torsdag 28 februari 2008

Great Grey premiere

27:th of February
Swedish photographer Hans Falklind pays a 3-day visit and he get´s some great shots on a bunch of species. 
     On the last evening we make a second attempt to get Pygmy Owl in better light conditions. That works well, but on the way to the train we have to hit the breaks, because some 20 meters from the roadside sits a Great Grey Owl! The first for this year! 
     See more of Hans Falklinds excellent work on

Spring arrives

25:th of February
Spring arrives to the Black River Valley with mild south-westerlies and migrating flocks of Whooper Swans and Geese. 
     A flock of 380 Taiga Bean Geese, also includes 1 adult White-front and a couple of Pink-footed Geese. 
    At sundown, the south part of the lake is sounding from cackling Geese and Swans. Winter seems to be over for this time, leaving out for an unusually early spring. Perhaps a bit worrying, but still... lovely!

Gorgeous final

24:th of February
When the last winter-trip for the season finals with the best of sunny skies, still a good snowlayer on the ground, and some really good birds, it is understandable to hear testimonies like 
– Daniel... I don´t wanna go home!
    Some really good hang time with Siberian Jays and upon that a male Grey-headed Woodpecker – actually sitting for a while in the dead, dry tree-stump to the right  in this picture – was just what we needed to win the winter-competition in birdspecies. We scored 54!

Luck turns

23:rd of February
After quite a struggle in the forests of Färna Ekopark, we finally encounter the much wanted Three-toed Woodpecker, a female quietly feeding in the flooded forest. The sunlaping part of the group meanwhile got rewarded with excellent views on a male Capercaillie, flying right towards us really close over a clearing.
   Luck seem to go with the flow, since next stop offers 2 juvenile Golden Eagles together with 3 White-tailed Eagles.
   At sunset the group spots a Moose and then we don´t have to wait long for the Pygmy Owl to come out and great us.
As we leave some fish for Eagle-food to a local hunter, he shows us the skin of a Lynx that got shot near Fläckebo a couple of years ago. 
     Gives the impression of size and beauty of this amazing beast.

Winter Fox moth

21:st of February
The last Naturetrek group for the winter-season arrives on a terribly windy and grey thursday. We start out fine with 20 or so Bullfinches, among the Hawfinches, causing discussions around their nasal, trumpeting calls, sounding just like the aledged southerly birds that invaded Western Europe a couple of years ago in early autumn.
   A walk up a forest track doesn´t give many birds in the hard weather, but droppings from Capercaillie and several mammals are interesting, as is the find of a furry caterpillar on the path. Early woken up by the mild, snowless season. It proves to be the larvae of a Fox Moth!

Hazel luck

17:th of February
A Sunday morning that greets us with sun and cold a good layer of snow. We enjoy close encounters with Siberian Jays and Crested–, Willow– and Coal tits, as we all try to grill sausages on a wooden stick on the fire. 
   The 2 hardcore birdwatchers in the group; Peter and John, sets off in the snow for another kilometer of walking and exploring. 
   When the rest of us catch up with them, they are not only having a lucky  grin on their face, their digitals can also show why: a 
nicely posing Hazelgrouse on the display. But it doesn´t end there; as they show us the place, the bird actuall
y remains seated in the same tree, producing good views for all of us. 
     If you want more from these guys check out their own website

Lynx tracks

16:th of February
A great day out in the Färna ekopark produces good and close sightings of Three-toed Woodpeckers and more, an excellent open-fire and sunshine lunch, but also some very good footprints of a full grown Lynx left in the snow.
    Significantly round and big. Just like a tiger!

Nice on ice

15:th of February
During a break of the hardcore birdwatching, producing views of Nutcrackers, White-tailed Eagle, Long-tailed Tits and more, Peter Brooks is having fun trying the traditional "kick-sledge" or in swedish; sparkstötting, with Mrs. Penny Aspey.
   The ice is around 25 cm thick on the lake Fläcksjön.

Cold, windy but sunny

14:th of February
Another group of visitors from England arrive via Naturetrek and get to meet cold, clear and windy weather the first day. Despite that some excellent views on Hawfinches, Great Grey Shrike and the first White-tailed Eagles are seen over Lake Fläcksjön as the sun descends.
    The view on this picture – however – is from 
Lake Hörendesjön a little bit up north in the valley.  Just where the flat landscape starts to undulate and create better scenery. 

onsdag 13 februari 2008

A raptors day

13:th of February 2008
Another sunny day with a sense of spring in the air. For the first day this year the sun really feels warm.
   I refill for the Hawfinches and enjoy a cup of coffee in the sun when an adult male Sparrowhawk suddenly sits on the roof of the feeder 5 meters away from me. Just like on this picture that was taken on location by Göran Ljunggren a month ago. (See more of HIS  excellent work on
A whole lot of Hooded Crows and Jackdaws are sounding upset and understandably so, when a Goshawk is flying by into the Oak forest beside. 
     We have pheasants here so Goshawks are often around too. Yes, sometimes you get the feeling that you´re also feeding the raptors.
    During the day I also see 2 different Rough-legged Buzzards and a supreme, adult White-tailed Eagle, soaring in the wind really close to me. Quite a raptors day!

Glorious morning

8:th of February 2008
Our second Naturetrek group did not only get good views on a calling male Pygmy Owl last night, they also participated in a rescue of a Tawny Owl that was stuck in a chimneypipe not far from the hotel. We also got reports that the Owl flew away into the forest after a while, so we all felt very content as we headed out for a first early morning in
 sunshine and clear blue skies. 
    And guess what we see on our first stop along the road? nother Pygmy Owl! This time in broad daylight or even sunshine as it 
perches on a telephone wire along the road. A Black Woodpecker is entertaining us at the same time, so it´s hard to know where to look for a while.
    Todays target area however is Färna Ekopark, where our Woodpecker expert Michael Rhönnstad shows us two – a male and a female – Three-toed Woodpeckers – drumming there characteristic low key sounding drumming.
     I get some decent pictures through my Swarovski telescope with my little Canon Powershot A430.
After that it´s time to enjoy my reindeerpan and a cold beer by the open fire. Looks as 
delicious as it was! 
     An adult Goshawk actually came flying across the lake right towards me when I was cooking. I phoned Michael who alerted the group but only a few caught a glimpse of it. 
    Stunning bird though!

White snow, red birds

31:st of January 2008
The first of this winters British groups from Naturetrek arrive. The previous days we´ve got a lot of snow and the landscape looks beautiful in it´s winter plumage.
    After a first coffebreak in front of 10 or more Hawfinches and a nice little group of stunning red Bullfinches in frostcovered trees, we might thought we´ve had it, but on the next stop on a winding forest track, we spot a flock
 of 14–20 Pine Grosbeaks. At least three of which are fully adult, lingonberry red males.
    We even get some rays of sunshine on them. Gorgeous!
Swedish photographer Jörgen Wiklund from Umeå up north (where 2 Snowy Owls and a Black-throated Thrush lingers recently) took this picture on another accasion. See more of his excellent work at his own photoweb !