Saturday, 27 February 2010

Saturday's Snaps

Freed from the shackles of the Winter Atlas there was a spring in my step as I got out the car into a brisk northeasterly this morning at Newbiggin. Cold enough to keep all but the hardiest of dog walkers away I almost had the north bay to myself for three hours. I had intended to take some more Pipit images but with the snow gone the six Rock Pipit that were around were mobile to say the least. The Snow Bunting that was loosely associating with them was slightly more confiding, although more wary than the St Mary's bird it kept flying out onto the rocks and then back to the grassy banks between golf course and beach.

Snow Bunting, Newbiggin

I spent a good couple of hours clambering around the rocks to get to various vantage points and then huddling down ahead of the tide waiting to see if anything was pushed toward me. At the north end toward Beacon Point 55 Golden Plover with just one coming into summer plumage shuffled in ahead of the rising water. Groups of Oystercatcher were spread along the tideline along with a single Bar-tailed Godwit. A couple of Purple Sandpiper at the south end of the beach were the pick of the waders, they always seem to be the taxa species that lingers the longest ahead of the tide, the one below was almost swimming at one point.

Purple Sandpiper, Newbbiggin

I walked back into the south bay to check for Mediterranean Gull thinking that one or two of the wintering adult may have a full cap by now. At least six present today across the full spread of ages, with two adult, two 2nd-winter and two 1st-winter. Still too early for the full black head, at least here, they remain an easy target for images I can never get too many.

Mediterranean Gull, 1st-winter,2nd-winter & adult

Heading home along the A189 toward Linton I came across the Whooper Swan flock (41) in the large field southwest of the A1068 roundabout. As they were fairly close to the hedge I turned the car to try and take a couple of record shots, as I did a female Peregrine came from behind me and through the field heading East. Having omitted to include a Red-breasted Merganser at Cresswell from Friday on the Self-Found List, along with today's additions of Purple Sandpiper & Peregrine it's moving along quite nicely.

