måndag 23 mars 2009

Glorious morning

15:th of March 2009
To take a morning walk in – 18° celsius around the cabins in this beautiful landscape just as the sun goes up, is nothing but a photographic thrill. What a light!


15:th of March 2009
And the view across the lake with the haze, the frost and the blue sky...

The Ranger

15:th of March 2009
Alf – the caretaker of the lodge, but also mountain ranger and prefessional predator tracker, dressed up and ready to go on tour with his snowmobile to look for Wolverine-tracks. What a job!

torsdag 19 mars 2009

All bad birders

14:th of March 2009
Bad boys birding have decided to go on a Siberian Tit expedition to the Grövelsjö mountains in southern Swedish Lapland. A great idea that I lead them on to... happily.
Here´s the group filled with anticipation just before it all starts. Having already seen Hawk Owl, Pygmy Owl, Nutcrackers, Grey-headed Woodpecker, White-tailed Eagles, Rough-legged Buzzards and even a Weasel on day one, you can´t really blame them for looking happy already.
Don´t forget to look at their website!

Fun on the bridge

14:th of March 2009
As sun breaks through and the blue infinity opens above us, we can´t help stopping by a bridge over some running, open water. Behind us cliff walls, teasing with presumed potential as a raptor breeding site in summer, as for now, still covered in snow. The low standing morning sun makes the funloving party play with our shadows.

The driver

14:th of March 2009
Isn´t Johnny rhe coolest driver? .. with his mohawk hat and all

Into the great white open

14:th of March 2009
The group in a breathtaking surrounding.

Gazing into the white

14:th of March 2009
Robin enjoys life.... as always.

The trail

14:th of March 2009
The snowmobile/ ski-trail across the mountians.

The tree

14:th of March 2009
Just after this picture was taken, I had to throw myself off the backseat of Johnny´s skidoo, as he appeared to aim the vehicle for a tree with a big, downhanging branch on the right side. Luckily he missed the trunk and the branch wasn´t stronger than it broke as our windshield hit it. It was downhill and the skiido just didn´t react to the stearing.

Meeting with Huskies

14:th of March 2009
As we arrive to the cottages by the lake, our attention´s drawn to a party of 10 or so Siberian Huskies and a man travelling on a sled behind them. For the moment the dogs are resting in the sun after a 20 mile run. It´s also feeding time. Anton has travelled all the way from Germany with his dogs in a carrieer and now they´ve been on the trail out in the mountains for a couple of days.

Anton the dogfarer

14:th of March 2009
Anton tells us all about his Huskies and how it is travelling with them. It´s gotta be a real fine way to travel over this white wilderness, no pollution, practically soundless and still fast and effortless (compared to walking). No wonder Anton radiates with sheer happiness.

Nanok from the north

14:th of March 2009
Lovely they are these Siberian Huskies. Anton has got names on all of them. One of them is named Nanok.

Nanok´s sleeping

14:th of March 2009
Huskies really know how to relax , might this be Nanok?

Siberian Tit news and Wolverine tracks

14:th of June 2009
As we´re about to check in at the lodge, the caretaker turns to me with a smile, stating;
– You might get lucky.
– This guy (points to the uniformed mountain-ranger on the skidoo next to us) did just photograph the tits!
With "the tits!, he means Siberian Tits.
Arvid - the ranger - don´t look like he´s kidding and even volunteers to show us the birds, just another 15 minutes drive away.
Needless to say we hit the pedal.
On the way Arvid shows us another magnificient find: tracks from a Wolverine having crossed the path. They are snowed over just a bit, but stands out as a trail of really big, round footprints. This is Wolverine-land!

Up to my neck... in snow

14:th of March 2009
But leaving the beaten track just for a step is hardly possible, the snow is more than a meter deep, which Norma finds out the hard way.

The party

14:th of March 2009
A peace of suet nailed to a treetrunk and a "fatball" for birds hanging from the adjacent pinetree, is what´s been enough to attract these hardy birds, helping them to survive the winter out here in the wilderness. The site is really just a resting place for people out on skies or a skidoo-ride and here we meet two families out Charr-fishing, their teenage daughters getting quite interested in the find. They had actually been photographing these birds before we arrived, not knowing the magnitude of their presence. Now they take notes, preparing a report to their schoolteacher about the crazy english people they met on the mountain.
So in fact we owe these people being kind enough to feed the birds great time! Thanks!

