Sunday, 15 May 2011

Great Snipe

Bjørn Olav Tveit and I took an early morning trip to Borrevannet today. Over night rain anddeasterly winds had us expecting some good birding. Oh well, it is OK to dream.
We stopped first us on the coast at Møringa. A few waders were to be seen including 2 summer plumaged (red) Knot, a winter plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Ringed Plover and Redshank. Off shore there was no indication of any migration. Overhead I had my first Swifts of the year.
On to Borrevannet where we realised it was perhaps a bit too cold and overcast to be a really good day. As we walked down to the lake we noted a couple of Yellow Wagtails flying over, a couple of Rooks, Wheatear and Whinchat. As we walked close to the area where we had possibly heard Great Snipe on Thursday evening a snipe flew up in front of us and sure enough it was a Great Snipe was the following photo just about illustrates (note you can see the extensive white in the tail).We tried to see it on the ground but only suceeded in seeing it in flight twice more. As we tried to locate it on the ground one more time we suddenly heard it singing/displaying. It makes a remarkable bubbling/clicking noise which is only audible at fairly close range. Unfortunately we were unable to see the bird giving its display. I have still to have a satisfactory view of a Great Snipe on the deck but was pretty happy to finally hear the display.
A number of Swallows, House Martins and Swifts hunting insects over the lake alongside a couple of Common Terns. A Thrush Nightingale singing very loudly from the same place as on Thursday and a Sedge Warbler singing alongside more numerous Reed Warblers.
We tried for an hour to find some migrating raptors but managed just a single Buzzard which was probably a local bird and a Sparrowhawk that was definitely migrating.
On the way home stopped at Sandebukta which is a tidal bay that I have never previously visited. A number of gulls here but the only real interest was an Osprey and 16 Common Sandpipers.

Back home for lunch and an afternoon of heavy rain and hail. At 8pm the rain had stopped and I squeezed in a visit to Maridalsvannet with a hope of large numbers of waders and terns forced down by the rain. Wrong again. Just the usual birds from the last week: 4 Wood Sandpipers, 3 Green Sandpipers, 7 Common Sandpipers, Lapwing,Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, a roding Woodcock, the immature Whooper Swan, 4 Black-throated Divers with one singing and new in a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and 20 Sand Martins. A Mistle Thrush was also the first I have seen for a while and perhaps a sign they are breeding here.

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