Friday, 19 October 2012

Østfold birding

Today saw me in Østfold again. I did not go for the OBP as I was sure that the clear night would have resulted in its departure – that turned out to be an incorrect assumption....
Instead I started at Brentetangen where I hoped that the unsettled conditions of the last few days may have resulted in some seabirds this far up the fjord. When I arrived the wind was from the south but was not strong however  the first bird I saw was a Kittiwake (krykkje) and the fourth an adult pale phase Arctic Skua (tyvjo) chasing two Herring Gulls (gråmåke). All this within a minute and I thought here we go.....
Well that was the undoubted highlight of the 45 minutes I spent there. Four Gannets (havsule) were flying around, a Guillemot (lomvi) and a Black-throated Diver (storlom) went south but little else. The wind had by now really died down so I thought a quick visit to Kurefjorden would be on the cards as it should give me a good opportunity to see what ducks and grebes were around. I stopped first at the mouth of the fjord and was very happy to see that the Rough-legged Buzzards (fjellvåk) were back. As they did last winter, the islands here held multiple Rough-leggeds with 5 showing themselves to me. There is obviously a very good rodent population on these islands. Also two flyover Peregrines (vandrefalk), a Red-throated Diver (smålom) and Common (svartand) and Velvet Scoters (sjøorre). Highlight was a Red-necked Grebe (gråstrupedykker). I only saw my first in Norway in January after trying for 11 years and this was now my fifth sighting this year. Three Common Seals (steinkobbe) were in the area with two hauled out.
In the wood here were 7 Long-tailed Tits (stjertmeis) which attempted to migrate south over the sea at some height but eventually turned round and returned. They have been lots of tits on the move in Scandinavia with over 80,000 Blue Tits (blåmeis) on a single day at Falsterbo in Sweden. Maybe an out of range Siberian Tit (lappmeis) or Azure Tit (azurmeis) will turn up around Oslo?
In Kurefjorden there were a lot of birds although no waders despite it being low tide. Most numerous were Greylag Geese (grågås) with fully 535 and amongst them 24 Barnacle Geese (hvitkinngås) and best of all a single Tundra Bean Goose (sædgås rossicus). There was a good selection of ducks with amongst others 28 Velvet Scoter, 40 Common Scoter and 9 Scaup (bergand). Scaup are clearly arriving at the moment but from where I am not sure.  57 Great Crested Grebes (toppdykker) were mostly together in a sleeping flock but 8 Slavonian Grebes (horndykker)were scattered around the fjord in ones and twos. So, three grebe species again today with Little swapped out for Slavonian.
On the turf fields at Roer 700 Fieldfares (gråtrost) were fielding but despite going through them bird by bird I could not turn up any rare thrushes.
I stopped in at Maridalen hoping that there might be a Scaup of a scoter on the lake here but not today.
Fieldfares - part of a flock of 700

high flying Long-tailed Tits turning back after deciding that a 5km  sea crossing was too much

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