Photo: Hans Bister
Grey-headed Woodpecker

Spring long weekend, May-June

Enjoy quality birding in Taiga forest and wetlands around Svartådalen – The Black River Valley of Västmanland. Magnificient birds like Owls, Woodpeckers and Grouse are the focus of this trip.
We offer close encounters with Ural – and Tengmalms Owls on ringing excursions, that also provide good photo opportunities. Great Grey– and Pygmy Owls are seen totally in the wild, hunting at sunset over small meadows in the forest.
Woodpeckers drum in early mornings – six species if you´re lucky – with Three-toed– and Grey-headed as the jewels in the crown.
As waves of migrating birds arrive from late April, the number of species increase around the wetlands and in late May, even the last arriving Common Rosefinches get really common.
Look at the species list and the ”About the birds- pdf” and you´ll see what more to expect. Check the species-list thoroughly and you´ll know when is the best time for the species most important to you.

Day 1
Arrival: 14:50 to Västerås Airport.
Meet & greet stop with coffee/tea and sandwiches over Slavonian Grebes in small wetland area by Ängsö castle.
We also check adjacent Björnön for Icterine Warbler.
After the break we set off for an extra detour especially to look for Ortolan Buntings.
Before sunset we put ourselves in position to await the Great Grey Owls evening hunt. An unforgettable experience that often provides breath-taking views on these stunning and obliging birds.
As Woodcocks rode and the forest choir of thrushes and Robins is quieiting down, Pygmy Owls appear to announce their territory.
Dinner & Night at Fläckebo B&B.

Day 2
Breakfast at B&B
Morning visit to lake Ösjön with Black-throated Divers, chance of Nutcracker and Hazel Grouse and some nice Butterflies like Camberwell Beauties, Holly Blue and Green Hairstreaks.
A short stop along the way to look and listen for newly arrived Thrush Nightingales.
We continue down to the Black River Valley and its rich wetlands to enjoy good scenic views, a nice outdoor lunch and to look for the locally breeding White-tailed Eagles, Honey Buzzards, Hobby, Black Terns, northern Yellow Wagtails, Common Rosefinch, and Waders and Waterfowl of several species, depending on the dates.
Ural Owl ringing excursion with close encounters with Ural Owls. In April we ring incubating females, in May it´s time to ring the chicks before they leave the nests. Meanwhile the parents often appear, sometimes aggressively and close. Moments of good photo opportunities.
Dinner at Fläckebo B&B
Pygmy Owl- or Eagle Owl evening-excursion.
Night at Fläckebo B&B.

Day 3
Early rising for Woodpecker Morning with Wrynecks, Three-toed–, Grey-headed–, and Black Woodpeckers.
Ringing of Tengmalms Owls, breeding in nestboxes. Excellent opportunity to get really close views and to photograph these charming, little owls.
Black-throated Divers, Capercaillie and Goshawk breed in the area, as do Woodlark and Parrot Crossbill.
We enjoy the breakfast outdoors and get back for lunch at the B&B around noon.
Afternoon Siesta.
Relaxed evening excursion around the beautiful wetlands of Svartådalen with Black Terns, Little Gulls and Waders like immaculate summer-plumaged Spotted Redshanks, Ruffs, Greenshanks, and more. Bittern, Corncrake, Spotted Crake, Grasshopper and Marsh Warbler.
Dinner & Night at Fläckebo B&B.

Day 4
Early forest morning with leking Black Grouse on a large bog with breeding Common Cranes, Osprey, Wood– and Green Sandpipers.
In the surrrounding forest Crested– and Willow Tits, Crossbills, Cuckoos and several species of Woodpeckers including Black– and Grey-headed appear frequently.
Transfer to airport
Departure at 15:00 from Västerås Airport.

Extra Day 5
Alternative 1: Coastal lagoons along Baltic Sea (Uppland) with Caspian Terns and Little Gulls, several species of Waders, White-tailed Eagles, Montague´s Harrier, etc.
We visit scenic Eagle Rock and search for Red-breasted Flycatcer in the surrounding forest. On the way back, we stop at birding hotspot Hjälstaviken – wetland lagoon with Little Gulls and Black Terns on our way back.
Dinner & Night at Fläckebo B&B.

And Butterflies too. . . .
We also see some good Butterflies on our spring birding tours.
At least from early May – some years even late April – it´s possible to see plenty of Green Hairstreaks, Holly Blues and Camberwell Beauties. Along with them of course more common Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstones, Commas and Peacocks.
A bit later Northern Wall Browns, Grizzled– and Dingy Skippers, appear along the forest tracks together with Orangetips, Wood White and Real´s Wood White. The later part of May offers Northern Chequered Skipper, Common Swallowtails and Marsh Fritillaries, all in the same areas where we go birdwatching.

The journey is a collaboration between BirdSafarisweden and Karlmark Travel. (Karlmark Travels holds the travel warranty insurance that covers this trip)

GREAT GREY OWL, Photo: Stefan Oscarsson
Photo: Stefan Oscarsson
Great Grey Owl
TENGMALM'S OWL, Photo: Daniel Green
Photo: Daniel Green
Tengmalm's Owl
LITTLE GULL, Photo: Stefan Oscarsson
Photo: Stefan Oscarsson
Little Gull
BLACK TERN, Photo: Lars Abrahamsson
Photo: Lars Abrahamsson
Black Tern
Photo: Tero Niemi
Common Rosefinch
THRUSH NIGHTINGALE, Photo: Graham Catley
Photo: Graham Catley
Thrush Nightingale
RUFF, Photo: Tero Niemi
Photo: Tero Niemi
RED-BACKED SHRIKE, Photo: Torbjörn Arvidsson
Photo: Torbjörn Arvidsson
Red-backed Shrike
Yellow Wagtail, Photo: Graham Catley
Photo: Graham Catley
Yellow Wagtail
URAL OWL, Photo: Daniel Green
Photo: Daniel Green
Ural Owl
Photo: Daniel Green
Tengmalm's Owl
MARSH FRITILLARY, Photo: Daniel Green
Photo: Daniel Green
Marsh Fritillary
Photo: Daniel Green
Northern Chequered Skipper

Species list - pdf
What to bring - pdf
Trip Reports - pdf 1, pdf 2