Thursday, May 22, 2014

hot and windy

 Dragonflies were the order of the day, despite the windy conditions and the fact that I would probably of been better off birding! My first Coenagrion puella were on the wing at a number of sites.

Out and about again today in the hot sun and windy conditions. Hit Drängstorp first hoping for Coenagrion armatum but instead had to settle for a huge emergence of Coenagrion lunulatum and my first Leucorrhinia rubicunda for the Atlas square.

 Coenagrion pulchellum

Next stop was Boarp, which was disappointing as the  water level in the ordinarily shallow and very good fourth pond was way up. Did get more puella here though and Coenagrion pulchellum, but very small numbers and no sign of any emergence at the site.

 Hovs Hallar produced at least seven migrating honey buzzards in a one-hour watch

Hovs Hallar for an hour in the middle of the day was good for honey buzzards (seven through) but the hoped-for rosefinches failed to sing. After lunch I had a quick look at the pool at Lönhult but it was too exposed for a reasonable odo-survey.

 Mute swan

Last stop of the day was another speculative listen for rosefinch at Öllövsstrand, again no joy, just a noisy thrush nightingale. The stars here though were two territorial map butterflies.

 Map butterfly

Driving out I glimpsed a male black redstart around the farm buildings at Öllöv and Number 1 and I returned later finding the nest-site and watching both adults shuttling to-and-fro with food for the hungry chicks. Nice find.

Last bird of the day was perhaps the best find, a breeding pair of black redstarts feeding young at Öllöv

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

scorcher

A warm sunny day had the odos out along the coast including this Cordulia on the golf club ponds at Torekov. Worth getting shouted at by irate golfers...

Had a morning in the field today and headed for the coast in blazing sunshine. Torekov rev had obviously received some migrants with two red-backed shrikes, a sedge warbler, two icterine warblers and a thrush nightingale in the bushes and at least nine yellow wagtails in the grass. A quick look at the new golf club pools in between golfers produced Cordulia aenea, Ischnura pumilio and Coenagrion pulchellum. But then I had to move on...

Norra Ängalag next and the plantation here had five spotted flycatchers for a year-tick. Down at the coast and in line with the many SMS texts received from the NW boys was a splendid passage of barnacle geese (1500+ but no brent). The shoreline near my watch point eventually delivered a nice set of waders with single dunlin, green sandpiper and best-of-all a single Temminck's stint.

Last stop of the day was at Ripagården which was rather quiet for birds barring 18 mostly thunbergi yellow wagtails. The odos though included a single tiny female Ischnura pumilio - my first of the year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

marsh warbler and some odo action

Got out really early this morning for a change. Checked Sinarpsdalen (male red-backed shrike) en route to Klarningen. The latter had a singing marsh warbler and a calling garganey but little else of note.

In the afternoon I grabbed an hour in the sun at Bränneslätt and chased a few Odos and butterflies. Coenagrion hastulatum, Leucorrhinia dubia and Pyrrhosoma nymphula were all new for the year. Three species of butterfly were identified, the best a mint male pearl-bordered fritillary, lot sof green hairstreaks and a few holly blues. Birds were represented by an unseen calling crane and a brief glimpse of an osprey overhead.

Coenagrion hastulatum

 Green hairstreak

Pearl-bordered fritillary

 Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Teneral and rather monochromatic Coenagrion hastulatum

Monday, May 19, 2014

30 minutes at Klarningen

Had a quick look at Klarningen in the afternoon, on my way home from my accountants. It was quiet, no white-winged terns but a possible river warbler singing by the river (and not competing very well with the nearby motorway). I will have to return at a quieter time of day. Other birds here included a pair of shoveler and a wheatear.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

white-wingers linger

Still here!

Camped out last night and took some time to drag ourselves out from under our duvets. Listening to the dawn chorus of wood warblers, redstarts and other woodland birds was magic. Once we got going we headed for Frestensfällan and Barramossa searching for the black stork. No joy again but we did find moorhen and little grebe on the small pond in BK this time. Klarningen next for three lingering white-winged terns, a little ringed plover and a drake garganey. Short but sweet today.

white wing invasion (20140518)

Paul Cook and I had a day birding together today and headed first to Hovs Hallar. Two-and-a-half hours here produced little in the way of vismig sadly, although we had two whimbrel north and a few yellow wagtails were on the go too. A male red-backed shrike was feeding below us on the undercliff. Refuelling at Torekov we picked up four swifts that looked resident.

The sun blazed from the sky as we headed out to Hallands Väderö on the boat. Over the next five hours we kicked about. Thrush nightingales and icterine warblers were in song. The southern woods had two fantastic singing male red-breasted flycatchers and a few wood warblers. Trogging round from Kappelhamn to the lighthouse was very quiet and before we knew it we were back at the jetty. On the boat back we picked up a single razorbill in the company of two guillemots.

Two singing  male red-breasted flycatchers were the highlight of a sunny five hours on Hallands Väderö. The weather was not conducive for a fall but we missed a few migrants apparently including the first BK rosefinch of the year...

During the day huge numbers of white-winged terns had been swarming into southern Sweden and it did not come as too much of a surprise to get an SMS telling us that Martin Ekenberg had found at least ten at Klarningen. Luckily we were just about to get off the boat when this news arrived and we endured the tense 20-minute drive over to the site. On arrival though we found the white-winged tern count had reached 18, it was quite superb. An osprey was hunting over Eskiltorpsdammar. Paul and I walked over to the river for an epic encounter with the loose flock as they fed busily, completely unconcerned by our presence.

