Monday, 8 August 2011

Ducking great

Time for a trip to Tønsberg to catch up with some wildfowl that have been kicking around for a while. A couple are probably plastic but one was most likely the real deal.
First stop was Presterødkilen where the water level was very high meaning that conditions were not ideal for waders but there were plenty of ducks and geese. Amongst many hundred Greylag Geese the first plastic tick stood out: a pristine white adult Snow Goose. It is difficult to get too excited about a bird like this but it was a year tick (I have seen them many times previously in Norway, both the now extinct feral population in the Oslo fjord and a pair migrating with Barnacle Geese that were also seen on Svalbard. The wise men who anonamously sit behind will not however allow me to have it on my list. They also refuse to let me have Bar-headed Goose which they include on the norwegian list - I cannot see how anyone can suggest that any of the norwegian records have been genuine asian migrants so I've no idea why the birds I have seen can be rejected. Whinge finished.)
Amongst the many Teal and Mallard I picked out the long staying Black Duck (another year tick) and there were a handful of Ruff and Greenshank around the edges.
My main target was eluding me though and as this was most unlikely to have jumped a fence I needed to keep searching. I drove to the south and found a flock of moulting Eider and there amongst them was my quarry. First found by Per Christian on 2 July - a fine male Surf Scoter. The views were not great as I had to contend with heat haze at 50x magnification. The bird was in moult and lacked the white on the nape which from what I can see from the literature is a very brief occurence.
With a norwegian tick under the belt it was time to drive up the rode to Ilene and get another slightly more plastic one. The Ruddy Shelduck stood out like a sore thumb amongst another multi-hundred strong flock of Greylags. I guess this could be genuine as there is a belief now that wild birds from south east europe erupt to the north west but I guess we will never know. Still it's as good as they will ever get in Norway. Not too much else here except Greenshank and Redshank.
On the way back to Oslo a stop at Møringa by Horten revealed just a couple of Dunlin of any interest and a stop at Sandebukta where a Black Tern had been seen on Saturday turned up a blnak.

A trip to Fornebu in the rain yesterday didn't reveal any big surprises although a Honey Buzzard over was nice and 3 immature Red-backed Shrikes were a sign of succesful local breeding. A few waders were present including 5 Snipe that were unusually visible as they fed in the open and a handful of Wood Sandpipers and Greenshank.

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