Wednesday, April 30, 2014

caning the scarce

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.

another odo (20140429)

Odo number two for the BK year - Pyrrhosoma nymphula at Bösketorp.

This crazy warm and sunny weather had me out again for much of the day. A quick look at Ljungbyholm before doing some housework saw me not finding dotterel again.

After lunch I nipped out to Bösketorp and easily added little grebe (4) to my year-list. Also here a few green sandpipers, common sandpiper (1) and two Pyrrhosoma nymphula for the odo year-list. Nearby at Hålehallstugan were a couple of red-necked grebe and a singing reed warbler (another year-tick).

At the end of the day I checked out Ranarpsstrand for an hour, things were quiet but five whimbrel and a similar number of greenshank livened things up a bit. Nearby in Ranarp a pair of grey partridge.

Monday, April 28, 2014

first BK dragonfly of the year

My first teneral BK odo fluttered into view today at Frestensfälla - surprisingly it was an Anisopteran - Leucorrhinia rubicunda. The first April record for BK and my earliest by two weeks.

Could not resist a day out today. Started off checking the big field at Ljungbyholm. Dotterel are moving and there is a surprising amount of freshly tilled soil available... No sign though this morning just 41 golden plover and a curlew.

Did a number of sites quickly during the morning. Ranarpsstrand was great with a pair of garganey and a single common sandpiper providing year-tick action. Also here a single male gadwall and four white-fronted geese through north. Out on Grytskären were another couple of male gadwall and two female pintail.

Påarps mal next. Lesser whitethroats were blasting out their song and the calm sea allowed an appreciation of the sheer number of common scoter well offshore, at least a thousand birds stretching from Hallands Väderö down towards Dagshög. Torekovs rev provided another year-tick - a little tern. Also here six purple sandpipers, greenshank (1) and whimbrel (1). Nearby Flytermossen had a single male marsh harrier.

In the afternoon I headed along the high ground, picking up a crane at Atteköp whilst listening unsuccessfully for wood warblers. Nearby at Frestensfälla I had a single teneral Leucorrhinia rubicunda at the pool and tree pipits were singing here.

Last stop of the afternoon was at Klarningen. Rather quiet here but nine wood sandpipers and seven ruff were entertaining. Two wheatears were my first on site for the year and the wetland over the river in Laholm kommun was obviously busy with a marsh harrier flushing a flock of ten shoveler into the view at one point.

The afternoon was also notable for the great sandhill crane excitement, I was looking after the kids after school and could not take part in the hunt for Sweden's first record of this species.. It may have passed north over the eastern boundary of BK...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

white stork

My second BK white stork, a ringed project bird, appeared in the sky above Klarningen this morning. Only the 11th BK record...

Had a few hours in the field this morning. Stopped off to listen for wood warblers unsuccessfully at Atteköp. Tried for little grebe at Frestensfällan too without success. But it all came good at Klarningen. Shortly after arrival I noticed a soaring white stork coming from the north and the bird drifted west over the next five minutes. Only my second BK bird. One day I will get a black stork... Also here three green sandpipers, a marsh harrier and a sand martin were new for the year. Other notables included a white-tailed eagle, two shoveler, ten ruff, green sandpiper (1) and two house martins. Great session.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

dead quiet

A dead common porpoise at Segelstorpsstrand was the highlight of half an hour at the end of a busy day.

Had half an hour on the beach, mostly chatting with Paul Cook. We noticed two redshank but otherwise things were very quiet. After Paul left we found a dead common porpoise and added the lower jaw to the kids nature museum.

more year-ticks (20140421)

 Not just birds were on the move today, the kids found several eyed ladybirds (Anatis ocellata) at Ranarpsstrand

Another day spent largely in the field produced another crop of year ticks and took me over 150 for the year. First stop was Klarningen. Forty minutes here produced three shoveler and a ringed plover but apparently I missed a wood sandpiper... A short listen at Petersberg produced a demi-squeal from a water rail that was enough to secure it for the year. Eskilstorpsstrand was calm and there were lots of grebes on the sea, 13 red-necked grebes being rather special but also ten great crested grebes were also present. Surprisingly no real sense of a build-up of red-throated divers ahead of the migration spectacle in early May - just seven birds feeding offshore.

We all took a walk later around the Killeröd loop walk. I finally laid coal tit to rest for the year, they are singing well now and I also heard singing willow tit which is always a pleasure. Finally we checked Ljungbyholm en route to Ranarpsstrand, it was quiet. Ranarpsstrand however was interesting with greenshank (1) flushed on arrival and a house martin coming in-off. Also here of note were a pair of shoveler and a male gadwall.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

super Sunday

Tufties in flight at Vysterborg today whilst I hunted in vain for Sympecma fusca...