Whoar!

A last ditch attempt to see the black stork at Barramossa failed sadly but it was a good day all the same.

Friday, May 16, 2014

swifts!

Managed a quick look at Klarningen before a trip to the dentists today. Things were much the same as yesterday, no sign of any white-winged black terns despite a huge influx into Skåne during the morning. The male shoveler was still loafing and had been joined by a male teal. Out on the water a red-necked grebe was new-in and a few swifts made an appearance. Always good to have them back.

In the afternoon the kids and I checked a number of wetlands searching for the black stork. No joy in BK, but Martin Åkesson just rang to say he has just seen it this evening back at Baramossa in Laholm kommun... Our searching produced no dragonflies (no sun) but we did bump into a pair of long-tailed tits, a long overdue year-tick.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

epic garden birding

Had a great day in the field today. Kicked off with a look for a few things that may still be lurking on the hill. Lya Ljunghed failed to produce any stonechats but spring was in the air with whinchat and cuckoo singing lustily away. Taking the road through Tvehöga produced a few singing wood warblers but a quick check for red-breasted flycatcher failed too. In Östra Karup a grey wagtail joined me going down the road.

Klarningen produced the first year-tick of the day with a high honey buzzard over north. Also here one male shoveler and 40+ eider south! Otherwise quiet, recent rain has put the water level too high for passage waders! The ducks are breeding though with fluffy mallard, goldeneye and coot available.

High honey buzzard north over Klarningen

Next task was to check a few sites for the black stork that was present during my last tour. I checked the road between Frestensfällan and Baramossa. No joy although Baramossa (just off-patch in Laholm kommun) did produce a nice young family of whooper swan. Typically when I stray out of BK there is a reminder to return to the fold and this time it came in form of an SMS from Mats Ljunggren - he had a firecrest in his garden at Glimminge. As this was one of my most-wanted BK birds I was interested but did not exactly dash over. I checked a few more sites and then headed home for lunch and a look in my garden. I think it is the bible that it states that one should not look at birds in another person's garden until one has thoroughly checked one's own...

Over lunch I was stunned to hear an Acrocephalus warbler singing from one of the hedges.  A reed warbler! Superb and totally unpredicted addition to the garden list. Things were even better in Mats' garden in Glimminge plantering. The firecrest put on quite a show but I totally failed to secure a good image. Also here a honey buzzard over.

The best I could do with the firecrest but what a great bird and a superb find by Mats

Mats' garden was also busy with redstarts.

A walk around Glimminge and Vasaltsheden produced Slavonian grebe (1, full summer-plumage), two little terns, a couple of male red-backed shrikes and a singing icterine warbler. The latter two my first of the year.

A quick look at the pond at the Mäsinge end of the plantation produced a damselfly year-tick - Enallagma cyathigerum and a big grass snake.

Last stop of the day with some kids in tow was fantastic. We went up the hill to Hålehallstugan and the sun shone down. The carpark must have had 150 Cordulia aenea sheltering in it and down by the lake edge we found a good number of Coenagrion lunulatum. Overhead a male honey buzzard displayed with a frog grasped in it's talons. A nice end to a superb day in the field.

 Cordulia aenea

Honey buzzard displaying with a frog dangling from it's talons

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

back on patch

Had an hour in the field this afternoon during a busy day. Good to be back in BK.

Woke to find a pied flycatcher singing in the garden which was nice. It was singing right by one of our nest-boxes. An hour at Ripagården in the afternoon produced another year-tick - common whitethroat but little else of note. Eider ducklings were new for the year too and I also had flyover yellow wagtail and singing thrush nightingale and reed warbler.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

white-throated robin

Got a better shot of white-throated robin when it finally stopped raining on the Turkey tour. This was one of two males at 1900m asl on the Büyük Gezeli Geçidi.

Friday, May 9, 2014

postcard from the Ala Daği

Spent my birthday high in the Ala Daği range in Turkey with a group of botanists. I got to see some birds including this fab male white-throated robin despite some appalling weather at times.

It was snowing by the time we got up above 2500 metres asl and a number of birds were feeding on the mine buildings garbage, including this snowfinch, one of many.

 Also on the dump were at least three alpine accentors.

The penicillata race of shorelark must be in with a shout of a future split?

Just before the irises called us away I managed to connect with a flock of red-fronted serin and then it was back to the plants.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

postcard from Öland

The last weekend in April saw us all on a long weekend in Öland. I love this island in the spring. Things were fairly quiet for us however, although a few days before a Caspian plover had been present... The best bird we had was a pectoral sandpiper. Number 1 and I did a pre-breakfast bird walk one morning and driving back we overtook this excellent red kite.

Wrynecks were singing at a few locations, we found this one whilst searching unsuccessfully (again!) for smooth snakes.

 We stayed at Stenåsabadet, which was quiet for migrants in the rather bitter NE wind but we did find this female collared flycatcher on the last morning.

On our way off the island we stopped at a small reservoir near Skogsby and enjoyed the Sympecma fusca.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gröthögarna

Had a two hour walk around Gröthögarna in the afternoon. A thrush nightingale was singing sporadically on arrival but kept quiet when we got nearer. Otherwise rather quiet with whimbrel (1), greenshank (2), little tern (1) and yellow wagtail (1) the best of it. Invertebrates fared a little better with Libellula quadrimaculata (1) on the wing and a few small coppers fluttering about.