Saturday, November 29, 2014

Postcard from Tikal

 Owl butterflies are often found along dark trails in the forest in Central America, this one is yellow-fronted owl butterfly (Caligo telamonius).

We went fishing for tarantulas on one day at Tikal and got one straight away. Although this Mexican red-rumped tarantula (Brachypelma vagans) had 'just' been found by one of the park maintenance team on one of the trails.

A huge gang of white-nosed coatimundis rules the parking area at Tikal.

Grey-necked wood-rail is tame near the the small ponds by the entrance gate.

Wet weather before we arrived soon turned to sun and brought out the army ant swarms and their attendant birds. This ruddy woodcreeper was hopping about like a mad thing and was unconcerned by our presence.

Postcard from Belize

Time spent in Central America in the winter is time spent with American warblers. Black-and-white warbler sightings are a daily occurrence in Belize.

The colourful keel-billed toucan is always a big favourite with clients and passing tourists.

Searching out the boat-billed heron is one of the less onerous tasks on tour. This beauty appeared right next to the trailside pond at Cockscomb.

Days spent snorkelling produced a fair crop of birds too. Brown pelicans were commonplace and we also visited breeding islands used by magnificient frigatebirds and searched tiny cays for migrants.

Our trip ended at Crooked Tree where we had a surprise white-necked puffbird.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mårten and Olof score big - American black duck in BK!!!

With an incredibly low battery on my reserve camera I managed this poor record shot of the black duck before the camera retired for the day! It will not surprise you that there are better images of this bird on the internet.

With the clock ticking before a 23-day tour of Central America, I was busy packing when I received some astonishing news. American black duck at Dagshög!! I dropped everything, grabbed the gear that was not already packed and trundled off to Dagshög for a look. I have been a big fan of Olof Jönsson since his epic Corvo marathon in 2009 and he has found me several BK ticks since then. But this bird takes the biscuit. He was with Mårten 'duck-king' Müller... A great find, only the fourth Swedish record and a huge surprise addition to my BK tally!

Friday, November 7, 2014

three crossbill day

 Five two-barred crossbills were the highlight of three hours searching the gardens of Segelstorpsstrand for Sibes.

Inspired by Paul's find yesterday I headed to Segelstorpsstrand to search for Sibes. No joy as usual but there were a few good birds around. There were lots of mobile flocks of crossbill flying about and patiently hunting out the flocks whilst they fed led to my first parrot crossbill of the year and at least five two-barred crossbill. Searching the gardens turned up a flock of three blackcap but no other warblers. A 1K hen harrier floated south.


 In the late afternoon the kids and I had a look for the yellow-browed warbler but we had left it too late and came away with a hawfinch sighting.

Great spot

Thursday, November 6, 2014


At least four snow buntings at Torekov this morning, my first of the season.

After eight days in the UK it was great to be back in the field in BK today, despite the soggy weather. I checked out Påarps Mal first but there was little to see. Further north in Torekov proper I tried to find yesterday's little auk in the harbour but it had already departed. Four shags on the rocks here though and a peregrine paid a brief visit unsuccessfully hunting a starling. At the rev the easy highlight was four snow buntings and a redshank. Checked Ripagården for the reported parrot crossbills without success.

Wondering if I was destined to get a year-tick for my troubles I decided to head for Båstad harbour for another crack at little auk. Unfortunately there was way too much disturbance here with the harbour basin still being dredged and the damage from last winter's storms being repaired. So I figured on Klarningen next but Paul Cook rang me just as I got out of town, he had seen a yellow-browed warbler briefly in his lunch break and needed the id confirmed. Where was he? Only in the grounds of the dagis my daughter went to for three years!

Meeting up with Paul, he filled me in and I walked off down the footpath finding the bird quickly just where he had left it earlier, despite it remaining completely silent. What a great bird. I put the news out once I had got some decent images and Kent and Håkan popped out to have a look at it whilst I waited in vain for the bird to call and tried to get images. In the end I had to drag myself away to pick up the kids.

Yellow-browed warbler, one of my most-wanted BK birds finally falls.