Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Raptor day

A full days birding was on the cards today. It was mostly overcast and in the afternoon there was very heavy rain but despite this I had easily my highest day raptor count for Norway. 20 birds of 5 species: 6 Marsh Harriers, 4 Hobbies, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels and 6 Buzzards.
The day was spent in the south east of Oslo and Akershus with a visit into Østfold,
At Tuen by Nordre Øyeren a summer plumaged Grey Plover on a turf field looked a bit out of place amongst 100 White Wagtails and a smattering of Yellow Wagtails, Skylarks, Wheatears and Meadow Pipits. Over the fields a few Swallows and Sand Martins feeding.
Driving into Aurskog-Høland a Kestrel and Buzzard by the raod were the first raptors of the day. Around Bjørkelangen there was flooding in the fields and there were 20 Cranes, 2 more Buzzards a Sparrowhawk and small numbers of Brambling, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and Skylark in the stubble fields.
Continuing further south fields at Brautmet held a pair of Whooper Swans, a Kestrel, Whinchat and a Golden Plover. Hellesjøvannet had an adult male and 2 juv Marsh Harriers with the male dropping food to one of the youngsters. Also here a showy Buzzard, 5 Pochard, 6 Whoopers Swans, Teal, Tufted Duck and Pochard and a few Great Crested Grebes including 2 still stripy youngsters.
Driving past Hemnesjøvannet there was another juv Marsh Harrier, adult Hobby, Redstart, Wheatear and Tree Pipit at Kragtorpvika.

Crossing into Østfold a juv Hobby circled over the car, and at Kallaksjøen 2 Hobby, 2 Marsh Harriers, Buzzard and 9 Whooper Swans.

It was now mid afternoon and the wind was picking up from the south so I though a seawatch from Krokstrand would be in order. Dricing there I noted single Buzzard and Kestrel but the seawatching was disappointing. The wind was not that strong in the fjord and in an hour I only notched up 3 commic terns, 1 Artic Tern, 4 Guillemots, a Common Scoter, 2 Eider and 3 Cormorant alongside a handful of Herring Gulls.

Time to head home but I chose the scenic route. There have been a number of waders reported from flooded farmland in the last few weeks so I checked out some likely places. No waders except for Snipe but perhaps the highlight of the trip came in the form of a leucistic Swallow amongst 100 normally plumaged birds. I fired off over 100 pictures in rainy, overcasr conditions but managed a few "record shots"

Leucistic Barn Swallow

Marsh Harrier


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