kills. Nearby 20 waxwing and then home for more office work...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

daily ivory

Sitting pretty

 Stuck indoors with an ailing infant today, but we did both get out first thing to feed the ivory gull at Båstad. He was not very frisky during our brief visit, sitting on a post and ignoring his food. This was how we left him but later observers reported that he had perked up nicely.

Number 1 has now seen Ross' and ivory gull. Nice.

Monday, December 2, 2013

more ivory

Nipped out in the morning to feed the ivory gull at Båstad and meet up with a very pleased and relieved Paul Cook. It is a great bird! A few flybys by the ever-elusive kingfisher were a bonus.

 Mmmmmm

 After an hour or so I dragged myself away to try and photograph the lesser whitethroat at Glimminge and get a useful 'month-tick'. It was playing hard to get when I arrived, probably because a determined set of jul-vultures were ripping into the pile of pine it lived in for Christmas decor... Eventually though peace descended and the bird started to behave. No clues as to it's origin though and no tell-tale tit-like calls... Found a water pipit nearby whilst we waited in the early part of the session here, they have been slow to appear this winter but I suspect a trawl around the usual locations would turn up a few now.

Lesser whitethroat in December! The odds favour an easterly origin for this bird but picking them on plumage is tricky to say the least. If it is eastern then it looks pretty normal! Perhaps it will get trapped in the near future and we will get an answer.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

ivory gull in BK!

Tasty

I could not get myself going this morning, despite a howling westerly, but news of an ivory gull north of BK in Halland got me going. If I could not bird at least I could twitch! I arrived at Laxvik to find the bird had flown and I knew where it was going so I headed straight back to BK. Arriving in the car park at Båstad in time for Martin Åkesson to ring and let me know the bird had passed Mellbystrand. Tension mounted I sat on the breakwater. The bird reached Skummeslövsstrand where Martin caught up with it (heroic), then Malenbadet. Martin arrived in Båstad. We waited and waited and then noticed birders on the other breakwater looking excited. Bugger!

Martin kindly kept watch and promised to ring if the bird flew and I shuffled round the harbour praying for it to stay. Luckily it was feeding on a dead bird and stayed put. What a beauty and huge everlasting thanks go to Martin. After filling my card (so to speak) I headed for the shops to buy it some fish. Feeding it frozen herring through the afternoon in front of a packed gallery was very pleasant and an occupation ideally suited to my weakened and emotional state.

30112013 - a late lesser whitethroat

Managed to get out for a BBQ today at Grytskären. A female hen harrier greeting us on arrival. Lunch eaten we reacted to the news of a lesser whitethroat at Glimminge with reasonable speed. The bird showed briefly just after we got there, thanks go to Eric and Mats for getting me on the bird. I only saw it briefly but it might be a contender for easterly origin I reckon.

I try to seawatch (28112013)

Any doubt that I was still poorly were dispelled today when I went seawatching in a good NW blow. In the first hour I missed not one but two great northern divers...

Plenty of birds going through though. Lots of gulls still around which is unusual (?). Rough totals; red-throated diver (22), black-throated diver (2), Slavonian grebe (4), red-necked grebe (1), great crested grebe (2), fulmar (2), sooty shearwater (1), gannet (40) and kittiwake (12+). Alcids piling through too in uncountable numbers and 8 waxwing past.

27112013 - f**king shingles

Still under the weather, a trip to the library in Båstad with the kids produced a nice flock of 60+ waxwings all around us in the car park. My first of the autumn.

24112013 - Klarningen

An hour at Klarningen having a BBQ was rather quiet. I think a large raptor had been through as there were few wildfowl and those that were there were cowering in one corner. Four whooper swans and a rough-legged buzzard were the highlights! Four lapwing were getting late.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

home again

Diagnosing myself with shingles an hour before leaving for the airport and a two-week tour of Madagascar was not ideal, but at least explained the way I had been feeling in the week leading up to departure. I visited a great doctor in the airport in Paris and had time to pick up a fistful of drugs the next day before flying. These drugs and the sheer excitement of being in the field on this fantastic island and in the incredibly knowledgeable company of Callan Cohen was enough motivation to be ready to go each morning.

A preview below of some of the birds recorded on day 2 of the tour in the Ifaty spiny forest showcases effectively the amazing bird fauna in Madagascar. Three new bird families on top of shingles and a hefty dose of opiates had me shambling about muttering to myself in no time flat. Mind-altering!

 Sickle-billed vanga - just epic!

 The amazing subdesert mesite - just weird.

Long-tailed ground roller a species that should be on every birder's bucket list.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

late birds

Had a very wet morning in the field this morning. Started off at Påarps Mal where the garden held a late male blackcap (my first November record in BK), mistle thrush (1) and bullfinch (3). Down at the sea there were a few passerines along the shoreline; meadow pipit (2), water pipit (1), rock pipits (6) and snow bunting (1). Offshore a single gannet and as I left a female hen harrier flew through.

