Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Årnestangen and itchy feet

Only one day to go until I am on Værøy and it couldn’t come sooner. The messages have ticked in today of all the good birds that are waiting for me: Red-flanked Bluetail (blåstjert), Olive-backed Pipit (sibirpiplerke), at least 15! Yellow-browed Warblers (gulbrynsanger) and yesterday a Pechora Pipit (tundrapiplerke).

To practice my field skills I walked out to Årnestangen today. Unfortunately the water levels have been allowed to rise leaving only a tiny area of mud. This still attracted waders but you have to wonder how many there would be if the water level was regulated even lower. Amongst 18 Dunlin (myrsnipe) there were four Ringed Plover (sandlot), 1 Knot (polarsnipe), 1 Grey Plover (tundralo) and 1 Sanderling (sandløper) which made for a good mix and also allowed me to take some good pictures.
Raptors were also fairly well represented but the ubiquitous Peregrines (vandrefalk) and Marsh Harriers (sivhauk) of previous visits were now absent and in their place two White-tailed Eagles (havørn), one a sub adult which still had black tips to its white tail feathers and a full adult which had a completely white tail. Surely these magnificent creatures will breed here soon. Also a single female Hen Harrier (myrhauk) which although I didn’t see it well gave no association to anything rarer, a Buzzard (musvåk), a pair of Goshawks (hønsehauk) circling together showing off the size difference between the sexes and a single hunting Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk).
Ducks were in much lower numbers than of late probably due to the higher water levels although I did find two Pintails (stjertand).
Passerines were present in good numbers with flocks of Chaffinches (bokfink), Bramblings (bjørkefink), Siskins (grønnsisik), Reed Buntings (sivspurv), Tree Sparrows (pilfink) and Meadow Pipits (heipiplerke). Also a single Redstart (rødstjert), calling Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett), a late singing Willow Warbler (løvsanger), Chiffchaffs (gransanger) and a Blackcap (munk). So I got my eye in but I will be faced with a whole new set of challenges on Værøy tomorrow and can’t wait to get stuck into a few sibes!

juvenile Knot (polarsnipe)

juvenile Sanderling (sandløper)

knot again...

a very bleached and abraded adult Ringed Plover (delayed moult?)

juvenile Ringed Plover
Grey Plover

juvenile Dunlin moulting into 1st winter plumage
In Maridalen there was a single Buzzard, an adult Black-throated Diver (storlom) and still six Guillemots including this photogenic (probably on its last legs) individual.

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