Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Back in action

I am still suffering from a bug so today was my first venture out into the field for a few days and hence the lack of activity on the blog. A heavy fall of snow yesterday made the roads very slippery today although I just about managed to keep the car in motion and on the road unlike a couple of other cars I saw.

Given it was almost windless I thought a trip to Kurefjorden might be a good idea. It was, but not for finding birds on the sea as the fjord and the sea were almost completely frozen. The highlight was raptors but unfortunately all were at long range as they sat out on the Sletter islands. In descending order of size, I had a young White-tailed Eagle (havørn) sitting on the top of Mellom Sletter eating something it had caught prior to my arrival, five Rough-legged Buzzards (fjellvåk) and a Peregrine (vandrefalk).

The few areas of open water had very little life on them although one area in Larkollen village held nine Velvet Scoters (sjøorre). Out on the fjord there was a lot of drifting ice and I saw a couple of seals lying on the ice.

I also took the opportunity to visit some of my dealers but of the five I visited only two (the schoolyard dealer at Frogn and a reappearance of the bird at Nordre Furu) were offering their goods today. Views were not that good but I did manage an arty picture of the Frogn bird. The Hawk Owls (haukugle) have previously been difficult to find in the days following a heavy snowfall and my theory is that hunting in open land becomes more difficult so they try their luck within woodland where there is a much thinner layer of snow and are therefore not so visible. I also had a roadside Pygmy Owl (spurveugle) today but my three owls were beaten by a return to form of the Great Grey Shrike (varsler) which turned out in force with four different individuals. Other raptors today were a couple of Goshawks (hønsehauk) seen from the car.
Pygmy Owl (spurveugle)

an attempt at an "arty" shot of a Hawk Owl - didn't manage to pull it off!

the closest I came to a Hawk Owl today

Large numbers of Yellowhammers (gulspurv) were a feature of today and I had one flock which numbered at least 400 birds. For a species that is becoming scarce in the UK it is still very common in Norway. I spent some time with this flock but couldn’t turn up anything more exciting.
part of a flock of at least 400 Yellowhammers

more of the same flock. I haven't counted but reckon there is ca.250 birds in this shot

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