Monday, May 13, 2013

we visit Öland and I join Club 300

 The long-staying male firecrest at Stenåsabadet was joined by a female on the 10th - I was kindly shown this bird by Markus Tallroth before he stalked off to find more birds...

10th May
Slept fairly badly due to it being the first night of camping and also because of the incessant racket from a horny black-tailed godwit which seemed to circle above the tent all night. Being a fairly unfamiliar bird vocalisation it disturbed me greatly! Great to get out early and work the campsite whilst the rest of the team slept on. Managed better views of the male firecrest and was also shown a new-in female by Markus Tallroth at one point. The photo above does not do it justice sadly. Two different male red-breasted flycatchers were singing too, one an absolute corker, the other a drab 2K trainee. My first swifts of the year cruised overhead.

 Our first day produced a flock of 26 dotterel at Mörbylånga. Eighteen of them are pictured poorly here!

Having scraped the team together our first stop of the day was nearby at Mörbylånga where a fine flock of 26 dotterel fed right beside the road. Superb. Driving south and unashamedly twitching we headed for the turtle dove at Kungsgården (Ottenby), which sat in a tree looking miserable. My first Swedish tick of the trip though! We gave Ottenby a brief drive-through but I did not subject the team to a tedious Kentish plover stake-out. This regular over-summering male was my nemesis during a previous visit to Öland with Terry Townshend in 2010 and I knew it could be tricky to pin down. No sign of it this morning so we headed north again away from the crowds.

Spent the remainder of the day checking a few sites for smooth snake but only turning up a single but very large adder and a singing wryneck. Last stop of the day was one of my favourite sites on the island - Beijershamn. Here we enjoyed a pair of garganey (FOTY) and some great waders, including FOTY spotted redshank (5) and grey plover (1). Beijershamn saved the best for last though, as we were ambling back we jammed into a superb male citrine wagtail that had just been re-located. Swedish tick number 2, which brought up the 300! [I mentioned this to Håkan J at Ottenby and he smiled sweetly and pointed out that 300 was a respectable year-list total...]

 One of the top birds during our long weekend was this fantastic male citrine wagtail

11th May
The easy highlights of my morning session around the campsite were long-eared owl (1),garden warbler (male singing, FOTY) and good views of the male firecrest feeding low down in between bouts of singing.

The sun shone so we spent the middle part of the day in an amazing limestone pavement hazel coppice area looking in vain for smooth snake again. Flushed at least three nightjars here though and heard yet another wryneck. Later on we drove north picking up three amazingly close and just mind-blowing Montagu's harriers. Last thing we headed south again to Näsby near Ottenby for our Twitch-of-the-Day - a fine lesser grey shrike that performed admirably. Nearby an ortolan bunting was a nice bit of padding to the growing list.

A highlight on 11th May at Stenåsabadet was my first owl on Öland - this cracking and inquisitive long-eared

Almost got a good photo of the male firecrest this morning, a tricky subject and the learning curve remains steep

This male ruff beside the road at Ottenby was begging to be papped

Lesser grey shrike - Swedish tick number three on this busy mini-break

12th May
On our last morning I tore myself away from Stenåsabadet and headed south bright and early to Ottenby to have a go at the Kentish plover. Here I was lucky enough to fall in with the Helsingborg's Peder Winding and Klas Rosenkvist and they found me the Kentish in fine style. Thanks guys! Swedish tick number 4 and a ghost laid to rest.

Packing up the tent we headed towards the bridge stopping at a small reservoir near Skogsby for a look at Sympecma fusca and then heading for Beijershamn for a last look at this fabulous site. We found the reported broad-billed sandpiper easily enough and were just about to leave when someone kindly asked if we had seen the spoonbill!! I dashed off to the far north of the site, walking for nearly an hour there-and-back managing just two minutes on the bird. Swedish tick number five and a great way to end the trip.

Sympecma fusca - predictably kicking off the Odo year for me here in Sweden and my first on Öland

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