Tuesday, March 26, 2013

bah!

Had a sniff around Älemossen for the hawk owl at midday but nothing doing, could not even scare up the great grey shrike. Likewise a brief check of Klarningen was equally fruitless.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

the sun shines

Got out nice and early this morning for a walk around Klarningen and a quick look at Eskilstorpsstrand. The highlight was a BK year-tick in the shape of a merlin north through Klarningen and the sunshine and blue sky (even if it was -8). Migration has really come to an abrupt halt and the year-list (which has struggled all year) is really looking rather woeful at 111. The sea is starting to freeze over again in the corner of Laholmsbukten, not really what you want to see at this time of year...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

quick look

Had a quick half hour in the field this afternoon around Stora Hultstrand. Another big flock of 350+ common scoter was hanging around off Vejbyhamn and the white-tailed eagle was still sat out on Grytskären. We went south out of BK to take a closer look at the scoter flock and I was immediately punished by a flyby woodcock - a potential BK year-tick. I nearly saw it enter BK airspace too but it went behind a fishing hut at the crucial moment.

Friday, March 22, 2013

gyr refound


They always look large but the true size of this gyr falcon really became apparent when it started flying around with a hooded crow in it's talons.

Spent a sunny morning in the field working the coast between Påarps mal and Norra Ängalag. Big flocks of eider at most locations along this stretch, with a total of 1950 logged during the morning, no sign of any rare interlopers but this has to be the stretch to concentrate on this spring for that elusive king. The rev produced a single dunlin and nearby I had my first twite of the year in a stubble field.

Last stop of the day was Norra Ängalag where things seemed quiet (although there was a flock of 300 common scoter offshore) until I glanced south and noticed a large falcon going vertically into a flock of distraught crows. Gyr? I walked the short distance south to Rålehamn and flushed it from the beach. It carried the crow it was feeding on to some offshore rocks and although distant seemed unhappy with me and pretty quickly flew again, this time north. It was astonishing how effortlessly it carried the crow out of sight onto Gröthögarna. A great end to the session.

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Took the kids out for a look at Segelstorpsstrand to Grytskären after school today. Good to get outside again after a week mostly spent indoors working on African images. As soon as we arrived however the snow started in earnest and we saw very little indeed. The easy highlight was a white-tailed eagle sitting out on Grytskären.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sanje mangabey

One of the highlights of the Greentours trip to Tanzania is a chance to visit a habituated group of Sanje mangabeys as they go about there business, often feeding on the forest floor. This unique and endangered monkey is found only on the eastern slopes of the Udzungwa Mountains. Eleven other primates can be found in the Udzungwa Mountains, making it one of the most important sites for primate conservation in Africa. Tracking the habituated group can take from 30 minutes to four hours depending where they are but however long it takes it is always worth the effort.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

wild wolf chase

Scrambled the family twice today and headed off to search parts of NW Skåne for wolf. One has been reported on-and-off all this year but was finally seen by birders near Vegeholm this morning and got on the grapevine. This may be the same wolf that was implicated in the death of three sheep in BK in mid-January. Anyway we gave it a good go this morning before heading home for a grilled lunch at Ripagården empty-handed.

It was not over though, whilst I was cooking dinner in the evening the phone rang, it was Martin Åkesson. His wife had just passed the wolf on the E6, it was trying to go east across the carriageway but not having much fun in the heavy Sunday afternoon traffic. We all piled into the car again and headed down the motorway. Suffice to say we did not see the animal but it may still be around...


kilombero weaver

Discovered in Tanzania as recently as 1986 the endemic Kilombero weaver is currently classified as Vulnerable by BirdLife. We always find a few birds in a tiny remnant patch of natural wetland in the vast sugar cane plantation near Mwanihana, whilst staying at the nearby Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp (Hondo Hondo).


Friday, March 15, 2013

minus 12

Ringed plovers are one of the first signs of spring hereabouts, along with oystercatchers, shelducks and skylarks. They are all pretty hardy species but even they must be regretting heading north into the weather we are experiencing at the moment.

