Thursday, 25 April 2013

Same old, same old but mighty fine!

I had a very pleasant phone call yesterday from Stig Helge Basnes from Kjelle VGS. He wanted to tell me about the work he and his pupils are doing to improve the birding in the seasonal wetland which is right by their school and I which I have visited quite a few times. They have just finished a new viewing platform which looks over the best area which has traditionally been a bit difficult to see. He could also tell me that there were lots of birds in the area so my destination for today was set.
the northern end of the flooded fields at Kjelle
this ariel view shows where the new viewing platform has been put. The fields to the left are flooded now and teeming with waterfowl

I met Stig at the new viewing platform amongst some trees overlooking a flooded field full of birds. The light was fantastic and it was a joy to watch and listen to so many birds and chat with Stig who has a great job teaching conservation and having the chance to actually put teaching into practice.

Teal (krikkand) dominated and were calling and displaying but I soon spotted a pair of Pintail (stjertand) and surprisingly a pair of Bean Geese (sædgås) amongst some Greylags (grågås). Although perhaps not of the most classic variety these were pretty easy to identify as taiga (fabalis) Bean Geese due to the long bills with much orange although one did have a rather large base to the bill.
2 taiga (fabalis) Bean Geese (sædgjess)

pair of Pintail (stjertand)
I have still to find my own Garganey (knekkand) this year so set about going through the ducks one by one. There was some coming and going of the Teal from another area that I couldn’t see and I went through the ducks many times always with the feeling I was seeing something new. After an hour I decided to count the Teal. When I got to 198 I had to stop. Hadn't I seen this species a couple of times already this month? My third self found GREEN-WINGED TEAL (amerikakrikkand) of the year (of only eight seen in the whole of Norway so far)! A quick check revealed no sign of it being a hybrid and I could send out the news. I secured some photos and video and completely forgot to count the Teal but there were at least 400.

male Green-winged Teal (amerikakirkkand)

this picture shows a hint of a horizontal pale stripe. In the field this was not visible nor is it visible in any of my other photos. This is clearly a photo effect due to the bright light - the same effect as on the bird at Kurefjorden

After this excitement a stop at Hellesjøvannet was also high quality. The Marsh Harriers were displaying and I eventually saw at least three different males and three females. One male was seemingly paired with two females, there was a monogamous pair and an additional male who must have been wondering what his problem was.
Two female Marsh Harriers (sivhauk) interacting with the male flying away beneath.

pair displaying. Unfortunately I saw no talon grabbling and tumbling through the air

male Marsh Harrier (sivhauk)

female Marsh Harrier (sivhauk)
The lake was nearly ice free now and 13 Red-throated Divers were calling and 15 Great Crested Grebes were also back. It was a great atmosphere here with the calling divers and harriers plus a cacophony from the many gulls present.
Nearby Hemnessjøvannet was still frozen (at least at the northern end) which probably explains the high number of divers on Hellesjøvannet.
Coming home I stopped at Svellet and the ice has now broken up although there is a lot floating at the edges. There is quite a bit of mud exposed though and in a few days times there will, I am sure, be lots of waders here. Today though there were only 7 Curlew and 5 Oystercatchers.

Today was a really fantastic day with loads of birds and just so much noise from calling birds. I of course fired off loads of pictures and managed some record shots of the Teal and some OK pictures of the harriers although as usual I stuggle to get good flight pictures.

What will next week bring??

No comments:

Post a Comment