Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Will the good times ever stop?

Yet another good day which is I guess to be expected in May but even so I was more than satisified with today’s results.
With fresh southerly winds forecast I chose seawatching at Brentetangen and thereafter Kurefjorden and the surrounding farmland as my destination. The targets were one or more species of skua plus Dotterel – and I succeeded on both counts!
I was in place at Brentetangen at 0617 and held out until 0921 with surprisingly no company. For the first two hours there was a steady passage of ducks and divers although the last hour was very quiet. The undoubted highlight came at 0710 when two distant light phase Pomarine Skuas flew north. They flew quite high over the water in a very leisurely manner with their tail “spoons” showing well despite the long range. If you look at this picture with a large magnifying glass and a bucket full of good will you can see that the dot which I have enlarged is indeed a Pomarine Skua. The distance to the other side of the fjord here is 10km (I would never have guessed it being so far but that is what the map tells me) and the birds were at least half way out so it is amazing my camera even picked up the dots.
Brentetagnen and 2 distant Pomarine Skuas (or was it a speck of dust on the lens?)

Otherwise a Fulmar, eight Kittiwakes, one Guillemot and a Black Guillemot were good sea birds but the bread and butter came in the form of: 170 Tufted Ducks, 134 Common Scoters, 65 Velvet Scoters, 48 Red-throated Divers and 11 Whimbrel all heading north.

The tide was falling at Kurefjorden and from the bird tower there was a nice selection of waders with 9 Bar-tailed Godwits, 47 Whimbrel, 4 Curlew, 20 Greenshank, 10 Redshank, 3 Ringed Plovers and a few Lapwing and Oystercatchers. Driving through the agricultural areas around Kurefjorden my target was to find Dotterel on one of the newly ploughed fields. Checking out the first fields I had only 3 Whimbrel and a Wryneck singing from a nearby copse. Continuing further to Roer there was a large ploughed field with a tractor working it. I scanned the field and picked out something brick coloured in the haze – I was sure it was a Dotterel but it didn’t move and I started thinking it was just a brick! But no it was a Dotterel and I eventually got good scope views although the pictures are nothing to write home about.

Rune was also in the area and he was able to finally tick off the most glaring addition to his list!
On the way back I dropped in to Maridalen and six Tufted Ducks on the lake were new in and not surprising given the good numbers I had seen migrating north at Brentetangen. Little else to see until I got to Dausjøelva and heard the sound of a Wryneck very close. In fact it was singing from a dead tree right by the road. The tree is full of old woodpecker holes and the Wryneck was actually sitting in a hole and singing. This area is where I have most often had Wryneck in Maridalen but I have never suspected breeding before. Let us hope that a female turns up as the male seems to have found a hole he likes.
A close up picture and a video:

In the evening a Swift low over the house is the first to be reported in the Oslo area this year.


  1. Mr Wry now has company, as of 8 o'clock by a fine missus.
    Still wondering why I didn't hear him in the morning...

    1. Good. I was sure there were two different birds calling today and that confirms it :-)