Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Boom Boom

I gave in to temptation today and went for the booming Bittern (rørdrum) in Østfold. Despite being only a little over an hour from the house and the fact it would be a Norwegian tick I have not gone before, but with todays hot weather I thought that I could also pick up some raptors down that neck of the woods. The Bittern was present at a lake called Gjølsjøen near Ørje and this is a shallow lake surrounded by farmland and has large reedbeds. No surprise then that this is hosting Norway’s only boomer this year. Between 10 and 10.30 am it boomed three times with 4 to 5 booms in each sequence but I didn’t see it (I don’t think anyone has actually seen this particular bird). It then went quiet for the next half an hour before I left. Also here a couple of Honey Buzzards (vepsevåk) in the air for about 15 minutes with one displaying.
picture sequence of displaying (wing clapping) Honey Buzzard

I drove next to Hemnessjøen via some promising farmland but had only a female Red-backed Shrike , 2 pairs of Cranes and a pair of Common Buzzards.
At Hemnesjøen there was the usual fair of Red-throated Divers (smålom) and Great Crested Grebes (toppdykker) plus a singing (heard only) Rosefinch (rosenfink). The colony of Black-headed Gulls (hettemåke) that I saw last week was now completely absent and four crows (kråke) were picking around presumably eating eggs. I hope that it wasn’t human disturbance that caused the birds to move. I saw a colony on an island further along the lake which I hope is the same birds relocated.
At Hellesjøvannet I chose to go to the tower hide for the first time. The views here are rather limited due to tree growth but on my last visit I saw that the Hobby’s (lerkefalk) made frequent flybys and sure enough one did just that and I was able to master my camera this time.

Also here a Spotted Flycatcher (gråfluesnapper) was perched calling just outside the hide allowing me this great picture (I have to say I am really chuffed with how this came out!).
Spotted Flycatcher
 A half built nest inside the hide was presumably the reason for the close presence. On the lake the Whooper Swan (sangsvane) eggs had hatched (within the last 24 hours) and 5 tiny babies were being guarded over by their proud parents. Also of interest on the lake were a pair of Shoveler (skjeand).
Driving home as I went past Merkja by Nordre Øyeren I saw there were two small ducks - worth a stop I thought. 11 waterfowl in total: 2 Mute Swans (knoppsvane), 3 Mallard (stokkand), 2 Goldenye (kvinand), 2 male Teal (krikkand) and these two:
Pair of Garganey (knekkand)

Female Garganey taken with iphone through telescope

Male Garganey
I had been wondering whether I would see any Garganey (knekkand) close to Oslo and clearly the answer was yes!

I had a couple of large butterflies today. A Swallowtail (svalestjert) at Hellesjøvannet appears to be the first reported in Norway this year and a Camberwell Beauty (sørgekåpe).

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