Friday, 14 September 2012

Shearwaters, what Shearwaters?

The strongest southerly winds of the autumn (sonfar) were forecast in the outer Oslofjord so seawatching was on the cards again today. And indeed there were many birds out there. Reports came in of thousands of Fulmars (havhest), Great (storlire), Cory's (gulnebblire) and multiple Sooty's Shearwaters (grålire) but that was all happening 60km south of where I was sat. I was not able to start early today and chose Krokstrand which is further north than Brentetangen and while maybe having fewer birds does offer much closer views. On the way down a message came through from Bjørn Olav that he was there already and had seen a Grey Phalarope (polarsvømmesnipe).....a very promising sign!
I was there 20 minutes later and the bird was not visible but was presumed to be on the sea. It took an hour before the bird showed again flying a few hundred metres before pitching down onto the sea. We saw it a couple of times again over the next two hours but it was not easy keeping track of it once it was sat on the sea as the waves were too high.
Other than this fine bird though, 4 hours of sea gazing produced only one Fulmar, 200 or so Guillemots (lomvi) heading north and a single Arctic Tern (rødnebbterne). Clearly the winds were not strong enough to force north all the interesting petrels and shearwaters being seen off Ravn and Hvaler.

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