Checking the coastline north produced a few teal and wigeon and there were five adult shags on the rocks off Torekov. The rev next in a downpour for a late lesser black-backed gull, my first BK bird in November. Last stop of the morning was an equally quick look at Norra Ängalag. More gannet (15), at least one kittiwake, another lesser black-backed gull and a snow bunting here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

garden monster

Stuck at home in the morning (waiting for builders) I was working on the computer, when a grating 'angry falcon' call drew my attention to the fact that a peregrine was in the neighbourhood and getting hassled by the local corvids. It did a lovely flyby low over the houses and looked monstrous. A big 1K female I guess and species number 108 on the garden list and the 12th raptor species...

skuas! (05112013)

The comedy moment of the seawatch today came when Bengt informed us that he had passed a brent goose on the track out to Yttre Kattvik and it was coming our way. Sure enough half an hour later it paddled west past us with great determination. No Svalan code for migrating this way funnily enough...

We were promised half-decent westerlies today so I headed out to Yttre Kattvik after my domestic taxi-run this morning. Wind direction stayed a little to the south of west I suspect and we did not get the strength that was forecast but there was still stuff to be had, including a brace of year-ticks for me.

The four-hour session was notable for the number of kittiwake out in the bay (at least 150 being logged but perhaps many more) and I counted at least 60 gannets too. Skuas were occasionally spotted feeding a long way out in the bay and dark juvenile great, pomarine and even a late Arctic were logged. The latter was a year-tick and was joined at last by an adult little gull. Everything was rather distant though and surprisingly little else was moving. Sea duck went past in very small numbers but included two long-tailed duck. Five snow buntings came in-off and a brent goose paddled past west (only my second record of bernicla this year in BK).

A 2K white-tailed eagle really tried hard to catch something at Klarningen today, putting up the best goose flock of the season in the process...

After four hours I was done and headed to Klarningen for a check, picking up a hunting goshawk on the way. The move paid off well as I connected with the four cranes (over-wintering attempt?) as they flew between Eskisltorpsdammar and Skottorp as I drove up the access track. Then at the hide I just had time to go through a large assemblage of roosting geese before a young white-tailed eagle stormed on site and put them to flight. In amongst 650+ greylag were 45 barnacle geese, at least five white-fronted geese, one Taiga bean goose and what I initially thought were six tundra bean goose were actually pink-footed geese (thanks Jan...). Amongst the geese and unafraid of the eagle was a single adult tundra swan, my first of the autumn. Later two more adults migrated past. Nice session.

On the way home I looked unsuccessfully again for the great grey shrike at Älemossen but did pick up a huge flock of 17 long-tailed tits.


Monday, November 4, 2013

new Brit birder on the block

I spent an enjoyable day birding with Paul Cook today. Paul has recently moved to Munka Ljungby and looks set to become a regular fixture of the NW Skåne birding scene. We met briefly in Israel in 1990 and have not seen each other since, so we spent a lot of time talking and did not exactly set the birding world alight as we poked around bits of BK during the morning and early afternoon!

Paul put in a request for a nutcracker first off so we headed up to walk the Killeröd loop trail. This short walk proved rather difficult after the recent storm, with many trees and even whole swathes of trees blocking the track at regular intervals. Progress was slow but a poorly seen jay prompted some tape playback and luckily a nutcracker was in earshot and flew in to check us out.

Next we hit the coast at Ripagården. Rather quiet here but a few gannet (14) and kittiwake (8) offshore and bullfinch and crossbill overhead.

Dropped in on Båstad next on our whistle-stop orientation tour and here we got the start of the light rain that dogged us for the rest of the day. The harbour area seemed pretty quiet but we found at least two Slavonian grebes offshore in a quick look.

Klarningen next, to get out of the rain and hopefully find a rough-legged buzzard (another request from Paul). We found one along the access track and counted three hen harriers from here too (one female and two 1K birds). At the tower we found Bengt and Svanberg in residence and they reported that things were quiet at Klarningen but that they had done well for skuas at Yttre Kattvik... Klarningen had good numbers of birds around but nothing really exciting. The snipe count (62) remains impressive and we estimated the golden plover flock in flight at 700 birds. Also here pintail (3), shoveler (9) and teal (200). Heading home we checked Lya ljunghed for great grey shrike unsuccessfully.

The wind is going west tomorrow, not a gale but strong enough to be exciting this autumn when westerlies have been incredibly scarce. I know where I'm going.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

snow bunting

Had a media interview today in the field which started in horribly wet conditions at Torekov. We checked the rev and it was difficult in the rain, but we could not avoid the flock of 25 snow buntings - a welcome BK year-tick and a species I managed to miss completely last year somehow!

During the morning the weather ameliorated and we checked the rocks off Torekov (six shag) and searched in vain for the water pipit at Påarps Mal (25 more or the same snow buntings here though). Next stop was a quick check of Rålehamn for a wheatear sp. reported yesterday. No sign though so  we drove over to Ranarpsstrand hoping for a late jack snipe. On the way we saw some incredible storm damage - including an entire barn pushed over by the wind near Mäsinge. Sadly it was the storm which probably denied us jack snipe as well, as the previously excellent habitat at Ranarpsstrand is now covered in seaweed! We tried Lervik too with the same result. Not a very satisfying look around BK all-in-all!

