Just before winter

4 11 2013

“I read, much of the night, and go south in winter.”

– T. S. Eliot

Nobody knows what’s going on with the weather this year. After an extremely dry October, the Skanian winter finally started with the wind storm that hit the peninsula last week with winds up to 50 m/s. The conditions looked promising for seawatching, but the highlights from Båstad only included a Great northern diver and 2 Sooty shearwaters. These, together with a Pallid swift twitched late in the afternoon, made the Swedes happy, but I couldn’t avoid a bit of disappointment due to the lack of Little auks or Yellow-billed divers, my 2 target species for the day.

After this, we’ve not got a single day without wind and/or rain, what means almost no ringing. The long-term forecast for the next weeks looks awful, so who knows if the ringing this season is already over. However, there are still a lot of birds around, and some of them particularly interesting: the trumpeter call of Northern bullfinch is everywhere, as well as some intriguing Redpolls. We only need a calm day to find something good!

Just before this sudden change, we managed to see some good birds. The resting bird counts at Knösen produced some nice species such as Lappland bunting, 21 Bewick’s swans and some Taiga bean goose Anser fabalis fabalis.

Anser fabalis fabalis

Cygnus bewickii

The ringing was also very good, with hundreds of birds everyday and some interesting species suck as Twite and Great grey shrike. Just enough to realize how subtle is the moult limit in Twite and how a homeyeri should not look like.

twite

This Twite had moulted only GC9. The difference can be noticed mainly in the tip of the feather: more buffish in the moulted feather and whiter in the retained juvenile. The centre of the feather is also blacker in GC9.

twite wing

The Great grey shrike we caught was just an excubitor, but, keeping in mind I had only handled meridionalis before, this bird was the closest I had ever been to one of these exciting eastern taxa. Enough for coming back home ready to read some literature and realize our bird got too much black in the secondaries and in the 2 outernmost (R5 and R6) tail feathers. Nice bird nonetheless!

excubitor

excubitor tail

That’s it… We can only wait for the sun to bring us some nice birds and landscapes again:

brantas

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