Had two hours around Torekov this morning. It was blue sky at home but just past Hov I descended into a fog bank! It soon cleared up though whilst I checked the harbour area for coot - an overdue BK year-tick. There were four!

The rev looked good for a king eider but a thorough look through the assembled eider came up blank. The beach though produced my second year-tick in the shape of a song thrush but there was little else of note.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thrush double

Had a couple of hours out this afternoon after a busy morning claening the house (!) when an SMS arrived to tell me that Håkan J had scored his water pipit again at Grytskären and also found redwing and mistle thrush feeding on the beach (both potential BK year-ticks). The land is still held in an icy grip with no obvious thaw in sight and even more snow for us next week!

Off I went out finding no feeding birds on the beach at Grytskären although two red kite migrating past together was nice. Walking north I found the mixed flock of thrushes and pipits at Ranarpsstrand. Going through them as they turfed about in the hummocky rotten seaweed was quite hard but my suspicions that there were two water pipits was finally vindicated when they appeared in the same 'scope view together. Also here a feeding redwing, looking splendid as usual and about 55 starlings. As I searched through the ducks I got a flyby from a mistle thrush as it flew north - job done!

Back at the car I spotted a nice adult peregrine sitting on the rocks off Lervik and then just had time to check Stora Hultsstrand (one cold-looking ringed plover feeding surprisingly successfully on the foreshore) and Ljungbyholm (nothing).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

hawfinch

Overnight snow saw plenty of activity at the garden feeders today, I still revel in the occasional hawfinch that pays us a visit here. This one has been on-and-off all week but I finally got a half-decent image today whilst working on the many images from my recent trip to Uganda.


Ugandan bush-shrikes

Tricky subjects bush-shrikes, always in the the thick of it. This is Doherty's, the picture taken at Ruhija with Fred Tugarurirwe, the best bird guide for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. You can contact Fred at ftugarurirwe[at]yahoo.com if you are going that way.


The highlight of a day sent with Fred at Ruhija (whilst the rest of the team went for gorillas) was this sub-adult male Lagden's bush-shrike. Not a bird I was expecting to see. They are nesting apparently at the moment so twitchable...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

refreeze

Had an hour at Klarningen over lunch and was disappointed to discover the place has refrozen since my last visit five days ago. No birds of course, just the rough-legged buzzard to write about. Mrs B informs me that it was the coldest March 12th for 125 years...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

short walk out

Mrs B and I had a little time to ourselves this afternoon and headed out for a walk in a bitterly cold easterly. We hunched up under a variety of shelters at Ranarpsstrand and Grytskären. Almost nothing at Ranarpsstrand - the reason, a sub-adult 2K peregrine sitting out on the rocks...

Grytskären had a little more going on with eight dunlin and two knot being the main prizes - the latter a BK year-tick. Then we headed off for a cup of tea at Salmon Heights.

Friday, March 8, 2013

garden birding

Laid up with a bad back today. The garden over breakfast produced a monster hawfinch at the feeders and nearby trees held 25 waxwing.

the eyes have it

We got very close to a female leopard in Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda) last month but it was hard to get a look at in a dense tree euphorbia. There was a small cub with it but we never saw it!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

glaucous gull dipping again

Born to dip, that's me. No sign of the glaucous gull again in a a morning session that dragged on rather. The weather has gone cooler again with winds from the east. Staking out Eskilstorpsstrand produced a ringed plover this morning and after a side-trip to Klarningen a white-tailed eagle was out in the bay terrorising the scoter flocks.

Klarningen was nearly ice-free and wildfowl have responded, with five tufted duck and nine goldeneye new in. The gadwall pair remains and five whooper swans had a rest before heading northwards. A rough-legged buzzard looked in on the place and my first hen harrier of the year, a female, passed by too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

glaucous smawkous

I got round to checking Svalan this morning over breakfast to discover that the glaucous gull was still showing and has moved south into BK! It is still obviously showing only occasionally though as yet another session there this morning failed to turn it up. Whooper swans were on the move though and offshore from Eskilstorpsstrand were a few velvet scoters to go through and at least 18 tufted duck and a female smew. My only year-tick here was a heard-only curlew.

