Saturday, 24 September 2016

Getterön Fågelstation, Sweden, 23rd & 24th September 2016

23rd September
Today we expected more wind than we've had over the last few days and showers to disturb operations from about ten 'o' clock. The wind wasn't too bad in the morning, although it strengthened in the afternoon - and the forecast of showers came to nothing.

There was a surprise in the bushes nets on the first round as we had thought it too late for the species to be around still, but there he was, a young male Nightjar.

 Nightjar, juvenile male

It was a real treat to process the bird in full light for a change!

We completed our usual morning session, leaving the Meadow Pipit nets open a little longer while they continued to catch, but there was no possibility of trying for a Starling roost in the evening as the gusts were too strong.

Total 91 (21)

Nightjar - 1
Meadow Pipit - 24 (3)
Wren - 2 (1)
Dunnock - 4 (2)
Robin - 1 (6)
Redstart - 0 (1)
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 4
Lesser Whitethroat -1
Garden Warbler - 0 (1)
Blackcap - 21 (1)
Chiffchaff - 12 (2)
Blue Tit - 3 (3)
Bearded Tit - 0 (1)
Reed Bunting - 17

24th September
At setting up time the wind was blowing at 13 metres per second from the NWN, but due to reduce. We dropped all the usual station nets but our Meadow Pipit nets were too exposed so remained furled.

We got a some birds from the nets that were least exposed, with a few recaptures and mainly Blackcaps and Robins. We tried a variety of calls to encourage birds into nets, including Twite, Redpoll, Hawfinch, Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting, but Chiffchaff seemed to be the only one that worked on a net positioned in a sheltered spot.

Goldcrest, juvenile male

The wind was still quite strong as the morning progressed so we closed early at 10am. The Barnacle Geese were mostly in the most sheltered area of the lagoon, closest to the observatory.

Barnacle Geese
Total: 41 (14)
Meadow Pipit - 0 (1)
Wren - 2 (1)
Robin - 9 (5)
Redstart - 1
Songthrush - 1
Reed Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 10 (2)
Chiffchaff - 10
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 3 (3)
Bearded Tit - 0 (1)
Reed Bunting - 1 (1)

In the afternoon we headed inland, back to the beech forest where we'd tried for Pygmy Owl. On the way we noticed a collection of raptors near the road. The attraction wasn't clear but there were five Red Kite and nine Buzzard.

Red Kite

Common Buzzard

At the woods we had hoped to see Black Woodpecker, but had to be content with Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and some other birds of the forest. There were also some interesting fungi.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Getterön Fågelstation, Sweden, 21st & 22nd September 2016

21st September

We thought there may be quite a few birds around today and Margareta came to lend a hand with extracting birds. However, the morning seemed slow and we wondered whether we would exceed the hundred mark. It was quite surprising to find out just how many had been processed.

The catch included our first Goldfinch, a very young Lesser Redpoll with an unusually pale head and an adult Lesser Whitethroat.

 Lesser Redpoll with unusually pale head - post-juvenile moult not yet started.

 Adult Lesser Whitethroat

Juvenile Goldfinch

We have been using the new ringing guide by Demongin in conjunction with Svennson and have been usung some useful indicators for some species. To date we have ringed 300+ Reed Buntings, a species that we don't often get at home. Detailed below are useful ageing and sexing indicators.

 Two examples of adult type second tertial feather.

 Juvenile angular pattern for comparison.

 Female pattern of crown feathers, dark centre ending in point.

Male pattern, black feather with brown fringe to top.

This is useful in addition to looking for white neck feathers emerging, as females also show a small amount of white. This method is completely unambiguous.

In the afternoon we drove up the coast to a spot where waders come in quite close to the shore.

Curlew Sandpiper


Pink Thrift

Total: 140 (12)

Meadow Pipit - 19
White Wagtail - 1
Wren - 11
Dunnock - 5
Robin - 25 (7)
Song Thrush - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 8 (2)
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Blackcap - 20 (1)
Chiffchaff - 12 (1)
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 3
Great Tit -  2 (1)
Tree Sparrow - 2
Goldfinch - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Reed Bunting - 26

22nd September

There was a cloudy start to the day, low wind coming from the South East and a steady trickle of birds. Bo dropped in for a while to extract. There were quite a lot of recaptured Robins and Blackcaps, birds still feeding up before the next leg of their journey.

We could hear finches flying overhead and the Bearded Tits were flying around a lot, seeming quite restless.

 Female Blackbird. UK code 3, Denmark 1k and Sweden 10.

Song Thrush

Total: 121 (17)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Meadow Pipit - 20
Wren - 1
Dunnock - 5
Robin - 9 (8)
Redstart - 0 (1)
Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 2
Reed Warbler - 5 (1)
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 3
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 24 (4)
Chiffchaff - 18
Goldcrest - 1
Bearded Tit - 1 (3)
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit -  1
Tree Sparrow - 2
Reed Bunting - 24

In the afternoon we went about 17km up the road for a walk in a beech woodland nature reserve. The landscape was very interesting with mature trees growing over and between rocky outcrops.

 Beech woodland

 The site has seen habitation in the past.

 An elaborate means of transporting water.

Stream with one of two mill stones discarded on the bank.

