lördag 17 november 2018

Caspian & Baltic Gulls in Västerås harbour

The last 2 weeks me and several other bird watchers have been spending time scrutinizing the flocks of large Gulls in the harbor of Västerås, Sweden. I found a 1.st year Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans) on the 4:th of November and this thursday an adult Baltic Gull (Larus fuscus). Today I believe my friend Thomas Nilsson located the Cachinnans again but there´s a lot of similar birds around so you need to look carefully. Today we could enjoy 2 Dippers, a Kingfisher and 2 Peregrines, Waxwings, Fieldfares and Redpolls, in the process and even some sunshine, so quite a nice day. 

söndag 21 oktober 2018

Nutcrackers in autumn

Autumn is a great time to photograph Nutcrackers here in the Black River valley. My feeding station is attracting a handful of birds who have become really unshy for people and cameras. Light and colors with yellow autumn leafs justify them more than snowy winter.

torsdag 11 oktober 2018

Sea Eagles hunting in pair

I witnessed a pair of White-tailed (Sea) Eagles hovering low over the water surface of Lake Fläcksjön. They stayed over the same point so long I realized they must be hunting something in the water below them. They took turns in swooping down to attack the prey. The wind was strong at the moment so they seemed to have a hard time, but they were ever so persistent. After several minutes and seemingly endless attempts, one of the birds came up with a duck in it´s talons. They had managed to exhaust the bird til it finally got possible to grab when it re-surfaced. I´ve seen this before with Coot and Great-crested Grebe for prey. This time it looked like a Mallard. Sorry the poor picture quality but the documentary aspects justifies!

söndag 23 september 2018

Chiffchaffs moving south

The Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) is one of several passerine species that increase in Sweden and are pushing up their distribution range from the south, colonizing new habitats and areas in the country. In our (central) parts of Sweden however, the Chiffchaff is not yet a regular breeding bird (yet) and in fact not a bird I see many times a year at all. We are namely mostly exposed to the northern population on migration. Mid september is when they turn up on their way south and during a relatively short period of a few weeks they can be enjoyed, often spotted by their distinctive song. At this time practically all Willow Warblers have gone south.  Today I saw my first Chiffchaff for the autumn. It flitted around in one of my big apple trees in the garden and I was surprised to get a few images of this constantly moving little bird. I later saw a Bluethroat as well but the Chiffchaff was the bird of the day for me.

söndag 16 september 2018

Geese bonanza in Hjälstaviken

Hjälstaviken not far from Uppsala is one of the major staging areas for Geese in central Sweden, especially during autumn migration. The season has just started but already last week 4.000 Bean Geese, 8.000 Greylag Geese and 7.000 Barnacle Geese where counted. The minorities where the 25 Lesser White-fronts and 4 (!) Pink-feet. Add to that 4.100 Common Cranes and you can just begin to sense the noise and sheer spectacle when all these birds come into to roost in the wetland at night. The Barnacles are the most tame, the Beanies the most shy.

torsdag 9 augusti 2018

Honey buzzard migration starting

Yesterday the first Honey Buzzards were seen starting their migration from the breeding grounds in the Black River Valley. They are among the first raptors to start to go south on their migration to tropical Africa. The adults start first (see the different length of some secondaries) and the juveniles will start in a few weeks time. Most adults leave Sweden before september have started.

fredag 13 juli 2018

Peregrine chicks finally on wings

The Peregrines in the harbour of Västerås are still the only reproducing pair in the whole province of central Sweden´s lowlands (a region of three counties; Västmanland, Närke and Uppland). Now their 3 chicks are finally flying (a few days later than normally). They are over 40 days old all of them, two females and one male). I got the pleasure to witness and photograph one of the first flights of one of the female chicks.

tisdag 3 juli 2018

Little Gulls galore

Little Gulls seem to increase as a breeding bird in the east central parts of Sweden. These birds are normally not very easy to come close to, but there is a point where they sometimes come in to feed on flying insects closer to land and during the right circumstances. I was lucky to catch one of these moments in May this year and here´s a sample of pictures of these smart looking birds. The bird with some black on the primaries is probably a 3k bird, not fully adult.

söndag 15 april 2018

Adder, Bat and spring warmth

Finally a really nice, sunny, calm day, even a bit hot. We went to Asköviken for a traditional spring picnic to enjoy the first Blue Anemones, Butterflies (Brimstone and Small tortoiseshell), look for Adders and birds around the wetland. We only found one adder (male) - less than usual, Marsh Harriers and Ospreys had arrived and the Black-headed Gull colony was loud and lively as it should be. An adult White-tailed Eagle soared just above us for a while and flushed all the Geese on the flooded pasture. The biggest surprise was a largish bat that flew around in broad daylight by the watch-tower. Probably a Common Noctule Bat (Nyctalus noctula) - Större brunfladdermus in swedish.