Friday, 9 July 2010

Further mountain sightings

Bygdin Lake

Rainbow over Valdresflya

Haugseter hotel from Vinstre lake

We were unexpectedly without internet the last week of our stay in the mountains so I was unable to post any updates. We moved down slightly below the tree line to the town of Beitostølen for the last week. Here birdlife was richer than at Haugseter. Around the town regular species included Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Bluethroat, Golden Plover, Redshank, Lesser Whitethroat, Teal, Cuckoo, Redpoll, Willow Warbler, Wheatear, Reed Bunting, Swift, Swallow and House Martin. A little more special was an immature Golden Eagle on 8 July and rarest of all a hybrid Swallow x House Martin on 5 July. This was consorting with Swallows (and was perhaps paired with one) but was seen inspecting nest sites under the eaves of a barn that would have been more suitable for a House Martin. I saw the bird well and noted the general Swallow appearance but with White Rump, short tail streamers and much reduced red throat and chest band. This is the second I have seen in Norway after one in Bodø about 10 years ago. Another trip to Valdresflya on Friday 2nd July did not reveal too many more species. This time I walked around the lakes to the east of the road and yet again was struck by how few birds there were. On the lakes 2 males Long Tailed Ducks were very nice as was a male Scaup but otherwise there was just a pair of Tufted Duck, a female Teal and a handful of Common Gulls. Waders were represented by 4 Golden Plover, 2 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover. A single Rough Legged Buzzard was the only raptor and passerines were represented by a nesting pair of Wheatear and a single Shorelark. The most numerous bird was Raven with 16(!) spread around the area mostly feeding on the ground – presumeably looking for insects of some kind. Such a high density of Ravens must surely have a negative effect on breeding ducks and waders especially when rodents are lacking. Best sighting was probably reindeer which unfortunately are not wild but nonetheless an impressive sight.

Otherwise we tried to identify the butterflies we saw. There appear to be at least 3 different types of Fritillary butterfly in these parts and below are pictures of what I believe are 2 different species:

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