Thursday, April 2, 2015

Birding in Sweden!

Sweden is not the obvious destination for a birder! As per eBird one can expect to see a sum total of 355 species in Sweden but most of these birds can also be seen in the rest of Europe. Infact many of the species from Sweden visit as far south as India during winter! I visited the Grimso Wildlife Research Station in Sweden from the 15th to 23rd March 2015. The biggest excitement around this time was the near total solar eclipse on the 20th March. But two days before the solar eclipse the whole of Southern Sweden was abuzz with messages of the Northern Lights being seen as far south as Stockholm.

But these weren't the two most exciting things for me. The two most exciting things for me were the opportunity to see the White-Tailed Eagle and Whooper swans!


A whooper Swan that flew by the Bird tower
Although I had a lot of office work to catch up in the one week that I was at Grimso, I was fortunate to find a desk in the glass room with the bird feeder outside.

A Nuthatch, Siskin and Blue tit on the Bird feeder outside my office window.
I have known bird feeders but I had never seen one so active. I saw some amazing birds at this feeder. A Sparrowhawk hunting a blue tit, Bramblings on their way to the Northern mountains, and the Great Spotted woodpeckers chatter.

Guest cottage at grimso
For my two prize sightings I did not have to go too far from the cottage allocated to me. I saw a pair of Whooper swans in the lake right in front of the cottage.

Path to White-tailed Eagles!
  A colleague at Grimso told me about another part of the lake behind the cottage where the White-tailed eagles were a regular sighting. Just about 200mts from the cottage I saw two eagles; a juvenile and an adult!

The main academic building of Grimso
I really liked the birding culture at Grimso. There is a notice board at the entrance with a list of migratory birds and every spring as the migrants start to arrive, the first person to spot a migrants gets to put the date and her/his name across the species. I was lucky to get my name across a prized species the Common crane!

Outside from work desk
It snowed on the last day. Although the weather seemed goomy it brought out a different face of Grimso the next morning.

Driving down Grimso's forests!
I went for a 6 km run on the morning after the snow. It was one of the most beautiful runs in my life. I even saw a Red fox and many Roe deer. I signed off Grimso with a drive in the forests and the Black grouse as the last bird!

A male Black Grouse

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