Whooper Swan

Friday, 26 February 2010 - A Review

Six months after 'launching' at the British Birdfair the website is finally available today. As I commented at the time I can understand why they have developed an online presence in the face of a changing market and consumer trends away from paper and toward web based material but I still hold the view that by not acquiring or partnering with an existing provider online they are starting from a place somewhere in the 1990's.
After initially feeling a little frustrated that despite registering several times I found out about the live launch via a Twitter posting I headed onto the site tonight to look around and get a feel for what they've done. Industry gossip endowed them with a big budget so my expectations were high, I was looking for bells and whistles. Given that the 2nd edition of Collins Birds has just launched to huge critical acclaim with the errors that have been picked out still leaving reviewers feeling almost churlish to have mentioned them in the face of such overwhelmingly amazing content I thought the website would be packed with innovation.
Clicking on the registration button to bring up the registration page my first reaction was of disappointment. In keeping with other 'forums' Collins have gone down the pseudonym user name option allowing users to hide their true identity. As we know only too well this kind of identity protection has the effect of emboldening otherwise sane individuals into making all kinds of unncessessary statements, responses and comments in the safe and certain knowledge that they are unknown. It remains to be seen how robust their moderation will be in the face of some of the arguments that can rage on friendly forums.
Safely registered I went straight to the 'Birds' page, "the biggest library of bird information online", sadly within a short time I reached the conclusion that this should be redubbed "the biggest abuse of trading standards online". I can't begin to catalogue my disappointment that the company who have access to the best field guide ever have chosen instead to push out a wishy washy piece of rubbish lacking in all but the very basic information about individual species. Add to this that despite taking an age to 'get it right' they haven't, the species accounts are littered with errors. Within a few pages I noted Northern Shoveler with a female Red-crested Pochard plate, Black Duck with a Northern Shoveler plate, American Herring Gull with no plate, Black Tern & Black-headed Gull shown in non-breeding plumages only and Caspian Gull apparently is "the only silver-backed large gull in the area".
Whoever proof-read and beta tested the data should by this point be reaching for a passport and a new identity in Panama. They need a major re-review and quickly if they are to avoid blowing the site's credibility and any chance they had of capturing an audience.
I moved on to post a few sightings, Collins have gone down the same route as several other providers (Chirptracker/Birdnews et al) and intergrated Google Mapping technology into the sightings. Currently each sighting needs to be entered individually in a four step process involving dragging the sighting onto the correct location on the map, entering details, previewing and finishing, its not what you would call an intuitive process. I picked a couple of records from this afternoon when I took a short visit to a well known local site, which was immediately not recognised by the mapping technology forcing me to find the nearest known location and therefore rendering the map useless to anyone wishing to find the site exactly from the site name used. The information you can provide for each sighting is quirky at best, Number of birds seen has a drop down box with a current maximum of ten; and why would anyone want to record 'distance from the bird' in metres? Although with hindsight this obviously offers listers with new opportunities to be the the first to 400 species seen to 10m or less.
On the positive side it does offer the user the opportunity to create lists and checklists on a country basis and no doubt some birders may use it for this purpose but they are goung to find it a real long-winded solution to keeping a list.
Checking out the 'People' tab which in truth appears to be a kind of Facebook-lite for birders, although it claims to be able to "track their sightings and activity" perfect for the stalkers amongst us and guaranteed to root out the stringers.
Disenchanted and disorientated I moved into the Shop area of the site hoping to perk myself back up with the special launch offers, the ones that have either all been taken or are yet to appear in the Amazon store. Although it was here finally, I found something to get excited about, a small box to the right headed "Create Your Own Field Guide", coming soon the solution to all those ID nightmares as you can create your own customised Field Guide. No more mistaking Ring Ouzels on Shetland for something rarer just switch the plates around. Can't tell a Sab's from a Bonaparte's swap the descriptions around to fit the birds. Thankfully after looking a little closer it may not be quite as flexible as this, simply involving selecting which species you want to wrap in your own custom guide, it remains to be seen whether text and plates will include those in Collins Birds or the (more likely) other Collins range of Field Guides that are not to the same high standards.
Attempting to cover the globe is/was a huge ask, sadly by throwing the net so wide it appears that Collins are simply scratching the surface and have a site that will appeal to armchair-based RSPB members who might want to record their garden Chaffinches. This might indeed be their game plan, achieve a high volume of enthusiastic birdwatchers who take their content dumbed watered down. Good for business perhaps but they could have achieved so much more. What this site clearly demonstrates is that whilst they have a magical team in Svennson and Mullarney providing them with a winning formula for active birders, this site is not aimed at the same market. If you're out there birding most weekends you won't find any revelations here.

(If you do pop over and check it out, when you get to the Collins 'Bird Detective' where you can vote on the identity of a mystery pair of platform nesting raptors don't laugh too hard at the high percentage of idiots who think they are White-tailed Sea Eagle, it was just me testing out how robust the process was.)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Shetland - New Tourism Slogan

Shetland - Where Time Stands Still
After finishing the last of my winter tetrads around Causey Park Bridge I headed down to St Mary's Island to try and take some images of the long staying Water Pipit. Once again conspicuous by its absence I'm begiining to wonder if one of the locals just brings it down once a week and lets it have a little wander about before taking it back into hiding.
In poor light for a change it did give me the opportunity to have a look at the Rock Pipit about down there. Two-three were around the bay north of the causeway and as Mike Hodgson had highlighted in a conversation a few weeks back at least one of these was pale and less sullied looking than the typical petrosus. I found it interesting that once again this bird was the most aggressive, repeatedly chasing off one of the petrosus that came into the area around the gully, very similar behaviour to that displayed by the individual I photographed in January at Newbiggin that I believed to be littoralis.

Rock Pipit
This one looking very brown & worn around the remiges & tail feathers.

The paler individual with less sullied underparts and a hint of supercilium and brighter eye ring. Petrosus variation or littoralis?

I did find a nice Snow Bunting feeding around the path edge at the top of the causeway, I've not seen this bird reported at all so I'm not sure if it's new or just considered not newsworthy. It was reasonably confiding, although the best results were obtained by lieing down and waiting as usual, thankfully the dog walkers stayed away as there is nothing worse than suddenly attracting the attention of off the lead dogs whilst your trying your best to blend into the tarmac.

