Monday, December 29, 2014

kingfisher

Checked Ranarpsstrand for an hour in the afternoon and found some good birds; kingfisher (1) was nice and we also had jack snipe (1) and skylark (1). Two starlings south were my first for a while and there was a reed bunting briefly too.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Swedish tick!

Christmas came late this year - glaucous gull at Torekov, an addition to my Swedish list and therefore a most welcome BK bird.

News of a glaucous gull yesterday on Hallands Väderö sent me out the door with some optimism this morning. I searched the coast between Torekov rev and Norra Ängalag before getting an SMS that Rolf had found it feeding on a dead porpoise just north of Torekov sewage works. Sure enough there it was on arrival and it posed well as it snacked on cetacean flesh. Superb!

Other highlights were few, there seems to have been a slight influx of goosander, whooper swans are still passing, the rev had two goldcrest and offshore Vinga held a pair of resting peregrines.

Christmas birds count (20141225)

With Christmas wrapped up on Christmas Eve in the proper Swedish way there was some time for birding today under a blue sky and sub-zero temperatures (at last!). We walked the coast between Burensvik and Påarps mal. The easy highlight was the American black duck drake that was loafing off Dagshög and it then drifted north alongside me to Påarps mal. I still have not seen it close enough to photograph but it looks like it might stay into the New Year. Finger crossed.

Other highlights were snipe (1, Dagshög), goldfinch (2, Dagshög) and dunnock (1, Påarps mal).

Monday, December 22, 2014

wet seawatch

Had an hour-and-a-half at Yttre Kattvik with the kids this morning as we kicked off the Christmas break with a parade of kittiwakes (39). Plenty of red-throated divers too (45) going past, as well as a 20+ gannet. Offshore and resting were some south-bound whooper swans (28) and a couple fo Slavonian grebes.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

grey day

An hour at Båstad late in the day produced no seabirds but got nice close views of long-tailed duck - here a male.

 A female.

Managed to get out for a couple of hours in the afternoon, after a busy morning watching the kids show off their equestrian skills. Båstad was rather quiet and grey but I got close to some long-tailed duck (3) in the harbour. Afterwards checked out Petersberg quickly in the rain for two little grebe - only my fourth record this year in BK.


Common or harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) have started pulling themselves out on the rocks at Båstad. They do this all round the coast but usually in more peaceful locations.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Postcard from Honduras

Brilliant blue-skipper (Paches loxus - I had just one afternoon of warmer, almost sunny, weather during the week on a day trip to Lancetilla -  an hour west of Pico Bonito. Butterflies and dragonflies responded and I saw a lot of new things including this little stunner.

I had a week in Honduras at the end of November, staying at The Lodge at Pico Bonito, which was excellent despite the non-stop rain (just my luck to be hit by a weather-bomb during my stay). The weather made frogging rather good but put a definite dampener on invertebrate activity and prevented me seeing many of the birds I had hoped to track down during the week. That said the place is amazing and if you have a week to spare and you fancy Honduras, this is the place to get to know the country and its wildlife. Great guides, accommodation and food.

 We visited the nearby Rio Santiago Nature Resort on two days. They have an incredible number of hummingbird feeders here and we had nine species of hummer including plenty of fantastic violet-crowned woodnymphs.

Another hummingbird easily spotted at Rio Santiago was the white-necked jacobin.

The Lodge garden was always worth stalking about to see what was coming into the feeders, like this collared aracari.

 Honduras finally produced my first male red-capped manakin, after a number of female/immatures in Belize and Guatemala.

This juvenile boa constrictor (Boa constrictor) was a nice find in the Lodge garden on the last day. A tick for me and yet another Brooke Bond wildlife card moment on tour.

The easy highlight of the week though was two Honduras brook frogs (Duellmanohyla salvavida) on a night walk at Rio Santiago.

 This crazy glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni) was the target of a concerted effort in the rain one evening at at the Rio Santiago Nature Resort with James Adams and some very good local guides. These frogs reflect or absorb light differently than most things!

More Duellmanohyla salvavida - this frog is a critically endangered endemic. They do not get better on the frogging front than this little beauty. The specific name is in honour of the local beer I believe...

 Some crazy invertebrates are attracted to the light at the Lodge, it was not brilliant whilst I was there because of the rain but things like this freaky Odontoptera carrenoi could be found.

 The blunthead tree snake (Imantodes cenchoa) was surprisingly easily found at night around the Lodge.

The animal I most wanted to see at night was the iconic red-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas). They did not disappoint at the specially-constructed ponds near the Lodge.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

seaduck spotting

Quite a few Slavonian grebes in the bay at the moment.

Checked the sea at Yttre Kattvik in the morning for divers, plenty of red-throated (3) and one black-throated. Also one Slavonian grebe. There were plenty of feeding cormorant offshore and at least 14 gannets and a harbour porpoise joined the show. Herring shoal? More of the same at nearby Kattvik (including two more Slavonian grebes) and then I headed to Malen to go through the seaduck assembled just offshore. I waded laboriously through the large flock coming up with 1100 velvet scoter, 550 common scoter 230 scaup, 30 tufted duck  and one long-tailed duck. Not a sniff of anything unusual. Lots of grebes though with at least another five Slavonian grebes here.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

late seawatch

The big forecast storm fixzzled out overnight but it still provided reasonable seawatching condition today. Sadly I spent a lot of the night up with a poorly child watching re-runs of Strictly Come Dancing... The sacrifices of parenthood... (although as a quick aside I think Pixie Lott deserved better).

So it was not until 1250 that I rolled up to Båstad to find most observers packing up for the day. Things were still going on though, a very distant sooty shearwater appeared in the north and was a good test for my fantastic new optics (I recently splurged on the ATX95...). Over the next two hours I was joined by Paul Cook and we watched an equally distant pomarine skua (1K) and Paul found me the great northern diver (in flight briefly) that had presumably been lurking all day in the bay amongst a good number of red-throated diver (25) and black-throated diver (2). Otherwise rather quiet with just two gannet of note, some close-in seaduck in the corner of the bay including at least 75 scaup and three species of grebe.

quiet at klarningen (20141212)

Had 40 minutes at Klarningen - very quiet as is usual in the winter despite the place being completely ice-free (of course). There was a big flock of common gull (250) on site though, together with at least 16 black-headed gulls and a single herring gull. One of the black-headed gulls was a superb leucistic individual, with just traces of dark pigment in the head and tail.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Erythemis simplicicollis - first for Guatemala?

On the afternoon of 22nd November I found this Eastern pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) whilst checking the ponds by the entrance gate at Tikal. It may be the first documented record for the country, although if so this record just fills a gap in the known range rather than extending the species range as such.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

black duck still here

Managed to get out of the house today, since I got back I have failed to battle the jetlag whilst looking after a poorly child. But we all got out for walk today and eventually caught up with the male black duck at Rammsjöstrand after searching around Dagshög and Påarps mal. Later I had dusk at Klarningen, predictably quiet here with kestrel (1), rough-legged buzzard (1) and a grey heron south.