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A Report from

Central Sweden, Mon 20th to Thurs May 30th,

John Bannon & Andre Morrall

Based in the Eurostop Hotel, at the junction of Sweden's two main roads the E18 and the E20, in the very pleasant city of Orebro in Narke county, we recorded 161 species over the ten days.

It didn't go dark until almost 11pm and went light again before 3am, so we were able to get a fair amount of birding time in. We also had the weekend of  May 25th/26th and some excellent  sightings travelling to and from appointments within two/three hours driving time of Orebro, even making it into Norway on one occasion.

The weather was mixed, with the tail end of depressions that had drenched the UK 24hrs previously, sometimes stalling over southern Sweden. It was generally warm however and bird life was both prolific and breeding species very active.

We were very lucky to catch a brief but good view of Caracal Lynx one early morning and Elk sightings were frequent. We also had Fox, Red, Roe and Fallow Deer, Badger, Hare and Red Squirrel . Andre also had a Wild Boar on route to one of his appointments. Several wolf packs are also active some 100kms north of our base in Orebro.

We were also extremely fortunate to meet Benny Fredriksson and his wife Berit, who guided us around his local patch Vjillingsberg Skjutfall, which is a restricted area of forest, hills and lakes about 500sq kms in area. It's restricted because the Swedish military use it for live gunnery practice with their Bofors guns, also based in Orebro.

Benny's 'garden' of some 10 hectares has nesting Black Woodpeckers with three young, two females and a male, and a pair of Tawny Owls with four young. Also breeding were Pied Flycatchers, Wood Warblers, Redwings, Fieldfares and Wrynecks and Hawfinches were seen regularly. Last winter he had daily visits from a pair of Grey-headed Woodpeckers and he regularly sees Three-toed Woodpeckers in Vjillingsberg, where a dozen or so pairs breed. They have a very large territory, some 10 sq kms, and being generally unobtrusive are hard to pin down, which proved to be the case.

Most of our evening birding took us to three superb local reserves around Orebro; Oset, Tysslingen and Lake Kvismaren, but we did make several excursions 'up north', especially to Lake Tisjon and the Torsby area, hometown of Sven Goran Eriksson.