Afterwards I had a quick look in the plantation at Grytskären, nothing here though just a single nuthatch.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

loadsa snipe

Had 45 minutes at Klarningen whilst the kids ate some 'Saturday sweets' in the late afternoon. More waders than ever here, with 650 golden plover, 450 lapwing and a staggering 63 snipe; all in the fields adjacent to the wetland. The resident rough-legged buzzard and hen harrier were floating about. On the wildfowl front three shoveler, 20 wigeon and a pintail remain and teal numbers are building up (250).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Caspian gull

Got out in the morning after a very busy and wet day yesterday. Kicked off at Båstad first thing, chasing Bengt's great northern diver of yesterday. No joy but it was worth the effort. A herd of 18 gannets were plunge-diving enthusiasticaly offshore. Grebes were more obvious with at least five Slavonian and six great crested in the bay. Also a single scaup and a few red-throated and black-throated divers. Seventeen roosting grey herons was notable too. The best bird though came when I walked back to the car and found a first-winter Caspian gull perched on one of the offshore rocks. It did not stay long though before heading west. BK year-tick and my first in November!

With time running out I did whistle-stop assessments of Kattvik and Yttre Kattvik, more gannets, a single kittiwake and bullfinches are everywhere at the moment. Last stop of the morning was at Dalen, hoping for a snow bunting. No joy again but I did find a large noisy flock of 400 fieldfare and a few redwing.

In the afternoon I had time for a quick look in at Klarningen and logged a huge 450+ golden plover and 42 snipe in the wet fields. Best of it all though was the continued presence of the four cranes, my first in November.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

first water pipit of the autumn

Had to stay in and clean the house whilst we waited for someone to come and assess the storm damage to the house this morning. We missed another chance to look at the pallid swift and this morning it was joined by a common swift...

We did get out eventually, looking in briefly on Torekovs rev (one redshank) during a heavy shower before heading for Påarps Mal. Here Number 2 flushed a water pipit, the first BK bird of the autumn, and there was a chiffchaff working the hedge near the house.

BK tick! pallid swift! (29102013)

Pallid swift - honest! I could probably be heard swearing in Denmark when I looked down after taking these shots to find that the mode dial had slipped again on my 7D. The lock on the mode dial of the Canon 5D Mark III is calling to me and it will not be too long before I upgrade I suspect.

We survived the overnight storm and I turned a slightly startled blind eye to the damage to our roof as I packed the car for a day out birding with the kids. It smelled of rare and we had to get out. With the kids installed in the car we headed to Yttre Kattvik, would seabirds perform? Would the kids behave? The storm damage we came across en route was jaw-dropping!

An hour at Yttre Kattvik showed that whilst gannets were moving, most stuff was distant in the SW wind, so we headed off to Ripagården  [we should have stayed!]. A two hour spell at Ripagården produced untickable views of a great northern diver which pitched into the sea before I could get to grips with it. Also here my latest BK records of shelduck (1) and oystercatcher (1) and a single little auk.

Next stop was Klarningen (partly to check the tower hide was still standing - it was) hoping for a storm-blown addition to my site list. This succeeded, the first bird in the 'scope was a common scoter! Also here were yesterday's cranes (4), gadwall (2), shoveler (5), tufted duck (5), grey heron (7), hen harrier (1), rough-legged buzzard (1), golden plover (220) and lapwing (450).

Heading to get the kids a burger for lunch as a treat I got the news that a pallid swift had overflown the observers at Yttre Kattvik... Gulp. We grabbed our lunch and drove back and had to face the grinning gallery for half an hour before the bird put in a reappearance and put my mind at rest. I cannot say I do not twitch, I just restrict my activity to a 20 minute drive from my house. Twitches are obviously rare and nail-biting events therefore but somehow I kept my cool and got the 'scope locked on to the bird to confirm it's identity. Sweet! The bird performed on-and-off for the rest of the day. Offshore anything could have been going on but kittiwakes (5) were definitely more obvious than in the morning.

A gallery in BK! Experienced Swedish/Danish observers might be able to identify these rear views of some of the local players.

Monday, October 28, 2013

wet hour at Klarningen

Had a wet hour at Klarningen ahead of the storm. Four cranes were feeding along the access track, my latest BK record. Quite a few duck in but no geese today. Duck numbers; shoveler (7), pintail (2), wigeon (50), teal (120) and tufted duck (4). A gathering of 32 snipe was notable and two 1K hen harriers put on a brief show.

News of a hoopoe at Hovs Hallar arrived far too late for anything to be done about it today but I guess we might look tomorrow.

Friday, October 25, 2013

two more BK year-ticks

An adult peregrine was scaring up the birds at Klarningen this morning. Raptors dominated the show at this site today a sure sign of impending winter.

