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...


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.

January so far…

Wow what an interesting start to the year. Loads of Two-barred Crossbills have been turning up all over Sweden and I finally took the plunge and went back to Råstasjön where they had been present for several days.

At the north end of Lötsjön (which is right next to Råstasjön) was a new bird for the year, a Moorhen (quite rare in Sweden). After a few photos Alan Dalton and I moved towards the Two-barred Crossbills, after only 5 minutes waiting 5 appeared at the top of the trees, 2 males and 3 females.

A resting Moorhen at Lötsjön

A resting Moorhen at Lötsjön

Two-barred Crossbill at Lötsjön

Two-barred Crossbill at Lötsjön

An attempt to see the Water Rail was made but no luck this time, a visit back is a sure thing coming.

A Rose-ringed Parakeet showed up right where I live, not really a rare bird but a treat to watch and rather colorful 🙂

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Rose-ringed Parakeet around Finnsta near Upplands Bro center

My just turned 4 year old daughter was window bird watching with me at home and whilst I was starring in to the trees she managed to see and shouted out “LOOK a bird! Give me the binoculars and let me have a look”, it was a White-tailed Eagle, first of the year and only 2 days in to 2012. Within 5 minutes a second flew over.

10 days in to the new year now and I have already seen 39 different species having only spent 5-6 hours at 2 locations. Not bad at all.

Fox tracks

I think these are fox tracks - I have seen several foxes in the area

Non bird related but pretty intersting, possible fox tracks, from the grass of the golf course to the paths, from side to side as if looking for food…no other foot prints around other than my own.

Birding 2012

(New Life Birds marked in Bold Green)

An exciting year just past, looking forward to 2012. Last year I reach 163 different species and 15 life species and surprisingly was rather inactive in the way of getting out bird watching never the less I had some great birding memories.

Highlights were:

Ural Owl (Slaguggla) at Råstasjön not far from the center of Stockholm, another species from the same location was a Water Rail (Vattenrall). Really pleased with both.

2011 was a great year for birds of prey for me, Pallid Harrier at Hjälstaviken and from Landsort I had Peregrine Falcon, Hobby, Merlin, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Honey Buzzard and White-tailed Eagle.

Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier flying by at Hjälstaviken summer 2011

Landsort was also the place for several life species, a Yellow-browed Warbler was the big one for me, other life species were Common Scoter and Velvet Scoter. Red-throated Diver, Arctic Skua, Brent Goose and Parrot Crossbill.

Another highlight (not only for me but up to 1000 other swedish birdwatchers) was a Dusky Thrush at Säbyholm only 10 minutes from where I live, only the 2nd ever in Sweden.

Alan Dalton picked out a call from a Grasshopper Warbler (we didn’t see it but it was a new one for me anyway, hopefully this year will give me a sighting)  at Broängarna my local patch whilst we successfully found a Long-eared Owl family (3 young and 2 adults – all 3 young were observed, no adults in sight though).

Still at Broängarna but this time on my own I got my first Garganey a duck which I had been trying to see for the last 3 years.

Hjälstaviken was a treat as usual, lots of Bearded Tit sightings, giving me at least 15 of the 18 waders seen in 2011. One new one being a Black-tailed Godwit, picked out by a nice guy from Germany there with his wife and new born.

Last but not least was my hunt for a Bewicks Swan, tried several locations with no success. AMAZINGLY when I was out on the balcony smoking a Bewicks Swan flew right by, very pleased with that.

That just about wraps it up, I could write a book from this past years birding but enough is enough, lets move forward now to 2012.

Happy New Year and Happy Birding!

Broängarna early spring

Finally decided to take a trip to my local nature reserve and see what birds had made their way here. Almost all of the snow has now melted except the odd deep patch of snow here and there. The ice has begun to melt now and there was 4 small patches of water on show, all the ducks, geese and swans gathered giving me some easy birding.

Started off at Bro IP and walk down to the viewing tower then circled around to the main parking area for the reserve and back around (I will upload a map of the area and my path).

There were many Teal, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Goldeneye and Goosander.
Looking from Västraviken over towards Bro-hof Golf Course is one of the areas of water at the moment, as many as 10 pairs of Goosander took rest there and for the first time I seen male Smew’s, 3 males and several females, they stayed for about 10 minutes and then flew off.

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On the way to the viewing tower I was surprised to see a Goshawk sat up in a tree, as soon as he seen me he called out and flew off over the lake towards the reserve parking.
Moments before I watched an Osprey look down over the pond at one of the golf holes before drifting out over the lake.

I got some nice views of a Barnacle Goose flying in, turning and flying back out over the lake.

Other birds in the areas surrounding were:

  1. Goldfinch
  2. Greylag Goose
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Mallard
  6. Cormorant
  7. Lapwing
  8. Skylark
  9. Reed Bunting
  10. Yellowhammer

Map of my walk and some areas for good views of the birds

Tibbleviken, Kungsängen

Yet again another trip out in hunt of a Peregrine Falcon, this time with some success. Out over Tibbleviken well over 70 Lapwings and some Skylark and Starlings took off and split in all directions – based on a description given the day before of a Peregrine scaring off exactly those birds at roughly the same time of the day as I was there I’m confident it was there, unfortunately I couldn’t see it no matter how hard I tried. This happened 2 times whilst I was there but still no Peregrine.

Attack of the Peregrine

The trip was not a waste even though it was cut short due to my daughter being sick at daycare. I managed to finally see my first Snow Bunting (30-40+of them) take of during one of the Peregrine attacks. Lots of Whooper Swan present in the fields with quite a large gathering of Greylag Geese and 10+ Bean Geese. There was also 14-16 White-fronted Geese in the area split up in smaller groups.

Whooper Swan moving down the field


Plenty of Skylark chasing each other around giving me some rather nice views of the bird.

Included in the list of birds seen today was my first Reed Bunting of the year, 2 Goldfinch feeding on some reeds next to the field, 10+ odd Mallards and a Grey Heron flying by.

The lake was still completely frozen and giving off a really harsh cold wind.

Photos coming soon…