Sunday 1st September 2019
Our group met bright and early at Stansted Airport ready to check in for our flight across to Copenhagen. Everything went smoothly and we took off on time, landing around 20 minutes early in a slightly overcast but warm Copenhagen.
After what seemed several miles of walking, we retrieved our bags and after sorting the van, were soon underway over the magnificent Oresund Bridge towards Sweden.
A small party of SANDWICH TERNS flew north over the bridge and both GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL and GREAT CORMORANTS were noted.
The traffic was light with it being a Sunday and we headed down to one of the best raptor viewing spots, Skanörs Ljung. The sun was beating down but luckily there was a nice cool breeze which kept us from overheating.
It wasn’t long before our first EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK flew over and during the next 90 minutes, we had recorded at least 60 birds. Other species of note included WESTERN MARSH HARRIER and COMMON BUZZARD plus some excellent juvenile EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS.
After a spot of lunch we carried on and the heath itself produced four NORTHERN WHEATEAR plus a small party of WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAILS. A very distant raptor flying north turned out to be a cracking adult WHITE-TAILED EAGLE but unfortunately it just a little too far away.
A raptor over the far trees proved to be an adult BLACK KITE and a short while later another bird, this time a first year individual flew over giving some good views.
It was quietening down so we headed off for a cuppa and a cake in nearby Anna’s Bakery which hit the spot after a very early start. A couple more EURASIAN SPARROWHAWKS drifted over much to the disdain of local BARN SWALLOWS.
After our refreshments we checked out nearby woods where a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER proved to be the best sighting.
After a long day we headed to the hotel slightly earlier than planned where we had time to have a refreshing shower and rest before meeting for a pre-dinner drink.
Our evening meal was amazing and utilised many local ingredients which was well received by the group. Afterwards we completed the bird-list recalling our long but good first afternoon in Sweden.
Monday 2nd September 2019
We awoke to clear conditions although a light to brisk westerly wind kept things on the chilly side. After a good and filling breakfast, we loaded up and drove the short distance to Nabben and the Falsterbo lighthouse where the first of the mornings EURASIAN SPARROWHAWKS were moving through. We enjoyed good views as they flew past and within an hour we had probably seen 100 birds!
To the south we picked up a migrating group of EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS being pushed by a now increasing southerly wind and the golf course and greens were littered with WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAILS and WHITE WAGTAILS, often scattered by a passing EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK.
Down at the lighthouse we stood in the sheltered section and picked up a couple of WILLOW WARBLERS plus COMMON CHIFFCHAFF, EURASIAN BLUE TIT and GREAT TIT.
Quite a few TREE PIPITS were flying over calling but were mostly quite high as they headed out across the choppy sea and in the rough areas, we noted around three NORTHERN WHEATEARS.
On the coast we watched a few SANDWICH TERNS fishing offshore and on the reed-fringed lagoons, we found LITTLE GREBE, COMMON GOLDENEYE and MALLARD.
Our walk took us down to Nabben where the official bird count for Falsterbo takes place every autumn from 1st August to 20th November and here there was plenty to see.
Probably the rarest bird was a winter plumaged BLACK-NECKED GREBE that bobbed around with a group of COMMON GOLDENEYE and COMMON SHELDUCK.
Waders were well represented with lots of COMMON RINGED PLOVERS plus DUNLIN and amongst them were three juvenile CURLEW SANDPIPERS, a summer plumaged BAR-TAILED GODWIT, two summer plumaged GREY PLOVER plus six juvenile SPOTTED REDSHANK, COMMON GREENSHANK and EURASIAN CURLEW.
As we were leaving a small party of COMMON TERNS drifted through and the walk back produced EURASIAN TREE SPARROW and COMMON REED BUNTING.
After getting back to the van we drove back to the accommodation to pick up our packed lunches and overhead we were treated to a flock of approx 50 EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS circling and drifting west towards Denmark.
Late morning could only mean one thing, a visit to Anna’s Bakery! We enjoyed a coffee in the sunshine and the group sampled a few of the scrumptious home-made cakes.
Afterwards we drove to the heath where it was rather quiet, but we did see EUROPEAN GREEN WOODPECKER, a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER and a PEREGRINE FALCON chasing a NORTHERN LAPWING but luckily for the lapwing, it got away.
We decided to head inland to a few favoured sites but before we left, we received a tip-off that a Pallid Harrier had been seen nearby and it would have been rude to ignore it.
