söndag 27 december 2009

Nutcrackers in snow

27:th of December 2009
–10° Celsius and a promising sunrise on a clear blue sky. Well we get out and see a White-tailed Eagle, some 16 Black Grouse in treetops and end up on "the Nutcracker Inn" – the great little forest clearing where I feed the forest birds. Today they attend and Nutcrackers are the scenestealers together with a bunch of tits, (including 5 Long-tailed Tits) Nuthatches, Redpolls, Common Crossbills (in the trees) and 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers. One of the Nutcrackers is doing a whole vocal little serenade for us. They have such a lot of charming sounds. A good meal on an open fire makes the day. Picture by Glyn Sellors. Thanks mate!

lördag 26 december 2009

Christmas eve walk

24:th of December 2009
Christmas eve is a good day for a walk along the river. A couple of Starlings, Siskins, and Redpolls are basically all the birds we see, but a lot of pretty houses with gardens along the river is a nice postcard picture anyway. Merry Christmas people!

Norwegian Woods

22:nd of December 2009
Two days before Christmas and yet another cold, brilliant day starting with –15° C, frost and sunshine. These norwegian tourists are sure impressed and happy to see all the snow (as if they didn´t have any themselves?)

Moose´s rear

22:nd of December 2009
Speaking of elusive animals... Elk or Moose isn´t so easy to see in wintertime, so we are quite excited to stumble upon 3 bulls in the forest – one of which wears a crown (haha), I mean antlers. For the camera they only show the rear.

Goldfinch in frost

22:nd of December 2009
A Goldfinch is feeding in the frost by the roadside. Regarding my tiny lense it´s at least something.

måndag 21 december 2009

The year´s darkest day

21:st of December 2009
Today it is the darkest day of the year. In swedish it is called midvintersolståndet, meaning the "midwintersunstand". Despite that fact it´s been another brilliant, cold day with frost covering everything, creating beautiful scenery in the landscape. Especially when the sun broke through in the afternoon. We had some more snow yesterday and the Stockholm area even got plenty. Hawfinches, Bullfinch and Chaffinch looked absolutley stunning in the frost at the feeding station this morning. I await some pictures from a visiting bird photographer. Meanwhile just a solitary tree in sunset and –11° C.

söndag 20 december 2009

Buzzards and "Sibiricus" Shrikes

20:th of December 2009
For the 2:nd time this week I see Common Buzzard feeding on fat I´ve ut out for Woodpeckers and passerines. This time in my garden in Fläckebo. This means there must be little to eat for them. However the 2 Short-eared Owls at lake Gnien were seen catching voles yesterday and there´s plenty of rodent tracks in the snow in the forest today. Hawk Owl still present in Upland too. A "vole forecast" published the other day predicts an upswing in swedish vole populations for 2010.
Another interesting thing is that Finland and Sweden have seen an influx of Sibiricus-type Great Grey Shrikes lately. So look out for shrikes with a brown tinge to breast and even upperparts. A small white handpatch, barred underparts and a small-headed impression also seem to be common features of these birds. Have a look at Richard Ek´s pictures for instance!

Winter Starlings

20:th of December 2009
Today 3 starlings showed up on my backyard feeding station downtown. I only started it for the season 3 days ago so that´s good, but it is in fact only the 2:nd time ever I´ve seen them here in winter. Last time (some 10 years ago) was a funny case, because they just fed on some leftovers from a carrot/ potatoe hash cake i had made and just put out on the balcony. After having finished them they left never to return despite all the other good stuff I put out for them. Let´s see how they´ll do this time. Today I instantly went out with bits of cheese, crumbs of bread, boiled egg and some red currants I found in the freezer. They did return so hopefully they´ll stay for a little longer these charming birds. Blackbirds and Fieldfares are around too with all the berries there is to eat for them. The picture was taken in november when Starlings were still around in numbers.

fredag 18 december 2009

Hawk Owl and other owls

18:th of December 2009
Another cold, sunny and brilliant day with temperatures desending down to –17° Celsius. It´s getting cold! Nothing special from my horizon today except for a Rough-legged Buzzard, some Hawfinches and Waxwings, but good news is that a Hawk Owl is residing in Uppland not far away from us. The bird has been present for a few days now and it´s not the only report of winter Owls in the nearby, Short-eared Owl was reported from Lake Gnien in Västmanland today. A Snowy Owl was reported briefly in Dalarna the other day so look out! Glyn Sellors took the picture of last years Hawk Owl at Djuprudan, Uppland.

