Thursday, 3 November 2011

Aurskog Høland

Today was time for one of my occasional tours of Aurskog Høland. First stop was Tuen near Lillestrøm. There have been upto a couple of thousand Pink-footed Geese here recently which is quite a late date and also a high number. As I drove along I saw a flock of a few hundred geese in a roadside field and was in two minds as to whether to stop but I thought that there would be little to see today so there would be no harm in spending some time grilling the flock. It took a bit of time to find somewhere to safely park the car off the main road but on my first scan I saw a flash of white amongst the numerous Pink-feets. Putting up the scope I found two White-fronted Geese and also 2 (tundra) Bean Geese. It was quite difficult going through the geese as the stubble was very high and many birds were invisible until they raised there heads. In total after a number of recounts I came up with 1000 Pink-footed Geese, 2 adult White-fronted Geese, 2 Bean Geese and 40 Greylag Geese. Both White-fronts and Beans are local rarities so this was a good find. On a couple of occasions the geese were very nervous with all of them having their heads up and cackling away but I could not see what had got their attention. However when they all took flight I soon picked up an adult male Goshawk that seemed to be trying to punch a little above its weight although it gave chase without me seeing if it had any luck. Shortly afterwards an immature male Goshawk flew over and at the end of the day as I drove past the field again there was a female Goshawk feeding on something (presumably a goose) in the middle of the field. Obviously the geese are an irresistible snack for the Goshawks!
White-fronted Goose

Tundra Bean Goose

Pink-footed Geese

A quick scan of Svellet showed a flock of 59 Common Scoter - a rare inland sighting along with 3 Tufted Duck and a handful of Goldeneye.

Drving into Aurskog Høland a Great Grey Shrike flew over the road in hot pursuit of some sort of passerine. There was little to see around Haneborh/Haugrim except for yet another Great Grey Shrike - this being my 9th sighting this autumn at seven different locations. Also here 6 Ravens and a mother and calf moose.
A couple of small groups of Whooper Swans were seen from the car before arriving at Hellesjøvannet. Here a flock of around 100 Bramblings in hedgrows by stubble was an unexpected late sighting and there was also at least 1 Chaffinch with them.


Hellesjøvannet itself looked empty at first glance but a thorough scan with the scope gave up 6 female Smew (a high count in these parts), 5 Goosander, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Goldeneye, only 2 Mallard, a female type Scaup and 4 Snipe which took flight as though they had been disturbed. It took a while to find out by what but then I picked out a female Hen Harrier perched on a fence post. I then drive closer which was only a minutes drive but when I got there it had gone and I could not see it in flight over the fields either - frustrating!

Driving home a flock of 30 Canada Geese by the road gave me 5 species of Geese for the day.

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