Tuesday 2 September 2014

Falsterbo Trip Report - day 3

Day 3
Once again we departed Trelleborg at around 0600, arriving at Nabben (about a 15 minute walk from the small car park) for around 0700, and once again there were a number of the local crew already present and in full-on click counter mode. I am sure they were pleased to see us, with our Honey Ospreys and so on. As with previous days there were Tree Pipits going over all the time, and plenty of Yellow Wags - these two species are easily the most numerous of birds, and makes the handful I get in Wanstead annually seem rather pathetic. We received the happy news that there were two Nutcracker in the Obs garden, and sure enough they soon came up out of the pines having a think about migration - climbing up and up and up, with Jay-like wingbeats - before deciding they didn't like the idea of migration involving a sea crossing and diving vertically back into the plantation. So, we've now seen an explanation for why we don't get many Nutcrackers in the UK. Amazingly these are only the second and third birds I've ever seen, following a single bird in Finland last year.

More of the same basically, including a group of Crossbill that the local birders insisted had at least two Two-barred in. I saw the flock, but Bradders says I can't them, though whether this is because he didn't even see the flock I cannot possibly say. Counts from this morning session included 52 Honey Buzzard, two Osprey, 4 Marsh Harrier, 27 Sparrowhawk, 74 Crossbill, the two Nutcracker, and our first Whinchats, perching up on the wild roses. We also regained a modicum of credibility by showing off our Pallid Harrier photos. Shame we said it was a Kestrel

White Wagtail with Falsterbo accoutrement

At around 11am we left Nabben, and after a brief poke around the Obs, where we added our first Linnet, Goldfinch, Whitethoat and Spotted Flycatcher, hit Falsterbo Park (6 on this map), in the hope that a change in habitat would see our trip list increase. This it did immediately, with Goldcrests, Coal Tits, a Song Thrush and a Red-backed Shrike. It was a relief to finally get some shelter from the unrelenting wind that was making small birding so difficult, and in the sheltered glades we found stacks of birds such as Pied Flycatchers in groups of six or more. All this while Honey Buzzards and Ospreys continued to pass overhead.

Back at the heath at Skanorsljung, Black Kite was another highlight, and in only a further half hour we racked-up another 57 Honey Buzzard, 4 Osprey, an adult WT Eagle, eight Sprawk and a Marsh Harrier. For those paying attention this meant that our count of Honeys for the trip was now at 313, though this pales in comparison to those sitting all day at Nabben, where the final counts for this day (Aug 24th) alone were close to 700. Still, 313 Honey Buzzards is many multiples of what I have previously seen, and the views have been mostly phenomenal - to see birds coming in a long line, like planes Heathrow, is mind-bending. Occasionally they stop and start circling, leading to games to see how many you can get in one scope view etc. This was a particular facet of the trip, with not only amazing quantities, but birds seen extremely well. I may never go birding in the UK again. Mind you I say that most every time I come back from a foreign trip. And then I go abroad again, so it could be true!

1-4 Borringe area as described in day 2, 5-9 Vombsjön area

In the afternoon we once again headed into Skåne, this time heading for a lake called Vombsjön (8), and some nearby meadowland, Vombsanger (6). More staggering birding, with thousands of real Greylag Geese in the fields, and 300+ Common Crane. My keen eyes (ahem) also picked up two Caspian Tern heading east, probably commuting between Krankesjön (9) and Vombsjön, though when we explored the latter we could not find them. We did however add Arctic Tern, Black Tern, and our first Kingfisher and Yellowhammer as we explored the eastern side, with the woods below the lake (7) holding Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Marsh Tit and others.

Moving west to Krankesjön to outrun a particularly vicious storm (one of many that we managed to dodge), we hit upon the birding moment of the trip, or mine at least. A pair of adult Sea Eagles were hunting on the northern side of the lake (viewed from the east side, where there are some hides and a bird tower). It missed whatever it was going for and so sat up in a tree for a moment. The next thing I knew, it was flying straight down the barrel of my scope, huge wingbeats with the bird completely in profile. Wonderful light, it was like being in a wildlife documentary as it flew towards us. At the last minute, getting bigger and bigger, it peeled off left, and legs and talons extended, glided to the surface, coming up with a huge huge fish, hooked on one claw. This it then dropped with an almighty splash, and did not bother coming back for it, choosing instead to go and land on the small islands that had until recently been occupied by stupendous Caspian Terns. Did I mention there were 14? No? Well, the Eagle experience pretty much outclassed everything else there, including a fabulous group of these monster Terns. We had watched them fishing too, none of the elegant dipping of marsh Terns, none of the precision dives of Arctic Tern. Think instead bellyflop - a huge splash and then back up. More Humpback Whale than bird. I've twitched a bird in Norfolk, and seen birds in Finland, but nothing like this - it was wonderful, a true wildlife spectacle. Krankesjön was teeming with birds - another Kingfisher, another Garganey. Four Ospreys at the far end, our first Gadwall, birds galore, and possibly one of the best place we visited on the trip. Oh, and 200+ Coot as well. What's not to love? And as we drove back, some White Stork from the reintroduction project.

Trip List: 124

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant photos as always and great trip report!