Monday, 24 September 2012

Værøy day 5

Well my first day alone on the island started with a feeling that something was in the air. The strong northerly winds and rain overnight had given way t a still sunny morning. Meadow Pipits were in the air and after only 10 minutes I had a Sylvia warbler. It wasn’t too cooperative but eventually showed itself to be “just” a Whitethroat (tornsanger). I’ll need to check but I think this is a pretty good record here although I would have preferred something rarer. Whilst checking the intricacies of Sylvia warblers in the Collins Bird Guide (Svensson et al) I noticed that according to them immature Whitethroat and Subalpine Warblers are exactly the same. I’m sure I ‘m not the first to spot this but it looks like they have used the same picture for both species!
spot the difference
an unexpected Whitethroat (tornsanger)

 Continuing my usual route through Sørland, then Marka and finally the Plantation I had 6 Yellow-browed Warblers (gulbrynsanger), 9 Chiffchaffs (gransanger), 2 Willow Warblers (løvsanger) (including one affectionately named “psyco” by the other due to its completely abnormal call that it uttered continually and very tatty plumage), 4 Dunnocks (jernspurv), 7 Reed Buntings (sivspurv), 30 Ring Ouzels (ringtrost), a Merlin (dvergfalk), 1 Garden Warbler (hagesanger), 1 Robin (rødstrupe), 1 Pied Flycatcher (svarthvit fluesnapper), 3 Common Redpolls (gråsisik) and best of all 2 Hornemanni Arctic Redpolls (polarsisik). The later two were in a very productive area where I sat patiently after seeing a Y-b Warbler and with some pishing I also attracted in Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Pied Fly and the Redpolls.
In the field the Hornemanni were noticeably larger than the Common Redpolls and in flight the white rumps were very large. When relaxed they were also very fluffy although in the pictures they were either feeding or alert and therefore look sleeker.
Arctic Redpoll of race hornemanni (polarsisik)

The large white rump is visible

I also had good views of a hunting Golden Eagle (kongeørn) which was flying over the lower slopes of the hills and most easily picked out due to the shadow it cast on the hillside. It was not a full adult due to some pale patches at the base of the primaries but I would imagine that after its next moult it will have full adult plumage.
Sub adult Golden Eagle (kongeørn)

The Glaucous Gull (polarmåke) was present at the harbour mouth.
I got myself a lift to Nordland and added 2 Lesser Whitethroats (møller), 2 Black-throated Divers (storlom) and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits (lappspove) which were all new tour species for me. Also 2 Y-b Warblers taking me to 8 for the day and two pairs of White-tailed Eagles calling frequently and engaging in pair bonding behaviour.
So no big rarities although I couple of birds that I never got to see properly had “a feeling” about them ;-)
The easterly winds are forecast to start this evening and continue until lunch tomorrow. Let’s hope something good falls out of the sky.
Yellow-browed Warbler (gulbrynsanger)

Willow Warbler (løvsanger)

Chiffchaff (gransanger)

Lesser Whitethroat (møller)

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