Falsterbo, Sweden

I returned on Monday evening from four nights at Falsterbo Bird Observatory, southern Sweden.  Known to many as a unique destination for raptor migration with hundreds sometimes thousands of raptors moving through each day around this time of year.

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Honey Buzzard

Early mornings were soundtracked by constant Tree Pipits and Thunbergi Yellow Wagtails wth high flying flocks of Common Crossbills and occasional Tree Sparrows too.  Sparrow Hawks were all over the place during the hours of daylight.

The day before we arrived was the first ‘Big Day’ of the season, many birds would have crossed the sea already and things were fairly quiet during our stay, however almost day long sky watching sessions were the most rewarding I’ve ever had, with hundreds of Common and Honey Buzzards, many Red kite, Ospreys, Marsh Harriers and the Local White Tailed Eagles putting in a handful of appearances over the peninsular. A Flock of 32 White Storks were also a perk, White Stork is a relatively good bird for Falsterbo.

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Common Buzzard

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Juvenile Honey Buzzards (above)

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We were fairly unlucky with the weather and lack of big numbers. However a Juvenile Pallid Harrier, picked up at Hunting height on the Heath was ample reward for the few periods of empty sky.

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These birds are coming through the peninsular almost everyday in late August and early September. This individual was mobbed by a Hobby and gained height rapidly allowing these distant record shots.

Passerines were never thick on the ground. A couple of Pied Flys, few Redstarts, many Spotted Flycatchers (or Grå Flugsnappare in Swedish, a bird that many houses have historically incorporated nesting opportunities within the architecture, as they eat Mosquitoes, Love that) Willows and a Wood Warbler,  and this first year Red-Backed Shrike.

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Nutcrackers put in a few appearances , with three birds first seen from the mound. The same, possibly, three were seen again over the heath and then another two so possibly five birds were around in total.

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Other highlights were a couple of Juvenile Caspian Gulls amongst the few Argentatus Herrings on the point, two Caspian Terns low and calling aswell as wood and Curlew Sandpipers, summer plumaged Grey Plover, Spotted Redshaks…etc.  Basically great views of great birds, a general good vibe, great people and I will certainly return.

Thanks To Laurence P and Paul C for good birding and great company

Youth and Movement

 

With it being the middle of August, I have started walking around the Lockwood before work. So far the only notable migrants being many Willow , and a couple of  Garden Warblers, a few Yellow Wags this morning and a trickle of Swifts.  Although AW had a Spotted Flycatcher in the Water works and Twitter tells me that PW has just found a Pied there too.

Yesterday whilst scanning the Bomb crater field for a returning Whinchat, One of three Juvenile Kestrels landed on the fence two meters in front me.

 

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After blasting it with the camera I spent five or so minutes sat down, watching it through bins. It felt good, quite a memorable bit of birding I guess.

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A deranged dog eventually flushed it.  

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Willow Warbler

Thames Juvenile Yellow-Legged Gulls

 

 

An evening walk with Amy along the thames, from the O2 eastwards, with Juv YLGs on my mind and mudlarking on hers, was fruitful for both.

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The right-hand bird is a brute, classic (probably male), it was joined by the nice contrasty bird on the left, which, although smaller, shares the features i look for in a Yellow-Leg, although I didnt see the open wing or tail pattern. The tertials have a slight notching to them, which is acceptable and well within range for Michahellis and this patterning is limited to the tips.

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Evening light looked great but ruined this photo in a way… Such a great tail pattern. I also noted a pair of Oystercatchers and a single common sandpiper along the water’s edge.

Juvenile Yellow-Legged Gulls, Eastbourne

 

It was booked weeks before, and much looked forward to. A trip to Visit Friend Laurence P on the south coast in an attempt to find some of the first arriving juvenile Yellow-Legged Gulls on the year.

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Our first site drew a blank, but a small boating lake within Princes Park, Eastbourne was host to this beast.  Presumably a Male, the bird gave incredibly close views and we got through two loaves of mighty white pretty quickly.

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The bird was quite worn on the tertials, most scaps and the tail, which seemed to be slightly stuck together, perhaps a substance picked up on route from the Med, as a ringed bird in the same place a few years back from Perpignan would suggest.

The following day we returned to the same spot to find a different bird. Smaller, slightly less worn and just as generous with its proximity.

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Common Rosefinch! Walthamstow Marsh

 

On approaching the underpass along the main path of Walthamstow Marsh I heard a distant; sweet and bright dysllabic whistle, unfamiliar in a patch context but defiantly totally arresting.  My thinking was it sounded like a Rosefinch,  having only heard one sing a few weeks before at Dungeness it was fresh in my mind but this wasnt full song and without seeing the bird I was reluctant to blast out a hasty “just found a..” tweet. There is little high ground and i couldn’t see the bird at all which had gone silent for a while but began to sing again after 15 minutes or so and I eventually clapped eyes on it. An adult Male Rosefinch! 

 

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  With nine previous records its a good bird for London. Many people seem to have come to see, and hear it and I’m very pleased to have eventually found a (much more) twitchable bird on the patch.

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