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

Goshawk - Accipiter gentilis - Duvhök
Failed attacked on ducks or gulls.

Goshawk - Accipiter gentilis - Duvhök
Fleeing the scene - passing right in front of me

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!

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.

Råstasjön, Södra Järvafältet

A quick trip out this morning to Råstasjön after yesterdays sighting of the Ural Owl which is still present. Only had 2 hours there due to time restrictions having to collect the kids from daycare, could quite easily spend a full day there though. Met up with Alan Dalton again, both of us eager to get another helping of the Ural Owl and see some more of those wonderful Water Rails.

Started off at the north of the lake to have a quick look at a female Shoveler which has been present all winter. Missed it the last few visits but now the lakes are frozen all but 2-3 spots so now it was easy 🙂

Shoveler

Female Shoveler at Råstasjön

Moved on from there down to the Water Rail spot, checking all the trees on the way for the Ural Owl. After about 10-15 minutes waiting I looked behind where we were only to see the Rail 1 meter away in full view, grabbed the camera and it was down behind all the trees again and out of view, no photos but an okay look at the bird and another one for the year.

Nuthatch

Nuthatch feeding at the Water Rail site.

We moved on down to the feeding station, not so much going on there other than 3 Chaffinch, Blackbird, Siskin, Great Spotted Woodpecker,  Nuthatch, Yellowhammer, Robin and a brief view of a young Goshawk. Just before leaving there was a pleasant little squirrel stealing the bird food.

Feeding at the larger feeding site towards the South end of Råstasjön

Finally before rushing back to the train was the Grey Herons, around 40 sat really close to the path, it’s a fantastic spot for Herons and well worth a visit.
Other birds were Mallard, Coot, Sparrowhawk, Canada Goose and Barnacle.

Grey Heron

4 of the 35+ Herons resting at Råstasjön

Grey Heron

Grey Herons at Råstasjön, Södra Järvafältet, Stockholm

Grey Heron

Food fight, the resting birds start chasing a Heron with a fish..

More Heron photos from today can be seen in my Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/johncostello/grey_heron&page=all

Rough-legged Buzzard – Broängarna

Another one checked off for the year, second try to find a Rough-legged Buzzard that has been present over the last week or so at my local birding spot. Headed off nice and early this morning and met up with Alan Dalton, within minutes of arriving as we walked towards KF we spotted the buzzard, had some brilliant views as it flew around, it eventually drifted further away from us right up and past Bro IP.

A bit too cold today, strong winds and even some snow all helped towards a short stay. Not much else bird wise there other than a Goshawk, some smaller groups of Fieldfare. Alan Dalton managed to hear a Black Woodpecker in the distance but I couldn’t really hear it..

Species Count: 40