Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Sweden in Spring Day 2

Our hotel the Salbohed Garden lies among an area of mixed woodland with nest boxes erected for Owls, Flycatchers and tits strategically placed. An early morning walk among the woodland with Steve before breakfast produced several Pied Flycatcher including a female collecting nest material while the male bird looked on. Then as we approached a few nesting Western Jackdaw a large woodpecker appeared on the trunk of a mature tree, my first ever Black Woodpecker. Then I heard a familiar song, that of the Wood Warbler and I eventually found it in the canopy overhead. After breakfast we headed off as a group towards the Black River Valley. Stopping off at a nearby wetland we were treated to the wonderful song of the Thrush Nightingale, another new species. A few minutes later the male bird was observed as it sang in the lower branches of a small birch. Then we visited the nearby woodland where more delights were in store including Crested Tit and Pygmy Owl, both lifers. Among the conifers several Common Crossbill were observed and a European Moose put in a brief appearance. During our lunch break a White-tailed Eagle was observed in flight although distant but this was yet another lifer. We then met with a local ringer who was conducting survey work on a few occupied owl nest boxes. The first box visited was that of a Tawny Owl and the female bird was caught expertly before the box was scrutinised for any sign of breeding. Inside lay 2 very small young only a few days old. The female bird was then given the once over offering photographic opportunities before being released. The second box visited belonged to that of  Ural Owl and we were warned that the female inside would probably leave the box once approached. This is an aggressive species and we were told to hit the deck if the bird attacked. Fortunately although very flighty the female bird on leaving the nest box eventually landed in a tree only a few feet above my head. On inspection of the box 2 very small young were noted and we departed the area rapidly. Another Ural Owl box was inspected the female bird very calm and was handled by the ringer as if a pet. This too had a couple of small young suggesting a successful breeding season lies ahead. A wonderful experience for all and yet another addition to my life list. After dinner we headed off out in search of Great Grey Owl and were treated to views of a female bird present at a nest. This massive owl dwarfed its nest and looked uncomfortable as it sat brooding probable eggs. I managed to reel off a few shots of this welcome lifer before we moved off for a coffee break. While drinking tea and coffee and watching a wonderful Pygmy Owl 2 European Wolf suddenly appeared in the road ahead of us. One of the animals was sporting a radio collar and it paused to look back at us before moving on into the darkness. We then drove back to our hotel but not before flushing a female Black Grouse, my final lifer of the day.                     
A full list of species observed as follows;
Red-throated Diver, Great-crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Garganey, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Goosander (1 over), Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Western Marsh Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Black Grouse, Common Crane, Northern Lapwing, Ruff, Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Common Tern, Woodpigeon, Feral Rock Dove, Common Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Ural Owl, Great Grey Owl, Pygmy Owl, Eurasian Wryneck, Black Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Tree Pipit, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Wren, Thrush Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Common Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Crested Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper, Eurasian Nuthatch, Common Starling, Eurasian Jay, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Common Raven, Hooded Crow, Tree Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, Eurasian Siskin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Northern Bullfinch, Common Crossbill, Yellowhammer.
European Hare, Wolf (2), Eurasian Moose (6), Red Deer.

                                                              Thrush Nightingale.

                                                                     Crested Tit.

                                                                    Pygmy Owl.
                                                             Tawny Owl in the hand.

                                                                       Ural Owl.

                                                              Ural Owl in the hand.


                                                                   Ural Owl release.


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