Arriving at the spot we scanned the area and found WESTERN MARSH HARRIER, COMMON KESTREL, COMMON BUZZARD, EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK and a smart-looking WHINCHAT but no sign of the Pallid Harrier so we tucked into our lunches.
As we contemplated leaving, a shout went up and in from the east drifted the superb juvenile PALLID HARRIER which spent the next ten minutes slowly hunting a distant field which was great to see.
Eventually it disappeared so we carried on inland through beautiful countryside.
Skies looked a little threatening as we drove along the quiet roads and came across a field being harvested. This in turn attracted good numbers of raptors, so we pulled off and to our surprise there was not one, but two BLACK KITES!
Amongst the mix were at least three WESTERN MARSH HARRIERS, RED KITE and five COMMON BUZZARDS making quite a sight, plus there were small flocks of EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS.
Once inland we checked out a large lake covered with GREYLAG GEESE plus four BARNACLE GEESE and COMMON POCHARD, GADWALL, TUFTED DUCK and three NORTHERN SHOVELER.
With it being rather quiet, we got into the van and as Steve walked round to get in, a male BLACK WOODPECKER flew past. There was a mad scramble to get out but luckily it dropped into a nearby woodland and sat for at least five minutes, allowing us to have good but distant scope views of this very much sought-after species.
We moved to another site for a brief visit and found two immature WHITE-TAILED EAGLES, five WHINCHATS plus the usual EURASIAN SPARROWHAWKS and COMMON BUZZARDS.
As we set off for base, a small herd of FALLOW DEER were seen in a nearby field which rounded the day off nicely.
We got back in good time and it was great to have a hot shower before meeting for a pre-dinner drink before yet again, a delicious home-cooked meal which was superb.
The bird-list was completed and we headed off to bed after what had been a really good day.
Tuesday 3rd September 2019
As dawn broke over Falsterbo, it was cloudy and windy and by the time we met for breakfast, rain was falling heavily which wasn’t great for bird migration.
With the weather looking better to the north we decided to spend the day visiting some top birding sites.
As we reached Malmo the weather had improved no end and our first bird highlight of the day was a flock of around 10 WHITE STORKS feeding in a field close to the main road. Our first port of call was the large lake at Vombsjon where we spent time scanning the fields and open water.
Huge numbers of hirundines fed over the meadows and also hundreds of corvids making quite a sight. A single COMMON CRANE flew south and a short while later, eight birds flew north giving some good flight views.
Over on the lake we noted thousands of GREYLAG GEESE coming in to land on the water plus a few GREAT CRESTED GREBES, whilst in the bushes were quite a few COMMON CHIFFCHAFFS plus a single LESSER WHITETHROAT amongst the numerous EURASIAN BLUE & GREAT TITS.
Moving onwards, our drive took us round to Krankesjön where the Tower hide gave lovely views of the lake and there was lots to see. A juvenile WESTERN OSPREY surveyed the lake, making several attempts to catch fish without success and a scan of the open water yielded 11 GREAT EGRETS, showing that numbers are increasing in Southern Sweden as they have in the U.K. in recent years.
A couple of CASPIAN TERNS were seen fishing with their orange-red bills shining like a beacon in the now brighter conditions and other species of note included EURASIAN HOBBY, NORTHERN PINTAIL, EURASIAN WIGEON and RED KITES. In bushes and scrub were quite a few MARSH TITS and a EURASIAN NUTHATCH was spotted briefly but it soon vanished from view.
We tucked into cake and a drink back at the van and in the surrounding meadows were a good number of WHINCHATS. As we drove off another WESTERN OSPREY came past the van heading to the lake.
An attempt was made to visit the wet meadows nearby but this coincided with a somewhat heavy shower so we headed off to our next stop.
The vast quarry at Hardeberga was next on our itinerary and within 30 seconds of walking up to the viewpoint we had found a cracking roosting EURASIAN EAGLE-OWL!
This superb bird was roosting on the cliff face and although we were not too close, it gave brilliant scope views as it dozed quietly in the midday sun(ish). Quite a few phone-scope images were taken before we slowly wandered back to the van for lunch which went down very well indeed.
Afterwards we headed south, making a brief stop for coffee in a well-known fast food establishment with the Golden Arches.
The afternoon was spent birding a wetland area which in the past has been a magnet for raptors and other species and we were not disappointed.
Two adult and two juvenile COMMON CRANES stood quietly in a recently harvested field and on the flood there were two other adults which was good to see.