Snowy views

17:th of December
After two days of snowfall we now have a layer of about 25 cm and a lot of snow on the trees and –10° C. Today the sun shines and even if it´s in a very low orbit, with sundown already at 2 o´clock in the afternoon, it´s a brilliant, and welcome light. We see some good birds on our feeding stations like Hawfinch, Nutcrackers, Crested tits, and yesterday there where Starlings and Chaffinches, which are not som common here in the north in wintertime. Just outside the window we can also enjoy a flock of beautiful Goldfinches.

Winter arrives

15:th of December 2009
Snow falls, some Black Grouse sits in Birch trees on my way up to the valley and Whooper Swans are still hanging around in open streams but there is worry in the flocks, they can feel the cold and the northerly winds. Large flocks of Fieldfares are still roaming about but there are still plenty berries on the Ashes for the late arriving Waxwings and hopefully Pine Grosbeaks.

måndag 7 december 2009

Waxwings and Isabelline Wheatear

7:th of December 2009
Back to dreary, miserable weather. By the way an Isabelline Wheatear was found in Uppland, not so far away yesterday and is still there today. I enjoy the fact that several flocks of Waxwings have arrived to the city, 150 of them on my own backyard. Such nice birds!

Moon upon frost

2:nd of December 2009
The day is absolutely brilliant and I spend it in a forest clearing doing a course in outdoor cooking together with some 25 other people. Crossbills and Crested– and Willow Tits make us company. On the way home the moon rises over the frosty landscape. It´s just so pretty.

Frosty morning

2:nd of December 2009
Yesterday we had the first clear, sunny day for at least a week. Last night came the cold. It was – 10° C this morning and the landscape is covered with frost, and the lakes with ice. As I drive north through the valley the moon descends and as I reach lake Rörbo, frosty and white, the sun rises, beautifully!
A couple of Swans are lingering in a pool of open water, but during the day flock after flock of Whoopers and Geese fly south.

söndag 29 november 2009

Finches frenzy

26:th of November 2009
The feeding stations are starting to attract better numbers of birds. There´s been a few Siskins, Redpolls and plenty of Greenfinches lately, today about 100 and among them at least 7 Hawfinches! Not so bad since last winter they didn´t show much at all on this otherwise splendid site for them. They also got good company in the Common Crossbills that has been feeding in the nearby Spruce trees lately.

Looting Thrushes

25:th of November 2009
Despite this dark, grey, dull period there are some birds around to see. Large flocks af 1000´s of Fieldfares and Redwings have been around in the Black River Valley for a while, plundering the Mountain Ashes on their berries. Whole forest glades have been totally red with berries, but now they turn brown as the berries are consumed. Only a few Waxwings have been seen so far and we can only hope that the Thrushes leave some winter food for them. The regional difference is quite big though, down around Västerås, the berries are practically untouched and not many Thrushes are around.
A couple of hundred Whooper Swans, 50 Bean Geese and a male Hen Harrier is among today´s better birds as well.

onsdag 25 november 2009

Late Autumn Snake

22:th of November 2009
Finally a nice, sunny day after a long period of cloudy and rainy weather. On a walk on Björnön a little Grass Snake is crossing the path and I can´t resist holding him up for a little while. As you can see he gets defensive, but he was s very dozy and slow.

onsdag 18 november 2009

Autumn Swan migration

17:th of September 2009
Plenty of Whooper Swans have arrived to the area. On a little roundtour I see three flocks, the biggest holding 320 swans. Not to bad for an autumn day. The autumn migration is more outstretched and usually don´t produce any bigger concentrations of birds. Not at all like in spring when we have thousands of them in the valley.

First flock of Waxwings

17:th of November 2009
We´re in a dull, dark, wet period of the year and we can only wait for the real winter to come. Last week we had a little snowfall but it only stayed on the ground for a day. Some good winter birds are starting to appear though. My feeding station has got Hawfinches and Nutcrackers on a daily basis now. Today a saw the first flock of Waxwings, 30 of them flew over my garden in Fläckebo with their typical, ringing sound. A lovely taste of what´s to come, because this year there´s plenty of Rowan-berries, meaning there might be a lot of Waxwings this winter, hopefully also Pine Grosbeak. It´s now been 5 years since the last invasion.

lördag 10 oktober 2009

Angle Shades and Seals howling

9:th of October 2009
The night is clear, rather calm and not to bad for Owls, Bats and Moths. Subsequently we hail the mistnets, light the mercury lamp and goes freqent rounds in the garden. A Tawny Owl is spotted and a couple of Moths, including a quite good one - an Angle Shades Moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) - Tandfly in swedish. The night air sounds of a thrilling call – the song of Seals! I´ve never heard Seals have a song, but apparently they do and it´s a bit like Wolves howling(!)

Carma chameleont

9:th of October 2009
At closer look, it rather resembles a chameleont, doesnt´t it?