A morning in the field felt rather luxurious after an autumn where I have been working just a little too much to keep in touch with what is going on in BK bird-wise. Decided to check for any stray seabirds at Båstad today but before that I could not resist checking Klarningen.  Plenty of water on the site and wildfowl are still a feature here. A good-sized flock of geese lifted as I arrived and I could hear at least one white-front in amongst the greylag as they departed. Around the site 90 teal, 23 wigeon and 8 shoveler were nothing unusual. Two whooper swans were my first of the autumn though. High overhead migration was happening with flocks of lapwing golden plover and wood pigeon all appearing regularly and heading resolutely south. But it was raptors that stole the show with hen harrier (1K), peregrine (adult) and two rough-legged buzzard in residence.

Båstad did not disappoint, I was hoping for some stray seabirds after yesterday's blow and perhaps a black redstart or a kingfisher for my year-list and it worked out quite well. Off the harbour a number of tired 1K gannets looked good and a few others drifted west. All was quiet otherwise until a little auk buzzed past close in going west. Nice and just what I needed after yesterday's poor decision to spend the morning at Båstad! Still no sign of a little gull for me this year though... Walking back through the harbour a silent kingfisher whizzed off, a difficult bird in BK these days. The last three winter's have taken their toll and this was my first BK bird for 21 months. So very welcome!

Before lunch I managed to fit in a quick look at Torekovs rev. Things were rather quiet here, two adult white-tailed eagles were sitting out on an island off Hallands Väderö and a gannet cruised by. Met Nick Gräntz here, he has lost his mojo this autumn but doubtless will find it again somewhere.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

seawatch at last

American mink - a regular during Båstad seawatches sadly

Westerly winds at last meant seawatching was finally on the cards. I fitted in two sessions at Båstad between my domestic duties today. Just over two hours in the morning netted two sooty shearwaters, three embayed pomarine skuas but I could not find a little auk going past despite them being reported from sites either side of me... Gannets were going past in good numbers and I also logged six scaup and three long-tailed ducks. Offshore a single black guillemot and five black-throated divers were notable. Raptors stole the show though with a merlin through and just before I headed back for lunch a superb late osprey in-off right over my head. My latest by at least five weeks (!) and the latest BK record on Svalan.

The afternoon session was rather quieter though. The three pomarine skuas were still knocking about and kittiwake (5) were coming through at last. Rather quiet (only a short spell of windy weather) but the two BK year-ticks netted were welcome nonetheless.

23102013

Got out at last for a quick look at Grytskären and Ranarpsstrand in the afternoon after looking after one of my kids who was ill for the first part of the week. Off Grytskären there were tow red-necked grebes and nearby two Slavonians. A single crossbill flew out of the plantation.

Ranarpsstrand was similarly quiet a single late lesser black-backed gull and a jack snipe were notable.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

19102013

A rather dull morning. A good look through the woods and the campsite at Torekov rev this morning produced zero tropical or short-haul migrants. Not even a chiffchaff! Both parrot and common crossbill were calling overhead as a small consolation.

Checked out Klarningen in the afternoon. Still 700+ greylag here, with three white-fronted goose in amongst. Also here shoveler (1), little grebe (1), hen harrier (1K), golden plover (450) and ruff (1).

A quick look at Båstad on the way home produced two black-throated divers and a small flock of ten redpolls. Arctic redpolls are on the move this winter so we may get some...

Friday, October 18, 2013

geese

Had a morning in the field at long last today. It was quite windy with just a hint of westerly in the northerly wind so I decided to check out Eskilstorpsstrand. On the way I picked up a nutcracker in Sinarpsdalen that flew alongside the car for 200 metres. At Eskilstorppsstrand a kittiwake floated past and got me excited but the wind direction made my the site uncomfortable so I relocated to Båstad. I swear the wind veered north whilst I drove round because when I got sat down on the breakwater I was still in the wind! Nothing doing here anyway in an hour, just ten grey heron east.

Checked out Klarningen next. Plenty of birds here with 1200 greylags topping the bill. Careful searching revealed at least eight white-fronted geese (three 1K) and four tundra bean geese. Also present were 43 barnacle goose, two shoveler and three pintail. A 1K marsh harrier here was my latest BK bird and 1K hen harrier put in a performance too.


On the way home I checked out Älemossen and was rewarded with great views of a great grey shrike, six red kite (a big migration day for them) and three jays.

In the afternoon, the kids and I just had time to check Stora Hultsstrand and kicked up two more jack snipe for the already large BK total this autumn.

Monday, October 14, 2013

13102013

Things quietened down on Sunday. I arrived at Segeltorpsstrand to find not much going on overhead, although the occasional flock of siskins swept south. I walked the circuit for a while, picking up five grey plovers and going through the meagre numbe rof chiffchaff and goldcrest present. Eventually news that the five great egrets were heading south from Torekov took me back to the coast to try and catch them as they flew past. But no joy [it transpires that they hooked back onto Hallands Väderö, because seven were there this morning!].

