Thursday, July 5, 2018

Sweden road trip part 1 - birds

Got back last night from a week-long family trip to Sweden. Sweden is a wonderful country. We landed at Västerås and drove from there up north. First night we stayed near Sandvik, second near Bispgården and then we reached our destination - Luleå in the far north of Sweden. Lots of driving...
From a family point of view it was a great holiday - weather was perfect, we did lots of outdoor stuff and got to know special people. From a wildlife point of view I could have achieved more. At this time of year, best hours for birding are between 22:00 and 04:00. Because of all the driving I did, and long days of family stuff, I could afford only one night of proper birding. Other times when I was outdoors during hours when normal people are awake were rather quiet, and light conditions were horrible.
However, all in all, I saw some stuff and enjoyed the common birds Sweden has to offer.
I enjoyed seeing in good numbers migrants that are doing pretty bad in England. Red-backed Shrikes, Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler were present at almost every stop in the south and centre. Pied Flycatchers were breeding in almost every nestbox I saw.

Pied Flycatcher

Heading up north, a short stop at the lovely nature reserve Ålsjön was productive with breeding Whooper Swans and Slavonian Grebes.

Luleå is a special town, with lots of wildlife in it. Urban birding with Arctic Terns and Whimbrel can't be bad. 
Arctic Tern

Whimbrel - taken at 00:45 without flash...

On my final morning, before flying out, the kids had an hour at a play area in Västerås. I had time for a quick walk around Mälarpark which was rather nice with Icterine and Wood Warblers. The Icterine was singing from high up in the trees. 

Icterine Warbler

Up in the north I did have a couple of target species. I succeeded with one - more on my next blog.

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