Thursday, 9 June 2011

Another nocturnal excursion

The missus was having friends around on Wednesday evening so that seemed to be a good excuse for another nocturnal excursion. I teamed up with Bjørn Olva Tveit and we were out from 7pm until 4am driving. I am always amazed that the police are not called after us as we drive slowly along farm tracks frequently stopping the car. This time we were politely questioned by one local as to what we were doing but the only other people we bumped into were another couple of birders who coincidentally were following pretty much the same route as us.

The evening started at Hellesjøvannet south in Akershus county where a Bittern had been heard at the weekend. Despite 3 hours of wait we did not hear it. Highlights here were 2 Pochard, 2 male Marsh Harriers, a couple of unusual inland Oystercatchers and 2 Corncrakes singing close to each other in fields north of the lake.

We moved on just after 11pm and next stop was a River Warbler which had also been found at the weekend. This sang very well in some trees along a small river. It really has a most amazing song, often described as sounding like a sewing machine.

From close by here we also heard a NIGHTJAR which was a Norwegian tick for me although this was at least a km away. We drove closer later and did hear it again but were still not that close to it. Also nearby we heard a family of Long-eared Owls with the young making their distinctive begging calls. This is the first time I have heard them doing this and also my first record in the Oslo area yet during the course of the evening we located another 2 families and saw an adult hunting.

After this we took the scenic route back to Oslo with frequent stops in likely looking habitats. Near Løken we had a singing Cornrake and Quail by the road as well as 2 Badgers and another family of Long-eared Owls and a hunting adult.

Near Haneborg we had 2 singing Quails, a Corncrake and yet another family of Long-eared Owls.

At Tuentangen the time was already 0315 and the dawn chorus had begun in earnest but we picked out 2 Thrush Nightingales, 3 Marsh Warblers and an Icterine Warbler. This was again a marked increase to my visit at the weekend showing that the summer visitors are still arriving.

Last visit was to hear the Blyth's Reed Warbler at Stilla again. He was singing continuously and seems to have more mimicry than before including a good White Wagtail impression which maybe he has picked up since being here.

Home around 4a.m with another sucessful night behind me.

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