Monday, June 24, 2013


After a long weekend of rain and overcast skies spent inside we finally dragged ourselves out for a walk and BBQ in the best of the weekend's weather. Had a look at Gröthögarna first, nothing out of the ordinary here but two gadwall and two razorbill were noteworthy...

Later we rocked up at Ranarpsstrand and were treated to four brent geese and three male wigeon before the heavens opened and we scampered for the car and home.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Odonata at Ultima Frontiera (Romania)

Four species of Lestes were on the wing at Ultima Frontiera this week. Lestes barbarus were rather localised but could be found with a little patience.

A full list of species recorded in Romania between 15th and 19th of June appears at the end of the page.

I do not see many Lestes parvidens, so it was nice to bump into this species in the more shaded riparian wetlands bordering the Danube.

 Much more familiar though were the Lestes dryas that popped up in similar habitat.

The big Lestes here though is Lestes macrostigma, always a special odo. I found just two males whilst my colleagues worked a lovely shallow lagoon for waterbirds.

I found just two newly-minted Sympecma fusca on the property.

After the excitement of adding Selysiothemis nigra to the Romanian odofauna on the first day we went on to find another five or so in the drier, sandier areas of the property. A lifer for me.

My other lifer of the trip was Orthetrum albistylum, reasonably common amongst the cancellatums.

Anax parthenope outnumbered imperator by a large margin and together they were the only aeshnids we could find.

Banded demoiselle
Calopteryx splendens
Along the banks of the Danube and it’s larger backwaters. ancilla?
Robust spreadwing
Lestes dryas
Rather localised at UF, found at one pond.
Migrant spreadwing
Lestes barbarus
Small numbers daily at UF.
Dark spreadwing
Lestes macrostigma
Just two males noted at one spot in UF.
Eastern willow spreadwing
Lestes parvidens
Small numbers around the periphery of UF.
Common winter damsel
Sympecma fusca
Two fresh individuals encountered at UF.
Common bluetail
Ischnura elegans
Small bluetail
Ischnura pumilio
One male at the wetland site before we had lunch en route to the delta.
Common bluet
Enallagma cyathigerum
A few at the wetland site before we had lunch en route to the delta.
Variable bluet
Coenagrion pulchellum
Scarce in the delta?
Small red-eye
Erythromma viridulum
Common and widespread.
Blue featherleg
Platycnemis pennipes
Common in the delta.
Anax imperator
Present in the delta in good numbers.
Lesser emperor
Anax parthenope
Quite common at the wetland before lunch en route to the delta.
Black-tailed skimmer
Orthetrum cancellatum
White-tailed skimmer
Orthetrum albistylum
One male at the wetland en route to the delta.
Ruddy darter
Sympetrum sanguineum
Small numbers around the periphery at UF.
Red-veined darter
Sympetrum fonscolombii
Single male at the lake en route to the delta.
Common darter
Sympetrum striolatum
A few at UF.
Southern darter
Sympetrum meridionale
The commonest Sympetrum.
Broad scarlet
Crocothemis erythraea
Abundant in the delta and a few elsewhere.
Black pennant
Selysiothemis nigra
Five individuals, all female, recorded in the drier, sandier areas of UF. First record for Romania?

wild cat in Romania

Not one of mine, but taken by Pablo Serrano at Ultima Frontiera in the northern part of the Danube delta where I have spent the best part of the week

The easy highlight of a FAM trip to Romania's Danube Delta was a brief, but oh-so-sweet, night encounter with a genuine wild cat at the splendid Ultima Frontiera. This must be one of the top spots for trying to see wild cat in Europe I reckon. We found our male close to the edge of a track on a night-drive on an overcast and slightly damp evening which also produced an obvious hybrid. Another two drives on much clearer nights failed to produce another sighting but others did see one right by the hotel during our four night stay.

A poor image but a great encounter with a jackal pup that was found snoozing in the sun near an active burrow before waking abruptly upon discovery and hiding. Ultima Frontiera produced multiple sightings (day and night) of the impressive European moreoticus sub-species of golden jackal.

I am hoping to come back with groups in the future and am already looking forward to it!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Odonata first for Romania?

Had a great first day in the Danube Delta, the easy highlight though was a single female Selysiothemis nigra on the Ultima Frontiera property where we are staying. There are just two observations from the Black Sea coast of Ukraine that I could find in a short internet search, otherwise the nearest records are coastal Bulgaria. I think I may have bagged a country first?

Friday, June 14, 2013

an hour in Bucharest

Arrived in Bucharest mid-afternoon on a recce trip to the Danube delta, highlights of a short walk around an open-air village architecture museum were two species of woodpecker, this poorly-imaged middle-spotted and a Syrian.

A rather unpleasant looking lake supported both European pond terrapin (above) and the introduced red-eared slider (below)

The first odo of the trip was Orthetrum cancellatum...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

go east old man

Last day of sun for a while I suspect, so I got out for a day after dragonflies. Forgetting my Atlas work for a change I headed east out of BK hoping to find Epitheca bimaculata at some likely looking spots. En route I stopped at a very dry Klarningen, return migration evident here! Spotted redshank (1 and BK year-tick), ruff (1), green sandpiper (3) and wood sandpiper (2).

First odo stop was Sjöjalt, climbed out of the car and there on the square fishpond near the big lake was an obvious Epitheca flying backwards and forwards just out of reach form the bank! I watched it for some time before it blundered into the verandah of the cafe and I caught it by hand! Another two males were also present over the lake.

If you are into odos, Epitheca bimaculata is rather special, it is rather local and has a short spring flight period giving it a certain cache. It is also very under-recorded, I found three new sites for this species during the day.


