Monday, 27 May 2013


Again I chose to get up early rather than stay up late and was at Hellesjøvannet at 05:15 this morning. My aim was to see as well as hear the Bittern that turned up here a couple of days ago. Hellesjøvannet has a bird observation tower that is ridiculously placed with no marked path to get you there and streams to jump. If you do make the effort to get there you also do not really see any more than you could see from the road on the other side. However it does have one advantage that it is close to the largest area of reeds and this is where the Bittern has been heard. My hope was that from the tower I would have a chance of looking down into the reedbed (which isn’t very large) and actually seeing it. Unfortunately however trees have grown so dense on either side of the tower that there is no view over the reedbed. I did however get to hear the Bittern exceptionally well and later walked closer to where it was calling such that I could not have been more than 50 metres away. It is a really impressive sound it makes and loud! I managed to record it on my camera but when I played it on the PC I couldn’t hear a thing. I attached a small loudspeaker though and there was the sound and the loudspeaker even vibrated in my hand. A lot of bass I think! Here is the video – see if you can hear the BOOM.

I never saw if the warbler singing during the recording was a Garden Warbler (hagesanger) or Blackcap (munk) a species pair I have always had serious problems separating on song. Listening now I reckon it is a Blackcap – anyone agree?

Whilst I was on site from 0515 to 0800 I heard it call 22 times with the majority of calls consisting of three booms although later on it went down to two booms in each series. It was particularly vocal between 06:56 and 07:32 when there were 9 series in the space of 36 minutes. In the same area as the Bittern were a nesting pair of Marsh Harriers (sivhauk). When the male flew by I heard the female calling from the reedbed and she later flew off seemingly to hunt. Another male was also present and appears to be tending a nest at the other end of the lake.

one of two male Marsh Harriers (sivhauk) breeding at Hellesjøvannet. This species has increased greatly in Norway the last few years
There was no noise from any of the three Spotted Crakes (myrrikse) I had heard last Thursday. Maybe all the rain and an increase in water levels has made the lake unsuitable, or maybe they just didn’t want to sing?
By 8am I was already feeling tired and thinking of going home. A stop at Kjelle showed that the water levels have risen flooding the muddy pools and therefore making it less attractive to waders. A male Garganey (knekkand) was ample compensation though and finally I had found my own one this year.
male Garganey (knekkand) with Teal (krikkand)

overflying Crane (trane)
A stop at Snekkerivka in Nordre Øyeren revealed extremely high water levels. Årnestangen was under water and I have never seen it like this before. There has been a lot on the news about flooding in much of eastern Norway but it was quite impressive to see it. A pair of Garganey were here which I first picked up by their rasping call. No Little Gulls (dvergmåke) for me though unfortunately – a pair had been seen here the last few days.

a flooded Årnestangen. One can normally walk to the trees in the water to the right of the picture and all the fields are under water

pair of Garganey
A Greenish Warbler (østsanger) that was seen yesterday in Asker is still singing today although I might have to wait until tomorrow before I have a chance to look for it – hopefully it will stay around as it is a species I need..

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