I called in at Blyth South Harbour on the way back north, nothing exciting, the Shed 17 wader roost was impressive with a c300 strong mixed flock of Dunlin & Ringed Plover about 70% Dunlin. A brief stop at Lynemouth Flash to look for Pipits, yielded only five Pied Wagtail. Cresswell Pond was full of water but a Barn Owl hunting in the early afternoon was added to the Self-found List to bring up the 100 for 2010. Never close and mist beginning to return a record shot was all that was possible.

The Beginner's Guide to Pond Dipping, Lichens & Mosses

A brief let up in the weather this afternoon allowed me to break out of the house before the three of us strangled each other and get in a short walk before the school collection. Determined to walk without creating too much washing we headed for QE2 Country Park and its solid paths. Three Goosander and six Gadwall were new for the year pushing the self found list to the brink of triple figures. At least a dozen Goldeneye mostly in the centre of the pond were conspicuous, the drakes throwing their heads back in display repeatedly, as were another pair on Bothal Pond as we passed an hour or so later.
A few Long-tailed Tit and Coal Tit wandered the trees along the western side but in poor light, I hardly bothered. Instead I turned my attention to a couple of fine Lichens hanging in a small copse just off the footpath. I kinow not what they are and offer the pictures purely for aesthetic value, i.e I'll buy some tine to check.

My co-conspirators meanwhile were embarking on their NVQ in Pond Dipping Level 1. The first modules entitled 'Becoming Accustomed to Water' and 'Stick Poking as a Means of Amphibian Location' which seemed to go well.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Take Two Every Five Hours

Two of my children woke ridiculously early for a Sunday morning. Nursing a developing cold for once I left them in their rooms for a few minutes till the shouts and Jay like screeches reached a crescendo and I stumbled downstairs to organise milk, morning tea and a double Nurofen breakfast.
Two late winter Timed Tetrad Visits had been planned the night before. With my wife heading off midday for an afternoon of Strictly Come Dancing live, I had to get out early and get on with them. Luckily two of the three I had left were back to back so I could walk from one into the other avoiding a transit journey between.
Two Wren in 4km of riverside woodland and farmland shelter belt seems to indicate that when all the results are in and counted our feisty friend is going to be amongst the big losers of the winter weather this year. With big broods they should recover given the chance but their song will be missing from many a wood this coming Spring.
Two Skylark tumbling and twisting in the air as I walked across a frozen field in the second square. One landing on a fencepost the other to ground before the sound of summer broke through the frozen February stillness for a few seconds as one raised a crest and began to sing.
Two additions to the Self Found Year List were not to be today as the hoped for Treecreeper failed to materialise, perhaps another cold weather casualty? So five Lesser Redpoll moving through Alder nudged me closer to three figures and better days ahead.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Mission Aborted

A heavy swell at the harbour mouth at Amble prevented the planned Marinelife survey from taking place today, a great shame as it was an otherwise perfect today. Ross Ahmed and I decided to head back down to Ashington to photograph the Waxwing in the fine morning light. Whilst these are an improvement on previous efforts I'm still not satisfied with the results and another visit may yet be required, if the berries don't run out first. With only 10-12 individuals left today the berry supply is looking perilously low and I can't see them staying past the weekend.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Plain Simple Truth

At least this lot aren't trying to dress up their reasons for opposition with daft scare stories. The plain simple truth, "raptors (Sea Eagles in this case) reduce profits so we don't want them" is the message or maybe I'm just naive, they couldn't possibly be trying to screw the taxpayer negotiate a compensation package could they?
The alternative is to find as many other scapegoats as possible like this lot.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A change of scenery and season today, I left spring behind and headed inland and back into winter to search for Black Grouse. I did eventually locate three, a male and two greyhen north of Carrshield but dipped when it comes to photographs as they were beyond my reach. A poor day weather wise with mist and snow as well as several inches still on the moors and roadsides in several valleys particularly the East & West Allen. Red Grouse were common enough and one or two showed reasonably well.

I chanced upon a Raven feeding on a cock Pheasant roadkill with a half dozen Crows as I crossed Plenmeller Common which was my first of the year. It moved off quite quickly landing at the top of a nearby ridge with only it's head on show.
Up the West Allen I came across a small group of six Roe Deer including the stag below that were close enough to photograph and not spooked by the car

Despite the snow, move off the highest ground and the indications of change are there, several fields held small parties of Lapwing and a large group of Common Gull were near Catton. Six Bullfinch on a moorland wall were a strange sight and apart from the odd thrush one of the few passerines I came across today.
With a little time left I called back to Ashington to have another look at the Waxwing that are marauding around, they are still coming to the Rowan but I'd say it has no more than three days before they clean it out. They are incredibly restless this flock when coming in to feed in contrast with the often confiding autumn flocks they are in and out of the Rowan very quickly.