Later in the day I was busy in the garden and looked at my SMS's too late to notice that a single great egret was at Klarningen! I got there an hour-and-a-half after the message went out and dipped pretty easily. A late hobby was reasonable compensation though and five pintail were on site. I did not stay long and headed back to domestic chores.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

five great egrets!

Cranes have been a big feature of the last two days, smaller numbers through today though.

Three BK year-ticks today - a real red-letter day. Kicked off just after dawn at Segelstorpsstrand and although I had planned to walk about listening for yellow-browed warblers there was the obvious movement overhead so I dug in and got my ears on. Twelve twite on the beach were my first birds this autumn. Constant small flocks of chaffinch/brambling, great tit and blue tit were a feature this morning and in amongst the hordes heading south the occasional gem. Crossbills were also on the move in a modest way and I got great views of a small flock of parrot crossbills that stopped a while in a nearby birch. My first BK grey wagtail of the year was swiftly followed by the "twiddle-diddle" call of my first wood lark of 2013 too. Jackdaws filled the sky with their calls as large flocks headed purposely south. A goshawk materialised briefly. Birds were on the move. Heading home for a pit-stop I was soon back out at Klarningen picking up a jay in Sinarpsdalen on the way.

Klarningen was busy, a flock of 420 greylags included three white-fronted geese, and ten shoveler and two pintail remain. Overhead things were going on here with good numbers of buzzard through (200+ in an hour-and-a-half), one rough-legged buzzard and seven cranes. Passerines occasionally buzzed the tower including a total of 80+ redwing heading east and five common crossbills.

The SMS that five (!) great egrets were at Torekovs rev was well-received and we got there eventually to find them still present. My second BK record. Also here four twite and a flock of 30 cranes south.

Four of the five great egrets gracing Torekovs rev this afternoon. Mental!

Friday, October 11, 2013

stranded

 A crossbill feeding in the rowan in the garden had me going, but it turned out to be a common.

Mrs B managed to take my car keys to work with her this morning leaving me to work at home... Birding probably would have been good judging by the activity in the garden. An occasional watch on the fruiting rowan produced small numbers of brambling, two blackcap and in the afternoon the excitement of a single common crossbill. In the late afternoon cranes came over in numbers and I logged 950 in one hour. Not a bad garden to be stranded in I guess.

The family odo-roadtrip - the dragonfly trip report

Ophiogomphus cecilia - without a doubt one of the highlights of the trip was my first ever encounter with this species on the Örtze river in Germany. Just have to see one in northern Sweden now...

Finally got round to writing up the trip report for our three-week summer tour of western Europe looking for dragonflies. We managed to see an amazing 55 species, of which seven species were new for me, and some of those high on my most-wanted list!

Trip locations and species recorded can be found on this link. We were very lucky with the weather throughout, experiencing ideal flying conditions at all the sites visited. We missed two of our target species; Platycnemis acutipennis (too late?) and Sympetrum depressisculum at De Plateaux (although the first of the season was found on the same day by another observer at the site...). A successful trip and we are looking forward to a planned southern Spain trip next year.

Gomphus simillimus - another new gomphid, this one was scarce at the excellent Les Tourbières de Vendoire reserve in France. This site produced the most species of any we visited during our journey.

Sympecma paedisca - another much-wanted species finally tracked down in The Netherlands at Lozedijk. This species only has a few records in Sweden, all from Gotland and all by the same observer, I will try and get over there next year for another look.

Aeshna grandis

It was not all dragonflies though, this Titania's fritillary was a surprise tick for me at Riedenersee in Austria.

Coenagrion hylas proved hard to find at Riedenersee, eventually we picked up this single male. Males of this species engage in remarkably robust and rather butch patrolling reminiscent of Anisoptera.

Somatochlora alpestris - another tick in Austria at Sonnenkopf, found hawking over small wet flushes and pools in the mountains. We took a cable car stuffed with cuddly toys up to the resort area and did not have to walk far for dragonflies. A great place for kids. Aeshna caerulea was here too but not so obliging.

Somatochlora alpestris perched.

Crocothemis erythraea

Onychogaster forcipatus

Sympetrum meridionale, we found good numbers of these along the coast of Îl de Ré this year, some (like this one) carrying huge mite burdens. 
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Lestes barbarus, common as usual on Îl de Ré but not seen elsewhere.
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Aeshna affinis - another common species on Îl de Ré.
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Oxygastra curtisii - long extinct in the UK and my most-wanted dragonfly. Not anymore! We had several encounters on two rivers in France. Just need to go back to get better photos...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

calm

Had half an hour in the field at the end of the day today and hit Ranarpsstrand with the kids. It was flat calm and the conditions allowed me to see just how bird-free the sea is at the moment. Very few sea-duck or grebes. We did find five Slavonian grebes and one red-necked grebe offshore though. Walking the coast we flushed three jack snipe, my best day total in BK.

091013

No time for birding today but managed to nip down for an hour with the kids to try for the five pomarine skuas that had been hanging around off Båstad for most of the day in the stiff southerly breeze. We missed them but there were at least 15 gannets offshore and a fine female merlin came in-off whilst we watched.

