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


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


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.


 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!


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.