Marauding Waxwing

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Lock Up Your Berries

A number of highly mobile, uber fast, smash and grab groups of foreigners are currently touring quiet suburban streets ready to mug the unsuspecting Blackbird or Mistle Thrush for the last of their winter berry stocks. I was fortunate this morning to witness just such an event when up to 25 of these strange looking berry burglars did a return raid on an ornamental Rowan in Nursery Park, Ashington.

After flying in at great speed and numbers completely overwhelming the defenses of the resident Mistle Thrush pair who could do no more than retire to a nearby rooftop in despair as their recently adopted Rowan was systematically stripped. Within a minute this gang suspected of having Russian Mafia connections were 'ofski' to the east leaving the Mistle Thrush pair to gossip with the neighbours and consider voting BNP because sending these greedy, lazy foreigners back home has to be the answer to all their misfortune right?

Caught in the Act

Monday, 15 February 2010

The French Are Back

I'm not sure if they have arrived early this year but last year's copulating Frogs were not noted until 23rd Feb so the 10 that appeared in our garden pond late morning could well be eight days earlier than last year. With better light and sleeping children I'll try for some sharper shots in the next few days. Nine Brambling still in the garden including a male starting to look very black around the head and half yesterday's Waxwing returned to Ashington although not at the same time as us.

Common Frog

Common Frog

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Eagle Owl, Eating More Turnip & Otis

Time to blog has been limited over the past few days as I've had my nose to the grind, four days work as well as some website re-writing work for a client in Spain has left little spare time. None of this actually feels like work anymore of course as it's all bird related and therefore incredibly enjoyable. Perhaps no wonder then at 05:00 this morning that I should find myself parked a little way from a lake surrounded by tall pines watching at first some common birds such as Reed Bunting and Fieldfare move across the road in front of me. Then over my shoulder a magnificent Eagle Owl perched atop one of the pines just a few metres back turned to look in my direction. I struggled with the camera trying to turn and drop the window to get a shot but a speeding coach disturbed it and it flew off over the lake. I woke at this point to reflect on a rare vivid dream as it isn't too often I get a lifer in my night dreams.

Yesterday morning was free with work starting late so I aimed to get two more TTV late visits completed. Neither produced anything particularly interesting, 41 Redwing in a Sheep field in the first and 25 Reed Bunting in the second. The weather was variable so the first felt more like a 'Wetland Bird Survey' with me in the water whilst the bright sunshine of the second had me wishing I'd left the layers at home. The Reed Bunting were all around a winter Turnip field and no doubt the same birds reported a few weeks back when we started the Bird Aid supplementary feeding. Not sure if it was the weeds in the margins between the rows of Turnip that are providing the food although I'm sure someone more knowledgeable about this will provide the answer. Struck me though that if Turnip fields provide good winter habitat maybe we should get the Turnip Marketing Board to step up their TV advertising.

Over recent weeks I have been lucky enough to have several conversations with fellow blogger Charlie Moores from 10000birds. He has made no secret that he is looking to switch careers from his current one into 'nature' and as I continue my own personal experiment along similar lines we've been sharing contacts and ideas which has been a pleasant and useful experience. One of Charlie's hats is as editor of Otis the magazine of the Great Bustard Group. He kindly sent me a couple of copies of the new issue which is simply amazing for such a small group. Professional, glossy, great pictures and a full history of the project to date it's easily on par with any of the local Wildlife Trust publications that I've seen. Well worth checking out as it's very up to date with a piece on how the Bustards coped with the recent cold snap.

