Sunday, 23 August 2015

Kallerö and Oxelösund on the Eastern coast of Sweden

Before arriving at Oxelösund we made a long trip down the eastern coast of Sweden passing Stockholm, enjoying the peace of the countryside and the change in weather conditions.
Hooper swans are known to follow the melting snow north in the search of food, as the previously ploughed fields clear of the Winters snow. The time will soon be right for them to start their journey back to their breeding grounds on Iceland.

Hopefully for us this is a good sign and we had now passed into better weather.

North of Stockholm, keeping close to the coast we passed through small villages enjoying the spring sunshine, although it is still cold!
We broke our journey to spend a couple of days at the small and tranquil natural harbour of Kallerö. To arrive there, we had to leave the macadam road and drive on gravel tracks for some kilometres.

As we drove deeper into the forest where the snow lingers in the shadow of trees. Common Cranes now in nesting pairs feed on the forest fringe.

A glimpse over the trees of White tailed Eagles.

This was our first sighting of them, so we stopped to try and photograph them but the weather and light were against us.

A third bird flies over the track, by early evening we will have seen eight of these magnificent birds.

The little grass harbour of Kallerö, in the late afternoon, sleet and rain showers moving north.

Darkness had fallen and it was freezing cold, the stars the only lights to be seen, we stood outside, in the total silence, looking for the elusive Aurora Borealis.

The morning brought more showers the water calm.

In the silence and calm we watched Geese glide across the still water.

These Geese are a first for us as they are a Hybrid, Greylag x Canada Goose, Anser anser/Branta canadensis.

The only sound coming from the passing birds and their calls.

Far out across the water we watched a White tailed Eagle poach food from the gull's.

Retracing our steppes through the forest as we continued our journey, we got our first view of a Rough legged Buzzard, making a hasty exit from our camera.

Easter is nearly upon us as we arrive at our destination, the port at  OxelösundSverige  Here cargo ships, sailing yachts and fishing boats, all encompassed in a beautiful natural area.
We will spend the Easter holiday here walking in the stunning countryside and watching Eider Ducks, they are migrating back to their breeding grounds. Here in the harbour at Oxelösund we made a late evening count of nearly six hundred feeding and resting Eiders.

To the left, the industrial port and to our right the Moon reflects on the sea.This will be  our destination for walking tomorrow.

We stroll through the natural park and follow the coast, the water is Cristal clear, the weather is quite warm, actually balmy, aromas of sea and pine filling the air.

Sitting high on the  Femöre battery, we spend time sea watching, into the welcome sun. The obsolete guns at peace, having been used in the past as deterrent against a Soviet invasion. Today we only observe groups of Eider duck heading into the harbour as they migrate north.
Later we watch Airforce jets fly low across the sea and hear the news that there had been a modern day incursion into Swedish air space, history repeating itself!

All at sea, these are the fellows we have come to see. Male Eider ducks with their striking appearance.

A single female escorted by the courting males.

A winter visitor for us in France, and always a joy to see. This behaviour is something that we have never observed with Fieldfares, this male is just starting his courtship display.

The end of a fabulous day walking in Oxelösund.
Our journey continues taking us further south to the Island of Öland. 
To be continued.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Thunder storms roar across South West France.

As evening draws down on Monday, it looked like there maybe a welcome relief from the heat humidity and burning sun. It is now official that this is the longest period of drought across our region since records began, somewhere back around 1880! The sky was turning a dark grey and lighting could be seen to the West.
The regions gardens are desperate for some rain, it takes little time before we can feel the first cooling breeze as the storm gathers. It is dark and getting late before it reaches us, unfortunately the rain is sporadic and localized, some are lucky with the rain but we can all watch the magnificent lighting display, coming from all directions. It certainly beats the weekends firework displays in its magnitude.
Here some of the nights action, captured around midnight.  

Down to the left in the photograph you can see the church at Petit Bersac, in the Dordogne.

Sheet lighting illuminates the stormy sky.

Like a giant space ship it starts to engulf us.

 Lightning cracks across the sky like burning wires.

Flashing towards the earth.

Making crazy starfish patterns in the sky.

This last photograph resembles midday not half past midnight, the power of the light, awesome!