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.

A leucistic Greylag Goose - seen weeks before.
I also seen one the year before around the same time, maybe the same? Who knows...

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

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

Norra Järvafältet

Today Alan Dalton and I made our way to Norra Järvafältet but at the top/back side, I had never been there before and thought the whole trip was quite interesting. We started off at a place called Ravalen, carefully searching for a resident Tawny Owl that had been seen the day before in it’s usual hole with no luck. We then moved towards the winter feeding station this time checking for a female Brambling that has been there all winter but again no luck. Plenty of winter birds around though, Siskin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Yellowhammer, Bullfinch and Blackbird.

We then moved off in search of Hawfinch but no real luck there. From there we made our way to Fäboda in Norra Järvafältet to another winter feeding station, a good 20 minutes walk from Ravalen.

Nuthatch - Common all around feeders in the winter.

The main birds we both were aiming for was Crested Tit and Hawfinch.
Hawfinch were around but not visible, eventually I managed to catch my eye on one flying away from the tops of the trees. Then 2 Willow Tits feeding within 5 minutes of arriving and were still present when we left.

Willow Tit

1 of the 2 birds in the area

A single Crested Tit made a brief appearance before disappearing in to the forest, 3 Long-tailed Tits were also coming back and forth and I got what I consider my best photos of the species yet. Other birds around the feeder were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Siskin and Blackbird.

1 of 3 birds

On the way back we had a great view of a Green Woodpecker and at least 20 Fieldfare.

Not a too bad few hours even if it took the same time in travelling to get there. Off to the Eagle Owl now for what proved to be a fantastic finish to the day 🙂

photos and video coming soon…

Goldeneye displaying – Skeppsholmen Stockholm

I haven’t been able to find out much information about this courtship display but never the less it’s pretty amazing to see.

Apparently the male has 14 different behaviors to attract the female, these are calls, flicks/splashes in the water and throwing their heads backwards as seen on the photos below.

The female then responds with up to 3 of these behaviors.

A male Goldeneye in all his glory - what a striking bird

The typical thrown head back display of the male

The male in the back trying to get the attention of the female who seems to have already picked her mate

A mid action shot, the feet and back arched down I guess to help throw the head backwards

1 of the 14 different displays, a splashing display behavior

And finally I managed to sort out the video from that day, can be view on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/DndoTtXWqWc or alternatively just press play below 🙂
You can press the “cog” button in the player to adjust the quality of the video, set at low quality by default

Skeppsholm Stockholm

Decided the next nice weather day I would get back down to my recent winter gem at Skeppsholm in Stockholm. Alan Dalton was already there and had great views of a Little Grebe. I finally managed to see it and got a few photos before we moved on carefully looking for the recent Glaucous Gull from my previous post.

Smådopping - Little Grebe - Skeppsholm

Great Black-backed Gull coming in to land

Lots of gulls and ducks around BUT the ice had melted a lot and the birds were more spread out around the area making it a little more difficult to get close to some species.

This time there was a single male Pochard present near the food float where they feed the ducks in the winter. A new bird for me this year. Lots of Herring Gulls as usual, a few Great Black-backed Gulls and big groups of Black-headed Gulls.

Brunand - Pochard - Skeppsholm - A male Pochard at close range

Goosander - Storskrake - Mergus merganser

Plenty of water bird around, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Mallard, Coot, Goosander, Mute Swan, a single Greylag Goose was found on the other side as well as a large good of Pochard around 20+ individuals.

Common bird all over Stockholm and probably Sweden. Their feet at pretty amazing

A close up of the feet - the "scales" look more like a snake or lizard than something you would see on a bird

On the way to the other side where all the Pochard had gathered was 3 Goldeneye, 2 male and a female displaying, it was a great joy to watch and I managed to get both photos and videos.

Another thrown back head

On the way back we had a quick look for the Little Grebe hoping for some more shots and after about 5 minutes looking we spotted it swimming around, a little too far for any decent shots and in the shade.

In flight shot - Skeppsholm is a joy for photographing gulls

Adult Herring Gull - ringed in Finland - more details hopefully to follow

A male Tufted Duck coming in to land.

A female Tufted Duck - the female although rather dull is beautiful itself - one of my favorites

Then finally after all the equipment was put away a male Goshawk came floating past in wonderful light, a nice finish to a pleasant day around Stockholm with Alan, you can read his post and version of events here about the trip.