Hållnäs, Swedish National Day (6/6) 2008

I was born and grew up in Skåne in the very south of Sweden. From a herpetology point of view this is the place to be since 19 out of the 20 species that can be found in Sweden can be found there. Two years ago I moved with my family to Uppsala north of Stockholm, a massive 700 km to the north. Apart from keeping my wife happy I could see only one advantage with this: Pelophylax lessonae! In Sweden this species can be found only along the northwestern coast of Uppland. So on the Swedish National Day i convinced the family and a friend that Hållnäs was a great place for a day out...

Old house converted to summer house on the Hållnäs peninsula
Old house converted to summer house on the Hållnäs peninsula

The weather was really nice and we drove slowly and easily to Hållnäs enjoying the early summer landscape. Along the coast you find a lot of old houses that has been converted (with varying success) to summer houses. Unfortunately economical wealth not always comes with good taste and a wish to preserve...

Me floating in the Baltic See
Me floating in the Baltic See. It was warmer than you think :-)

We spent the afternoon on the rocky beach having "fika" (Coffee with various cakes/biscuits. Swedish cinnamon rolls are essential). The children and I caught some Three-spined Sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, found a big and jucy Raft Spider, Dolomedes fimbriatus, were flewn over by a White-tailed Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla, and went swimming in the surprisingly warm sea (a very sheltered and shallow bay).

Raft Spider on a stone by the sea
Raft Spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus) on a stone by the sea

In the evening we went to search for the frogs. The ponds are surrounded by pine/spruce forest and situated surprisingly close to the coast. The habitat is really quite different to where you find Edible Frogs in southern Sweden. The mosquitos were not too annoying and already in the first pond we saw a few specimens.

The coastline
The coast is less than a 100 meters from the ponds
The rest of the expedition, four girls
The rest of the expedition, four girls!

We continued on the path and suddenly we heard the first croaks from the next pond. When we arrived and tip-toed to the waterside we could see Pool Frogs everywhere! As it darkend the choir grew stronger and even the children were quite impressed :-)

Pool Frog, Pelophylax lessonae
Pool Frog!
Pool Frog, Pelophylax lessonae
The same Pool Frog croaking
The coastline again
The coastline again

I could easily have stayed on but the rest of the company was tired and I was outvoted. The drive back to Uppsla was quicker but the landscape still enjoyable in the setting sun.

/Anders Selmer

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