This week we continued the survey theme… Marsh Harriers, Farmland breeding birds and in particular, Ortolan Bunting- Emberiza hortulana. Many farmers around the Kvismare area have recieved funding to set aside some bare land for the Ortolan’s to nest in. For unknown reasons the population of Ortolan bunting has gone down from Circa 100 singing males to maybe half a dozen in less than 3 decades within the reserve itself; The species still thrive in Northern Sweden however, in fire prone forests.
Managing to hear a minimum of 5 Ortolan males in the first week of surveys then is quite good and these birds are all singing in the correct areas, again promising. It is still early for these birds and so we will continue to monitor this species throughout May.
The Marsh Harriers have begun displaying high above the reed beds this week meaning that their building period is all but over. We managed to identify 14 females in total and possibly 10 nests which we will confirm when the birds are feeding youngsters later in the season. We still wait for the Montagu’s Harrier that nested here last year.
All Starling boxes have to be checked every 5-7 Days (a rule in Sweden) and so this week we confirmed all the full clutch sizes for Starlings. Most hold 5 or 6 but one or two contain 7 eggs. These should be hatching any day now. The White Wagtail in the front garden is also now incubating her 4 eggs. 2 Broods of Fieldfare have hatched just by the side of the house and are noisily protected by the adults.
Some good birds being seen this week has heated the competition for Blonde hair. I still lead but Magnus has gripped me with Savi’s Warbler, Black Woodpecker and Little gull today. I however have Peregrine, Black Tern and Icterine Warbler on him. So it’s wide open.
Birds arriving in number this week, Cuckoo, Garganey, Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher, Wood Sandpiper (flock of 140 seen regularly on Rysjon), Spotted Redshank (up to 25 present on Rysjon), Green and Common Sand also push through not in such great numbers but do reach a few dozen each some days. Common Tern in decent numbers with Arctics’ heading through some days. Myself and Magnus haven’t seen any as of yet! Today I had a flock of 47 “thunbergi” type Yellow Wagtails in one tree!
The Geese and Whooper swans continue to fatten up for their migration. Amongst the Bean geese (fabalis) this week, Barnacle,Pink Footed, Canada, White-fronted and some Bean (Rossicus).
If only races counted in our competition…