Norra Järvafältet – 04/04/2012

What a glorious spring day, not a cloud in site, perfect blue skies, very little wind, +5°c. My wife was at the doctors conveniently near a top birding spot in Stockholm about 15 minutes on the train from Stockholm City so I tagged along, unfortunately for birding I had to take my soon to be 1 year old daughter in the pram, kind of restricts moving and walking in certain areas but it was still great. She even had some close encounters with Canada Geese and Mallards which she thought was wonderful (quack quack quack we talked as we watched them feeding).

Upon entering the reserve I seen in the corner of my eye an odd looking tree, perched on the top was a Common Snipe, first for the year. Took some long distance shots.

Common Snipe - Gallinago gallinago - Enkelbeckasin

Moved on further towards 30 m-kärret (a hot spot where the birders gather), last 2 days there had been 2 Rock Pipits on site and the day before Osprey (a spring arrival). I had at one stage 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming, Long-tailed Tits and several Chaffinch calling.

No sign of the Rock Pipit at 30 m-kärret but not to worry I heard a Green Woodpecker in the distance, a few Lapwing, Starlings, Greylag Geese and Canada Geese. I decided to move on to the other side at Säby Strandäng, just as I walked away I spotted an Osprey flying right to where I previously stood (typical!). I quickly rushed back only to see everyone putting their cameras back down and looking rather pleased, the bird had flown away again.

Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus - Pilfink

Not much between there and Säby Strandäng other than Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, 3 more Long-tailed Tit and some Common Gulls flying around. Always best lighting there in the afternoon/evening, now I had the sun straight in my face when looking out to the water. I was hoping for a Black-throated Diver but I suspect it was further up in the lake (somewhere I couldn’t get to with the pram). I had some good views of a Sparrowhawk, an Osprey (first for the year) Wigeon and Teal (also new for the year), Mallards and a brief view of a male Shoveler before a White-tailed Eagle came over and not long after a female Goshawk came down in the middle of everything and lifted pretty much all the birds off the water, I later couldn’t relocate the Shoveler.

Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus - Sparvhök

White-tailed Eagle - Haliaeetus albicilla - Havsörn

On the way back I stopped and grabbed some photos of the Tree Sparrows I passed earlier. Pretty good day with 29 species seen and 1 heard. Back again tomorrow for a full day out, should be fun!

Hjälstaviken 2012/03/26

Weather: Dry – 6°c to 10°c - Medium to Heavy wind easing off throughout the day, partial cloud in morning clearing up towards the end of the day.

Started off around 10:45 at the south end of Hjälstaviken briefly checking out the reeds at what is called the “Långa WWF-spången”. It’s a wooded walkway lifted above the ground that runs straight through the reed beds, fantastic area most of the year.

Alan Dalton and myself were hoping for a Bearded Tit (resident bird around the reeds), instead we had pretty much everything but, 2 White-tailed Eagles circled the area and at times pretty close giving us both great views in really nice light.

Havsörn - Hjälstaviken

1 of the 2 adult White-tailed Eagles circling upon arrival

Other birds around were 2 Common Buzzards, a Linnet, 2 Reed Buntings, Greylag flying over landing towards the north, Goosander, Coot, Blue Tits, Great Tits, 6 Cormorants and several Black-headed Gulls.

We done the usual and walked up to the bird tower (easiest way to the tower is from the north, there is a parking area and a large path straight down to the tower).

5 photos pieced together, view of geese in the fields behind the tower

All the ice had melted, several ducks around – Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Teal, Wigeon, Coot, Mute Swans in the distance, Mallards and a single Great Crested Grebe.

More birds seen or heard around were Meadow Pipit calling, Skylarks, Herring Gulls, 2 Gadwall, Raven Lapwing and Siskin.

Now to the geese, I very much wanted to see a Pink-footed Goose after missing it last time and I was hoping for some photos of White-fronted Goose.

We counted as many as 29 White-fronted Goose, a good 300 Greylag, maybe 50-60 Bean Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, a leucistic Greylag and a probable Canada x Barnacle Goose (common hybrid around the stockholm area).

First views of White-fronted Geese together with Greylag just off the tower.

We had fantastic views of Geese flying from water to fields and back and forth for a good hour or so.

What I was after - just 1 of many good photos

Small groups of Common Crane arriving in the area, Hjälstaviken will be covered in Cranes not long from now.

3 Common Buzzards around, 2 displaying, flying in pretty close at times.

North of lake seemed to be holding the Bean Geese, not as many down towards the tower.

2 Pink-footed Geese at the end of the day, they seemed to be with the Bean Geese and the odd Graylag at the North of the lake.

