Saturday, 30 April 2011

Spring in Sweden

Spring in Sweden seems to happen a good month after it did back home. So I have already seen many of the birds we await here. This last week however has been full of migrants.

Studies turned to Marsh harrier nests/ territories this week to try and pin down nests if possible (as a visit to ring the young will be made in June) or if not accessible, just count the amount of females. There is one Female per nest but not necessarily one male; Polygamy does occur in these birds. Anyway this week we have Identified 11 different females with relative ease with possibly 2 or 3 other birds, and the nests are now very well pinned down.

These birds are amazing to watch, however you have to be up early to see the main nest building; This is thought to be because Marsh Harrier pick fresh twigs from trees and in the morning dew these twigs are more flexible and therefore easier to break and place into the nest.

Whilst out on these early morning watches new birds this week…

Black-Throated Diver, Wryneck, Osprey, Common Tern, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Pied Flycatcher, Ortolan bunting, Icterine Warbler, Wood Warbler, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and the nicest birds in my opinion the “lekking” Ruff. The Bean geese and a few Whooper’s remain on the fields by the house.

The work load slows in the next week or so, so I’ll be out and about trying to see as many species as possible throughout May (me and Magnus are having a competition.) No winning prize, but the loser has a punishment…

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Hooded Crow surveying

Magnus and I have been very busy this week trying to find all the “active” Hooded Crow nests within the Kvismaren reserve before the leaves open, we have previous survey data and this has been a great help as these birds often nest within metres of previous years, not always though… Having to be out by dawn every morning craning our necks trying to find nest, checking every single tree on the reserve has had it’s plus points; New birds.

We were lucky enough to stubble across a couple of Male Three-Toed Woodpeckers yesterday morning these birds gave amazing views for 30 minutes (down to 15 feet totally ignoring us) before we left them in peace. These only the 3rd and 4th records on the reserve since 1985!

A Pair of Hawfinch sang and fed happily in the glorious sun whilst above them a Rough-legged buzzard soared.

Spotted Crake and Jack Snipe displayed on the marshlands nearby.

Today I found a Yellow Wagtail, Feldegg race amongst a flock of White wagtails ( If accepted apparently only the 6th for Sweden).

Kvismaren Bird Observatory 040

Also some of the more common birds have given cracking views, Lesser spotted woodpeckers drumming down to 3 metres away, Greens Laffe at similar distances. Marsh Harriers ignore us as they go about nest building. Bean, Barnacle and White fronted geese give great views and Bitterns constantly boom.

The next few days we will finish the first round of the Crow study and then begin to pin point Marsh Harrier nests. The Yellow wagtail and many Willow warblers around today signify the start of spring migration in Sweden. (Everything here seems to be a month or so  later than England)




Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Kvismaren Bird Observatory

Arriving in Sweden for the first time yesterday afternoon I was amazed by the sheer vastness of it all. I mistook lakes for seas whilst flying over them and the endless forests which hugged the horizon. I travelled across the country from Stockholm to Orebro by train where I met the reserve chief for this season Magnus.

Today Magnus and I began work surveying the Hooded Crow and Raven nests within Kvismaren itself. A cracking day with some extra special sights too. Marsh harriers floating around the woodlands picking sticks for their nests, White-tailed eagles hunting over fresh water reeds is also something different. The Eagles often pursued by Raven and Marsh Harrier alike. Green, Great Spotted and Lesser Spotted woodpecker also today; Still not seen the Lesser Spot but they’re drumming and calling somewhere nearby. Cranes danced in the fields.

Other things seen today -


A Beaver swam straight towards us and got within 3 metres of the car before diving.

Fieldfare and Redwing are common thrushes here and they’re nesting everywhere in good numbers.

Yellow Hammer and Tree Sparrow are not very easy to see at home but are in abundance here.

White-Fronted, Barnacle, Greylag,Bean,Canada and Pink footed geese today.

around 100 Cranes seen today, some “dancing”.

Green Sandpipers and Snipe display on the marshlands.

Bitterns Booming.


Magnus and I will continue surveying Crows and Wetlands this week and still await the other staff to come and join us.

No pictures worth posting yet, I will get some soon. First though, I need to learn some Latin.