Red-throated Diver ( Smalom ) Much scarcer than Black-throated, with only one adult seen on a small lochan on the vast peat bogs of Skagerhultsmossen on May 29
Black-throated Diver ( Storlom ) Fairly common on the larger lakes, seen regularly.
Great Crested Grebe ( Skaggdopping ) Commonest grebe, seen on most freshwater lakes and saline lochs.
Red-necked Grebe ( Grahakedopping ) c.10 pairs nesting at Lake Kvismaren, but not seen elsewhere.
Slavonian Grebe ( Svarthakedopping )  Not easy to find, two pairs on a small lake on the Pilgrim's route, north of Karlstad.
Cormorant ( Storskarv ) Uncommon, odd birds seen at Oset and nearby.
Grey Heron ( Hager ) Widespread in small numbers.
Bittern ( Rordrom ) As central Sweden has an abundance of enormous reed-beds, there are plenty of Bitterns. Max.six males 'booming' at Kvismaren.
Mute Swan ( Knolsvan ) Widespread on most lowland waters
Whooper Swan ( Sangsvan ) Breeds on Tysslingen and several rivers in Dalarna. Up to 40,000 birds stop off at Tysslingen on passage.
Greylag Goose ( Gragas ) Abundant.
Canada Goose ( Kanadagas ) Abundant.
Barnacle Goose ( Vitkindad Gas ) Two only at Oset May 21.
Shelduck ( Gravand ) Scarce, odd birds at Kvismaren and Oset.
Mallard ( Grasand ) Abundant.
Gadwall ( Snatterand ) Common.
Shoveler ( Skedand ) Widespread.
Wigeon ( Blasand ) Up to ten at Oset only.
Teal ( Kricka ) Common.
Garganey ( Arta ) Fairly common, seen regularly. Max three males Tysslingen
Pochard ( Brunand ) Up to 30 breeding birds on Kvismaren only.
Tufted Duck ( Vigg ) Widespread.
Goldeneye ( Knipa ) Abundant, breeding on all waters. The ducklings zoom across the water like hovercraft.
Goosander ( Storskrake ) Supposed to be common, but only one female noted on the road back to Stockholm Airport.
Osprey ( Fiskgjuse ) Widespread, but difficult to see as most pairs on eggs.
Marsh Harrier ( Brun Karrhok ) Common and widespread.
Hen Harrier ( Bla Karrhok ) Only one male noted near Kvismaren May 20.
Rough-legged Buzzard ( Fjallrak ) One, carrying a rabbit, north of Karlstad May 28.
Common Buzzard ( Ormvrak ) Common and widespread.
Honey Buzzard ( Bivrak ) One pale adult near Mora May 27. Main passage in 2nd week of June.
Sparrowhawk ( Sparvhok ) Only odd birds seen, as main influx not yet arrived.
Kestrel ( Tornfalk ) As above.
Hobby ( Larkfalk ) Commonest diurnal raptor. Widespread with three birds displaying at Lake Tisjon on May 23.
Willow Grouse ( Dalripa ) A female at the side of the road near Lake Tisjon, May 23.
Black Grouse ( Orre ) Four males 'lekking' at Vjillingsberg and odd birds seen on other days in that area.
Hazelhen ( Jarpe ) Considered common in Vjillingsberg, Garppyttan area. Four flight views and one male briefly on a rock. Also heard 'piping' and almost killed a bird that flew in front of the car near Sven's Town ( Torsby ).
Corncrake ( Kornknarr )  A noisy male 'crekking' continuously by the tennis courts in the centre of Orebro, throughout our stay. Main arrival to come in early June.
Pheasant ( Fasan ) Widespread in small numbers.
Water Rail ( Vattenrall ) Status as Bittern.
Spotted Crake ( Smaflackig Sumphona ) One male calling Oset and two calling continuously on the edge of Lake Hjalstaviken en-route to Stockholm.
Moorhen ( Rorhona ) Widespread in moderate numbers.
Coot ( Sothona ) Widespread in good numbers.
Common Crane ( Trana ) Widespread, with pairs 'bugling' at many sites. Max. 62 flying into the south end of Tysslingen May 22. Breeding birds paint their backs brown with peat.
Oystercatcher ( Strandskata ) Scarce, just three at Oset only.
Little Ringed Plover ( Mindre Strandpipare ) Widespread, with up to 12 at Oset.
Ringed Plover ( Storre Strandpipare ) Scarce, odd birds at Oset only.
Golden Plover ( Ljungpipare ) Up to six breeding pairs seen on just one percent of the available habitat at Skagershultsmossen.
Grey Plover ( Kustpipare ) Just one adult at Oset May 27.
Lapwing ( Tofsvipa ) Common and widespread.
Temminck's Stint ( Mosnappa ) Up to three birds display flighting at Oset May 21 and an amazing 42 together at Tysslingen the next day.
Little Stint ( Smasnappa ) Much rarer than its congener, with only six seen at Oset on May 21.
Dunlin ( Karsnappa ) Surprisingly hard to find as breeds locally. Just four birds seen Oset on May 27.
Wood Sandpiper ( Gronbena ) Breeds locally, several birds seen and heard displaying at several locations. Maximum, flock of 33 at Oset on May 21, which flew around calling and gaining height at dusk and then headed off northwards.
