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...


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…

Last few days…

Spent the last 4 days just wandering around close to home (total of about 4 hours), mostly with the kids, showing them the different birds and sharing the little knowledge I have learnt so far. Nothing spectacular to report but there was some nice light and I got some common bird photos to share.

A Mistle Thrush excreting mistletoe berries, this tree is covered in mistletoe

Species list for the last few days:
Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Waxwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Jay, Magpie, Sparrowhawk, Herring Gull, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, Siskin, Hawfinch, Nuthatch,  Greenfinch, House Sparrow and Tree Sparrow.

3 Waxwings watching the moon rise

A male Chaffinch, 1 of 3 birds seen together

Extreme close up of Waxwing - the bird was about 70-80cm from me

The berry of choice today for a small gathering of Waxwings, Blackbirds and Fieldfares

This bird had trouble swallowing this berry, several attempts, re-positioning the berry and what looked like chocking at times..

Finally got it down, showing a bit of tongue.

Bro skog, Upplands Bro day 3

Another trip out this morning, started at 9:00 finished around 10:30. A brief wonder through the forest on the way back from dropping the kids off.

Crested Tit - Tofsmes

My best photo to date

One of many Fieldfares feeding with the Blackbirds

Not quite as much this time, 2 Jay, Nuthatch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, 1 Crested Tit, 1 Goldcrest, lots of Blackbird and Fieldfare, 2 more Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Hawfinch.

Brief views of a Hawfinch, very shy bird and it soon spotted me and flew...

Then on the way back towards the apartment 1 Yellowhammer and 3 Siskin.

Now at 14:00 from the window there was 2 more Siskin and around 110 Waxwing gathered in the trees outside. Still lots of Bullfinch, House Sparrow and Tree Sparrow around the apartment.


Wing shape of Goldcrest flying away

Here is a link to “my” forest area

Bro skog, Upplands Bro day 2

Another day of great light, another few hours out before getting the kids. Not so many good photos but quite a few birds. A total of 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker (3 male and 1 female), 4 Siskin, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Fieldfare, Blackbird, 2 Nuthatch, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Jay, a flying over White-tailed Eagle and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

One of the better of the 200+ photos taken

A side view of the Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Spent most of the time trying to photograph the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker as I don’t really have many good photos, this one was as difficult as the rest, rather high up the trees, moving very quick and thick dark trees, not ideal for photos.

A view from the back

Bro skog, Upplands Bro

1 and half hours before getting the kids, beautiful clear skies, fantastic light, I couldn’t resist 🙂 Grabbed my stuff (no tripod) and started a walk towards “my” little forest. Can only take an hour to go around the paths that run through, it’s small but really nice.

Started off with some Bullfinch resting outside someones house next to the apartments before I moved to the forest.

Male Bullfinch

Just outside the apartment, couldn't have been easier...

A fantastic bird, my best shots to date...

Lots of Blue and Great Tits in the entrance up to the forest and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. There seemed to be quite a lot of movement and noise so it was looking promising. Got through well over half of the forest without seeing anything else until I came across a fantastic little spot full of life, 2 Goldcrest about 50cm away, I literally could have stretched out and grabbed one and 2 more a few trees down from me. They looked at me and bounced from branch to branch, checking me out after each jump before moving down the path, they were so close I couldn’t get a photo, just moving the camera slowly up scared the living daylights out of them 🙂 What wonderful little birds..

Pecking away - 1 of 3 birds seen today...

Can he really see me? What's he doing?

Same area were lots of Magpies, 2 Hooded Crows, a single Crested Tit, more Blue and Great Tit, another Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Greenfinch, 2 Siskin and a Fieldfare.

Several House Sparrow point blank range

After getting the kids we all moved back towards home and I spotted a load of Waxwing in the distance and directed the kids that way, amazingly I managed a few shots before the kids got fed up (which happens far too quick after a long day at daycare).

One of about 40 odd Waxwing gathering for the night...

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 🙂


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 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