lördag 27 december 2008

Winter night´s sky

27:th of December 2008
Yet another clear, sunny day with crisp, cold air. Great Grey Shrike, a flock of Black Grouse, 100 Waxwings is about all I can report after a tour around the valley. An unexpectedly late flock of Canada Geese passed me twice but finally headed south in the sunset. Quite beautiful colours in the sky after that.

måndag 22 december 2008

Return of the sun

21:st of December 2008
A day of symbolical importance, the Midwinter sun stand, the darkest day of the year on the northern part of the globe. For us northern people it´s the first light in the dark tunnel of winter. We´ve survived the darkest part of the year and knowing that from now on it´s only getting brighter every day, leaves a certain hope.
A short tour through the valley offers some nice sightings including a White-tailed Eagle, a Pygmy Owl, a Nutcracker, 6 Black Grouse and some Waxwings and Bullfinches.
Left of the little hut in the picture, a Great Grey Shrike is perching in the distance.

tisdag 16 december 2008

Waxwings and Redpolls

16:th of December 2008
A period of snowfall and a new influx of Fieldfares and Waxwings are the latest events in this dark period of the year. Redpolls seem to be building up for a good winter too, meaning chances to find Arctic Redpolls of course.
Yesterday I saw 3 Redpoll flocks just around town and that´s also where the Waxwings linger on; in the gardens and parks with all berry-bushes and fruit-trees. Such gorgeous birds. I just love their sound.
Bullfinches have also started to appear at the feeders... finally. Meanwhile, enjoy a good looking male Redpoll taken by Niclas Lignell at one of our feeders. See more of his own excellent pictures on his own photopage.

Christmas Fair

7:th of December 2008
The annual Christmas Fair at the church-stables of Fläckebo on the 2:nd advent, is just as small-scale, rural and indigenous as you could ever wish for. The local school-children are selling grilled hot dogs and hot glögg (glywine), horses with reindeer-disguise takes you for a sledride and the handicraft is not only local, but also of good quality. You meet a lot of nice people and hey. . . . isn´t that Santa himself warming his bones by the fire?

fredag 5 december 2008

Swans in snow

5:th of December
Yesterday I saw 200 Waxwings feeding from a couple of Ashes down in the city (Västerås). Today´s notes include a Sparrowhawk, a flock of about 200 Redpolls (might be a good winter for them), a few Bullfinches (actualluy the first for a while), 4 Nutcrackers on the feeding stations and finally a couple of Whoopers in the open stretch of the river. Pretty picture with all the snow.

White-tailed Eagles

5:th of December 2008
As I drive up the valley today I just happen to glance up in into the sky on my left side as I drive and there flies an adult White-tailed Eagle along the road, sort of just beside the car. It keeps on flying and I keep on driving and after a while an immature bird - not from this year´s clutch though - teams up and they start to soar together above me.
I stop and get a few pictures - again - despite my little digi camera. On the picture you can see why this bird is older than a year: it´s secondaries are of different length, which indicates that it has already moulted some of the feathers. First year birds don´t do that, so this must be 2:nd calender year or older. Maybe any of you experts out there could tell exactly how old it is?
The white armpits indicates it´s not older than 3:rd calender year, rather 2:nd in fact.

tisdag 25 november 2008

Golden eagles

25:th of November
Just north of Skultuna I spot a raptor at a distance and soon realise it´s probably a Golden Eagle. When I stop to look through the telescope, 2 Eagles glide over the adjacent field to and fro in the wind.It´s an adult and an immature (not juvenile though) bird and they´re in fact both Golden Eagles. I see them for quite a while as the young bird sits down in a tree, but then takes to air again.
I move around to the other side of the river to get closer and get them coming so close that I even can get a picture with my tiny digi-camera. Just a silhouette but still a Golden Eagle.