Barnacle migration

9:th of October 2009
A lovely, sunny day with descending westerlies, brought a wave of Barnacle Goose migration across southern Öland. Some 70.000 Geese were counted from the souther tip of the island and more passed north of us too. The miraion even kept on after dusk and the cackling sound of Arctic Geese was heard through the bedroom windows in late night too.

fredag 9 oktober 2009

Rough-legged catch

9:th of October 2009
Two Rough-legged Buzzards get caught in the raptor trap and are´t they impressive birds. Martin Blomberg holds the bird.

Watching Steppe Eagle

9:th of October 2009
On our way to the raptor trap a Steppe Eagle appears above Ottenby Lund. It´s a bit high up for pictures but at least here is the moment! It was seen over and over again through the day, even making a migration attempt over the straight.

Sabine´s Gull

9:th of October 2009
After a 6 hour drive we arrive Ottenby, Öland last night and this morning´s first good bird is a juvenile Sabine´s Gull at Ventlinge. A very obliging bird appearing close and feeding actively.

Finding Pectoral sand

8:th of October 2009
A hasty visit to look at a Black-tailed Godwit of the race islandicus, results in me finding a Pectoral Sandpiper on the same spot - a flooded cropfield at Hällby, Västerfärnebo in the Black River Valley. An American/ Siberian vagrant not often seen inland in Sweden. To far away for pictures with my little camera but just to show you the site and the habitat I give you a view.

tisdag 6 oktober 2009

Rolling visit

5:th of October 2009
A Roller has been resident the last few days in the west of Västmanland. Interesting since one was seen in the north (Ångermanland) on the 9:th of September and another one on the south-tip of Norway on the 20:th. Together with a Pied Wheatear in Finland and a Woodchat Shrike in Närke, central Sweden last week, the birds indicate a bit of a southeasterly influx.

Rolling encounter

5:th of October 2009
Today my friend and photographer Göran Ljunggren got a close encounter with the Roller when it sat less than 10 meters from him. See more of his excellent work on his own website.

Crane migration

5:th of October 2009
Northwesterly winds and apparently good enough to make some of our last remaining Cranes migrate. I count about 180 Cranes in 5 flocks passing towards southwest above Lake Rörbo. I also start up the bird feeding season by putting out sunflower-seeds to the Hawfinches and in the forest plus finally in my garden. I don´t have to wait many minutes before Marsh tit and Nuthatch is busy collecting the seeds.

lördag 3 oktober 2009

Autumnal Moth

2:nd of October 2009
Today´s mission is cleaning the Tengmalm´s Owl nestboxes and lower some of them to a bit more comfortable working height. These Owls aren´t fuzzy about the height of the hole. Though this years breeding season didn´t produce any breeding in our 25 boxes, we find pellets from Mr Tengmalm in one of the boxes at least. A nice Carpet is spotted, could it be an Autumnal Moth (Epirrita autumnata)?

Ruddy basking

28:th of September 2009
A great fine day with clear blue skies and sunshine. It looks good for Crane and raptor migration so I head out to Asköviken, but only one flock of like 60 Common Cranes migrate south. Plenty of Black– and Ruddy Darters (Sympetrum sanguineum) though. A basking male of the latter species got caught by the camera.

The Guys

27:th of September 2009
Today´s forest walkers is a bunch of happy guys; Max, Simon and Jan-Olov. Eager to probe into the wild where Bears have been recently seen. We find a lot of Blueberries, see plenty of Crossbills, some Black Grouse and a male Capercaillie on our walk, but no Bears today.

The tomten

27:th of September 2009
It´s rare to meet an actual Tomte even in Swedish forests, but today we got lucky.

Moorland Hawkers still flying

27:th of September 2009
On several occasions during todays walk in the pineforest, we have seen dark, bluish Aeshnids without being able to identify them. In the afternoon we finally catch one along the dirt track and it is in fact a Moorland Hawker (Aeshna juncea). A late autumn flyer indeed. The Brown Hawkers are since long gone, but Migrant Hawkers are also still dashing about.

Moorland side

27:th of September 2009
From the side you can see the little, green comma between the lines of the abdomen. A good character for Moorland Hawker.

tisdag 22 september 2009

Mikael Vinka

18:th of September 2009
Today my host and guide in Ammarnäs is Mikael Vinka, sami and tourist guide and runs his own company Lapplandsafari. He takes me in his 12-seated wooden boat to his settlement Geunja on the shore of lake Tjulträsk. Mikael is a hunter and fisherman as well and knows animals and plants and everything about the sami culture in the area.
This huge bull who´s antlers he´s holding, he shot a couple of years ago.

Yellow mountains

18:th of September 2009
The mountainside birchforest is all yellow. You can only imagine how beautiful this would have been in sunshine but even in this dull, foggy drizzle it´s just amazing to see.

