Two-barred Crossbill at last

I might have indicated from time to time that the Two-barred Crossbill has been evading me for years, including one rejected observation from a couple of years ago. Luckily, they’ve decided to do a southward migration of invasion proportions this year, so the classical spot, the Dahurian Larches in the Gothenburg Botanical Garden arboretum, delivered within an hour of arrival. Also nice observations of recently hatched Little Grebes on my way to and from the arboretum.

Greenish Warbler within walking distance

Yesterday I went to a 40-year birthday party. Soon I got a text about a Greenish Warbler walking distance away from where I live. Greenish Warbler is a semi-rare vagrant and occasional breeder in Sweden, so this was a long anticipated life tick. Naturally I couldn’t get away from the party, but since it ended late (or early) I grabbed the binoculars and camera and was off again. And so, at 4:35 in the morning I had lifer 287! Naturally, the camera battery died before I even had a chance to get a shot at it but I came up with a fairly reasonable solution – phone video recording.

 
Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)

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First twitch since august

Haven’t had a lot of time for birds since I decided to go back to university, which is also evident in the blog of course. It recently got a bit better since I’m taking a class in outdoor pedagogy, mostly held (luckily) outdoors but there hasn’t been anything really thrilling that I’ve had time for lately. The break came thursday evening when I learned (thanks facebook) that there was going to be an attempt for a male Blue-winged Teal about 120 kilometers from Gothenburg.

Since I had Friday off I didn’t mind coming along, heading out at 4 in the morning. The duck in question was of course awesome! It was evident however that I was a bit out of touch with twitching. Not only did I forget to pack my coffee, I also forgot to put the memory card back in the camera, which I didn’t realise until I got home again and wanted to look at the pics. This is especially embarrassing since I brought two more (but analog) cameras.

So, lovely bird but no pics, so I’m throwing in one from Berlin Zoo last summer. If you want to look at more stuff from there, head over to http://oskila.deviantart.com/

Bahama Pintail (Anas bahamensis) at Berlin Zoo

More media exposure

This time I was interviewed by a periodical for retired municipal employees regarding birdwatching as a hobby for senior citizens. I’m not retired of course, but I was going to lead an excursion mainly for seniors the next day. Highlights of the excursion were Hawfinch, a stubborn Chaffinch and Tawny Owl, and since I spend most of my time on studies (or procrastination of studies) these days I got a bunch of year ticks.

Media exposure

There was a nationwide garden/feeder birdwatch this weekend. Last year had 19 000 reports. I watched and reported at the club house which caused a bit of radio news exposure. Click the image to hear it (swedish).

Me and Stig with the Gothenburg Ornithological Society feeders.

Not much action at our feeding station though. Great Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Crested Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Magpie, Greenfinch and a Blackbird.

Some recent and reasonably recent photos

My brother went and bought himself a DSLR camera which gave me reason to dig out the old workhorse again :)

Here are two more relevant than good photos from the trip to Småland in April.
The first ever male Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) I’ve seen properly. It didn’t take well
to company and so the picture had to be taken at horrible distance
.

Only life tick of the trip, Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). Apparently this little
fellow hangs around in that area all year round

And here two pictures shot today (yesterday, since it’s thursday now) on my way to and from a board meeting.

Common Gull (Larus canus)

Baby Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

slow spring

It’s becoming more and more apparent that I’m reasonably successful in becoming a Disciplined Student. As an example, I saw 52 species in total during May 2010 as compared to 146 last year and 172 my so far best year, 2008. The positive side of this is of course that when I do get out and about the year ticks are plentiful.

I spent most of May with a group of four graders as part of the teacher programme, trying to teach them PowerPoint. Yesterday I went with them to look at the old fortress in Kungälv north of Gothenburg. This also resulted in a Black Redstart on the way to the bus, Thrush Nightingale and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker while walking from the bus to the fortress, Rosefinch (somewhat unexpected) and Garden Warbler while there and Marsh Warbler and Marsh Harrier near the bus stop on the way home. The kids were generally fascinated and are long since used to my birdwatching antics (The first time I worked with them I showed over a hundred photos from Padjelanta and I was recently interviewed by Metro about city birdwatching), and since they’re still young and impressionable I’ll have plenty of time to make twitchers of the lot of them :)

The attentive reader will also notice that my newest lifer is Capercaillie. We went to the bogs and forests of Småland with the youth group in April and saw most of the expected birds.

Hopefully the summer will see more action, but since I also need to find a job really bad nothing is for certain.

King Eider

Life tick 281, King Eider! It conveniently appeared some time ago in a harbour a short distance north of Gothenburg. I went to see it on thursday and my parents saw him today when they visited my aunt who lives there. Three years ago, another (or possibly the same) male King Eider was seen for some time near the same island but on the far side.

2010 targets

Here are a nice bunch of birds that I’ll perhaps try to tick this year
 

  • Capercaillie
  • Hazel Grouse
  • Two-barred Crossbill
  • Great Northern Diver
  • Tengmalm’s Owl
  • Great Egret
  • Marsh Sandpiper

Most of these breed in Sweden and are statistically quite common. I’ve just not been in the right places at the right time. I’ve managed to get a quite unbalanced lifers list over the past few years. I haven’t seen the above listed species, which are generally seen as common to sub-rare, but I’ve seen two Balearic Shearwaters, a species seen in Sweden by less than 400 people. I also saw Egyptian Goose, Pink-footed Goose and Red-breasted Goose before Greater White-fronted Goose and Bean Goose which are far far more common around here. Anyway. I have kind of given up on reaching 300 this year, but I hope I can manage at least 285-290

Youth excursions

The Sunday before last we had the first proper ornithological field trip for youths in years. We went to Hönö by bus and then walked to the cemetery, where, just before dawn, we found at least three Long-eared Owls flying around near a couple of pine trees. Another birder that stayed behind counted 12 when they perched for the day. Impressive. After that we performed a two hour walk to Kråkudden, where probably more than 10 000 Eiders had convened. Even more impressed!

There will be more of these trips in the future. I hope they’ll be as good as this one.