Snowy day

25:th of November
As I drive on northwards along the Black River, I stop every now and then to scan the surroundings. In a nice, sunny clearing the sun is really warming despite the snow and cold around me, at least it´s lea here. A flock of 20 or so Redpolls entertain me for a while, when a nice group of passerines come and lively up the immediate nearby. Goldcrests, Treecreepers, Coal–, Crested–, Willow– Blue– and Great Tits altogether in a little "meståg" (Swedish expression for a band of tits, quite untranslatable word by word)
I put up some birdfood for them and move on to my regular feeding site where 20 Long-tailed Tits great me. Such sweet little creatures! The Nutcrackers get happy over my new shipload of Hazelnuts and margarin. They´re crazy!
In the village (Fläckebo) my garden is also busy, with plenty of Yellowhammers, Greenfinches, a few Marsh Tits, a male Pheasant and above all... a nice group of 30 or so Waxwings, feasting on the apples still hanging from my trees.
Oh I love these birds! Just as I´ve focused the telescope on them the alarm call of a Marsh Tit makes them fly away, and when they finally come back the light has gone totally, so no Waxwing pics today. Maybe another day.

söndag 23 november 2008

Cracking tree

23:rd of November 2008
To the utter disappointment of the Nutcrackers, I forgot to bring hazelnuts today, just brought the birdseeds and they´re not quite happy with that. Will they be able to trust me again or have they totally lost confidence in me now?
Mr Coal Tit is very happy though and allows pictures on basically just a meter and a half, as five of the Nutcrackers moans up in the sunlit Aspen tree.

Brilliant and cold

23:rd of November 2008
Northerlies, –5° C but some blue skies and sunshine makes it a nice day out. Me and my friend Jan-olov drive around forest tracks to look for birds. A few stops to take winter pictures doesn´t really produce anything, until we stop at a place called Odessa (west of Krim) where a Great Grey Shrike is perched in a treetop, 14 Common Crossbills fly past with high, "kypping" calls, and a female Black Grouse feeds in an Alder by the road. An adult White-tailed Eagle soars by and we start to feel that this day is actually quite bearable... despite the cold.

Winter by the bog

21:st of November 2008
A touch of snow on the ground and sunny weather. A round to the feeders is rewarding with 3 Hawfinches, Nutcrackers and all the forest-tits. I start up the feeding station by the bog Höskovsmossen for the season. It´s always a great and wild place to visit, with such a great view and so many good Bird and Moth memories.
As I fiddle with the birdfood, the sun bursts out through a cloud and it is probably the last I will see of it this day. It casts a smooth winter light over the scene and as I stand there taking pictures of the view, a flock of 14 male Black Grouse comes flying in above me, landing in som Pine trees a few yards away. Nice birds!
By the way... a juv White-tailed Eagle sat in a tree just by the road on the way up. As I drove closer, I saw the cause of it´s presence: a roadkilled Roe Deer lying in the ditch.

måndag 17 november 2008

Winter´s coming

16:th of November 2008
Heavy snowfall for a couple of hours and then northerlies and clear blue skies, create excellent crispy cold winter atmosphere as I refill my feeders after midday. Flocks of Whooper Swans and Canada Geese are filling the sky with sound and shape as they migrate southwards.
On a field by Lake Hällsjön I encounter some 170 Whoopers grazing just by the road. Almost invisible against the snowcovered ground. One Bewick´s Swan is among them. A good find here this time of the year.
At least 4 Nutcrackers are busy at the Inn and a Coal Tit is even perching on my wrist as I lay out some sunflower seeds on a rock. Such tame little creatures.
Anyway it´s great with real winter!

onsdag 5 november 2008


Six Nutcrackers keep visiting the feeding station and giving really good photo opportunities. Four Swedish photographers tried them out during the weekend and goot reasonably good results, bearing in mind that the light is not very good this time of the year. Some sunshine worked their way though. Picture by Niclas Lignell. Check out his own photopage!

Nutcracker in snow

... and in the first snow. (courtesy of Niclas Lignell)

Just a red cottage

3:rd November 2008
Even just a little, red cottage by the road in Svartådalen – the Black River Valley can be beautiful in this light.