Spent a large part of the day in the field today under a blazing sun. Started late but made the most of it. Stora Hultsstrand was excellent with a turnstone, bar-tailed godwit (1) and two Sandwich terns all providing year-ticks, plus the only barn swallow of the day. Ranarpsstrand had five gadwall and two resting common terns (year-tick number four). Nearby Segelstorpsstrand failed to provide anything new.

After lunch I quickly toured a few likely spots for Sympecma fusca but failed to find any. Full of hope I visited the only site I have seen a Sympecma in BK and skunked there too. It must have been a wayward individual but I am still hoping to find where it came from.

Later we checked out Dagshög quickly - gannet (1), osprey (1) and a surprise carrion crow. Next stop was Påarps Mal for gadwall (pair), shoveler (male) and 77 roosting golden plover. We BBQ'd our dinner at Ripagården picking up a solitary whimbrel south in the process.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

self-found hoopoe - just splendid

Today's highlight was easily my single-observer five minutes with a hoopoe at Hovs Hallar. There were too many non-birders (NoBs) walking the path for it to stick around for those trying to twitch it sadly, but it may still be lurking somewhere.

Got up rather late this morning but got to Sinarpsdalen for 0800 and my attempt to add lesser spotted woodpecker and grey wagtail to the year-list was partially successful with a single female grey wagtail popping up to look at me.

Klarningen next, chasing garganey. No joy but there were a few birds on site including 23 wigeon, four shoveler and eight redshank. News of a hoopoe flying over Förslöv sent me off to Hovs Hallar on a gamble. After a random police breathalyser test I reached the site and eventually settled in my usual place looking south from the low ridge towards Gröthögarna. Now Hovs Hallar is the site in BK where I should spend more time. Geographically it has huge potential, especially in spring and it is hugely under-watched. This New Year I made a resolution to visit more often but it is a hard place to work in the traditional sense but a great place to sit and watch birds go by. This static form of birding has taken me ages to get used to but it paid off very quickly today.

I had hardly settled in when a bird flying past caught my attention. A single avocet resolutely heading north high above the sea. Only my fifteenth BK record and coming after a blank year in 2013 a most welcome addition to the year-list. On the sea a single gannet and red-necked grebe. Raptors were dribbling through with sparrowhawk and kestrel heading north and out over the sea, their presence indicated by corvid harassment. Amazingly a snow bunting went through north too hugging the shoreline but not stopping. Then the crows were up again and I looked on in amazement as the hoopoe appeared to the south flying towards me for a minute before dropping into the scrub - my second BK bird. I texted out a message and looked up in time to see it coming on towards me again. This time it landed in view and after a few desultory pecks of the turf it was flushed by Easter walkers and hopped the wall. I gave chase but looking over the wall revealed no bird, an amazing vanishing act. Håkan J arrived just a few minutes too late and Jan was not far behind but I fear they dipped.

After lunch we all took the bus down the hill and walked back up Sinarpsdalen in the blazing sun. Butterflies and bees were on the wing. I finally caught up with a singing willow warbler and four hawfinches were good to see as usual. A black woodpecker called in the distance. A great day.



Friday, April 18, 2014


Today's highlight was this hunting osprey found in the afternoon at Stora Hultsstrand and drifting it's way north.

Had a walk in the morning around Öllövsstrand and Vasaltheden. The easy highlight being my first whimbrel of the year, hugging the coast as it flew north silently. Also here grey partridge (pair) and a few wheatears, including a female.

Later we checked out Ljungbyholm for nine ruff and nearly 40 shelduck on the flooded bits of the big field. Nearby Stora Hultsstrand produced an osprey drifting north and looking for food on the go.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

year-tick bonanza

Wheatear was a predictable addition to the year-list today, still only present in low numbers though with just four seen around Gröthögarna.

After nearly three weeks away on tour, a walk around Gröthögarna in the late morning produced a good crop of year-ticks. It was good to be back on patch and I enjoyed the fine weather. Highlights of the walk included; peregrine (1), gannet (4), four green sandpipers, plenty of chiffchaff and white wagtails, migrating barnacle geese, three goldfinch (at last), a male blackcap and the first swallow of the year.

News of a king eider at Eskilstorpsstrand sent me over that way later in the day and we eventually found it in the company of velvet scoter. A nice 2K male, my first in that plumage for some time and probably my first king eider in Halland too. A white-tailed eagle here spooked everything and so we headed for Klarningen and a picnic.

Klarningen was great with a good selection of waders; oystercatcher (2), little ringed plover (2), ruff (5), snipe (1), curlew (1) and green sandpiper (1). A total of eight swallows was the icing on the cake. Seven year-ticks takes the BK year-list to 136 and I am still somehow ahead of the competition.

This white-tailed eagle put many of the seaduck in Laholmsbukten to flight, including the 2K male king eider I was chasing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dolichophis jugularis

Another new reptile for me - Dolichophis jugularis or black whip snake - this youngster was caught by some Norwegian herp-freaks that we met wandering the ruins of Kaunos near Dalyan.

Later the same day one of the team found this basking adult.