Torö Stenstrand

Yippie, I’ve got a new toy to play with, a Nikon Coolpix P510!

Well, to be honest, it´s Roffe who has bought himself a new camera, a compact one with a superzoom to bring along on his excursions when he won’t bothered to carry both giant, heavy telephoto lenses and a large spotting scope. But he has generously promised that I can borrow it whenever I want. So this past Sunday it was time for the big test. We packed our backpacks with warm clothing and lunch and drove down to Torö Stenstrand outside Nynäshamn.

Torö Stenstrand (meaning shingle shore) is a nature reserve consisting of unspoiled countryside / coastline and is the last outpost before the island of Gotland and the Baltic states across the Baltic Sea. Here you have unbroken horizon where the ocean (sea actually) meets the sky and the elements play the leading parts in an ever-changing and never ending spectacle.

This place is regarded as one of Sweden’s best surf spots and a paradise, not only for wind, wave and kite surfers but also for birdwatchers who gather here, especially during spring and autumn, to keep their eyes and ears tuned when thousands of migrant seabirds and others return to, or leave, our coast!

Torö Stenstrand, sonobuoy

 

Torö Stenstrand, waves
Torö Stenstrand, stones

 

In the distance, barely visible, is Landsort’s Lighthouse, the southernmost lighthouse in the Stockholm archipelago built in 1658.

Torö Stenstrand, Landsort lighthouse

 

 

It was not the best of weather for a field trip. Sleet and rain in the air and strong winds made it freezing cold. And no surfers, birdwatchers or birds. After a quick lunch in the car with Roffe’s ever so delicious egg sandwiches with French mustard and pickled cucumbers we headed down to Alhagen Wetland in Nynäshamn hoping to see the dippers that use to sit by the streaming water or the great gray shrike that had been reported seen here. But nothing, nada to see! Except for this yearling whooper swan.

Whooper swan

The translation of the Swedish name for this swan would be ‘song swan’ and according to that he/she really seems to try to live up to that name!

Whooper swan 2

 

Whooper head
Whooper among floes

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Stockholm City by night

Stockholm’s ström (stream)

Flyfishing in the center of Stockholm? Yes, these streaming waters are good for catching salmon and brown trout year round, and no license needed.

Stockholm's ström (stream) by night 1

Stockholm's ström by night 2

The City Hall of Stockholm by architect Ragnar Oestberg. The City Hall Tower is topped by three golden crowns, the Swedish national coat of arms, and rises 106 meters. It also hosts the annual Nobel Prize banquet.

The City Hall of Stockholm

Sergel’s Square

This pedestrian plaza, commonly known as “Plattan” (“The Slab”) is partly overbuilt by a roundabout centred on a fountain and a glass obelisk.

Stockholm Sergel Square

Bullfinch vs Northern Cardinal

cardinal 3 The first time I saw a cardinal, a northern cardinal that is, was when I lived in Princeton, N J many years ago. It was almost hard to believe that this stunning red bird was for real and not some kind of odd canary that had just escaped from its cage. A bird that immediately brought to mind the Vatican Cardinals.
“Hm, well, where do you think he got his name from?”
“OK, I get the point! ”

 

Anyway, it is difficult to compete in grandeur with a bird that totally takes the breath out of you. But why compete, let’s enjoy our own little “cardinal” instead, the bullfinch.

Bullfinch 1

 

Bullfinch 3

 

The elegant and stylish Mrs Bullfinch.

Bullfinch 4

 

In the winter the bullfinch often visits bird tables in gardens but is a rarely seen bird during summer when it hides in dense spruce and mixed forests. This one we were fortunate to spot during an evening hike last summer.

Bullfinch

Hawk owl

Hawk owl 1

Hawk owl 2

These photos of a hawk owl was taken last week when it was still possible to go for easy forestry walks and the dream of a sunny weekend with long-distance skating on black, shiny ice in the archipelago was still living. That was before a “snow cannon” hit the Stockholm area and drenched us all in snow. The word “snow cannon” (snökanon) is a new expression that suddenly popped up in the weather reports around Christmas time and which now seems to be the latest trend among Swedish meteorologists to use when describing a heavy snowfall. “A snow cannon will hit Stockholm later this afternoon” or “A snow cannon is on its way from Scotland and will reach the west coast of Sweden…..” a s o. At least I hadn’t heard the term used in this context before.

I don’t mind the snow, but…… When we leave home in the morning it’s all white and serene and by the time we reach the City this white virginity has turned into dirt and slush. And that my “fancy” city boots don’t fancy at all! And as if this weren’t enough it might very well be that today’s wet, slushy streets may have turned into leg breaking ice tomorrow.

 

Snow in the village

Slush
So instead of whining about the weather we lean back for a while and dream about what lies ahead of us in a few , well three, four, months – days like these in our summer paradise.

Paradise

Red kayak

Kayaking