Thursday, 18 October 2012

Nothing but Jack to see

Today was supposed to be dry with southerly winds and Rune and I were going to turn up somethng really good on Hvaler. Well the weather forecast couldn't have been more wrong and the birds were not quite scarce enough but we did have a good day.
Starting with the last bird first: Per Buertange had 16 Jack Snipe (kvartbekkasin) at lysakermo yesterday. 16 is more than i have seen in my entire life!!! Rune and I set out in rain and bad light with cameras primed hoping to get some good shots. Good shots will have to wait for another occasion but a fantastic experience was had. At least 12 Jack Snipe and 14 Common Snipe (enkeltbekkasin) flew up as we walked through the flooded marsh. The Jack Snipe were amazing and if I had had a head mounted video camera I would have been able to capture them as they flew from under my feet. The only noise from them was the whirring of wings and they were almost like a thrush du to their small size and way of flying. Mostly they flew 15 metres or so before landing again but not once could i relocate a bird after flushing it the first time. The small size, short bill and heavily striped back were very evident but perhaps the easiest way to separate from Common Snipe was how they flew up. Common Snipe generally flew up at longer range, called and flew further in a zigzagging flight whilst Jack generally flew up under your feet, did not call and flew straight and low.
Otherwise at Lysakermoa we had just a single Mallard (stokkand) and a single Goldeneye (kvinand). This same site had held thousands of wildfowl less than a month ago but was now virtually birdless!

The day had started at Vikerkilen near Hvaler. Here we had good numbers of passerines and some good viz mig. Highlights were 3 Red-necked Grebes (gråstrupedykker), a single Scaup (bergand), 6 Gannets (havsule) just offshore, 160 Twite (bergirisk) and good numbers of other finches, thrushes and 200 Meadow Pipits (heipiplerke) heading southh. Nearby at Skipstadkilen we had a Shore Lark (fjellerke) which had been firstreported yesterday and 3 Little Grebes (dvergdykker).
Yesterday an Olive-backed Pipit (sibirpiplerke) had been seen at Sorgenfrigroppa near Fredrikstad and surprisingly news came through that it was still there today. This is a major rarity in this neck of the woods. We Searched for it for an hour in rain and with a lot of disturbance from an earth moving machine but could only turn up 3 Chiffchaffs (gransanger) and 6 Scaup (bergand) on the lake. Some Great Crested Grebes (toppdykker) were also here giving us three grebes species in a day which I cannot remember having before in Norway.
The rain prevented any decent pictures today but here is a shot of a Goldcrest (fuglekonge) and a fuzzy bird which I assure you is a Jack Snipe.

Jack Snipe - honestly

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