Missed out today on the mini-Waxwing explosion but after looking for the 10 reported at Ashington behind the Block&Tackle I have a feeling they may return as there are at least three ornamental cherries with fruit in a 50m area and 1m due south at Stakeford roundabout a large berry filled Cotoneaster. Whilst these berries are obviously less palatable otherwise the local Blackbirds would have finished them off weeks ago they might offer the only food supply left at this time of year so worth keeping an eye out.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Burning Issue

With news that a local Hindu up here in the North East has successfully overturned a court decision preventing him from having a traditional Hindu funeral pyre I got to thinking about those Tibetan Sky Burials again briefly. I wonder whether 30-40 years down the line when these open pyres have become less controversial whether the market may open up enough to allow a birder his last wish.
By then numbers of Red Kite should be sufficiently high to take care of at least a body a day. A nice flat topped hill in Northumberland, a hundred or so gledes and you have the ultimate low carbon, environmentally friendly dispatch.
The Jedi religion managed to get recognition with a census number with 390,000 supporters, should be easy enough to match that if we can persuade the RSPB to back us. Now there's a 'Feed the Birds' campaign the marketing people could have fun with.....

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Flash Down the Pan

Later this year one of Northumberland's birding sites will disappear from view, Longhirst Flash has fallen foul of Old King Coal and is smack bang centre of a huge opencast development that has planning permission and is known as Potland Burn. The company responsible for the opencast will in time re-landscape the site after they have had the obligatory extension, so perhaps in 20 years or so the land may have returned to its current state. The wetland is excluded from the excavation as is the adjacent woodland but the plans show the boundary running very close.
Views of the flash will be lost during excavation as the company plans to put a 5.5m-6.5m baffle bank between the road and pond
Looking at the picture above anyone not knowing the area might think that it is a fairly plain, small pond but for many local birders it has a good heritage. It is I think a mining subsidence pond, one of many in the area, it has only been in the last 15 years that it has deepened and started attracting a decent selection of birds. It first got attention in the early nineties with wintering Whooper Swan in the surrounding fields. The first decent bird I can find was a Spoonbill in 1996 although it was at least three years earlier it acquired the name 'Longhirst Flash' as one ancient local has a notebook entry for 13th March 1993 of one Tufted Duck and two Mallard. It was attractive to passage waders such as Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Greenshank, it's reedy north end often pulled in Garganey. In 1999 it had the first of a run of three Great White Egret in four years, with others in 2000 and 2003. The 2000 bird being particularly close to my heart as I found it that morning at my then patch of Castle Island before it moved inland to Bothal then Longhirst. Common Crane is another species that have been recorded here at least once with two birds on passage.
Maybe its last hurrah was 26th September last year when the twenty year county blocker Glossy Ibis was first re-found at the Flash and later briefly touched down again as a significant proportion of the county's birders attempted to catch up with it.
The disruption around the area will move out Long-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Common Buzzard, Jay all breeding birds. We will be the poorer for not having this insignificant little pond.
It irks me that it we seem to be seen as an easy touch for coal, perhaps because of our mining heritage we're thought of as still having coal dust under the fingernails which to some extent is true. It irks me more that a fantastic little site like this is afforded little protection, I can't help thinking somewhere along the way we got our values seriously muddled.

thanks to Andy Mclevy for some of the historical records.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Alien Encounter

Sunday morning was dismal, grey cold and a million miles from Spring. I set out on another Timed Tetrad Visit which was hard going. I finished somewhere up near the site of St George's Hospital which was originally called Northumberland County Lunatic Asylum. All of the old buildings still stand although they are fenced off with cameras everywhere but I did note quite a few access holes that could be used by Little Owl, or Barn Owl for that matter.

Walking back I turned off the beaten track to head through the woods east back to the bottom of Whorral Bank and on home. The woods were a little misty but quiet. It was here that (I didn't think I'd ever write this) I had an alien encounter. I think it saw me first as when I caught sight of the small grey shape it was already moving off through the vegetation. No mistake though, an alien. No warning, not like the TV, no lights shining through trees or strange humming noises, just this small grey figure hurrying away.

I rushed to try and capture an image and in doing so stepped back too far and slipped down the muddy bank behind me, camera, bins and me doing a 'Glastonbury' in the mud. At least I assume I slipped, I suppose it could have been the alien although I felt no force.
I reported it of course to the relevant authorities, they may even have been out trying to catch up with the beast today although I haven't heard anything. Of course if they are behind the security fences at the old hospital there could be lots of them and unless access can be gained, well we won't know until they take over. We have to take action though, protect the natives and all that.