As the weather brightened a party of around 15 EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS drifted southwest and nearby we picked up not one but two more BLACK KITES including one that was feeding on the wing on what looked like a Common Lizard.
The muddy edges attracted a small number of RUFF plus COMMON SNIPE, DUNLIN, NORTHERN LAPWING and a delightful juvenile WOOD SANDPIPER.
Other notable species included EURASIAN HOBBY, RED KITE, COMMON BUZZARD, EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK, COMMON SWIFT, COMMON KESTREL and a cracking adult WHITE-TAILED EAGLE that gave some fantastic scope views as it glided along the ridge.
With time getting on we stopped at one more spot and although it was rather quiet, we saw more EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS plus EURASIAN HOBBY and WHINCHATS.
Around 45 minutes later we arrived back at base in time for a hot shower and a rest before meeting for our evening meal which was once again superb.
After the bird-list, we retired to bed after another great day.
Wednesday 4th September 2019
With a late flight back to the U.K. we began the day slightly later than usual and after breakfast, we headed down to the golf course and the raised mound known as Kolobacken.
Here we spent a good couple of hours enjoying the bird spectacle with some Swedish birders who were great company.
EURASIAN SPARROWHAWKS were present in really good numbers and we had stunning views as they passed overhead. A female MERLIN zipped through at high speed and went off over the golf course passing several golfers as it did so.
Undoubtedly the highlight was the large number of EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS that came through at different heights and in such a varying array of plumages.
TREE PIPITS buzzed overhead and by the time we left, we had amassed around 1000 birds along with good numbers of WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAILS. COMMON SWIFTS also headed southwest as they powered through the increasing southwesterly wind.
The nearby bushes held a cracking female/juvenile COMMON REDSTART plus WILLOW WARBLER and both EURASIAN BLUE and GREAT TITS.
With things going slightly quiet, we popped back the hotel to pick up our lunch and made our way to Anna’s Bakery where we enjoyed our final visit of the tour with Strawberry Pastries being especially popular!
Suitably refreshed, it was then onto Skanörs Ljung where we parked up and joined the large number of birders present.
One of the first birds we laid eyes on was a cracking male HEN HARRIER that circled in front of us before heading west.
The trees gave us some shelter from the breeze and it was great to spend time watching the various species of raptor and passerines passing through this fabulous habitat.
A couple of WESTERN OSPREYS went through plus the usual WESTERN MARSH HARRIERS, EURASIAN SPARROWHAWKS and a few COMMON KESTRELS. Whilst scanning the trees we were surprised to see a BLACK-THROATED DIVER flying west, which is a good bird for the area.
Steve picked up a distant juvenile PALLID HARRIER hunting over the heath and eventually the bird gave some good albeit distant views through the scope which everyone enjoyed.
Our attentions then turned to the trees where a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER was seen well, plus our first COMMON CHAFFINCH of the tour.
After an hour or so and with our stomachs starting to rumble again, we drove round to Falsterbo canal where a couple of 1st year COMMON EIDERS were loafing in the calm waters. Lunch was superb although the birding was quiet except for some SANDWICH TERNS feeding in the harbour.
Our last main site for the afternoon was a shallow area of water that is very attractive to ducks and waders and we hoped it would be sheltered. Our walk there produced TREE PIPITS plus small parties of WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAILS and some EURASIAN TREE SPARROWS.
Water levels were higher than on previous visits, but despite this we found PIED AVOCET, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, around 30 RUFF, COMMON GREENSHANK and plenty of NORTHERN LAPWINGS. Ducks included NORTHERN PINTAIL, EURASIAN TEAL, EURASIAN WIGEON and GADWALL, but once again the highlight was a group of around 70 EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS that appeared from out of the cloud and circled above us before drifting in one line towards Denmark.
With a little time to spare before heading to the hotel to pick up our luggage, we popped into Kolobacken where there was a group of around 40 EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS and probably the same COMMON REDSTART from our morning visit.
Once at the hotel we spent time packing away our optics gear and completing the bird-list before saying our goodbyes to the hotel staff after such a fabulous stay.
The journey back to Copenhagen took us around 45 minutes and we noted a single COMMON BUZZARD along the way.
After dropping off the vehicle, we checked in and traversed security in good time before we had an evening meal in one of the many restaurants.
The flight took off a little later than scheduled and we touched down around 90 minutes later to a chilly Stansted evening.
Passport control and luggage reclaim was very swift indeed and we said our goodbyes after what had been a fabulous tour with many memorable birding highlights, great food and accommodation with a super group who were so much fun to be with!