Friday, 21 September 2012

Værøy day 2

I slept fitfully (either because I was missing home comforts or because I couldn’t wait to get out in the field again). The wind was forecast to be from the north which isn’t exactly ideal but I even so there were bound to be birds out there. I was up at 6am and out of the house at 0640 when it was just about light enough to tell an Eastern Crowned Warbler from a Yellow-browed Warbler (I should be so lucky).
It was overcast and there was some drizzle to start with but this had unfortunately failed to bring down any birds. As I walked around the gardens of Sørland the only warbler I had was a single Chiffchaff (gransanger). Flying overhead were 50+ Snow Buntings (snøspurv) and a few Bramblings (bjørkefink), Chaffinches (bokfink) and Meadow Pipits (heipiplerke) but little else. I made my way up to the plantation and spent a couple of hours here trying to ensure I saw everything that was hiding in there. The only new bird from yesterday was a Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler and otherwise 3 Yellow-browed Warblers (gulbrynsanger) were still present along with 3 or 4 Chiffchaff and a couple of Goldcrest (fuglekonge). I spent a long time trying to take pictures of the Yellow-browed Warblers but it was very frustrating.
Yellow-browed Warbler (gulbrynsanger) front on

Yellow-browed Warbler from below

nearly the whole bird!

I had a message from the others who are staying in the north of island that it was very quiet except for a single Barred Warbler (hauksanger). That wasn’t enough to tempt me up there but when a message came through just after 10am that they had found a Siberian Stonechat (asiasvartstrupe) then it was time to ring Erling, my personal taxi driver and hot wing it up there. After meeting up with the 5 members of the “Værøygjeng” (Kjell Mjølsnes, Geir Kristensen, Evan Mjaaland, Tore Berg and John Alsvik) I went searching for the Stonechat which had temporarily disappeared. After a bit of tramping around it suddenly popped in front of me and eventually allowed itself to be portrait photographed.
Siberian Stonechat (asiasvartstrupe). Fantastic bird!

The Barred Warbler also showed although only in flight and a Yellow-browed Warbler called.

We then all headed back to Sørland in the afternoon where the only real excitement was two Olive-backed Pipits (sibirpiplerke) seen by just one of us and that not being me. Alongside the numerous White-tailed Eagles (havørn) were also 2 (maybe 3) adult Golden Eagles (kongeørn) and a nice surprise was a Gyr Falcon (jaktfalk) that put up the two Golden Eagles that had been perched on a mountain top.
Finishing the day off around the gardens of Sørland I only found Meadow Pipits plus a new Willow Warbler and a couple of Chiffchaffs. After 11 hours in the field I will be enjoying a beer now!
Snow Bunting (snøspurv)

Gyr Falcon (jaktfalk)

Golden Eagle (kongeørn) pair taken at great range

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