Thursday, January 31, 2013

three hour watch

A big westerly gale had me out for three hours in the morning after some seabird year-ticks. Things were pretty slow but at least four kittiwakes made the whole exercise worthwhile. Other year-ticks through were razorbill (1), guillemot (3), some red-throated divers and a goosander. Oh and it was 30 degrees colder than Tanzania...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ringing recovery

One of my favourite things is reading rings on birds. So I was very excited to find this colour-ringed white stork on the Kitulo plateau last week. It was ringed as a nestling in Poland in 2011, some 7061 km away. This bird probably flew the same distance as I did to get to Kitulo!

performance of cats

Mikumi National Park came up trumps for cats this week. During our first game drive we turned up this fantastic leopard.

Whilst trying for better angles on the poorly-lit leopard we came very close to a male lion in a bush, way too close for my 300mm lens.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A day out in Dar-es-Salaam

Mangrove kingfisher, my first lifer of the tour (neatly exposing the fact that I have never birded Kenya!). Not sure how many more new birds there will be for me on the tour but a new kingfisher is never to be sniffed at.

Unlike January 2012, the weather and the gods were kind to us in Dar this year. We got exposed mudflats in the morning and a little later on a trip out to Bongoyo Island just offshore. Last year fierce onshore winds effectively arrested the tide and the boat broke down!

This morning could not have been more different with the exposed mudflats visible from the hotel producing our first views of crab plover, 8-9 reasonably approachable individuals. Also present were some common migrant waders and a single Terek sandpiper.

Off to the island we sweltered in the heat and finally chased down a new bird for me - mangrove kingfisher. But the best was yet to come when after lunch a flock of 250 crab plovers invaded the nearby beach as the tide rose pushing them to roost. I went down on my knees and shuffled towards them in a photographic act of homage. Superb birds.

Crab plovers rock!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

more hawk owl

Looking stern

Back at Älemossen at midday. Better light today but the hawk owl was still wary and not very approachable. A calling black woodpecker nearby was a year-tick (still have not managed a great spotted yet). Also had a quick look at Klarningen, where the regular rough-legged buzzard performed but the ice is back and the place was very quiet otherwise.

It is hard not to get addicted to hawk owls...

Friday, January 11, 2013


Went for a walk around the Killeröd-Önnarp loop this morning in a desperate attempt to get match-fit after struggling with the awful cough virus that got us all over Christmas. It was a very quiet walk, cold with a small amount of snow on the ground and birds were rather subdued and keeping their heads down. I was two-thirds of the way round before I found a tit flock that delivered some year-ticks in the shape of coal tit, crested tit and willow tit (only the latter was actually seen though...).

Also checked the coast between Vejbystrand and Grytskären, which produced the grand total of three meadow pipits. Tough! Out on Grytskären there were two purple sandpipers.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

wildfowl counting

The boring fog finally lifted and I headed out for a day in the field to do some wildfowl counts between Dagshög and Hovs Hallar. Good to be out again and predictably I picked up eight year-ticks. Highlights of the session were two gadwall, a gannet past Norra Ängalag, five shag at Torekov, two white-tailed eagles, a goshawk at Norra Ängalag, and the water pipit at Påarps mal. Ripagården was almost devoid of birds and I saw no alcids anywhere!

Afterwards I checked out Yttre Kattvik and Älemossen without result.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Private dragonfly tour to peninsula Malaysia

Just added a new page to my blog site detailing a forthcoming private dragonfly tour to Peninsula Malaysia organised together with Dave Smallshire and Dennis Yong. This is a guaranteed departure, we already have 8 people interested and are looking for up to four more to complete the complement. Fancy coming along?

Monday, January 7, 2013

year-listing with the kids

It was the kid's last day of freedom today so I took them out birding all day to give them a run out. We kicked off at Klarningen where raptors doid not disappoint; kestrel and rough-legged buzzard on the year-list here. A few geese north during the short session too - Canadas and greylags.

A look-in at Petersberg was less inspiring - a single tufted duck for the year. Nearby at Eskilstorpsstrand things got a little more exciting with four scaup and two Slavonian grebes being the highlights. That left just enough time for a quick look at Båstad for an over-wintering white wagtail and three long-tailed ducks. I just found out that the latter is officially a threatened species these days. Sobering stuff.

After lunch we headed out again hoping to check out the wet and smelly field near the sewage pumping station at Rammsjöstrand. Unfortunately the water company had finally realised that it was time to do something about the sewage leak here and there was a digger in the field - so no snipe and water pipit for us. We walked about a bit but all we could add to the year-list was a pair of greenfinch (a species that is definitely scarcer in BK these days, another sobering thought). Takes me to 53 for the year, still plenty to find...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hawk owl!

Wet and bedraggled in the mist and drizzle like the photographer, my second BK hawk owl gave me the run-around this morning. Great birds as always, though I am hoping it will stick around and we get to see the sun this week for a better photo.

Nipped out into the rain and mist to tramp around Älemossen this morning in search of the hawk owl. I was not alone and eventually a bunch of Henrik's found it for us (thanks!) when the bird was mobbed by some jays off in the gloom. Great views in the mist but the bird was rather wary in the gloom and the light was appalling for photography. Stopped off quickly in Axeltorpsravinen on the way home for the yearly dipper.

The only other bird of note today in the mist was this dipper at Axeltorpsravinen.


Despite the winter viral load we all headed out on our first day back in BK after the holidays. Påarps mal failed to produce a shag for the year-list but an unexpected water pipit was a bonus. Nearby Torekov rev produced a redshank and at least seven purple sandpipers and on Tjällran at dusk a single peregrine entertained us.

My phone has been acting strangely lately and I decided to re-boot it after dark to find I had missed a BK hawk owl during the day §@$%^&!!... Welcome home!