Sunny november

3:rd of November 2008
The first snow came during the weekend but didn´t last for longer than 2 days. Today it is mild and sunny again after a cold night. The mild sunshine makes beautiful colours even though the trees are stripped naked on their yellow leaves now.

lördag 1 november 2008

Retro -phalarope

The weather wasn´t the best, but the birds where obliging. Lekking Ruffs, Long-tailed Skuas, Long-tailed Ducks and Red-necked Phalaropes in the same puddles on the high Alpine plateau at Funäsdalen. Glyn Sellors took this excellent picture on the 11:th of June 2008. See more about the Upland trips on birdsafarisweden.com

Wolf howling night

29:th of October 2008
The Scandinavian Wolf population is slowly increasing and recent good news include an immigrated male from the east (Finland probably) who have bred succesfully with a swedish female wolf in the south part of Lapland.
This is the first time that the Swedish/ Norwegian Wolftribes have received some new blood to their worryingly small DNA-base. They´re all (ca 150 animals) in fact descending from the same single pair of ancestors (!)
Even the 2 resident local pairs got puppies this year, so a night out in the wolf territories of Bergslagen shure seems like an exciting event.
We set off a group of 8 people and start with a good barbeque on some local hot sausages and vegetarian baguettes. After that we cruise the forest-tracks, stopping to howl and listen for answers every 5-10 minutes or so.
Unfortunately no Wolves where heard this time, but we shure had a good time together. Have a look at the oficial wolf-howling trips provided by Marcus Jonsson at Kolarbyn this winter!

tisdag 28 oktober 2008

Blurry yellowlegs

26:th of October 2008
In a small coastal lagoon on the Swedish mainland opposite from Öland, a Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), have been sighted for a while, and since it is only a short detour for us, we take the chance to twitch it.
As we put up our tripods and telescopes the first bird to appear in view is the one. (Check my flow!)
It feeds in a tight and very busy flock of Dunlins, Grey Plovers and the more similar Greenshanks and Spotted Redshanks (the Yellowlegs stand sleeping between them on the picture, you can barely sense the yellow legs) on the shoreline. For once even I got a tick!
The bird was quite diagnostic with really tall, pale yellow legs and a body most reminiscnt of a Wood sandpiper. The bill was short and fine and the expression a bit open-faced, cute with pale lores and a short supercilium.
Excuse me the extremely poor picture quality, the light was terrible and I just digiscope with a small camera.

Barnacle bonanza

26:th of October
The last day on this little Öland visit is not as pleasant as yesterday, it´s grey, drizzly and windy. The Gyr falcon is still hanging around "udden" (the southern point of the island) and some White-tailed Eagles are flapping in the hard southerlies.
A couple of Caspian Gulls (Larus cachinnans) are identified on the westreef, but that´s about it. On our way back north, we can´t help stopping as we pass the favourite field of the Barnacle Geese. Impressive amounts and great looking, contrasting birds. No sign of the Snow Goose from yesterday.

lördag 25 oktober 2008

Öland – blessed and beautiful

25:th of October 2008
It is always great to revisit this fabulous part of Sweden. Last night´s storm is over and a clear blue sky and practically no wind at all surprises us in the early morning, as we head south for Ottenby nature reserve. For a birdwatcher, Ottenby, Öland is The place! Da shit! Where it´s all at!
On the way down south, some 500 or so Cranes and perhaps a few thousand Barnacle Geese and the odd Rough-legged Buzzard appears along the road as the sun rise above the fog. It shure feels like a good day is coming.

Little Bunting

25:th of October
A small crowd of ten people or so, makes us stop along the road by Sibylla´s hunting lodge, to find a Snow Goose in a huge flock of Barnacles (10.000+ later in the afternoon) and a Little Bunting. Far from the typical, skulking little beasts they usually are, this gorgeous, little sweetheart flies up to a tree top and perches in the morning sun for quite some time. Even I could fire some shots through the telescope.

Pectoral sand

A lunch break in todays meeting activities coinsides with the appearance of a Pectoral sandpiper just north of Ottenby. The Black-winged Pratincole, stood right beside it for a while, but went south just before we got there.

Pratincole dip

25:th of October
In the afternoon, the Black-winged Pratincole who have spent about a month here, reappears by Hahns cottages along the lighthouse road, just a km north of the lighthouse at Ottenby. Unfortunately we dip it by a minute or so.

onsdag 22 oktober 2008

Plumed and prominent

21:st of October 2008
It is truly amazing that there is still so much nocturnal activity going on in nature this late in autumn this far north. We are 8 people performing what might just be this year´s last moth-night. It´s chilly but not cold and the main target species is Plumed Prominent, a hairy little creature with strikingly long, furry antennae. We encounter one (!) Other species we attract to our mercury-litten canvas this evening are November Moth, Autumnal Moth, Winter Moth, Northern Winter Moth, Juniper Carpet, The satellite, etc. Quite amazing!

