Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Some waders not photographed

It’s been a while since I posted but I have been out and about. On Monday I had a productive trip to Østensjøvannet which gave me 2 each of Slavonian and Little Grebe and best of all a Shoveler. Yesterday, Anders and I went to Kurefjorden and got soaked but also had some good birds although my camera never left my backpack. Waders were clearly arriving whilst we were there and we had in total 11 Curlew Sandpipers which I am sure must be a day record for me, 50 Dunlin plus Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and Knot. Raptors were a target for us but yet again the rarities avoided us but we did have Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Hobby, Goshawk plus a few Sparrowhawk, Kestrels and Common Buzzards. Two very distant Kestrels perched in a dead tree definitely should have been something rarer!

Today I went out to Oslo’s islands hoping to find my first Curlew Sandpiper which needless to say I didn’t but I did have extremely unsatisfactory views of my first Oslo Little Stint which was keeping company with 3 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin on a rocky island far from shore…

Common Buzzard (musvåk) at Østenjøvannet 
amd a juvenile Goshawk (hønsehauk) also there

summer plumage Little Grebe (dvergdykker) with Coots (sothøne)

and in flight

still not sure if this is a youngster or an adult in winter plumage

the Shoveler (skjeand)

my trip to the islands also involved lots of dragonflies at the pond on Lindøya. Here a mating pair of Migrant Hawkers / septemberlibelle / aeshna mixta
a close up of the male clasping the head of the female

a male I think

also a make? 

this must be a female egg laying

not the best picture but here a male Common Hawker / starrlibelle / aeshna juncea has taken hold of the male Migrant who is attached to the female (not visible in this picture)

here are all three with the Migrant Hawker pair mating and the head of the Common Hawker in the middle

and the "proof" of my first Oslo Little Stint.... The 3 lefthand birds are Ringed Plovers (sandlo) and then the clearly smaller Little Sint (dvergsnipe) is above a Dunlin (myrsnipe)

and the same birds with the small size of the Little Stint clear to see
a Wheateat (steinskvett) and a Linnet (tornirisk)

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Wild Goose Chasing

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not averse to a wild goose chase. Usually I like to be equipped with a recent GPS position to narrow the scope of the chase but yesterday I went chasing with no more recent info than my own sighting on Wednesday. I checked the field where I had had my Beans on Wednesday but they were not here. The nearby turf fields were still attractive to waders though with now 5 Lapwings, 2 Ruff and a Ringed Plover. I then went to the favoured peat bog which resulted in wet feet, no geese and spookily few birds generally although a fly over Lapland Bunting was a big bonus. I then checked two other favoured fields and had to conclude that they were feeding somewhere else (there after all a lot of fields in the area even if the geese are normally quite traditional in their choices).

I had seen quite a few Kestrels during the day and my hope of finding a more interesting raptor this autumn was still very much alive and I though the viewpoint at Udenes Church would offer a good chance. Arriving I had another Kestrel which confirmed by hopes and then upon getting out of the car I heard a goose honk! The Beans were on the river and a series of counts revealed 144 birds so a significant increase on Wednesday’s number. I was too far away to be able to read any collars but thought I could count the number of collared birds and would therefore at least know if there were any new ones. I only managed to find 3 with collars though (5 on Wednesday) and am quite sure I would have seen all the birds that had them so that strongly suggests that some of Wednesday’s birds were absent from this flock. I could see two birds with GPS collars and later when the GPS sender on “30” sent in an update I could see he was there and that they had just previously been feeding on one of the fields I had checked. It is very unusual for them to use the river in the autumn when high water levels mean the sandbank they use in the spring is not available but they seemed quite at home on the water during the hour I watched and some were also feeding by upending.

