I spent Thursday of last week to Monday of this at Falsterbo, Sweden. I'd hoped to do some "live" blogging while I was out there, but a big storm on Saturday morning took out the internet and the 4G phone signal.
Pretty much exactly five years to the day, I arrived at Falsterbo for the first time – as a visitor. I rolled up to Flommen and got to see a Merlin in the hand. Thursday morning, at Flommen – as a visitor once again – we caught... a Merlin; only the sixth to be ringed at the observatory and the first since that bird I saw in 2010. It was a first-year male. I'll try and post a few more instructive photos once I've had time to sort them out but for now you can enjoy the below shot, ignorant of a) how far I'm having to stretch my arm to get the whole bird in and b) how much my right index finger is bleeding after the bird took a nibble (you can see some evidence of that on my left wrist).
Other bits and pieces ringed included a Red-throated Pipit, a Bearded Tit, a Grasshopper Warbler, Water Rail, and other stuff that I'm far too blasé about like Marsh Warbler and Icterine Warbler.
Not having to put the nets up in the morning (thanks Marc, Timmy and Zsombor!) meant having energy to do some birding in the day, usually joined by Ollie Metcalf who had also come to visit for the weekend. A few Red-breasted Flycatchers and two Tawny Pipits were the best of the Passerines – along with Common Redstats, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, a mix of Sylvia warblers, Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtails etc – while there was a good passage of several hundred Honey Buzzards on Thursday and Common Buzzards and Black Kites on Monday.
It was an all-too-brief visit but extremely nice to catch up with everyone, including all those who were at the Falsterbo Bird Show over the weekend; and thanks to all the observatory staff, with an especially big tack så mycket to Marc for the always stimulating discussions and to Justin Beiber for just being an all round great guy.
It wouldn't have been overly surprising if I'd seen a Barred Warbler during the past week – although they are surprisingly scare at Falsterbo – but I certainly didn't expect to be heading west from London to see one. We went on a quick office twitch this afternoon, along with our (as yet non-birding) software engineer, to Staines Moor. After a short while, the bird shows well in the "Brown Shrike bushes". Here's a video grab from a Coolpix P900... taken at 83x optical zoom.