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!

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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

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.

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.