Thursday, 3 May 2012

Getting comfortable with red

The day started with a pre-dawn raid of Maridalen. All the geese from yesterday were gone and there were also fewer ducks so ducks had left but no new ones had arrived. Waders though had arrived with 6 Greenshank perched on stones (there is no mud showing yet although the water level is falling so maybe next week there will be a little mud), also 3 Common Sandpipers and a Whimbrel flew north calling. Still only a single Common Snipe on snipe marsh and although it was calling there was no display.  A Yellow Wagtail over was a nice year tick .
Three adult Whooper Swans were clearly non breeding birds and probably the same as I had on Sunday. I wonder whether 1 or 2 of them could be the 2010 youngsters?
After breakfast I headed for Svellet in Nordre Øyeren. The water level has unfortunately risen a lot but there is still a lot of mud at the northern end and here there were good numbers of waders. If we are lucky the mudflat will remain for at least a week as the real wader migration has not yet begun.
mudflats at Svellet with Ruff, Curlew, Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper

The most numerous waders were Wood Sandpipers with 155, followed by 115 Greenshank, 22 Ruff including a number of fully summer plumaged males, 14 Oystercathers, 7 Curlews (including 1 with a broken wing), 10 Lapwings, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Ringed Plover. The only duck were 9 Wigeon, a pair of Gadwall and 5 Shelduck. Raptors were represented by a single Merlin and single Kestrel.
Next stop was Svindal which offers good if distant views over the outer delta (south of Årnestangen) and can also be good for raptors. Not so many waders on the much reduced mud flats here, just 20 or so Greenshank and a handful of Wood Sandpipers. More ducks here though with 300 Teal and 80 Wigeon. All three hirundines feeding and a Lesser Whitethroat singing. The day’s highlight and the red letter bird flew by giving a dry trill, was about Redpoll size, lacked wing bars, had a bright yellow rump and had green upperparts: a SERIN. Even though they have bred near Oslo for the last 2 years this is still a national rarity so this was a good bird – just a shame it was a fly-by.
Continuing onto Hemnesjøvannet there was a hunting Osprey, 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Common Terns and 2 Whinchat.
When I arrived at Hellesjøvannet there were 4 (2 male and 2 female) Marsh Harriers circling together seemingly in some sort of territorial display with one of the males carrying nesting material. They then all dispersed away from the lake. Not long later I disturbed another male which was bird number 5 and later a male came in from another direction but this could well have been one of the other males.
male Marsh Harrier
Also here the breeding pair of Whooper Swans, a pair of Pochard which looked like they may settle down to breed and a male Gadwall which was very interested in a female Mallard and was chasing her and chasing away male Mallards – she did not seem at all interested in him though. A flock of 40 summer plumaged Golden Plovers flew over a couple of times.
On the drive back I had a female Marsh Harrier a few kilometres to the north which could very well have been one of the breeding birds, a couple of Kestrels (I had seven in total today), a very light Buzzard and a Hobby.
The Buzzard was an incredibly pale bird and had a white rump and white central tails feathers which can be seen in these pictures.

pale Buzzard

pale Buzzard - could invite confusion with many rarer raptors
pale Buzzard from above.

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