081013

I took it easy on Monday to try and recover from a rather fatiguing virus but missed a great day in BK if other people's results with migrants are anything to go but. Tawny pipit, Med gull and ring ouzel all spotted by others!

The next day I had to take the car for it's MOT and made my annual visit to nearby Brandsvig. This stretch of farmland by the motorway has an occasionally wet wetland which was dry this year but the site always has good birds. In twenty minutes I enjoyed watching a 1K female peregrine flying about, as well as rough-legged buzzard (1) and a fly-through ringtail hen harrier.

The car passed and I was off to walk Gröthögarna. On the way I picked up a flock of nine jays heading south. I started at Ripagården and spent some time checking the site. Frustratingly I could hear two-barred crossbills in the plantation but could not get good views. Despite numerous encounters with this species this autumn I have yet to see one well! Otherwise migrants were rather thin on the ground; blackcap (2), chiffchaff (1) and redpoll (3) being the best of it. A full circuit of Gröthögarna produced a few other birds including redshank (1) and peregrine (1).

Typically perhaps the best sighting of the day came when I picked up the kid's in Förslöv in the late afternoon and three nutcrackers flew over the village.

Monday, October 7, 2013

061013

Struggling with a virus made for some poor birding today. I hit Torekovs rev in the morning but things were quiet (one chiffchaff) and I spent some time looking at large gulls... Later I walked Rålehamn and Norra Ängalag which was equally quiet (one chiffchaff) and four feeding curlew on the fields behind the coast.

In the afternoon I checked out Klarningen. More going on here with pintail (3) and shoveler (8) and at least 47 ruff feeding on the wetland and the former pea-field which has now been tilled. Walking the remaining stubble produced a big flock of 65 linnets and lots of skylarks but no buntings. Overhead a rough-legged buzzard went through south and buzzard and red kite were prominent. The calls of crossbill and water rail penetrated my virus-muddled mind before I headed for Eskilstorppsstrand. Here the beach was quite busy too with a single ringed plover being my latest BK bird ever and also single dunlin and six 1K grey plover. Not much offshore with flyby red-throated diver (1) and velvet scoter (5) only. Laholmsbukten has been empty this summer/autumn for some reason.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

get by with a little help

Been busy of late. Wednesday I was working and picked up at least three two-barred crossbills at Hov again. The next day I was working nearer Torekov at Varan and had my first rough-legged buzzard of the autumn through and a jay was knocking about here too. In the evening I took the kids for a quick walk along Ranarpsstrand and kicked up two jack snipe.

Yesterday we dragged a load of bedding and food down to Grytskären and spent the night in the shelter there. We have been promising the kids we would do this all summer so we decided to get it done before things get too cold! It rained overnight but this did not produce any birds in the plantation in the morning, apart form a single goldcrest and great spotted woodpecker. A flock of 11 parrot crossbills that dropped in very briefly were my first for a while though. Luckily reinforcements were in the field to help me out. Mikael Olofsson relocated the Lapland bunting at Lervik for us (as well as gripping me off with a Caspian gull...).

 A typically confiding Lapland bunting, my first of the year.

Later  Håkan Johansson texted in a red-throated pipit on the beach at Vejbystrand, so we checked Storahultsstrand on our way to checking it out. Then exhausted by our overnight activities we returned home to chill out! A goshawk burst out of a roadside hedge in Lervik as we headed home. Good session but not my own work!

It was better than this in life - honest. Red-throated pipits on the deck are always welcome.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 1st

Had some good birds at work today with a nutcracker calling briefly at Båstad and four flyby two-barred crossbills at Hov later on.

After work I chased a reported Lapland bunting between Lervik and Grytskären but it had moved on. I did get my first hen harrier of the autumn though - a stunning male.

Monday, September 30, 2013

sun and plovers

  Golden plover

The sun was shining so I got out during the morning. Walked around in the woods at Segelstorpsstrand searching yet again for a stray yellow-browed warbler but failing. One day... Plenty going on overhead though, with skylark, reed bunting, brambling/chaffinch and siskin obvious and perhaps I should have paid more attention to the vismig instead of going for glory! On the ground a count of five great spotted woodpeckers suggested movement too and a crested tit was hanging about. The best birds were on the beach though, seven spanking new grey plovers.

 Seven grey plovers at Segelstorpsstrand this morning, all immatures.

Checked out Ranarpsstrand on the way home and bumped into Mikael Olofsson. We had a good old natter, apparently Siberian tits are on the move up north, which is unusual. I think it is going to be a cold winter... Ranarpsstrand was quiet but I kicked up a jack snipe along the shoreline and offshore there were three Slavonian grebes.

Jack snipe plummeting back to earth.

