Friday, 4 May 2012

RED is my colour

More about colours later, I will take today chronologically.
Another pre breakfast Maridalen trip. I had high hopes this morning because there had been rain since the early hours and I hoped this would bring down some waders and ducks. Well it did, although not in huge numbers. As I left the house a Willow Warbler singing in the garden was a good sign. There was still light rain and low cloud when I drove into Maridalen and small flocks of Wood Pigeons migrating over was another good sign. As the water level is still so high waders only have the islands or exposed rocks to rest on and will obviously not hang around long. There were7 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper and 3 Common Sandpipers so some birds at least. The pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were still present along with a few Tufted Duck and Goldeneye. Five Swallows were sat on wires alongside a Sand Martin.
After breakfast it was time for the Rune and Simon show. We chose to follow my route of yesterday hoping for more waders and maybe something else. Well, we were not disappointed!!
Starting with Nordre Øyeren our first stop was Snekkervika. With the rising water level there were birds within viewing distance. Amongst 100 Teal were a fine pair of Shovelers and 20 Wigeon. On land my first Whitethroat of the year plus a general abundance of commoner birds.
Next stop, and my target for the day, was Svellet. After good numbers of waders yesterday I was hoping that the rain would have brought down even more today. We were NOT to be disappointed. Right now, I reckon this must be the best place for waders in the whole of Norway. We had in excess of 800 waders, with 500 Wood Sandpipers, 200 Greenshank, 30 Oystercatcher, 29 Redshank, 20 Ruff, 20 Lapwing, 13 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 8 Ringed Plover, 5 Little Ringed Plover and a single Snipe.  
Svellet, some of the 800+ waders present: Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Ruff, Whimbrel, Curlew..

Little Ringed Plovers
 It would have been nice to find a real rarity but really I can’t complain.  The birds were often in flight due to either raptors, we had Peregrine, Kestrel, Goshawk and Osprey, or helicopters which were buzzed the area a few times. Also a flock of 60 Pink-footed Geese and 4 fine male Yellow (grey-headed) Wagtails. At nearby Tuentangen we had a tailess Wryneck which gave very good views as it fed alongside a factory, five Whinchat, another Whitethroat and a Spotted Redshank with six Greenshank.

It was a difficult choice to leave Svellet as waders were still arriving, we could hear and see them dropping out of the sky but we wanted to visit Hellesjøvannet aswell.
On the way we had a real surprise as we drove through an area of forest when suddenly there was a female Capercaille on the side of the road. By the time Rune had completed his emergency stop the bird was 50 metres behind us and flew off as we tried to take a picture.
Arriving first at Hemnesjøvannet we had three Marsh Harriers, a Rough-legged Buzzard, a Merlin, 13 Red-throated Divers, Osprey, 30 Golden Plover flying over and six Greenshank which dropped in from great height. Birds really were everywhere today!!
Driving to Hellesjøvannet I spotted a bird on wires about 200m from the road. This was not the usual Wood Pigeon and I raised my binoculars at 70km/h..... wasn’t that bird orange..... a female RED-FOOTED FALCON!!!  Rune had to expertly execute his second emergency stop of the day and then it was down with the windows, confirm the identification and take photos....flat camera battery. I changed camera battery in a world record time and managed a handful of pictures before it suddenly took off and headed low south where it circled for a couple of minutes before drifting off. It all happened so quickly that I saw the bird mostly through the camera and realised afterwards that I had not really enjoyed the bird

Female RED-FOOTED FALCON the highlight of the day
 Adrenalin was really flowing now and we continued to look over Hellesjøvannet. Here there were over 500 swallows/martins split roughly 60% Swallows, 20% House Martins and 20% Sand Martins. Feeling lucky I tried to find Red-rumped Swallow but had to admit defeat on this front. Also here a male and female Marsh Harrier, Merlin, 2 Kestrels, male Pochard, male Gadwall, Yellow Wagtail, 20 Golden Plovers and 2 Greenshank and 20 Wood Sandpipers.
Continuing north we had another male Marsh Harrier and 2 Kestrels close to Løren.
At Kjelle, we had 25 Wood Sandpipers, 3 Little Ringed Plovers and a Redshank plus Teal and Wigeon. Today it seemed like any pool of water held waders or ducks.
At Haugrim/Haneborg we had a Sparrowhawk, 31 Cranes, 40 Golden Plovers plus Wood Sand, Greenshank and Curlew. 

Cranes ar Mellom Haneborg
The day was not over though because driving home we had another Rough-legged Buzzard and finally a Buzzard.
We finished the day with an outstanding 10 species of raptor: 8 Kestrels, 6 Marsh Harriers, 2 Rough-legged Buzzards, 2 Osprey, 2 Merlin, 1 Peregrine, 1 Goshawk, 1 RED-FOOTED FALCON, 1 Buzzard and 1 Sparrowhawk. The last two species are the commonest in these parts and we only managed one of each!

So, it looks like red is suiting me quite well. Three national rarities in three days: Med Gull, Serin and today Red-footed Falcon. Birding hasn’t been this good for quite a few years!!!
I haven't fully tallied up the day total but was at least 90 species and we were completely inland and disn't visit woodland!!

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