Annsjon (Ånnsjön) region
- central Sweden
18 May 2009
Stephen Burch, England
trip, this time to Bergen in mid May presented me with a
further opportunity to revisit the Lake Annsjon area,
that I had visited slightly later in the season in both 2008 and 2002.
visited this area twice before in June, I was interested
to see what a difference 2-3 weeks earlier in the year
made. In the event, spring was noticeably less advanced.
At Storlien (the highest point), it was still almost
winter with plenty of snow remaining in drifts, and with
ice on the lakes. It was not surprising that some of the
summer visitors seemed to be missing.
lower levels of Valadalen and Annsjon there was also a
little snow, and while many migrants were present, they
didn't seem to have started nesting in earnest yet. One
of the benefits of the early season was plenty of vocal
wader activity, including song flighting Greenshank which
was new to me.
plus was the almost complete absence of mosquitoes!
Flights and car hire
From Bergen, I
caught the SAS flight to Trondheim, and then picked up an
Avis hire car at Trondheim airport. From here it was a
drive of less than 2 hours to Duved, to the east of Lake
catering cabins (stugby) at Duved, had served me well
last year, and so I had no hesitation in going back there
this year - for details see the end of this account.
From my previous
visit, I had a 1:100,000 map of the area Z6 Storlien-Ljungdalen
which was quite good. Smaller scale maps would probably
be quite adequate, unless you want to take long walks
through the forests or up into the hills along the
various paths in the area.
There is some
general information about the Lake Annsjon area on the
Internet and also a short piece in John Gooder's old
"Where to Watch Birds in Europe" book. More
detailed site information is hard to come by - searching
the Internet turned up one good report by Geoff Dicker, who stayed for a couple of the
days in this area. I also had information from my
previous visit in 2002, and I managed to obtain some
useful information by contacting the Bird Observatory in Handol, in advance of my
visit. There is another interesting trip report from 2004, in which Fraser
Simpson spent a couple of days in the area. This report
is difficult to find as it uses the proper Norwegian
spelling of Ånnsjön!
The weather was
somewhat mixed. Having had almost a week of sunshine for
the business part of my trip in Bergen this was too good
to last, and for my first day in Sweden there was a fair
bit of cloud, with a few heavy showers. The second day
was however uniformly sunny, with temperatures up to
about 17°C. The third day started well, but quickly
deteriorated into cloudy conditions.
All the pics
shown below were taken with my DSLR equipment - Canon EOS
350D with a EF400mm/f4 DO lens, usually mounted on a
tripod - apart from the flight shots. For many a x1.4
teleconverter was also used. All pics were taken in RAW
format, and I use NeatImage for noise suppression, with
PhotoShop Elements 3.0 for subsequent processing. For
further details see the equipment and image processing pages elsewhere on this website.
Reserve - first section
As last year, it seemed that the
most productive part of the huge Lake Annsjon region was
the reserve at Ann. This time I discovered there are two
useful entrances to this reserve off the E14. The main
one is by the Ann railway station. There is also another
track in, a few km to the west of here, by buildings with
flags and canons at the back! Here there is also an
information board, and the track goes over the railway.
The advantage of this second entrance is that the walk to
the Dolparna hide is then much shorter than from the main
entrance - as it cuts out the long east-west section of
main entrance, my main interest was in trying for more
photos of the Slavonian Grebes, at the
first obervation tower (Logunen). These birds were indeed
again present this year, but there was much more
vegetation than last year, which made clear shots very
adjacent small lake with two hides was notable only for
several Wood Sandpiper one evening, but
none came close enough good pics.
Grebes in sunny conditions on Lake Annsjon (click
either to enlarge)
over the main marsh, waders were more in evidence this
year than last, with Greenshank song
flighting, and also vocal Whimbrel. From
the vicinity of the second tower (Nataholmen), I had
distant views of two Cranes, in the
vicinity of the Dolparna tower.