Siberian Tit frenzy

14:th of March 2009
So practically in the middle of nowhere, after a skidoo-ride on 20 miles plus, we finally encounter one of Sweden´s most hard to see-birds. This southernmost part of the Scandinavian Sibetit population is an outcrop from the rest up in the far north, a bit like a satellite to the main population. A somewhat worrying aspect with an uncertain future of course. Anyway, last years expeditions have failed to see this bird in and even north of this area. Hence this is a most extraordinary find. It´s also on a new, previously unknown site and in such a beautiful setting, so far out in the wilderness.
And here they are, just an arms length away from us. What a meating! And what a lovely, furry, little arctic bird.

foxy flanks

14:th of March 2009
A good feature of the Siberian Tit are the almost fox-red-tinged flanks. (Red-flanked Tit?) Note also the big, black bib, extending well onto the breast, giving a bit of "unshaved" appearance.

...and the back

14:th of March 2009
Lovey brown mantle and note the dark brown - not black! - hood. Long tail and white trailing edges to the secondaries, creating a bit of white wingpanel (just like Willow Tit) are other diagnostic features.

Siberian tits

14:th of March 2009
Occasionally all three birds sit/hang on the fatball together, I get at least 2 in the same frame!

onsdag 11 mars 2009

Retro and reminder of Upland trip

11:th of March -09
In these cold, snowy days it´s nice to just for a moment imagine how it was back then, last summer, when sun was shining and there where great birds all over. Or how it WILL be, for instance the next time we go up north on our Sweden Upland trip in late May. Lapland Bunting, Long-tailed Skua, Great Snipe, Bluethroats, Ring Ouzels, Gyr Falcons are just a few of the birds we´ll see on that trip. There are still a few seats left, so don´t stand the risk to be without tickets to this one! (Glyn Sellors took the picture)

Waxwings at home

10:th of March -09
Winter lingers on despite the first Starlings, Bean- and Greylag Geese, Whooper Swans and such have arrived to the valley. Outisde my window it´s snow, snow, snow, and still plenty of birds on the feeders. Some nice Bullfinches today for instance. Waxwings have been easy to attract with apples lately. A flock of 20 turned up last weekend only an hour after I had put out the apples. Today one is sitting on my balcony for a while, allowing a few shots through the window.
Such great birds, aren´t they?

Arctic Redpolls

22:nd of February -09
Plenty of birds are teaming around the feeders just outside the hotel in Jädra Ås. Among plentiful Redpolls, the keen observers among us manage to pick out at least 2 Artic Redpolls. The bird in the front of this picture is a juvenile bird. Note the all-white rump without any streaking and the buff tone to the cheeks, almost reminding of Twite.

Pygmy final on great day

20:th of February -09
After a good session on the feeding stations for Nutcrackers and Crested Tits etc. we encounter a Pygmy Owl, perched in excellent light conditions, in fact even sunshine. So a lot of blasting away. Even I get a shot through the scope.

The bat

20:th of February -09
And just as it flies towards us the camera goes off. A blurry but funny snapshot. It looks a bit like a bat doesn´t it?

The Sherpas

20:th of February -09
These brave women of bird photography... they call themselves the sherpas.

Great sunset

20:th of February -09
What can I say? I´m a sucker for sunsets.

The lonely Goose

20:th of February -09
A lonely Canada Goose lies in the river and is perhaps a newly arrived spring migrant, or anyway the first to be seen this winter.

Pine Grosbeak influx

15:th of February -09
Another cold, but sunny day in the wild Sweden. We are watching Siberian Jays, and a Black Woodpecker even turns up on the feeding station, eating from a basket of fat(!). Eric McCabe got a picture on some distance. See more of his excellent work on his own website.
Today´s clue however are the Pine Grosbeaks. Several flocks, some with up to 25 individuals show up. Their unmistakable, thrilling, fluty, little calls catch our attention as they fly past on several occasions during the day. Some bright coloured red males where in the flocks and even if they wheren´t seen perched, it was the first time this winter that any group saw them.

New Lynxtracks and Woodies

14:th of February 2009
We spend most of this glorious day in Färna ekopark, obtaining good views on Three-toed Woodpeckers and after a lot of searching.. Black Woodpecker. The first singing and drumming male of the year. As I walk away from the group to "take a leak", I stumble upon a set of interesting footprints. A bit oversnowed, but still obvious Lynx-tracks. As I walk back to get the group I realise that the prints are from 2 different animals, as the track goes in the same direction on both (!) sides of a tree. Walking in each other´s footsteps is a typical habit of Lynx.