Green Sandpiper ( Skogssnappa ) Odd birds at Oset and Tysslingen and breeding bird disturbed at Vjillingsberg, Garphyttan.
Common Sandpiper ( Drillsnappa ) Certainly is.
Redshank ( Rodbena ) Only common at Oset.
Greenshank ( Gluttsnappa ) Six at Oset May 21 and odd birds at several sites thereafter.
Marsh Sandpiper ( Dammsnappa ) Three found at Oset May 27 had gone the next day.
Black-tailed Godwit ( Rodspov ) Great excitement amongst local birders by the presence of potential breeding pairs at both Oset and Tysslingen.
Curlew ( Storspov ) Remarkably scarce, with just two in valley fields north of Karlstad and up to six at Skagershultsmossen, which no doubt has many breeding birds.
Whimbrel ( Smaspov ) Also scarce, with a heard only bird at Skagershultsmossen.
Woodcock ( Morkulla ) Abundant in Vjillingsberg, Garphytttan, with' roding birds continually overhead at dusk. On the very wet evening of May 23, five birds were probing for insects on the forest roads giving us grippingly close views in the car headlights.
Common Snipe ( Enckelbackasin ) Abundant, probably the commonest bird, with sometimes up to a dozen birds 'drumming' and calling overhead at Oset and other sites. Must be a hundred million Snipe in Sweden if the Orebro area is representative.
Jack Snipe ( Dvargbeckasin ) 'Cantering horse' display seen and heard at Oset, Kvismaren and Lake Hjalstaviken near Stockholm.
Red-necked Phalarope ( Smalnabbad Simsnappa) Two at Tysslingen and Oset May 27.
Ruff ( Brushane ) Up to 20 at Oset May 21, including several displaying males. Only odd birds thereafter.
Black-headed Gull ( Skrattmas ) Very common, widespread breeding colonies.
Common Gull ( Fiskmas ) Very common, breeding birds on many lakes.
Lesser Black-backed Gull ( Silltrut ) Uncommon.
Herring Gull ( Gratut ) Widespread breeding bird near larger lakes.
Great Black-backed Gull ( Harstrut ) Only one bird seen at Oset May 21.
Little Gull ( Dvargmas ) Two first summer birds at Oset May 27.
Common Tern ( Fisktarna ) Common and widespread.
Arctic Tern ( Silvertarna ) Small numbers seen at several locations.
Black Tern ( Svartarna ) Single adult at Kvismaren on May 20, was the only record.
Feral Pigeon ( Stadsduva ) Common and widespread.
Stock Dove ( Skogsduva ) Scarce, with only odd birds seen.
Wood Pigeon ( Ringduva ) Abundant.
Collared Dove ( Turkduva ) Uncommon, at the very edge of its range.
Cuckoo ( Guk ) Very common  in the clearings and heaths in the pine woodlands.
Tawny Owl ( Kattuggla ) Pair with four young in Benny's garden and odd pairs calling elsewhere.
Eagle Owl ( Berguv ) Adult in the old quarry on the road to Narks Kil.
Tengmalm's Owl ( Parluggla ) Calling birds heard on two occasions.
Nightjar ( Nattskarra ) Up to six males churring every night in Vjillingsberg.
Common Swift ( Tornseglare ) Common and widespread.
Kingfisher ( Kungsfiskare ) Noisy, possibly breeding adult, seen and heard on the R.Svartan. Very scarce in Narke county as it is at the very northern edge of its range.
Black Woodpecker ( Spillraka ) Very common in central Sweden and seen or heard almost every day. Nesting in Benny's garden, with adults feeding three young, which fledged the day after we left. Close views of a very noisy young male calling vociferously from the nest hole in Vjillingsberg.
Green Woodpecker ( Grongoling ) Scarce. Only one brief view and odd birds calling.
Grey-headed Woodpecker ( Graspett ) One only, heard at Lake Tisjon May 23.
Great Spotted Woodpecker ( Store Hackspett ) Common and widespread.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker ( Mindre Hackspett ) First year male seen very well  in the oak trees at Soron.
Wryneck ( Gokyta ) Male calling continuously from the top of a hawthorn at Oset. Also nesting close to Benny's garden and two calling in Vjillingsberg. Obviously fairly common.
Skylark ( Sanglarka ) Abundant.
Woodlark ( Tradlarka ) Scarce. Only odd birds heard and seen in ideal habitat, probably on eggs.
Sand Martin ( Backsvala ) Uncommon.
Swallow ( Ladusvala ) Abundant.
House Martin ( Hussvala ) Common.
Rock Pipit ( Skarpiplarka ) One seen and heard Kvismaren May 20.
Meadow Pipit ( Tradpiplarka ) Common.
Tree Pipit ( Angspiplarka ) Abundant.
White Wagtail ( Sadesarla ) Abundant.
Yellow Wagtail ( Gularla ) sub sp. thunbergi  Fairly common on passage, with 125 around the hooves of the Highland cattle  on the wet meadows at Oset May 21.
