Not one but a pair of stonechats popped up at Lya ljunghed this morning. My third record and the kommun's fifth. The status of stonechat in Sweden was one of the big surprises when I moved here from the UK.
My run of good birds in the last two weeks continued today. After a quick listen along the ridge which netted nothing, I rocked up at Lya ljunghed hoping for whinchat and cuckoo for the year. Before I had parked up whinchat was on the list and I climbed out determined to scan hard for a possible early red-backed shrike. However the first bird I spotted was a very distant but unmistakeable male stonechat! A very scarce bird in BK. I halved the distance to the bird to try and get photos and was astonished when I realised it was with a female! A great record but Lya had not finished with me.
Back at the car I carried on scanning and found a female merlin on the ground, it eventually took off and flew past me on it's way north. A cuckoo called nearby and then I heard the distinctive call of a ring ouzel. A female, it perched up for 'scope views before dropping back down to feed out of sight. What a great hour!
Dropping down the hill to Klarningen I stopped at Tvehöga for singing wood warbler (another year-tick) and picked up a nice male black woodpecker. Klarningen was quiet but Patrik Stridh kindly pointed out a yellow wagtail flying through the site and out of view as we chatted away. Other notables were five wood sandpipers and at least five ruff and there were still three wheatears on site.
A female merlin was a late addition to my year-list and the icing on the cake of an incredible hour at Lya ljunghed this morning.