Last weekend I visited my dad in Helsingborg in Southern Sweden to go out birding. September is usually a good time of the year to get out on the west coast, so we started Saturday heading north towards the Bay of Båstad, a wast sandy area that usually gets some pelagic species pushed in by westerly winds. The wind wasn’t very strong, but there had still been a couple of Leach’s Storm Petrels passing by. As we arrived, I found a group of Red Knots feeding on the beach who proved to be very approachable. A short while later the wind picked up and a heavy rain shower came in from the sea.
Dad got absolutely soaked, but since I always bring two sets of clothes due to my habit of ending of muddy and wet photographing, he got my clothes as I jumped into my standard wader photo gear, consisting of a set of waders and a drysuit. I can’t understand how I could manage so many years without a drysuit before, now I don’t have to get cold, wet or muddy anymore.
As the rain calmed down, I kept on working on photographing a flock of Little Stints and Dunlins. Suddenly, the sole remaining birdwatcher yelled ”Petrel”. I walked out into the sea with my drysuit and was able to locate the bird heading towards me. I was able to get a few sharp images of the petrel as it flew past me in full speed. Actually, it was the first petrel of any species I’ve ever seen, a very cool experience.
We went home to change clothes before we went out for a little evening loop in the area around Skälderviken. Shorebirds were plentiful, we saw Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plovers, Curlews, Red Knots, Dunlins, Common Ringed Plovers among many other cool birds like Peregrine Falcon and Hobby. I went to check a spot where I’ve seen Sanderlings in the past and found a group of 14 juvenile birds at the very same spot where I saw them 10 years ago.
We spent Sunday birding in Skåne, when a notification came from the Swedish Bird Alarm about a Long-billed Dowitcher being stationary close to the area where I grew up. During the day, it seemed to be stationary and I had high hope that it would stay until the next week when I was about to come home to work. The birding on Sunday was great, we saw loads of migrating birds like Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Common Kestrel, Peregrine, Hobby, Chaffinch, Linnet and Brambling while Northern Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Barnacle Goose and many more shorebird species were stopping over in Skälderviken’s protected bays.
The Dowitcher in Stockholm disappeared for a while both Sunday and Monday afternoon, but eventually, it came back late Monday evening after being spooked by a falcon. I was able to get Tuesday afternoon off from work and went there to have a look myself. As the crowds of birders got fewer, the wind calmed down and the light got really warm I crawled down to the edge with about 10 people watching behind me. Thankfully, the bird wasn’t bothered and I was able to get these pictures of a very rare bird in Sweden.