I did also have raptors from the watchpoint with a number of Kestrels, Common Buzzards and a Honey Buzzard.

one of 11 Kestrels (tårnfalk) I saw during the day. Most were hunting from wires over recently harvested fields and probably for insects

surprise of the day - a fly over Lapland Bunting (lappspurv)

The Taiga Bean Geese (sædgjess) distantly on the river Glomma

Cuckoo (gjøk)

even at long range the jizz and plumage allows this 1cy Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) to be identified

although the differences to Common Buzzard (musvåk) - pictured above - are small

on Thursday I photographed this Migrant Hawker / septemberlibelle / aeshna mixta in Maridalen making it the nothernmost record ever in Norway. I had suspected its presence over a week ago but hadn't managed any photos

The Whooper Swans (sangsvane) are still in Maridalen despite having failed in this years breeding attempt

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Beans r back

If there was any doubt that autumn had arrived then a message that the last working GPS sender on one of the Scottish Bean Geese had just phoned home from Akershus (after having been silent for over a week and having last sent from the Swedish breeding grounds) was proof. I made my way up there this morning and had a flock of 98 birds on perhaps the most used autumn field. Amongst them were only 5 ringed birds: 30 (the GPS sender), 04, 6U, S8 and 3Y. All of these are birds I have seen before and 6U is one of the original birds I first saw in 2012. There seemed to be a good number of families in the flock but I find it difficult determining which birds are juveniles.

On the other side of the track I was standing on was a turf field with lots of puddles and mud were turf had been removed and this attracted a lot of wagtails, a few waders and Sparrowhawks. I had 2 Ruff, 2 Lapwing, 7 Snipe, 1 Ringed Plover and a Golden Plover which was nearly more than I had at Årnestangen on uneventful visits on both Monday and yesterday!

One hope of today was to find Red-footed Falcon or Pallid Harrier. Of course I didn’t but 5 Kestrels and 3 Hobbies kept me on my toes.

Always alert and close to woodland - Taiga Bean Geese (sædgås) are truly wild geese

this bird has an old GPS collar with no markings but the yellow ring on the left leg identifies is as 04

It is getting late for Lapwing (vipe) and these are both young birds with the one on the right looking particularly young (must have been born late) 
there were quite a few Yellow Wagtails (gulerle). The top left bird is a typical autumn individual but the other bird was very bright

Common Buzzard (musvåk)

This adult Little Ringed Plover (dverglo) was along the path at Årnestangen on both Monday and Tuesday. September is late for this species and one would normally expect late birds to be youngsters.

a Common Hawker /starrlibelle / aeshna juncea

Sunday, 1 September 2019

No Red-foot but pics to be pleased about

I played away from home again on Friday but managed an extra time visit to the Dale.

My plan was to find a Red-footed Falcon which has arrived in southern Sweden in large numbers and with strong southerly winds today it felt reasonable to expect there to be flocks in Norway too. I thought the Tuen area of Nordre Øyeren would offer my best chance and I did have raptors by not the wished for one unfortunately. Highlight was a juvenile Honey Buzzard that showed very well, if far too briefly. It is not often that this age class is documented in Norway so it was very satisfying to get some OK shots. Other raptors were 3 juv Marsh Harriers, 2 Osprey, 2 Common Buzzard, a Peregrine and a distant Hobby.

The two Great White Egrets showed well in flight and then I was able to watch one fishing at relatively close range.

Water levels had risen overnight after yesterday's downpourd but the slither of mud still showing had 29 Dunlin on it suggesting that a walk out to Årnestangen may have been rewarded on the wader front (and who knows a flock of Rf Falcons sitting on the viewing platfrom 😉)

Dropping in at the Dale revealed even more raptors. I had 5 Honey Buzzards heading south in the course of 15 minutes with three of them seen together. They were heading into the wind and took their time and also had company of a couple of Common Buzzards. At least 2 were juveniles but the distance and light did not allow me to work out the age of all of them. A Peregrine also enjoyed the wind and a Sparrowhawk gave me 7 species of raptor for the day.

juvenile (1cy) Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) - this plumage an the structure of the bird differs from adults and they are much easier to confuse with Common Buzzard (musvåk)

perhaps easier to recognise as Honey from some distance although when it was flying straight towards me then it gave a Black Kite impression

good views of the Great White Egret (egretthegre)

both the birds are moulting primary feathers making them older (2cy+) birds

bird #2

I was able to sneak up to the feeding bird due to lots of high vegetation between us but it made focussing very difficult

their necks re incredibly long and thin

Common Buzzard (musvåk) and Marsh Harrier  (sivhauk). Both are young birds

A 2cy Peregrine (vandrefalk) moulting into adult plumage

not often you see moose (elg) in the middle of the day in the summer but Nordre Øyeren has a large population of these beasts