I took a break at Klarningen halfway and was pleased to see open water at last, although most of the site remains iced up. The water had attracted in some wildfowl, including two wigeon, a pair of gadwall and at least nine teal. Five lapwing were dotted around.

Dipping again I headed home, picking up three waxwing and my first hawfinch of the year in Båstad. Later whilst working in the garden I had another hawfinch 'pixing' overhead.

In the afternoon I returned to Båstad with Number 1 and we fed the ducks and checked through the gulls. Just another pair of gadwall here sadly. More gulling tomorrow for me I guess.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

busy morning

The wind went south overnight and today's session was a stark contrast to yesterday's. I got seven year-ticks! First up was a roadside flock of swans near Grevie kyrkby; 18 whoopers and three Bewick's. I motored up to Påarps mal happy with my first year-tick but the fun continued. Forty minutes of watching here produced ten bean geese north and as I was leaving two stock dove flew by. Also here a water pipit that was starting to colour up.

The sewage works finally produced lapwing (6) for my BK year-list and the goose action continued with four rather distant white-fronted geese. The rev was the next stop, the small patch of sand here produced a solo ringed plover, another first for the year. I checked Flytermossen but it was quiet and then looked in on Norra Ängalag (ditto). Driving home though I spotted eight waxwing in Ängalag - my first since mid-December and always a pleasure to see. A great morning in the field.

Monday, March 4, 2013

quiet afternoon

Today's highlight (!) was a colour-ringed black-headed gull at Eskilstorpsstrand - I think white J63 will prove to be a Danish ringed bird.

Spent the afternoon birding today but things were quiet for me. Checked Klarningen first, arriving  just as a helicopter flushed all the geese! Chasing swans I strayed over the border into Laholm kommun and was immediately punished by three lapwing - a year-tick (but outside BK). Eskilstorpsstrand had a good-sized flock of gulls but no sign of the glaucous gull. Båstad had a surprise in the form of a male gadwall with no tail! Also here four long-tailed duck remain and a single oystercatcher was sitting out on the rocks. 

The lengthening days meant that Number 2 and I could check out Ranarpsstrand after school. Something she was not entirely pleased about. I am not sure the total of 23 shelduck and a rock pipit was worth the tears.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

BBQ weather

Had an hour in the field at Grytskären and Ranarpsstrand after grilling some sausages this afternoon. The sun shone but a brisk NW kept things cool along the coast. Nothing doing really, the early migrants continue their exponential increases, skylarks having gone from the occasional call overhead to territories getting occupied on a broad front in ten days. Likewise shelduck numbers continue to build.

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Tried hard for the glaucous this cold morning but drew a blank. Kicked off at Båstad and worked my way north. Båstad was busy at first light, geese and 17 whooper swans had dropped in for a breather and my only year-tick of the day came in the shape of three resting oystercatcher. Offshore founr long-tailed ducks loafed. Working the beached north to the top of Eskilstorpsstrand produced surprisingly little of note. Klarningen remains frozen but a few mute swan and some grazing geese is a sign that spring is around the corner. I checked Älemossen on the way home without result.

Friday, March 1, 2013

bah!

The school-run was enlivened by Number 1 spotting a white-tailed eagle over the village this morning. But got it wrong today in a brisk NW wind. I worked the coast between Påarps Mal and Norra Ängalag for very little return, a few skylarks on the move and one sub-adult shag at Torekov. As I headed for lunch the news came through that Kent had found the glaucous gull within range of the top end of Eskilstorpsstrand. I had other commitments but still got there within an hour with the kids in tow. No sign of the bird and a trawl north up the beach failed to locate it it either. Had it gone south into BK?  I must start to take this bird seriously, I actually need it for Sweden I think...