Also flying at Sjöjalt were a number of Gomphus vulgatissimus, my first for the year.

Other species flying at Sjöjalt included Calopteryx virgo (1), Erythromma najas, Gomphus vulgatissimus (3) and Libellula depressa.

Next stop was some nearby lakes at Hällalteknallen, similar species here (including another Epitheca bimaculata!) with some added Pyrrhosoma nymphula for good measure.

Epitheca seem to like the sunny sides of lakes that are surrounded by trees. They often fly high or well offshore.

Happy with my haul and with time surging on I headed next for Lärkeröd hoping to twitch off Leucorrhinia albifrons for the year. I managed to get lost though walking in and bumped into a different set of pools, a little further west. I had no knowledge of this good-looking site and tramped about picking up Leucorrhinia rubicunda and Anax imperator for the day. I then checked a likely looking lake off to one side, surrounded by trees it delivered a single Epitheca in just five minutes watching. Site number three. Walking back out I drove round and walked into the gravel pit complex the long way, picking up a surprise male Orthetrum coerulescens on the way. This little former gravel extraction site is amazing for dragonflies and produced a reasonable number of Leucorrhina albifrons, a few Leucorrhinia dubia and my first Somatochlora metallica and Orthetrum cancellatum for the year, as well as another Anax imperator.The final species total for the day: 21 odos!

Leucorrhina albifrons

One the way back home I dropped in and checked a few site in BK outside my Atlas squares (nothing exciting) and dropped in for a quick look at Ranarpsstrand. Rather quiet here but I did find another spotted redshank and my first (!) Sandwich terns (2) of the year. A great day.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

on yer bike for BK river warbler

Thanks Mats!

With the car still at the menders with a f***ed clutch we have been stuck at home enjoying a four-day bank holiday weekend, ie doing all the things around the house and garden that get successfully ignored most of the time.

As a result I have been kinda hoping for a quiet weekend birdwise but the peace and calm was shattered yesterday when Mats L found a river warbler at Slottet. I was tempted to go last night but Mrs B persuaded me to go in the morning and despite nearly herniating myself on a bike I managed the 5 km before 0630 and got the bird. It was singing very sporadically on arrival but eventually showed well and got into some sustained bouts of singing. Dream bird in BK laid to rest and back to the gardening...

Monday, June 3, 2013

20 minutes

Not much time in the field today but managed 20 minutes in the late afternoon, carefully negotiating the valley mire in Sinarpsdalen looking for dragonflies. Surprisingly few damsels on the wing here just Pyrrhosoma nymphula. Got my first Leucorrhinia rubicunda for the site though and a few Libellula quadrimaculata were on the wing too.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

morning glory

Found out yesterday that I had been searching for the corncrake in the wrong place and that it had been ringed whilst I was looking for it... So it was out again to Ehrenstorp last night this time to check the right area but no joy, the bird had moved on I guess and an hour here netted just nightjar, woodcock and tawny owl. I was more than a little pissed off...

After dipping I headed onwards into the night to check reports of a possible Blyth's reed warbler at Eskilstorp. After midnight I was installed and listening to Acros intently here (they all sounded marshy to me) and was completely stunned to find the harsh rasp of a corncrake intruding on my concentration. It was singing from a lovely herby, rough field near the golf course car park! Result. I moved into a better position to hear it and make sure it was not another birder using a tape and a male quail flew over calling! I never knew that they called in flight. What a morning.

Rolled back into bed and got out much later in the day to hear a few snatches of red-breasted flycatcher song at Tvehöga before the clutch cable on the car parted and left us stranded in the field. A day of mixed emotions then but corncrake is OML!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Tired after yesterday's dipping I headed out into the sun rather late for some Atlas square bashing targeting the early flying Odonates that have suffered due to time spent birding and poor spring weather over the last few years. Nothing wrong with the weather today though.

First stop was Drängstorp, two good-looking pools here have been at the top of my 'to do' list for some time. They were fantastic, well-vegetated and apparently fish-free they produced some great odos including one male Coenagrion armatum (sadly not photographed), a few Leucorrhinia rubicunda, stacks of Coenagrion lunulatum and of course the obligatory Brachytron.

Coenagrion lunulatum, found today at Drängstorp, the fifth site I have found this species in BK

The rather uninspiring Boarp pools were next but produced some great stuff. A new pond has been dug here and immediately produced Libellula depressa, Coenagrion hastulatum and Ischnura pumilio. The shallow pool here was looking good too and produced the square's first Brachytron. Last stop of the day was the only small pond I can find in a square near Båstad dominated by sea. Here I added a Libellula depressa to the paltry species list for the 'square'.

Libellula depressa at Boarp

Ischnura pumilio were present in small numbers at Boarp today

double dip disaster

BK ticks do not come along very often for me these days but yesterday two were on offer and I managed to connect with neither of them! Overnight Martin Ekenberg had found a singing corncrake at Bränneslätt so that was my first port of call in the morning. No sign.

I drifted towards Torekov rev which had four grey plover (year-tick!) and then checked Flytermossen for dragonflies. No sign of any armatum this time, although the edge had dried up a lot, but quite a few Brachytron. Whilst here we heard that Ulf had seen a serin whilst playing golf at Sönnertorp near Västra Karup. Failed again with this much-wanted target species but at least surveyed the rather poor ponds on the course for dragonflies whilst we were there.

Later on I went for a night-drive but things were quiet. No sign yet again of the corncrake and just a marsh warbler at Klarningen, some young ringed plovers at Petersberg and a tawny owl family at Sinarpsdalen. Rather disappointing.