Monday, 15 July 2019

Butterflies in the north

Mazarine Blue (engblåvinge)

mating pair of Idas Blues

female Idas

the single blue spot of a Cranberry Blue (myrblåvinge)
my first ever Mountain Argus (sankthansblåvinge)

and my first ever Purple edged Copper (purpurgullvinge)

Saturday, 13 July 2019

First post from the cabin

The drive up from Oslo to Bodø with stops in Røros and Grong gave few birds other than the Red-necked Phalaropes and Slav Grebes that I have already shown. One reason for this though was that I “sacrificed” (for the sake of family harmony) two of my usual bird stops for a new butterfly stop in Junkerdalen. This valley on the northern edge of Saltfjellet is renowned for its flora and fauna but for unknown reasons I have never visited before. A bit of research though had shown the possibility for a number of rare northern butterfly species and with it being sunny with little wind I thought the omens were good. Unfortunately, there were few butterflies and the ones that allowed themselves to be identified were common as.

I have already had two early morning trips to the bird rich bays at Fauske but have yet to locate Knobby. There are good numbers of birds and it is interesting to see how species and locations vary from year to year – for example I have not had any Long-tailed Ducks this year and at Klungset the seaducks are much closer to land this year but at Røvika much further out. Best birds so far have been two summer plumaged Great Northern Divers (the first time I have seen them here), 9 summer plumaged Red-necked Grebes, Scaup and male King Eider but of course I am still hoping to find something much rarer amongst the over 1000 moulting seaduck (mostly males Velvet Scoter and Common Eider) in the area. Perhaps rarest bird I have found was a Yellow Wagtail that looks to be of the Blue-headed type (subspecies flava) but these things are never easy and this far north it may well be something from much further east.

Butterflies continue to interest me and I have seen my first Purple edged Copper (purpurgullvinge) and Mountain Argus (sankthansblåvinge). Also by looking at every single Blue in the area I have found Mazarine, Idas and Cranberry flying together. Orchids are very plentiful and very variable around the cabin but I still find them extremely challenging. I'l show the butterflies and maybe orchids in a separate post

Velvet Scoter (sjøorre), Common Scoter (svartand) and Scaup (bergand)

Great Northern Divers (islom) 
Red-necked Grebes (gråstrupedykker)

Velvet Scoters and a single female Common Scoter. Velvet Scoters are over 90% male whereas amogst the much smaller numbers of Common Scoter it is females that are in the majority 
a single male Common is amongst this flock of Velvets

2 male and a female Scaup

Red-throated Diver (smålom)

male Bluethroat (blåstrupe)

and a female

adult Curlew (storspove) with a worm

and one of 3 youngsters it was guarding over

male Yellow Wagtail (gulerle) of the scandinavian race thunbergi 
and a female thunbergi

an early juvenile Yellow Wagtail
and what appears to be a male Blue-headed Wagtail (flava)

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Slav Grebes

A couple of days near Røros gave disappointingly few birds but a close encounter with breeding Slavonian Grebes is not to be sniffed at.

Slavonian Grebe (horndykker) pair with three youngters. The right hand youngster was noticeably larger and one of the parents tried to chase it away on a number of occasions. I believe this youngster actually belonged to another pair of Slavs on the lake

here the larger youngster is begging for food

here a close up of the larger youngster

and here with food (not sure what) is one of the birds that I believe to be it true parent

Teal (krikkand) also breed on the lake

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Red-necked Phalaropes

One of the highlights (for me at least) of the drive north from Oslo is stopping to see Red-necked Phalaropes and with the Beast needing a walk it fitted in well. It is now in the middle of the breeding season and they become difficult to find but I had three birds which looked like two males and a female. The males behaved as though they had nests or young nearby whereas the female was more relaxed as she should be. Phalaropes, like Dotterel, have sexual role reversal with the female being brighter plumaged and doing all the chasing. Then after she has laid the eggs she leaves the incubating and looking after of the young to the male.

the female was close but difficult to view

but one of the dowdier males showed better

Monday, 8 July 2019

There definitely were some better pics of the Firecrest!

Firecrest (rødtoppfuglekonge)

bad shot but shows it collecting food


one of the juvenile Goldcrests (fuglekonge). No stripe on the head makes this age class look very different from adults