Saturday, 9 June 2012

Nocturnal excursion anno 2012

Last night Rune and I went for a nocturnal wander in Aurskog-Høland with a little diversion in Østfold. We were well rewarded for our time (out from 1930 until 0330) but a weather induced delayed growth of cereal crops meant that there was hardly any cover for species such as Quail (vaktel) and Corncrake (åkerrikse) so we were rewarded with only a single Corncrake for our troubles and I have still to see/hear Quail this year (this time last year there were very good numbers of both species because there was a lot of suitable habitat available for them). For our troubles we had a single (self found) Blyth’s Reed Warbler (busksanger), 1 River Warbler (elvesanger), 2 Grasshopper Warblers (gresshoppesanger) , 7 Marsh Warblers (myrsanger), 1 Sedge Warbler (sivsanger), Reed Warbler (rørsanger), 1 Thrush Nightingale (nattergal), 1 hunting Long-eared Owl (hornugle), 2 churring Nightjars (nattravn), 1 calling Water Rail (vannrikse) and 1 singing Corncrake.
At Ydersbotn at the southern end of Hemnessjøen we had a singing Grasshopper Warbler, 2 singing Marsh Warblers and a distant churring Nightjar as well as barking Roe Deer (rådyr) along with the music from a party in a farmhouse to give a quite unique aural experience. At Kragtorpvika we had a chorus of calling in Red-throated Divers (smålom) and a singing warbler. It took a bit of listening to before the bricks fell into place - a self found Blyth’s Reed Warbler. The song was very different to the bird at Snekkervika and the characteristic whistle was only uttered once but it had the distinctive repetition of 4-5 phrases, which were usually mimics of another bird, which gives Blyth’s the distinctive structure to its song.
Driving alongside Hemnesjøen we had the company of a hunting Long-eared Owl in our headlights for about 30 seconds which was our only record for the night (this time last year I had heard 3 different sets of begging young but this year we heard none). At Hellesjøvannet the hoped for Bittern (rørdrum) or Spotted Crake (myrriske) failed to materialise but we were able to listen to singing Sedge, Reed and Marsh Warbler with a distant churring Nightjar and calling Water Rail adding to the noise.
In the valley north of Bjørkelangen the lack of cover meant we had just a single Corncrake in  a normally productive area but things were made difficult for us for the explosion in Skylark (sanglerke) song from 0210. There was still not a hint of the sun in the sky (although it was by no means dark) and the dawn chorus was starting! The Fieldfares (gråtrost) had started making a noise at 0200 after finally having shut up shortly after 2330 which gives only a short window in which it is only the exciting nocturnal singers that can be heard and not drowned out by the rest of the avian world. The night finished just after 3am with a quick trip into Maridalen where we had the singing River and Grasshopper Warblers but nothing else of note.
Elsewhere in Oslo and Akershus a plastic Red-breasted Goose (rødhalsgås) assorting with Barnacle Geese on an ornamental pond at Fornebu seems to have attracted rather too much interest but a Little Tern at Årnestangen is a real rarity of note and will hopefully hang around and warrant the walk and mosquito menace.
I have recorded some of the noises of the night and will put together a video clip soon. In the mean time here is another bad Marsh Warbler picture to add to the collection.
Marsh Warbler
Here is the video, unfortunately the sound is quite poor so you have to listen closely. The background chorus to the Blyth's Reed is Red-throated Divers I think.

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