Furry beast

Am I on audition for the next follow-up to the Adams family? It...? Plumed Prominent (Fjäderbärare in swedish).

December Moth

Actually one of the most common species on the canvas tonight.

El toro

Full frontal, this little creature resembles more a little bull ready for fight, still a December Moth though. (Poppelspinnare in Swedish)

Mottled Umber

tisdag 14 oktober 2008

Ural Owl in broad daylight

Some days things more extraordinary than other happens. Today was one of them. I was busy driving to collect stuff for a tourism-fair in Posnan, Polan, when a Ural Owl appeared posted on a clearing in the forest near the Black River Valley. I got out and approached it down to 10 meters before it finally took off. An abnormal behaviour, that in worst case could be due to starvation. Ural owls don´t almost ever perch in the open in daytime. I think I´ve seen that perhaps only twice in my life ver apart from at nestsites.
At the "Nutcracker Inn", 4 birds approached me instantly as I gave out hazelnuts to the. Such charming birds!

onsdag 8 oktober 2008

The heat is on

8:th of October 2008
It´s a busy time for the Nutcrackers at our feeding station. Today no less than 6 of them were there together. Sven & Berit Lång saw it and took the picture. A sparrowhawk was there several times and for a second one of the crackers and the hawk sat on the same boulder, just a few feet from each other.

söndag 5 oktober 2008

Feeding season started

The feeding season have started with Nutcrackers and Jays, Woodpeckers and forest tits, coming to the hazelnuts, acorns and seeds we put out. Sven & Berit Lång kindly submits this picture on one of the more tame Jays we´ve had lately.

torsdag 2 oktober 2008

The lodge

1:st of October
After a great, social sauna with outdoor baths last night, we wake up to fog and frost on the hotel lawn. Indeed struck by autumn!
But we enjoy the vast forests of Bergslagen and drive through the Wolf territories and feel the excitement of just sharing air with them. We stop at one of the biggest Beaver lodges I´ve ever seen. Just have a look!

Last day of the summer?

30:th of September 2008
The sun is shining warm from a clearblue sky, Dragonflies and Butterflies are very active at Sikfors herrgård in Hällefors, where I pay a visit for a network-meeting with other Swedish tourism-companies involved with natur- and wildlife tourism. Check out their websites on the links & partner page on birdsafarisweden.com.
Blue Hawkers and Black Darters are hunting the lakesides and the sunny side of the garden offers great views of Commas, Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells and a really fresh Red Admiral. Could it be hatched recently?

lördag 27 september 2008

Blue Hawker

A good day for picking mushrooms in the forest. Of course I can´t leave out the exciting moths and dragonflies. I manage to catch a male and a female Blue Hawker. Quite gorgeous creatures!

the face

.. and so good looking!

the snout

and what a snout!

creeping brush

You see a lot of good, interesting, mysterious stuff on a forestroad walk. What is this creeping little brush? As far as I´ve found out it is in fact a Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica) or in swedish Grå tigerspinnare!

the furball

What kind of furry, little ball is this?

fredag 26 september 2008

Dragonfly sunset

25:th of September
A couple of Dragonfly-species still fly in reasonably good numbers. The wetlands of Kvismaren is a good place for them. I have to share this one with you even if it´s hard to see what species it is. (I have yet to find out myself) As you might already have noticed, I´m a sucker for sunsets and seriously, how many really good sunsets do YOU see each year?

10.000 Cranes don´t lie

25:th of September
Lake Kvismaren in Närke is just an hour drive away from Svartådalen and a real magnet for birds. Tens of thousands of Bean– and Greylag Geese, hundreds of Barnacles and odd numbers of the other Geese including even a flock of Lesser Whitefronts, was observed by some other people today.
On a gorgeous day like this it´s a truly wonderful place to be. We see raptors practically everywhere we´re looking and ten species are easily found, several Hen Harriers, Sea Eagles, Rough-legged Buzzards, add to that Merlin, Peregrine and even a possible juvenile Pallid Harrier. Not seen close enough though, but my experience tells me it was most likely one. (You know they are very similar to Monatgue´s Harrier in juvenile plumage)
The true final of a day´s birding in Kvismaren is of course when the 10.000 (!) Cranes staging in the area, fly in to their roosting site in the lake at sunset. Wow! is not enough word to describe it and unfortunately my pictures to show enough either. You just have to use your imagination to picture the sound and feeling of seeing so many, so big and so loud birds at the same time. Yes, many of you know already!

