Friday, 27 April 2012

Grim up North

With spring late to arrive here in Central Sweden it's been a slow couple of weeks bird wise. The main work at the moment comprises of wetland surveys and Starling nest box checks. The wetland surveys however are very enjoyable and there's always the hint of mystery at what might turn up? I was surveying some marshland last week and here I came across an oddity, not a big rare in terms of British or even Swedish birding but a 3cy Caspian Gull was the first record for Kvismaren and the first I've seen in a while. The Ferruginous duck is still present on the reserve looking rather smart amongst the Tufted's and many other ducks are starting to move through in good numbers now. Goldeneye, Pochard, Teal and Wigeon mainly with well over 1000 of the latter two species.
Wintry wetland survey.

With help arriving this week (Maggie from Germany) we were able to put up some large nest boxes around the reserve. These boxes are mainly for Goldeneye and Tawny Owl although lots of Starlings seemed interested whilst we were putting them up. It's too late this year for the Tawny's but the Goldeneye's are still passing through, pairing up and looking for nest sites.

Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) Box
We've also caught a few birds this past couple of weeks, nothing mega in terms of numbers but it's nice to pass the time watching mist nets (even though they're often empty). Highlights include a cracking male Kestrel and today a Woodpigeon (not a rarity, but not often caught). A Long-eared owl has been seen around the house for the past 3 days and we've flushed it from the side of net rides more times than I care to recall! Hopefully it'll either jump into a net on it's own soon, or I'll set up the big nets and annoy it until it's caught.

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 2cy Male

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Time to blog?

Since my last "update" I've not really had much time to blog.

The first week here I've just been up at dawn and counting wildfowl and waders using Kvismaren as either passage or breeding sites, it's really nice to be out at first light and I've seen some great things this week whilst being out and about. A first for me was a Lesser black-backed gull (intermedius) though I don't class this as a species I'd still never see 'one' before. Also I saw a male Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) which again I'd never seen before. I've seen a female before but it was way back through some horrible binoculars (which have been lovingly likened to "like looking through cardboard" by my ringing trainers and group). So after stunning view of both of these a male Long-tailed duck turns up and again giving great views, I've not seen these so well since a memorable trip to Iceland a couple of summers ago with Kane, Chris and Ciaran.

So enough of that. Other decent birds this week: 3 Osprey, White-tailed eagle, Green sands (here there and everywhere), Rough-legged buzzard at least 4, 2 Hen Harrier (Female and 2cy male, hunting together). 20+ Marsh Harriers, 200 Bean Geese (inc 2 Anser fabalis rossicus) 25 Pinkies, 80 White-fronts (all albifrons) , 20 Barnacles. Hundreds of Meadow pipit in a roost. 1000+ Cranes (Grus grus). Lots of Roe Deer around the house, a hare and today I almost fell over a Beaver before it slapped it's tail and with a glug disappeared out of site.

I've also started ringing in the garden.

1 Great Tit.
1 Chaffinch.
1 Robin.
1 Kestrel.

Sorry about the lack of photos with my laptop dead I'm reduced to the old fashioned office PC here at Kvismaren.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Update - A post for Mummy.

It's been a while since I last blogged and in that time I have had various outings within the Fylde ringing and birding, most can be read about on my friend Seumus' blog "Fleetwood Birder", see link at side. I have however now left England for 8 months to work as Surveyor and Lead Bird ringer at Kvismaren Bird Observatory (until October) and later Lead bird ringer at Gedser Bird Obs in Denmark.

So I arrived in Sweden on the 12th April and already I'm getting stuck into the work! I am alone in the station at the moment but I have had a nice beginning to the season with a relaxed workload (for now) and lots of catching up with the birds and the neighbours.
At the moment the work is mainly surveys of the Wetland birds around the reserve and checking of the Starling boxes around the reserve. When other personell arrive however the workload multiplies many times over. A brief meeting with Bo (The Boss) revealed more about this years' surveys and I must say I am very excited to be involved in some hopefully ground breaking work.
For now though it's just a "I got here safely Mummy" and a few snaps from the first couple of days.
Nuthatch (Sitta europaea europaea) - Nest building outside the kitchen window.

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) mating, Female is the larger snake. 2 Males are squabbling to mate.