Marsh or Willow Tit

John Costello:

Fantastic reading on the ID of Willow and Marsh Tits, birds I personally find really difficult to ID without clear photos. I haven’t as of yet learnt the calls but the more you hear and can visually ID the easier it is to place calls to birds.

Originally posted on Birding Frontiers:

and other fine ‘garden birds’

Nice one- all almost all who had declared were right: it was a Marsh Tit. One of at least 2 coming to feeders right outside the kitchen window of our accommodation at Minsmere RSPB reserve (9-11 March). Good chance to check the features, and much discussed was the ‘new’ feature of pale spot at the base of the bill. This feature was very obvious on one and often hard to see on the other. Willow Tits have an all black bill with no pale bill spot. They called a fair bit and neither had an obvious pale panel over the secondaries as often seen on Willow Tit.

The ‘white spot’ feature…

… seems to be percolating through British birder consciousness. Some of us in the cottage new about it and others didn’t. In a nutshell: Marsh Tits have it, Willow Tits don’t. Aside of the white spot, Richard Broughtons’ studyplaces calls and song, and cheek pattern as the most reliable features for separating these 2 tricky species.

Marsh…

View original 217 more words

First warm spring day

Wow at last, some warmth, I believe it was pushing on around 11-13 degrees today, the sun was shinning and very little wind. Unfortunately the wife came down sick so I had 10 month old daughter to entertain. We took a brief walk through the forest behind where we live, she fell asleep and I enjoyed some Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Fieldfare, Blackbird and a woodpecker that I think must have been a Lesser Spotted, good drumming and environment for a Lesser, I couldn’t see it but then again I couldn’t leave the pram and search.

A few photos from today: (coming later this evening)

Blåmes - Parus caeruleus

Nötväcka - Sitta europaea

Kungsfågel - Regulus regulus

Kungsfågel - Regulus regulus

Kungsfågel - Regulus regulus

Bro Skog – 2012/03/13

Took my usual stroll through the forest after dropping the kids off this morning, not a great deal around and after about 10 minutes the forest was full of kids from day care, 3 separate groups making it rather difficult to see much.

Red Squirrel

I did however come across 5 Red Squirrels in a small group of trees, 2 sat out the way eating pine cones and the other 3 had a blast running up and down the trees. I spent a good 45 minutes watching, photographing and filming then, has to be the cutest animal in the forest.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Back to birds, I seen the following: Goldcrest, Nuthatch, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Great Tit, 2 Greenfinch, Raven, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, several Herring Gulls flying over, Blackbird and some Bullfinch calling in the distance.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Hjälstaviken – 2012/03/11

A few days behind but here is the write up on a quite interesting trip to Hjälstaviken just outside of Stockholm.

Met up with Alan Dalton and we started off at the north of the lake where lots of geese had been gathering the days before. Off to flying start with several new birds for the year, Skylark, Starling, Bean Goose, Greylag Goose and at least 4 White-fronted Goose. We then moved down the road a little to Lingbokullen and checked out the same geese, this time counting 6 White-fronted Goose. A few other birders and Alan managed to catch a Pink-footed Goose as it landed but it soon disappeared and wasn’t re-found, I will have to wait to find one another day.

Bean Goose

4 of the 600+ Bean Goose in the area

3 White-fronted Goose - Anser albifrons

We then continued to move down the lake and got several Skylark, 4 Ravens and my first Swedish Rook (seen more than enough of them in the UK but never over here).

Raven - Corvus corax

Whooper Swan - Cygnus cygnus

Other birds seen around were, Blue Tit, Great Tit, White-tailed Eagle, 6 Common Buzzards, 2 Whooper Swans, 1 Goldeneye, Nuthatch, Lapwing, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Siskin, 1 Marsh Tit and Nuthatch.

Greylag Goose - Anser anser

Canada Goose - Branta canadensis

Not a very good day for photographs but a good day never the less.

Eagle Owl – North Stockholm

A lifer for me and fantastic views at dusk of a male Eagle Owl displaying, wow!

Male Eagle Owl

5 minutes after arriving the bird started calling and even a possible second bird was hear briefly in the distance. Not long after a group of Hooded Crows found the male and started attacking him so much that he flew off further away from us. The calls continued and eventually the crows left the area. Then finally the bird flew back towards the original trees giving us both in flight views and full out in the open views as he perched on some old oak trees.

Eagle Owl - Bubo bubo - Berguv

He stayed there for a good 10-15 minutes before flying over and landing on a metal tower behind us and yet again giving us some very impressive views in flight. What a big bird, no wonder they are called “EAGLE” Owls.

Eagle Owl - Bubo bubo - Berguv