Another great Crane evening

17:th of September
The last week has been warm and sunny and some of the around 2.000 Cranes staging in the area have used the thermals to start their migration southwards. On sunday a great flock of 100 Cranes highlighted our sunday walk on Björnön (the Bear island) with their trumpeting calls as they soared in the blue skies to gain height before crossing Lake Mälaren.
This evening we enjoy the sunset at Lake Fläcksjön, where 160 Cranes come in for roost at night. Just another great, warm, beautiful relaxing evening in the company of Cranes.

tisdag 9 september 2008

Crane friends

7:th of September
Grey, wet, drizzly day, but I can´t help drive out in the countryside to look at the Cranes. I count more than 1.000 Cranes in two big flocks. I find 4 colour-ringed individuals. The one I can identify directly is ringed by myself and friends, some 20 km away by the lake Gnien in 2006, we call her "Cariño".
This picture was taken on the occasion.

Crane evening

5:th of September
One of two great evenings at Lake Fläcksjön this week. We count 760 Common Cranes flying in for roost. What a spectacular event! My son Max Green got a picture on some of them.

Lesser Spotted Eagle

30:th of August
Another, even better day for Raptor migration at Falsterbo. An Aquila-Eagle becomes the bird.. and the debate of the day. Initially called out as a Steppe Eagle when passing the canal, but reidentified as a Lesser Spotted Eagle when soaring at the heath – "Ljungen" a bit further south. Have a look at Jens B Bruun´s picture and you can easily understand why:
Several Pallid Harriers are called out during the day, as well as another potential Back Kite. I saw them but they all passed really high above. A juv and an adult female Montague´s Harrier hunts over the heath later in the afternoon and certainly do look much bigger-winged and buoyant flying.
Anyway, Falsterbo is a great place to be this time of the year.

Black stork and Brown Argus

29:th of August –08
Falsterbo, the southwest point of Sweden, known for it´s concentrated migration of Raptors and Passerines. Today I date the birdartist Hans Larsson for a long interview-session for the Swedish bird magazine "fågelvännen" – the bird friend.
We meet up strategically at the end of the Falsterbo channel, which should be the best position with todays slight northwest.
We couldn´t have been more right because even if the Honey Buzzard and Sparrowhawk passage ain´t huge yet (about 150 of each) a Black Kite, plenty of Red Kites and an adult Black Stork passes right above us. Not too bad!
For a northern butterfly-twitcher it´s a nice moment when a Brown Argus (restricted nationally to this very southern part of Sweden) comes flying to perch in the grass just beside us for a little while.
Only Hans got a picture, so this is courtesy of him. Have a look at his own website with bird paintings!

torsdag 28 augusti 2008

Camberwell Beauty

26:th of August
We´ve had a rainy August, but the last week gave warmer and sunny weather. Our garden is a delightful place to be this time of the year and so think the butterflies, Peacocks, Commas, Small tortoiseshell, Red Admirals and Camberwell Beauties are flitting around between plum- and appletrees.
The Camberwell Beauty is surprisingly difficult to get good pictures on. They never seem to perch on flowers, just on buildings and high up in trees. This is the best I´ve got on it ever, I´m afraid.

Reddish darters

24:th of August
Sweden´s got a bunch of interesting Dragonflies, that can not be found in Britain for example. I am just picking up on them and so far I can´t say for shure if this is a Common or a Moustached Darter. Maybe you can?

... and from the side.

onsdag 27 augusti 2008

Brown Hawker

Just take a look at the head of this really big Brown Hawker. Doesn´t it look like a smiling monkey face?

torsdag 7 augusti 2008

Canary-shouldered Thorn

The last new moth on this night´s canvas was a Canary-shouldered Thorn. Another member of the Moth´s own Pokemon collection. I just can´t believe how fantastic all these creatures look out there in the night.

my lemon puppie

This adorable, little face is worth another close-up, isn´t it? Alflikmätare is the swedish name.