Dogs on watch

18:th of September 2009
As Mikael drive the boat, the dogs attentively keep watch for wild animals along our way.

Old settlement

18:th of September 2009
As we drive further into the waterworld of Tjulträsk we pass an old sami settlement along the shore.


18:th of September 2009
Geunja is an old Sami settlement where Mikael Vinkas ancestors stayed at least 1000 years ago. Artefacts several thousand years old have also been found on the site. The place is situated on a small peninsula in the lake Tjulträsk and is only reachable by boat. Here Mikael brings visitors to stay and enjoy the silence and wilderness and learn about Sami culture and traditions. Birds and Mammals are appearing rignt on his doorstep hear, including Bears and Wolverines.
Today´s weather might not do pictures full justice, but this place is one of the most charismatic ones I´ve seen in the Swedish mountains.

Good for a bite

18:th of september 2009
Even if the moose-antlers are a couple of years old, they are still good for a (dog)bite.

The njalla

18:th of September 2009
The Njalla is where you traditionally store meat during winter. However standing on high poles, it does happens that hungry Wolverines bite their way through the wood to get to the meat that smell so good in times of hunger.


18:th of September 2009
"Kåtan" - the traditional sami tipi, the permanent ones made from peat and wood - is one of the charismatic buildings in Geunia.
Here you can spend the night even in winter laying on reindeer furs by the fire burning in the centre. Some people have actually chosed to celebrate their wedding night hear(!)
The wooden stand is for hanging meat to dry on.

Further into the wild

18:th of September 2009
Probing further into the wilderness on these waterways takes us to a delta-like landscape with the river parting to several arms. A flock of 5 Whooper Swans take off in front of us, a Dipper and some Goosanders too. There aren´t too many birds around this time of the year, but it´s easy to imagine how it would be in spring or summer. Plenty of Waders and Bluethroats for instance. Mikael knows of breeding Golden Eagles and Gyr Falcons in the cliffs that we see, almost hidden by the fog.
The crystal clear water is filled with Arctic and Canadian Charr, Grayling and Brown Trout, spawning below us right now.

View from a hotel terrace

17:th of September 2009
Despite the fact that the first snow for the season actually fell on the surrounding mountain tops today, the afternoon sun warms us up a bit after a cold and windy day. The view from the hotel Ammarnäsgården is just as lovely as you want a hotel view to be. This view you actually have from several of the rooms as well (!)

Delta view

17:th of September 2009
The delta in Ammarnäs is just on the doorstep of the little village and famous for it´s rich birdlife. Much more quiet in autumn but still beautiful to look at with wooden haybarns on grassy land tounges reaching out in to the streems of Vindelälven and Tjulån, the two waterways connecting to each other on their way to the Baltic Sea.
If you go back in the blog to March you can compare with my winterpics from this place.

Wigeon View

16:th of September 2009
Having breakfast at Ammarnäs wärdshus & fishing centre includes this view. In the pond outside the window only Wigeons are swimming, not a Mallard in sight. Are we in Lappland or what?

Urban gaze

16:th of September 2009
Urban Berglund from Vindelåforsens cottages is my host and guide today. He´s one of the skilled, storytelling, nature- and culture guides in Ammarnäs, used to guide visitors in their beautiful surroundings. We are taking the jeep up to his ancestor´s settlement at Bertejaure some 10 km up a bumpy forest track built by his father. We catch the moment to gaze at the beautiful view over the calm surface of Gautsträsk as some Ravens are flying above us.

The lake

16:th of September 2009
Autumn smiles at us today. View over Gautsträsk with Ammarnäs in the backdrop.

the barn

16:th of September 2009
One of many haybarns at the edge of the Ammarnäs delta.

The River

16:th of September 2009
The river doesn´t lack dramatic powers. Here the water supplied power to the local sawmill.

16:th of September 2009
Urban is taking us on a boat-trip around the lakesystem Bertejaure where he´s ancestors settled hundreds of years ago. The cottages still stand on the same ground and today he´s doing the Moosehunting and the fishing that they did. With Brown Bears constantly in the neighbourhood. We spot some Rough-legged Buzzards, Common– and Velvet Scoters, Black-throated Divers and even a very late juvenile Osprey.

View from Knallhatten´s

16:th of September 2009
One of the finest places around Bertejaure in my opinion is a hill with a cottage called Knallhatten´s. It´s surrounded by open meadows and then birchforest overviewing part of the Bertejaure lake system. It´s easy to imagine Hawk Owls and Butterflies around this place. As I look at a group of Velvet Scoters in my bins a big, Brown Trout is breaking the surface in a big leap beside the birds.

Autumn on fire

16:th of September 2009
The birches are really on fire this time of the year.