Grey Wagtail ( Forsarla ) Scarce, only two seen.
Wren ( Gardsmyg ) Widespread in small numbers.
Dipper ( Stromstare ) One black-bellied bird seen on the dam near Kinksyhattan.
Dunnock ( Jarnsparv ) Scarce, only two seen in the Torsby area. Not urban as in the UK.
Robin ( Rodhake ) Common.
Thrush Nightingale ( Naktergal ) Very common.
Redstart ( Rodstjart ) Widespread in small numbers.
Whinchat ( Bukskvatta ) Very common and widespread
Song Thrush ( Talsrast ) Widespread in small numbers.
Redwing ( Rodvingetrast ) Common and widespread, but not as urban as the Fieldfare. Its beautiful haunting song heard almost everywhere.
Mistle Thrush ( Dubbeltrast ) Only common in the pine woodlands of Vjillingsberg.
Fieldfare ( Bjorktrast ) Abundant, the town thrush. The commonest thrush.
Blackbird ( Koltrast ) Common, but much shyer than in the UK.
Garden Warbler ( Tradgardssangare ) Surprisingly common, much more so than Blackcap.
Blackcap ( Svarthatta ) Fairly common.
Lesser Whitethroat ( Artsangare ) Localised. Three birds heard 'rattling' in the open clearings in Vjillingsberg only.
Whitethroat ( Tornsangare ) Uncommon but widespread.
Sedge Warbler ( Savsangare ) Abundant
Grasshopper Warbler ( Grasshoppsangare ) Widespread in small numbers.
Reed Warbler ( Rorsangare ) Abundant.
Marsh Warbler ( Karrsangare ) Odd birds heard at Kvismaren and Tysslingen. Main arrival still to come in early June ?
Great Reed Warbler ( Trastsangare ) Two deafening males seen and heard  at Oset and one also heard at Kvismaren
Icterine Warbler ( Harmsangare ) Odd birds heard at several locations but one singing male well 'grilled' in the beautiful ancient oak woods at Soron.
Willow Warbler ( Lovsangare ) Billions of them, probably the commonest bird.
Wood Warbler ( Gronsangare ) Common and widespread.
Chiffchaff ( Gransangare ) Widespread in smaller numbers.
Goldcrest ( Kungsfagel ) Common and widespread.
Spotted Flycatcher ( Gra flugsnappare ) Fairly common and widespread.
Pied Flycatcher ( Svartvit flugsnappare ) Very common and widespread.
Crested Tit ( Tofsmes ) Odd birds seen and heard infrequently in the older pine forests.
Great Tit ( Talgoxe ) Abundant.
Blue Tit ( Blames ) Abundant.
Coal Tit ( Svartmes ) Seen and heard occasionally.
Nuthatch ( Notvacka ) Uncommon.
Treecreeper ( Tradkrypare ) Widespread.
Red-backed Shrike ( Tornskata ) Just arriving, with small numbers seen in several locations.
Magpie ( Skata ) Very common.
Jay ( Notskrika ) Widespread in small numbers.
Siberian Jay ( Lavskrika ) Five sightings of birds in flight only, in the Lake Tisjon area.
Nutcracker ( Notkraka ) One seen well near the two old ladies garden in Garpyttan NP.
Jackdaw ( Kaja ) Abundant.
Hooded Crow ( Grakraka ) Abundant.
Raven ( Korp ) Five at Skagershuttsmossen May 29.
Starling ( Stare ) Abundant.
House Sparrow ( Grasparr ) Common.
Tree Sparrow ( Pilfink ) Common.
Chaffinch ( Bofink ) Abundant.
Brambling ( Bergfink ) Male singing its Greenfinch like song at Lake Tisjon.
Linnet ( Hampling ) Common.
Mealy Redpoll ( Grasiska ) Common.
Common Crossbill ( Mindre Korsnabb ) Small flock seen and heard on one occasion.
Greenfinch ( Gronfink ) Very common.
Goldfinch ( Steglits ) Uncommon and not urban as UK.
Siskin ( Gronsiska ) Common.
Scarlet Rosefinch ( Rosenfink ) Male seen and heard well at Tysslingen and one male also singing his "pleased to meet you " song at Oset . Just arrived in Sweden.
Bullfinch ( Domherre ) Hard to find,with only odd birds seen or usually heard only.
Reed Bunting ( Savsparv ) Common.
Rustic Bunting ( Videsparv ) Male in song at Lake Tisjon.
Ortolan Bunting ( Bergortolan ) Two males seen well in song at Soron.

161 species recorded, which could have been increased to 170 plus had we been so inclined. Several other breeding species, such as Little and Black-necked Grebe, Goshawk, Pygmy Owl, Three-toed Woodpecker, Capercaillie and Black Redstart were available.

Migrants such as Little Tern, three skuas and sea duck were passing through Lake Vattern at the time and a sub-adult Sea Eagle was hanging around Tysslingen.

The winning Bird Race Team, who we met on several occasions, recorded 147 species in 24 hours in the county of Narke only, from 1600 Friday May 24 to 1600 Saturday May 25.

The record for any team is 154 in 1997, with a combined team total that year of 173. Over the last ten years since its inception, 212 species have been recorded on the Narke Bird Race. Amazing !!!


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