Sunday, 11 September 2011

Nordre Øyeren

This weekend I had planned to spend birding on the island of Værøy (north of the arctic circle in Lofoten) searching for vagrants but circumstances conspired against me (which was unfortunate as neighbouring island Røst scored yesterday with Olive-backed Pipit and Yellow-browed Warbler). Instead I was able to fit in a mornings birding on Saturday with Per Christian around Nordre Øyeren. As water levels are very high we dropped Årnestangen and concentrated on the eastern side. It was a crisp autumn morning with clear skies and little wind as we drove first to Tuentangen. In stubble fields by the road we saw around 400 geese split around 50% Barnacle, 40% Greylag and 10% Canada along with 6 Ruff. A Redstart nearly became a road casualty but just avoid the car as it flew over the road.
At Tuentangen there was, as hoped, flooding in the turf fields but no waders present apart from a single Lapwing. A few Teal and a handful of Goldeneye were on the water but there was a complete lack of passerines. A distant adult male Marsh Harrier was a fine sight though as it quartered a field of golden corn. We walked the area and soon found that there were actually a lot of birds. There was a continuous movement of geese in the air and the flock that we had seen earlier from the car regularly could be heard and seen as it took to the air. A flooded river held more Teal, 11 Wigeon and 4 Pintail flew over. We also had a female Marsh Harrier and saw the male on another couple of occasions and a pair of Buzzards added to the mix. A Spotted Redshank flew over calling and a flock of 22 Ruff suddenly appeared on the flooded field.
A Red-backed Shrike was located due to the attention it was receiving from a small flock of Siskins which were mobbing it. A Hawfinch flew over and a pair of Marsh Tits showed well but most importantly gave there distinctive call to separate them from Willow Tit.
An "old" turf field (i.e the turf had been "harvested") held around 40 White Wagtails, 10 Meadow Pipits, 2 Tree Pipits, 6 Skylarks and a couple of Snipe.
In the bushes a handful of Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaff, a Dunnock and a Wren were of note.

Next stop was Svindal which gives great view over the eastern side of Nordre Øyeren. This was the first time I have visited this site but definitely won't be the last. With the sun behind us the views were stunning if distant.
In the flooded bays were good numbers of Teal and a hunting juvenile Marsh Harrier putup a lot of them and revealed ca. 600 birds. Also a few Wigeon and a couple of Shoveler seen in flight with the blue forewings standing out. 4 Great Crested Grebes were on the water and we also located in total 41 Pochard (although possibly more) which is a very good count for this scarce norwegian duck. A juvenile Peregrine was first seen pearched in a birch tree before flying around and half heartedly going for some Teal although its heart didn't really seem in it. We didn't have as much time as we would have liked here due to family commitments back in Oslo but a flyby by a pair of Cranes was a fitting finale.

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