Monday, 20 August 2012

Waders at Årnestangen

As recently as 10 August there was flooding at Årnestangen and no mud for waders but this weekend there were reports of waders on small areas of exposed mud right at the tip. So I decided to brave the mosquitoes and the rain and walk the couple of km to the tip today. And well worth it it was.
On the walk out there was little to see with a perched Marsh Harrier (sivhauk), a few Common Snipe (enkeltbekkasin) flying over and a flushed Great Snipe (dobbeltbekkasin) ,which flew up in its typical manner with no call, a low and direct flight and you could hear its wings flapping, being the highlights and pretty much also the only birds I saw. When I arrived at the tip I could at first only locate 3 adult and a young Knot (polarsnipe) on an offshore sand bank but then I flushed an adult White-tailed Eagle (havørn) which flew behind some trees and as if by magic disappeared. I could at first see no other waders and assumed that the eagle had scared everything away but then as I got closer to the narrow mud bank I saw that there were actually a lot of waders. In total there were 90 Dunlin (myrsnipe), a single Temminck’s Stint,  3 Ruff (brushane), 5 Greenshank (gluttsnipe), 4 Redshank (rødstilk), 1 Spotted Redshank (sotsnipe), 20 Ringed Plover (sandlo) and 3 flyover Curlew (storspove). No rarities but a good selection of waders and impressive numbers of Dunlin. Even though wader migration is at its peak, ducks have not yet arrived in large numbers and there were only 100 Teal (krikkand) and 60 Wigeon (brunnakke) alongside a few Mallard (stokkand) and Goldeneye (kvinand). Passerines were in short supply but there were a few Yellow (gulerle) and White Wagtails (linerle).
It really rained when I was out at the tip and this seemed to cause an arrival of Common Snipe with at least 50 flying over in small flocks.
On the walk back I had 2 Marsh Harriers flying together, 3 Ospreys (fiskeørn), a Sparrowhawk and  a flock of Cormorants (storskarv) that flew in and then dived for fish in a very tight group.

Stopping in at Maridalen the Black-throated Diver (storlom) family were feeding together close to the shore although yet again I failed to get a decent picture.

The only waders that allowed themselves to be photographed today were the Dunlins although the rain and bad light were a bit of a challenge.

Dunlins: moulting adult (left) left and juvenile moulting into 1st winter (right)
This Dunlin moulting out of juvenile plumage was quite beefy with a long bill and hunch-backed jizz

Dunlins coming into land
Adult Dunlin moulting into winter plumage

Dunlins coming into land

Temminck's Stint with Dunlin
Cormorant flock coming into land

Cormotant flock in fishing mode. How many do you think there are? You will be surprised if you count them..

Adult and juvenile Black-throated Diver

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