Monday, 12 December 2011

More to see

Seawatching from Krokstrand with Fulmar fly-by
Time for some birding again today although I was lucky to get there and back in one piece. The thermometer was a couple of degrees on the red side of freezing and rain was falling on snow covered roads resulting in atrocious conditions on smaller country roads. Oslo airport was also closed for 4 hours due to the runway being too icy which given how prepared they are for "weather" means it was pretty extreme today.

Anyway I survived and the destination was yet again Krokstrand for a spell of seawatching. Strong winds have been blowing from the south resulting in good numbers of seabirds further down on the Swedish west coast so chances were high for something good (it also does help to be optimistic). I started watching at 1015 and immediately picked up both Kittiwake and Fulmar which are the indicator birds for a good seawatch so I felt positive for a good day. Completing my second sweep of the sea I picked up a large diver heading south at moderate range. Looking goose sized with big feet dangling behind and a large blue grey dagger for a bill it was clearly a Great Northern Diver and my second for the year. I sent out a message on the bird alert system and got a message from Per G that he was on his way down aswell so I would have some company.
The Kittiwakes and Fulmars continued to show and peering into the gloom further south there was clearly good numbers Kittiwakes flying around the fjord. There was little else though with very few auks or duck to liven things up. The days possible highlight though didn't let itself be identified. I picked up another large diver, this time heading north but unfortunately on the other side of the fjord. Its enormous size was clear as was its very pale (almost brown) plumage but it crash landed into the sea before I could study the bill and I never picked it up on the water. The pale colour though pointed very much towards it being a 1K White-billed Diver.
Another unidentified bird was a small passerine that flew south about 300m from the shore only 1 metre from the waves. My thoughts strayed towards Rock Pipit but it was impossible to be sure.
Per arrived around noon and we had 45 minutes together before I had to leave. During this time Kittiwakes started heading north into the fjord and went past at great speed. Of about 70 birds I had in total only 4 were 1K's of which one had me calling probable Sabine's Gull before Per calmed me down! 2 Red-throated Divers heading south was a late record.

Just as things were starting to warm up though I had to leave Per to it on his own. As I drove home the inevitable message came in but luckly it was only of a Pomarine Skua of which Per had 2 plus another 100 Kittiwakes (a very good count in these parts). The winds are forecast to blow up again tomorrow along with a lot of rain but I think I'll have to give it another go.

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