One of two red squirrels at Segelstorpsstrand this morning.

dysphaea dimidiata



Dysphaea dimidiata at Taman Negara this month. Trying to find the time to blog about my recent tour of Malaysia but it may be some time. Also long overdue is a trip report of our summer odo-tour of Europe...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

quick look

Checked the sunny edge of Glimminge plantering at noon, quite a few crossbill (10) and chiffchaff (9) and also a single redstart, but nothing more exciting. Best bird of the day came in the village later on in the afternoon when a nutcracker flew high overhead.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

snow goose

Today's 1K white-tailed eagle, moments later it scragged an eider and drowned it before tucking in.

Managed to drag myself out into the field just before 0800 today. Hit Ripagården for an hour but there was very little moving overhead here and not much on the ground. A 1K white-tailed eagle cruised past and grabbed a male eider, calmly drowning it before tucking into breakfast. A black woodpecker called in the plantation and bouncing around in the tops of the pines a flock of ten crossbills was predictable enough this autumn. A jay to the south on Gröthögarna was another sign of autumn. Little moved on the sea but two red-necked grebes heading south were notable.

Next stop was Norra Ängalag, a large gathering of gulls was checked thoroughly but yielded nothing. A single wheatear feeding n the seaweed-covered shore another reminder of autumn and colder days to come.

Torekov rev was strangely deserted (disturbance?). Only birds of note a single rock pipit and a flyby red-throated diver.

In the afternoon we all headed out to Klarningen, a snow goose had been reported yesterday and it was still present today. Plastic fantastic! Also here 21 ruff and a dunlin. Later we walked Eskilstorpsstrand but nothing could we find. Strangely quiet at the moment, most migrants have bugged out and there seems to be slim pickings on the eastern front.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

half an hour

Been busy this week working in the gardens of the rich and famous. Had 23 cranes south over Hov on Tuesday otherwise things have been fairly quiet at work. This afternoon I grabbed half an hour at Ranarpsstrand but nothing much was happening - three adult lesser black-backed gulls and a greenshank...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

quiet hour

Had an hour at Klarningen this morning before working in the garden for most of the day. Quite a few greylag about (175) but nothing in amongst them. Also 230 lapwing resting on site and 12 ruff. A single gadwall is still present alongside five shoveler and good numbers of wigeon (43) and teal (85). The only good bird was the water rail which showed well again before sloping off. Overhead the was plenty going on and I should have moved to the coast really; small numbers of chaffinch, brambling, siskin, meadow pipit and white wagtail heading south

Friday, September 20, 2013

jack snipe

Nothing makes it feel more like autumn than the first jack snipe of the season and today I got one. I got out for two hours in the afternoon and slowly walked about Ripagården hoping to scare up some migrants. Apart from the jack snipe things were pretty quiet, nine crossbill were noisy in the plantation and there was a general lack of insectivores about, just two chiffchaff. In the harbour I watched a confused female Aeshna cyanea egg-laying into the seawall...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

it rains

Ed and got up early and checked out Hovs Hallar hoping for some vismig but the heavens opened up and we headed to Klarningen after half an hour. Here we found the place rather empty of birds, a flyby pintail, a gadwall and two little grebe being our only reward. Rain continued throughout the day and although we walked the Killeröd-Önnarp loop we failed to locate our target bird - nutcracker and had little else besides. A wash-out!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

huge day counting ducks

Big raptor day in BK today with several merlins, a peregrine and this 1K goshawk at Torekov.

The September duck count was not a chore today, as it was punctuated by several good birds including a heard-only BK tick. I worked the coast between Dagshög and Hov Hallar as usual and typically there was not much to count on the wildfowl front, although wigeon numbers were perhaps a little higher than normal. The best duck a single pintail at Ripagården.

But it was migrating passerines that dominated my attention. At Torekov mid-morning I finally heard the flight call of a red-throated pipit and looked up to see it travelling high overhead. A short while later a two-barred crossbill called on the edge of town but I had no time to look for it. [It was seen later with common crossbills by the sewage works]. Despite this scattering of exciting birds there was no large scale movement going on, just odd groups of chaffinch moving south and occasional calls overhead from tree pipit, yellow wagtail and reed bunting.

A scattering of raptors also kept me entertained with two merlins, a peregrine and an immature goshawk during the long walk. Waders were few and far between but did include a single grey plover at Torekov rev. A great day out in the field.

Friday, September 13, 2013

water rail (and another pallid harrier)

A 3K male pallid harrier through Klarningen this morning. Nice moment, shame about the image!

Could not resist a short session at Klarningen this morning, despite being under orders to clean up the house ahead of a visit from some mates from the UK. This irresponsible behaviour paid off handsomely when after an hour-and-a-half a 3k male pallid harrier cruised across the site in a leisurely fashion and landed in the pea-field for a few minutes to eat a packed lunch. My third male of the autumn, still not seen an immature! Anders Wirdheim arrived just at the right moment and when he got up the tower he found me a water rail. BK year-tick and Klarningen tick too I believe. Other notable birds here included a late swift, 16 ruff, a merlin and a single flyover crossbill.

Sixteen red-throated pipits went through Falsterbo today, but sadly none for me in BK. Perhaps a weekend of counting ducks will produce one.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

black-throated diver for the year at last!

