13th-16th March 2009

This was a four day, three-night trip, to the Svärtadalen region of southern Sweden primarily in search of Siberian Tit. Obviously, in winter in Sweden there are far fewer birds around that in the warmer months but we still had a wonderful break in a most beautiful snow-covered countryside and enjoyed some terrific birds as well.

There were six of us on this trip and we were ably guided by the affable Daniel Green (Swedish, despite his English sounding name).

 

The trip panned out as follows;

Day 1 – Salbohed, Eningböle, Skillberg, Fläcksjön, Idre

Arriving as Västeras Airport near Stockholm, Daniel picked us up and we headed north through Salbohed, stopping in a patch of wood where Daniel taped-lured a Pygmy Owl, which reacted almost immediately to the recording.

Stopping again, at a lake near Eningböle where we saw our first Whooper Swans of the trip; 34 of them with four Mute Swans.

White-tailed Sea Eagle, Rough-legged Buzzard and Common Buzzard all put in appearances around the lake. We also found the Hawk Owl that had been reported in the area and were very fortunate to have good views and photographic opportunities of this terrific bird.

Stopping at some woods in Skillberg, where Daniel has put up several feeders, we saw Great Spotted and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Nutcracker, Nuthatch and Coal, Crested, Willow, Blue and Great Tits.

At Fläcksjön we added Stock Dove to the trip list.

From Fläcksjön, with the darkness drawing in by 4 p.m. we made our way, without further stops, to our base for the night in a delightful guest house in Idre.

 

Day 2 – Grövelsjön to Hågåvålen

We had a 6 a.m. breakfast and left Idre at 6.30a.m. and headed to Grövelsjön where we picked up two snow-mobiles with trailers and loaded ourselves and our kit aboard. 

Whilst preparing to set off we kept our eyes on the surrounding trees and saw Crossbill and Lesser and Common Redpolls.

Daniel and took first turns at driving and I followed him as we set off for Hågåvålen, stopping for coffee and then for a picnic lunch in the vast an empty whiteness that surrounded us along this treeless route.

We arrived in Hågåvålen in mid-afternoon, before darkness, and went to the nearby woods, where a couple of feeders attracted Great Spotted Woodpecker and Willow Tits and, after about a 20 minute wait, the first Siberian Tits showed up, giving us a good opportunity to compare them with the Willow Tits.

Crossbills called from the treetops.

 

Day 3 – Hågåvålen to Grövelsjön then Lövåsen, Nipfjallet and back to Idre

With the morning still in darkness, we breakfasted at 7.15 and set off on the snow-mobiles again, through the beautiful winter landscape, for Grövelsjön, stopping for a lunch of reindeer stir-fry cooked over a campfire, with bottles of beer showed in the snow to chill.

Back in the minibus we headed off to Lövåsen where, armed with three packets of Frankfurter sausages, we set out to attract some Siberian Jays. The chopped up Frankfurters proved to be very popular with the Jays and soon three of four of them were hopping around in front of us enjoying their lunch. Greenfinches fed on seed put out in nearby gardens.

We stopped at the mount of Nipfjallet, looking peaceful with its complete covering of snow, and added Golden Eagle and Bullfinch (gorgeous against the snowy backdrop) to the trip list.

Back at the guest house in Idre, we were warmed by a very welcome potato soup.

 

Day 4 – Idre to Ålvdalen, Färna Ekopark and Björkbacken 

Leaving Idre, en route for the Färna Ekopark, a Black Grouse flew across the road near Ålvdalen and, as it appeared to have landed in a nearby tree top, we pulled over to take a look. The bird was still there, with another nearby, and they remained in place as we got out the ‘scopes and enjoyed good views of this not always easy bird.

We arrived at the Ekopark at about 2 p.m. where we saw three Whooper Swans and a pair of Goldeneye as well as Black and Green Woodpeckers, Hooded Crow and another White-tailed Sea Eagle.

Our last stop, before heading back to the airport for our flight home, was at Björkbacken where the lake held 52 Whooper Swans, 10 Greylag Geese and couple more Goldeneye. Ravens soared overhead and Daniel called in a Pygmy Owl to bid us farewell.

 

We saw the following birds and mammals;

  SPECIES SIGHTINGS FIRST SEEN
1 Greylag Goose  1 Nr. Björkbacken
2 Mute Swan 2 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
3 Whooper Swan 3 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
4 Mallard  3 Älvdalen to Borlänge
5 Common Goldeneye  2 Färna Ekopark
6 Black Grouse  1 Idre to Älvdalen
7 Golden Eagle  1 Nipfjället
8 White-tailed Sea-eagle 2 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
9 Rough-legged Buzzard  1 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
10 Common Buzzard  1 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
11 Northern Lapwing 1 Idre to Älvdalen
12 Feral Pigeon 2 Idre
13 Stock Dove  1 Fläcksjön
14 Northern Hawk Owl  1 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
15 Eurasian Pygmy-owl  2 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
16 Great Spotted Woodpecker  5 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
17 Black Woodpecker  1 Färna Ekopark
18 Green Woodpecker  1 Färna Ekopark
19 Gray-faced Woodpecker  1 Skillberg
20 Siberian Jay  1 Lövåsen
21 Eurasian Jay  1 Färna Ekopark
22 Eurasian Magpie  5 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
23 Eurasian Nutcracker  1 Skillberg
24 Eurasian Jackdaw  4 Salbohed
25 Hooded Crow  6 Salbohed
26 Common Raven  7 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
27 Coal Tit  3 Skillberg
28 Crested Tit  1 Skillberg
29 Marsh Tit  1 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
30 Willow Tit  5 Skillberg
31 Siberian Tit 1 Hågåvålen
32 Blue Tit  5 Salbohed
33 Great Tit  6 Salbohed
34 Eurasian Nuthatch  4 Salbohed
35 Eurasian Blackbird  1 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
36 Fieldfare 1 Älvdalen to Borlänge
37 Yellowhammer  1 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
38 Eurasian Bullfinch  2 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle
39 European Greenfinch  4 Salbohed
40 Red Crossbill  3 Grövelsjön
41 Common Redpoll  3 Grövelsjön
42 Lesser Redpoll 1 Grövelsjön
43 Tree Sparrow 1 Salbohed to nr. Eningböle

 

  SPECIES SIGHTINGS FIRST SEEN
1 Red Fox  1 Salbohed to Eningböle
2 European Common Weasel  1 Salbohed to Eningböle
3 Roe Deer  1 Salbohed to Eningböle
4 Reindeer  1 Idre to Älvdalen