Reserve - second section
From the more westerly E14 Annsjon entrance, the
remote Dolparna hide can be reached in less than half an
hour. At one point the boardwalk is elevated over a
particularly wet section - some care needed here (see
has views over some pools, generally too distant for any
good DSLR photography. In addition to a pair of Cranes
and two Whooper Swans, waders provided
the main interest with my first ever summer plumage Ruff
- a bizzare sight they were too! Also Wood
Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Redshank
and Greenshank. But no sign of Broad-billed
Sandpiper or Red-necked Phalarope, both of which are
reputed to occur here. Maybe mid May is too early for
elevated boardwalk section en-route to the tower!
cranes from the Dolparna tower
of pools from the Dolparna tower
is reached from Duved by first going east along the E14
to Undersaker, and then turning south on a minor road to
Valadalen. Go through this village to the end of the road
near a lake. For a map, see last years report. En-route earlish one morning, I found an
Elk (Moose) by the
roadside but it quickly disappeared back into the forest
before I could get the camera onto it.
Last year, I had
considerable success here, with good views of two
northern specialities - Three-toed Woodpecker &
Siberian Jay. No such luck this year though!
I visited here twice,
and on the first occasion went along the obvious path
which skirts the east edge of the first lake, then goes
between two further lakes before heading up into the
wilderness in a north west direction. But this time there
was no sign or sound of my hoped for repeat sightings/photos
of Three-toed Woodpecker or Siberian Jay. In fact, apart
from a noisy song flighting Greenshank
the area was very quiet.
There was however some
interest in the general vicinity of the car park, and in
the trees going down to the lake shore. Here were several
Brambling, the odd Pied
Flycatcher, Redstart and
northern Willow Tit. The best birds
though were seen actually from the car park - a very
flighty group of Parrot Crossbill.
All these birds were
difficult to get close to, and all in all this was
something of a disappointing site compared with the highs
of last year.
feeding on a snow drift
on the E14, just by the Norway/Sweden border, and is
somewhat higher than Lake Annsjon. It is notable for a
Great Snipe lek in the hills above, which I successfully
visited back in 2002. For a sketch map of the area, see last
visit, there was plenty of snow around, and the track
from the caravan site was blocked by a large drift! The
trees were barely in bud let alone leaf, and there was a
distinctly wintry feel about the place. There was no sign
of Bluethroat or Red-necked Phalarope (seen well last
year in early June), presumably because they hadn't
a few hardy Willow Warblers around, and
waders included several Wood Sandpiper
feeding along the icy shore line of the second lake and
drumming Snipe above. Persistence
eventually resulted in some close pics of the Wood
Sandpiper. To my surprise a pair Slavonian
Grebe were also present, without any vegetation
in the way (as had been the case at Annsjon), but on my
first visit the sun was in the wrong direction, and on my
second visit it was cloudy!
|Wood Sandpiper (click either
Grebe at a cloudy Storlien
wintry scene of the second lake at Storlien
Also in the
Storlien area, there was a group of six male Goosander,
but no sign of any divers (seen last year).
Gevsjon is to the east of Annsjon, and I passed it a few
times on the way to/from my cabin at Duved. One afternoon,
I was delighted to find Arctic Terns
well positioned on some posts on the marsh side of road,
allowing close approach. The marsh had noisy Whimbrel,
and maybe other waders as well.
through the trees had fishing Artic Tern,
a pair of Whooper Swan, and a Common
Sandpiper. Also Goosander. The
place had a good feel to it, and could have warranted
further exploration, which I didn't have time for.
station is at a similar altitude to Storlien, and was
similarly wintry. It is reached along a rough road that
goes south from Handol. The drive up and back was only
notable for my first sightings of Reindeer,
and an obliging Lapwing by the roadside.
There is apparently a Great Snipe lek about 3km from the
end of the road at Storulvans (contact the Handol bird
observatory for details), but with deep snow drifts
across the tracks this was not something I was going to
attempt. The whole area up here is immense and wild - it
may well hold good northern upland species, but you would
need to be fit & energetic to explore it using the
several paths in the area.
Reindeer by the
Lapwing by the
east of Stjordal (Norway)
back to Trondheim airport on the E14, as last year, I saw
Cranes in the farm land, along the river. This time there
were two groups, totaling 3 birds - what they were doing
there is a bit of a mystery, as it doesn't seem like
(Cabins) Duveds Semesterby
quality and value self catering cabins at Duved,
which was c. 15-20 mins by car east of Lake
Annsjon, along the E14. My grade B cabin came
with a well equipped kitchen with fridge/freezer,
cooker & microwave. Also a huge plasma screen
TV, and a balcony for admiring the view over the
valley. Local supermarkets in Duved (small) and
Are (larger - built into the station) for all
your self catering needs (which of course means
not being tied to any set meal times). Good fast
response to e-mail enquiries in advance.