It was a shock, first Grey Squirrel I've had this far north.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


There is the hint of a few changes in the air today, whilst some birds appear to be getting an early urge to move north with a Turtle Dove on Guernsey and a drake Garganey in Lincolnshire we also seem to be getting a few of the Waxwing moving around northeast of us in Scandanavia, with only three reports 1st-6th Feb today highlighted perhaps a few recent arrivals:

20:03 07/02/10 Waxwing Lincs Gibraltar Point NNR EN
19:16 07/02/10 Waxwing Lancs Church EN
15:57 07/02/10 Waxwing Highland Inverness EN
15:02 07/02/10 Waxwing Clyde Glasgow 11:30 EN
14:03 07/02/10 Waxwing Lothian North Berwick 12:30 EN
13:06 07/02/10 Waxwing N Yorks Scarborough 06/02/10 EN
07/02/10 Waxwing Aberdeenshire New Deer EN

More to come?

info courtesy

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Saturday - Longhirst Hall

Knowing I had planned a Timed Tetrad Visit on Saturday morning I was pleased when I woke to sunshine, it always adds to the pleasure of being out and offers the possibility of some images too. It didn't take long though before the winter greyness shrouded out the sun and coldness hung in the air especially in the shadows.
My first late visit turned up no surprises, a decent flock of c600 Woodpigeon in fields and trees northeast of our village were nervous and easily spooked perhaps a consequence of the daily shotgun sounds that have echoed around the farmland every day this week.


Heading back through the mature wooded grounds of Longhirst Hall about 1mile north of our house I was pleased to here a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming, drilling through the heavy Winter air, Morse code for Spring. There were few other signs, partially frozen water beads clung to everything creating miniature galaxies of stars along the darkness of Hawthorn hedges and silvery extensions to very stem, branch and blade.

Look hard enough though and the first signs are there, the snow having retreated revealing its namesake amongst the soft rotting leaves. Steve Gale has some interesting background on Snowdrops today

Snowdrops, Longhirst Hall

A single Common Buzzard lifted from a roadside field disturbed by my passing as I strode home.

Larking About

Inspiration in the Internet enabled age is never far away. In common with almost everyone who has a passion for the natural world I prefer to be out in the field but as we all know it is simply impossible to put aside life's other little cares such as family and work entirely.
I was fired up again recently when I stumbled across Mark Fellowes blog and his images using skulls and books which I think deserve a wider audience. As a novice photographer I continue to be in awe of people who can conceive and capture such beautiful images that convey more meaning than I could ever pour into a blog post.
Getting such enjoyment from his images has strengthened my resolve to continue to put effort into improving the images I take and experimenting more this year. I may never produce a set of images that have the depth and imagination of Marks but I can have fun trying.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Slow Start

February has started slowly on the birding front the first three days coinciding with my three day long childcare stint. A couple of visits to Woodhorn Flash eventually produced views of the four White-fronted Goose this morning feeding with a dozen or two Greylag in the field east of the south pool. There appeared to be some question over the race earlier in the week but there's no doubt that they are Greenland. Turned into a local bird club (NTBC) trip this morning as first bulletin editor Steve Barratt and member John Littleton turned up closely followed by ex-county recorder Mike Hodgson.

The only other 'newness' this week came in the shape of a Wren this morning, the first in our garden this year, perhaps adding more weight to the damage the cold weather has done to some of our more sedentary species.

I will be doing a number of second or late visits to winter tetrads for the BTO Atlas in coming weeks and it will be interesting to see the results, I'm not expecting to see a great deal.

During today's kiddie siesta I managed to convert three old wooden wineboxes into nestboxes that I retained after selling my retail business last year for just such a purpose. Two in the garden, one in Sycamore and one along the northern boundary beside the house. I was amazed that literally within one minute of coming indoors a pair of Great Tit were shoving their heads inside one to check it out, maybe they could smell the Chateauneuf.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Are the Waxwings Coming?

An interesting report on Birdguides this morning, apparently 'thousands' of Waxwing arrived at Uppsala, sweden overnight. Whilst Uppsala is on the east side of Sweden a little north of Stockholm it could indicate that food supplies further east have run out and there is an irruption happening.