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Trip report: Red-throated Divers, Knuthöjdsmossen

Red-throated Divers passing by.

The 22nd of July me and Daniel Stenberg went to Knuthöjdsmossen, Hällefors in Sweden. This is a location widely known for it's nesting Red-throated Divers. Worth mentioning is that the best time to visit the area is after 15th of July when it's allowed to walk freely in the nature reserve. In the beginning of the summer you're bound to walk at a designated footbridge. This limits your opportunities at getting good photos of the birds. Last summer I photographed the Black-throated Diver for the first time and since then I've always wanted to photograph the Red-throated Diver. In the 80s there were nesting Red-throated Divers on the Åland Islands but not anymore. I was therefore forced to go elsewhere.

Red-throated Diver

I met up with Daniel around 5 pm and four hours later we arrived at Hällefors. Since light conditions were still OK despite a dense layer of clouds, we decided to pack our gear and head out for some recognizance. We soon met another photographer who turned out to be Henrik Randén, who I've emailed with back and forth the last year. It was fun to finally meet him in real life. He showed us around the reserve and when it got dark we set camp near our car. Henrik decided to spend his night in his car and we slept in my old tent. As soon as we went to sleep the wind rose. This was bad news since I was looking for calm water and beautiful reflections. I was hoping the wind would calm down, but it didn't. Despite the wind we found a few calm area where we could photograph the Divers. When we got back to the tent after three hours of photography I was pretty disappointed with the results. Maybe a few decent photos but no close up shot and not the light I had been looking for. The sun had barely manged to penetrate the clouds. We went to sleep and then decided to stay for another night. The weather forecast included rain for the coming evening, so we went out for a few hours after lunch. This time I was more lucky and got a few nice shots! Because of the clouds the light was soft even though it was the middle of the day. Daniel got good photos as well, so we decided to go back to Stockholm and spend the coming night at Torö, photographing waders. 270 km later I was in bed and got 2 hours worth of sleep before we headed of to Torö. It was really windy and few birds showed up near our hides so at 10:00 we decided to call it a day. All in all it was a great weekend and I finally got photos of the Red-throated Diver!

Red-throated Diver portrait.