Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Birding in Getteron, Sweden

A Common Gull in flight - Truly the most common one here
Within a month of landing here in Gothenburg, Sweden, we set out on a proper birding trip to this placed called Getteron Nature Reserve, near Varberg Port around 80 Km from here. We’d been to some casual bird watching almost every weekend, venturing into the woods and in the nearby parks, and gardens, but this was for a religious 3-day birding! 

Mute Swan - Mother with chicks

Eurasian Magpie
It being midsummer weekend, we were not sure about the accommodation at Getteron. We didn't have much of a choice as we were mostly 'On Foot'.  Our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Bo Neilson from VOF, who helped us with our accommodation and also accompanied us and shared a lot of knowledge during birding. 

White Wagtail - Juvenile
The weather was fluctuating quite a bit, from being sunny to heavy showers and with cold breeze, esp since it was the coast. And that being mid-summer day, was the longest day of the year, with the sun setting at about midnight and rising again by 3 am!

Reed Bunting in the midst of some reed

The Black headed Gulls and Greylag Geese were in huge flocks of a few hundreds, breeding. Apparently, these gulls shoo away any predators coming near the water, safeguarding their own chicks and in turn safe guarding the goose chicks too!

A pair of Black Headed Gulls in morning light; shot at about 6 am

A lone Greylag Goose

I must say, it was a great experience for both of us. With spotting scopes taken from VOF, we were also able to sit in the guest house and just observe hundreds of birds in front of us, when we could not venture out. It was birding the European way!

Pied Avocets from far off - Loved the pied pattern against the background

European Lapwing - with a crest - quite different from our Red/Yellow-Wattled ones

European Starlings flock

Oyster Catcher

A Grey Heron in an interesting posture
And one of the evenings was pretty good, with Mr. Nielson taking us to the Varberg coast and we were able to spot quite a number of lifers... like Linnets, Northern Wheatears, more ducks and waders and also some sea birds like Divers and Eiders!

A Linnet with nice pink hues

Northern Wheatear - We seem to strike luck with Wheatears!

Tree Sparrow - A pretty common one
Lesser Black Backed Gulls - One with a prey and the other chasing

Eurasian Black Bird - With a melodious call 

Green Finch
Some Interesting Observation:

Saving the Kids
As we were scoping around the shores, saw two Hooded Crows trying to attack the goose chicks, the mother was trying to scare the crows away with loud call. A huge black backed gull who was making his routine sortie for the food saw this opportunity and suddenly attacked the chicks.  It was the lonely mother against three predators who successfully rescued the chicks by keeping the predators engaged for a while when the kids rushed back to their safe shores..

Hiding under Mom….
Chicks going under mom's safe wings
It was our last day, and as we came near the guest house after birding, noticed some usual behavior with the lapwing down the hill. It was about to rain and, the mother seemed a bit aggressive, and was calling out loud, a further scan around we saw some chicks around who were running towards mother. One by one we saw the three chicks come to her and she covered them up in her wings and off they vanished, just before the rains started! Was it for the rain or was it as an alarm as the mother noticed us, we’re not sure.
May be it was an alarm call or mother noticed us, the chicks took shelter under mothers hood. 

Waders in Winter and Breeding Plumage

Ruff Duo - Males in Breeding plumage! (Shot from a long distance, but couldn't resist posting b'coz of their breeding plumage)
It was amazing to see some of the waders that we saw back in Point Calimere, India. It was in last Oct-Nov, and they had migrated long distances, some of them even from the Arctic, for wintering in warm southern India. They were in their dull, winter plumage which made it pretty difficult for us to Id too. And now here we were, in their breeding ground, where they’re in more colorful breeding plumage, which made it so easy for us to identify from one another. 

Here goes the bird list

Gull, Common
Gull, Lesser Black Backed
Gull, Great Black Backed
Gull, Herrings
Gull, Black headed
Tern, Little
Goose, Graylag
Shelduck, Common
Ducks, Tufted
Goldeneye, Common
Wigeon, Eurasian
Coot, Common
Swan, Mute
Crane, Eurasian
Heron, Grey
Eider, Common
Diver, Black throated
Harrier, Marsh
Lapwing, Northern
Oyster Catcher, Eurasian
Avocet, Pied
Sandpiper, Wood
Sandpiper, Green
Ruff – In Breeding Plumage!!
Greenshank, Common
Redshank, Common – Breeding Plumage!!
Redshank, Spotted
Warbler, Reed
Warbler, White throat
Tit, Marsh
Tit, Bearded
Pipit, Rock
Pipit, Meadow
Finch, Green
Skylark, Eurasian
Bunting, Reed
Starling, Common
Redstart, Common
Wheatear, Northern
Sparrow, Tree
Sparrow, House
Swallow, Barn
Magpie, Eurasian
Wagtail, White
Blackbird, Eurasian
Pigeon, Wood
Crow, Hooded
Jackdaw, Eurasian

Birding Hides

The Bird Hide
Birding hideouts are the ones which I liked the most, hides are build at vantage points where you can sit and observe the winged beauties up close without bothering them.

One of the very few butterflies sighted
UnId'ed Butterfly
Only Mammal Sighted:

Brown Hare
Time of visit: Third week of June 2012 (Mid-summer weekend)
Book referred: Birds of Europe with North Africa and Middle East - Lars Johnsson

- Deepak and Sumana


  1. They may be common birds there, but they are certainly new ones for us! I too enjoy birding in a foreign country, and I enjoyed this post very much. Thanks, Deepak and Sumana!How long will you be in Sweden?


  2. Thank you Deepa,
    Not too sure, may be for an year at least. Drop in when you are flying back home.
    btw, some pain is removed now :-)

  3. Waiting for this post. So you guys joined the migrants this year to their breeding grounds!Good work with the camera deepak.I saw the northern lapwing in Kaziranga during winter, now got to see it's breeding grounds as well!good flock pics! keep them coming

  4. Nice one and an interesting story about the mother and kids :-)

  5. THanks Chandu,

    I just hope that It will keep coming :-)

    Thank you Rana & Sugandhi


Any more interesting stuff on these birds? Any corrections in Ids? Please do drop in your valuable inputs...