It was good to get out in the field again today and Rune and I headed for Horten and Tønsberg in Vestfold. The rain stopped yesterday evening and today’s forecast was for it to be dry with southerly winds until early afternoon. This gave us some hope of a new arrival of birds after migration has ground to a halt the last week. A message of a Black Redstart as we drove down gave us hope but there was little to see from the car as we drove down except for fog!
At Møringa (Horten) we hoped to see some northerly movement of birds out to see or some waders on the shoreline but were disappointed on both counts. Offshore we had 2 porpoises and a seal, a single Kittiwake and nothing much else! Overhead a mixed group of around 50 Bramblings and Chaffinches headed south but at least this was a sign of migration even if it was the wrong way.
Børrevannet was also quite with a single overflying Snipe the highlight as it was a year tick for me. There was however some sign of an arrival of birds with 30 odd Fieldfares and 10 or so Redwings being the first thrush flock I have seen so far this year. Thirty Great Crested Grebes on the lake were in full display and starting to build their flimsy nests.
Working our way down the coast towards Tønsberg we had a handful of Ringed Plovers, a gathering of 60 Shedluck and 35 Cormorants migrating north.
At Presterødkilen the tide was starting to go out revealing some mud on the edges but 3 Curlew were the only waders exploiting it other than the usual Oystercatcher and Lapwings. Teal numbers are building up here with 60 birds alongside 10 Wigeon but Mute Swans were the most numerous wildfowl species with an impressive 115 present.
Ilene was our last stop before we needed to head back towards Oslo. Here there were a few more birds to see. The stubble fields failed to host hoped for wheatear or golden plover but did have 20 White Wagtails and 10 Meadow Pipits. The estuary had many gulls although nothing exciting other than a very pale Herring Gull, a couple of Ringed Plovers and 23 resting Pink-footed Geese. As we started getting ready to go things finally started to happen. First 2 flocks of Pink-footed Geese migrating north and then a fine Osprey (just seconds after I had lamented a complete lack of raptors). After enjoying the Osprey we drove off only for me to notice some Snipe flying over and Rune to then see the cause: a fantastic male Hen Harrier that flew over our car! Shortly after this we had a Buzzard to give us three raptor species in under 10 minutes after having had none in the previous 5 hours!
|The first Osprey of 2012|
As we arrived back in Oslo we had 2 flocks of Pink-footed Geese flying in roughly the same direction as us allowing us to estimate their speed at around 60kmph.