Feeding wintering seabirds at Strömmen

I doubt that there is any other European capital that can offer such an abundance of wintering seabirds for close encounters to its citizens and visitors as Stockholm; mallards, gulls, swans, coots and goosanders just to mention some.

One of the main attractions this time of year is the daily feeding of waterfowls in Strömmen, the open water area between the Royal Castle and the Opera house. Strömmen means streaming water, here it is the freshwater from Lake Mälaren that flows into the brackish Baltic Sea.

Here are some shots from a well spent hour studying and photographing at the feedingstation in Strömmen.

Herring gull

Herring gull lifting

Herring gull

Herring gull

Black-headed gull in winter plumage preening its feathers, accompanied by a coot.

Gull preening its feathers

Gull, drinking

Fighting mallards

Fighting mallards

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Fighting over the food – part II

Can’t help that I time after time return to these strange – and irresistible – grey herons, I’ve really fallen in love with them!

In the western part of Råstasjön in Solna there is a colony of about fifty herons. During the winter, when most of the lake is frozen, the birds are fed with herring purchased from a nearby zoo in Stockholm. Every day at 11:30 am the herring is delivered and it’s amazing to see how the herons recognize the sound of the car and lift from the ice to fly to meet the “herring man”.

And then the fight over the food starts……

Grey heron

 

Grey herons

 

…..and the winner takes it all!

Grey heron flying with food

Fighting over the food

Woke up yesterday to a fantastic winter day, clear blue skies, bright sunshine, sparkling snow, but -25 degrees C. Too cold for outdoor activities like skiing or skating. Roffe, who was worried about the small birds and how they would cope with the severe cold, took a trip to Skesta feeding station at Angarnssjöängen bird sanctuary to check their access to food.

 

Skesta pasture

 

 

Skesta feeding station

 

– Get out of the way, you Blue tit, the food is mine!

Skesta arguing birds

 

– I was here first, so shut up!

Skesta fighting over the food

 

Skesta blue tit and great tit

Water rail and dabchick

Seek and thou shalt find – I don’t know if that expression is applicable when it comes to seeking, searching and looking for birds. Anyway, Roffe’s prayers must have been heard; today he finally spotted the long-sought (and long awaited) WATER RAIL! And as if that wasn’t enough, he was also rewarded with the sight of a little grebe or dabchick, for his part the first ever. Not that the dabchick is a particularly rare bird in itself, but it is small and very shy and therefore often difficult to detect.

 

Water rail

Water rail

Water rail

 

Little grebe or dabchick

Dabchick

 

 

Chaffinch The chaffinch and little robin redbreast are birds we normally don’t see this time of year, but these two must have acclimatized to the Swedish cold and decided to stay instead of migrating south for the winter. Let’s just hope that they will find enough food despite the snow and cold weather.

Kalle rödhake

 

Eurasian jay

Eurasian jay

 

Can’t help it, but these peculiar grey herons always make me smile. To me this one looks like something out of a Disney cartoon!

Grey heron Jan