My last day and easterly winds were going to bring more vagrants than I could cope with. Or at least that was the plan.
It was eerily quiet as I walked through Sørland early in the morning. A single Goldcrest (fuglekonge) and that was it. No warblers, no overflying pipits or finches and no wind. This was not right!
Walking up through Marka there was no improvement and it was only as I got to what I call the “sub-plantation” – the area of short trees 400m east from the Plantation – that there was some sign of birds.
A calling Goldcrest and Dunnock (jernspurv) got my attention so I started pishing. What sounded like a funny Wren (gjerdesmett)responded and when I got to see the bird it was a Red-breasted Flycatcher (dvergfluesnapper) - finally something new! A Yellow-browed Warbler (gulbrynsanger) also came to investigate as well as a Chiffchaff and there were 7 other Goldcrests in the area. There had been some sort of arrival at least. The flycatcher showed well at times but would then disappear into some sallow bushes.
|Red-breasted Flycatcher (dvergfluesnapper)|
In exactly the same spot as yesterday I again had hornemanni Arctic Redpolls (polarsisik). The reason for their presence was a small birch tree full of catkins. The birds were incredibly tame and I came so close that I couldn’t focus the camera (2 metres!). There were at least 3 birds but maybe as many as 10 as a group flew out as I arrived which on call I would say were the same specues. The three that remained allowed close scrutiny and I saw and photographed the feathered tarsus and managed a “fluffy snowball” picture. There was a lot of variation amongst them in terms of flank streaking with one bird having none at all but the others surprisingly bold streaking (like the bird I photographed yesterday). Also of note was their calls which differed significantly from Common Redpolls (gråsisik) in particular a sparrow like churp which they uttered frequently.
|the fluffy snowball - Arctic Redpoll (polarsisik)o f the race hornemanni from Greenland|
|note the extensive white rump and pure white undertail coverts|
|here you can see the feathered tarsi - trousers|
|this bird has an indistinct red "poll" and streaked flanks|
|......whilst this bird has a more obvious red "poll" and virtually unstreaked flanks|
Continuing to the Plantation there were many Redwings (rødvingetrost) and Brambling (bjørkefink) as well as a single Song Thrush (måltrost) which meant there was always a lot of noise. Goldcrests were new in here as well with at least 6 birds, alongside 3 Chiffchaff, a single Yellow-browed Warbler, Robin (rødstrupe), Dunnock, Wren and best of all another Red-breasted Flycatcher. This was quite a vocal bird and uttered the Wren like call plus another whistle like call but soon vanished. The most frustrating moment was when what was most certainly an Olive-backed Pipit (sibirpiplerke) called from the tree top above me repeatedly but I failed to see it and I then heard it fly off.
With it now approaching midday and my helicopter at 5pm I decided to give Nordland a try so I phoned for my “taxi”. The easterly wind was stronger here without the shelter of the mountains so I hope that there would be more birds here. One is allowed to hope...
I gave the areas three hours and really covered all suitable habitat. Result was two Lesser Whitethroats (møller) and a Blackcap (munk), 1 Y-b Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler (løvsanger), 12 Common Redpolls, 5 Goldcrest, 10 Meadow Pipits (heipiplerke) and offshore 2 Red-necked Grebes (gråstrupedykker). Some birds then but where was the rare
Some mammals today with an obliging Otter, 3 porpoises(nise), a Grey Seal (havert) bobbing in the sea and a Common Seal (steinkobbe) hauled out on a rock.
So the day never quite lived upto expectations but I should be happy with the flycatchers and outstanding views of the hornemanni and I shouldn’t get to blasé about Yellow-browed Warblers. It was just that I hoped for even more...
I nice treat was the helicopter ride home (with thankfully only 4 passenges this time) which included a sightseeing trip around the island giving me a Crowned Warbler eyes view which really showed how attractive Nordland must looking to an incoming bird.
|the second Red-breasted Flycatcher - warmer on the underparts|
|obligatory shot of some wing bars|
|Rock Pipit (skjærpiplerke)|