In the evening we made a change from trying for owls (and largely failing - with the exception of one Long Eared Owl) and tried for waders on a coastal area outside the reserve. Unsurprisingly we were unsuccessful. The observatory doesn't target waders as they rarely get much - still at least we gave it a go. Tomorrow we'll target Starling in the evening.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Getterön Fågelstation, Sweden, 19th & 20th September 2016

19th September

The wind was changeable overnight and  blowing from a North Westerly direction by the end of the morning. It was quite busy with a lot of birds seen in the bushes, as well as being caught. Bo dropped something off, and got roped in to a quick dash round the bush nets to extract, saving us a little time. We were pleased with our total, and we may have to resort to the bicycles if we get a higher number of birds when no help is available.

 Juvenile male Sparrowhawk


 Male Bearded Tit with black mask feathers moulting through

In the afternoon we went off with Bo Kanje, Kirsten and Margareta to see Pygmy Owl habitat. There was also a chance to see some of the local nature reserves and tourist attractions. We did set a net where the Pygmy Owls were but we caught nothing and did not even hear them calling. Many thanks to Bo, Margareta and Kirsten for their efforts - both with the owls and the evening picnic. It was great!

 One of many locations where Bo (pronounced Boo) monitors raptors and owls,
 including box nesting birds.

 Goshawk nest

 Tourist retreat complete with saunas, spas and vineyard.

 Nest box for Pygmy Owl. Sparvuggla, the Swedish name, means Sparrow Owl.

Sparvuggla habitat

A wonderful place, but watch out for the elk flies.

Total: 216 (21)

Sparrowhawk - 1
Tree Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 27
Wren - 2
Dunnock - 6 (1)
Robin - 25 (5)
Song Thrush - 1
Redstart - 0 (1)
Sedge Warbler - 3
Reed Warbler - 9 (1)
Lesser Whitethroat - 0 (1)
Whitethroat - 0 (1)
Garden Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 42 (5)
Willow Warbler - 3
Chiffchaff - 50 (1)
Bearded Tit - 0 (2)
Blue Tit - 5  (1)
Great Tit - 3 (2)
Tree Sparrow - 2
Chaffinch - 1
Brambling - 1
Reed Bunting - 31

20th September

It was a chilly start to the day due to the wind blowing in from North North West. We were not sure if there would be birds still around from the 'fall' yesterday or whether there may be new arrivals. Once we got started, it was clear that there had been an influx of Wrens and Robins, with rather more Robins! In the reed bed, Reed Bunting responded well to the audio-lure.

 Wren - referred to affectionately as meatballs in Denmark
 which makes this a Swedish meatball!
 Bearded Tits - two dapper chappies!

Great Spotted Woodpecker - juvenile male

We were surprised to recapture the Barred Warbler that was ringed on the 8th of September. This bird has not been reported since it was captured. Its weight, 25.5g, and fat score have not changed.

The wind has increased this afternoon and it is unlikely that we'll do any netting this evening.

Total: 230  (29)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Tree Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 22
Wren - 19
Dunnock - 4
Robin - 59 (4)
Redstart - 0 (2)
Sedge Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 15 (1)
Whitethroat - 1 (1)
Garden Warbler - 5 (3)
Blackcap - 32 (10)
Barred Warbler - 0 (1)
Willow Warbler - 3
Chiffchaff - 23
Bearded Tit - 1 (3)
Blue Tit - 2 (4)
Starling - 1
Greenfinch - 1
Reed Bunting - 38

Monday, 19 September 2016

Getterön Fågelstation, Sweden - 18th September 2016 Naturum Open Day

At the beginning of last week the weather was looking rather bad for ringing on the open day. Thankfully there was an improvement, no rain expected and a forecast for light South Westerly winds. This is not the best wind direction but it ought to bring some birds in. So, there were plenty of birds to show at the demonstrations between 8am and 10am. It struck me how much easier it was than our local Apple Day demonstrations - people are there between 10am and 4pm, we usually get about 60 or so birds and most of these before 10am.

Captures were down, only to be expected with more people on site than usual, and Meadow Pipits particularly would not respond to the audio-lure, restricting our captures somewhat. The team for the day was Bo, Kirsten, Margareta, Martin, Chris and myself.

Early birds at the 8am demonstration. It was impossible to get in as the morning progressed!

Due to being busy photos of birds were not taken, but, here is Martin with a similar female Sparrowhawk caught a little while ago.

Total: 123 (15)

Sparrowhawk - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Wren - 6
Dunnock - 3
Robin - 16
Redstart - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Reed Warbler - 8
Garden Warbler - 0 (1)
Blackcap - 27
Chiffchaff - 25
Goldcrest - 1
Bearded Tit - 0 (1)
Blue Tit - 3
Great Tit -  0 (1)
Greenfinch - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Reed Bunting - 28

After ringing we took part in a free activity to build a nest box. It is wonderful so see such investment ( there was enough materials to build over 50 boxes) in encouraging people to take an interest in wildlife. Secondly, it was refreshing to see wood, hammer, nails, screws and mini power drills provided to all with no qualms. Parents were not overly concerned about children, it was all very relaxed and I very much doubt an activity would take place, in this way, in the UK - which is a real shame. I think the Swedes have got something right that we don't seem able to manage.

 Giving nature a home - the Swedish way!

The finished articles, front opening for cleaning from IKEA style 
prepared sections for home assembly.

In the afternoon, Chris was watching the Cranes and noticed a colour-ringed bird. Between us we found three others. The birds were closer than usual and until now scope views have been insufficient to record full combinations. Three of the birds were ringed in Sweden and have been seen in France, Germany and Spain. One bird was not on the database although there was a suggestion that it may have been marked in Russia.

We tried for owls again but were unsuccessful.