A few sparrowhawks are coming through BK at the moment, this one grabbed a tree sparrow in front of me at Ripagården at lunch time.

First stop today was Påarps Mal as I worked the coastline north towards Ripagården. Plenty of birds to look at here. Six shags of various ages were my first of the autumn. A black-throated diver flew through - amazingly my first of the year... Single little and Slavonian grebes were notable for the site. A scattering of waders included three ruff and three greenshank and a bar-tailed godwit went past south.

Could not find much between Påarps Mal and the rev, but the latter site had some good birds as usual. Waders dominated the returns with little stint (1) the easy highlight amongst 140 golden plover, 18 dunlin and two bar-tailed godwit. Overhead I heard crossbill and somewhere in the woods an autumn black woodpecker was calling. Offshore rocks produced the autumn's first rock pipits (3).

Norra Ängalag and Ripagården were rather quiet in the short time I spent there. Ripagården had two lesser black-backed gulls and the only redshank (5) of the day, as well as a single 1K knot.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

pink-foot


1K peregrine over Klarningen today - it made a great deal of effort but failed to catch anything

Jet-lagged but pleased to be home after an epic dragonfly tour to Malaysia. Had a few hours in the field today in amongst the domestic chores. Two hours at Klarningen were excellent. Birds present in good numbers today including a staggering 102 ruff, 96 wigeon and 8 shoveler. A 1K peregrine kept me entertained by dashing about after birds. Other notable sighting included little grebe (1), gadwall (male) and 25 stock dove. I walked part of the site hoping for a red-throated pipit but drew a blank. Walking the dry pea-field did throw up a surprise though when I flushed a great snipe.

1K pink-footed goose - only my 4th BK record

In the afternoon I headed for Stora Hultsstrand - not so much wader habitat here now but the site did produce a single immature curlew sandpiper in amongst 20+ dunlin. Last stop of the day was at Ranarpsstrand, a good choice because an immature  pink-footed goose was present with 200+ greylag geese.

Friday, August 23, 2013

off again

Ahead of my departure to Malaysia on a dragonfly tour Mrs B and I took some time out and walked around on the coast. The weather has become very pleasant again and the wind is from the east, sometimes it is hard to leave BK behind...

We checked out Vasaltheden and were rewarded with a 1K cuckoo and some equally immature red-backed shrikes (3). A thin veneer of grounded yellow wagtails was obvious and overhead we were treated to more of the same, plus a few tree pipit and common crossbill. Glimminge had a few waders but nothing too exciting, again high-flying crossbills intruded on our conversation. Hopefully their will still be time to catch up with two-barred crossbill when I return. Am I going to miss something big though this time?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

beyond the pale - two male pallid harriers!

Got out for an hour at Klarningen this morning but things were very quiet. 300 teal remain on site but there was little else around. Buzzards may have been moving and feeding kestrel (1) and marsh harrier (1) possibly indicated some movement. Always hard to tell. Likewise a quick look at Ehrenstorp, hoping for a wryneck, produced a single adult honey buzzard that made it's way imperceptibly south whilst keeping a good lookout for something to eat. Also a single immature red-backed shrike at the latter site.

The big excitement came in the afternoon on the way home from doing the weekly shopping in the supermarket. On our way home we headed for the coast to eat our dinner by the sea. I was astonished when an adult male pallid harrier almost came through the windscreen. We were just about to go under the railway and the road dipped and we lost the bird. By the time I got on it's trail we were well behind and we never saw the bird again. Bloody hell.

Grytskären was a nice place to eat and there were plenty of wheatear about but it was when we drove home that we encountered another male pallid harrier. This time a 2k bird, it was wildly hunting small birds on the new plough along the access track and was successful. It took it's prize to a nearby field and settled down to eat. At this point I could finally deploy the only optics I had with me, my 'scope! What a great bird, it fed unconcerned whilst I drank in the finer points of it's plumage before heading off east and into BK. Not seen this plumage so early in autumn before so it was educational. No photos though, I should know better than to leave my gear at home in the autumn...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

pine marten!

Willow tit

Had a good walk this morning around the long loop from Killeröd which kicked off with a brief view of a pine marten on the track. My fourth daylight encounter in six years.

This time of year is always busy in the woods hereabouts, with plenty of young birds on the wing and big flocks of insectivores cramming in food ahead of their migration to the tropics. I too am heading to the tropics soon but I was trying to get fitter not fatter as I wandered around the circuit!

Birding had a great 'Scandinavian' feel to it this morning with great looks at flyby goshawk (1) and nutcracker (2). Cranes bugled and black woodpeckers gave their insane flight calls. A huge flock of flycatchers and chats must have contained at least 20 spotted flycatchers...

During the walk I had hoped to find a two-barred crossbill as we are in the midst of a huge crossbill/two-bar irruption at the moment, but despite the near constant presence of calling crossbills I could not find their scarcer cousin. The common:two bar ratio so far through Falsterbo this autumn is 15463:77 though so perhaps I should not feel too bad...

 Goshawk

Nutcracker