Falsterbo is the red pin
A more detailed view of Falsterbo
Bird show tents at Falsterbo
More bird show tents
Who, who, who, who let the dogs out?
More like, who, who, who, who let the owls out! *cue rimshot*
Path at Skanör, a few miles north of Falsterbo.
Gathering rain clouds evident.....
Gathering rain clouds evident.....
Cows at Skanör
A few clear skies at Skanör
After departing Falsterbo/Skanor, I headed north towards Gothenburg for my next lecture. As I was driven on this leg by a local birder, we made a quick birding stop at Getterön Natural Reserve just south of Gothenburg. The stop was brief, but might have been my favorite of the entire trip. Though we only had half an hour, we observed hundreds of Graylag and Barnacle Geese, several dozen Common Cranes, and a lone White-tailed Eagle. However, shorebirds were the clear the stars of the visit. Eurasian Oystercatcher, Northern Lapwing, Common Ringed-plover, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Eurasian Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Broad-billed Sandpiper, and Curlew Sandpiper were all present. It was a great opportunity to observe/study these species in their native lands as most of them they stray to North America at rare points (those italicized species are ones I personally have on my ABA list!). Birding around Gothenburg the following day I found Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Eurasian Skylark, Northern Wheatear, and Meadow Pipit, among others.
My third lecture was in Linköping (Lin-CHO-ping), east of Gothenburg. I managed a fair amount of birding between my various commitments that spanned 3 days. Birding in rural areas just outside of town I found Great spotted Woodpecker (very common but my favorite bird of the trip!), Lesser spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Blackcap, and Fieldfare. The highlight of the inland leg of my trip was certainly my visit to Tårkern, a large inland lake/marsh with thousands of waterbirds. In addition to more cranes, geese, and ducks, I added Bearded Reedling, a specialty bird of the preserve. More common species included Long-tailed Tit, Reed bunting, Eurasian Reed-Warbler, Yellowhammer, Eurasian Sisken, and Linnet.
Early morning view from observation platform
Me with the frog prince
Me, my hostess Terese, and Linköpink visit
The next stop on my tour was the island of Öland in the southeast corner of the country. Öland is a bit similar to Falsterbo though even more rustic. Most of the action occurs at the south end of the island, at the lighthouse in Ottenby. I spent two full days on the southern half of the island. During this time I observed thousands of waterfowl and cormorants. New species on the first day included Horned Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, and Common Merganser, European Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, Eurasian Wren, Parasitic Jaeger, Red-backed shrike, and Eurasian Hobby. The sure highlight was the appearance of 5 European Bee-eaters as were standing on the observation tower. A group of them actually nested in the area, but were presumed to have migrated as no one had seen them in a full two weeks. They were certainly striking; Unfortunately, they never came within 75 years of us, so photos were out of the question (basically the same story for all the birds I saw). The scenery around Öland was fantastic! There is a very active birding community on the island, and it appears to be the retirement destination of choice for Swedish birders. Anders, my host and high-up in Birdlife Sweden, moved to Öland with just that plan in mind.
View from observation tower
BAAAAAHHH! Sheep everywhere
Other birds observed around Öland during my stay included Arctic Loon, Common scoter, Eurasian Dotterel, Arctic Tern, Merlin, Stock Dove, Rock pipit, Coal tit, Marsh tit, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, and Greenfinch. Speaking of green, favorite bird of this part of the trip was the Green Woodpecker we saw feeding on a neighborhood lawn. I have looked for this bird many times in the UK but missed it on each occasion. Finally seeing this incredible bird was a nice cap on my time on the island.
I returned to Falsterbo for one final day before departing. On that day, I managed 2 Black-tailed Godwits between yet further bouts of wind and rain. Apparently the weather this summer and fall has been terrible; My 3 rainy days split over 2 weekends at Falsterbo certainly confirmed this. The weather during the intervening week was great, so I did get a break from the gales and the gloom the weekends brought.
On the whole the trip was fantastic. Though dodgy at times, the weather generally cooperated, and I spent many hours birding some truly beautiful areas. I will certainly return at some point, likely in the summer when I an photograph birds nesting on the tundra. If anyone is thinking about a Sweden birding trip, please feel free to contact me with any questions. I'll do my best to answer them or, if I can't, point you in the direction of someone who can!
Swedish Pancakes, just because......