Friday, 24 May 2013

Brentetangen delivers

Seawatching at Brentetangen it was then. I was in place at 0515 but wasn't the first there having been narrowly beaten by Magne Pettersen. His company and later that of Rune Bottnemyr helped the time go by as the birds passed in fits and spurt. It was also really cold until the sun finally reached us after 10am although my inner core only started warming up at noon.

I was all ready to leave at 1045 but a message of a migrating Long-tailed Skua (fjelljo) further (a lot further..) down the coast made me stay longer and just as well really.

The bread and butter was provided by Red-throated Divers with 134 going north and a few south.
Quality came in the form of a light phase Pomarine Skua (polarjo) at 7am but best of all and lucky for me that I didn't leave earlier a male Red-footed Falcon (aftenfalk) at 1120. Unfortunately it was never close as it flew east (towards our side) over the fjord and crossed land over 1km north of us but we were able to see enough. Full marks to Rune for picking up the bird at more than 2km range, Magne for his 300th Østfold species (and the first to reach that milestone) and maybe to me for being the first to say out loud what species we all thought it was.

Also-rans in the seawatching stakes were an Arctic Skua (tyvjo), male Long-tailed Duck (havelle) and six Scaup (bergand). Three raptors heading west over the fjord were only picked whilst heading away so went down as unidentified buzzards but were all probably Honey (vepsevåk). I waited two hours to see if the Long-tailed Skua would flyby but in the end the lack of any other action made it an easy decision to move on. I searched half heartedly for the falcon in fields around Kurefjorden but the best action was in the flooded fields by Ovenbukta where a close hunting Marsh Harrier (sivhauk) tested the limits of my autofocus and as usual I failed to get the picture I could have. Also here three Temminck's Stints.

male Marsh Harrier (sivhauk)

The last decent bird of the day was a male Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) sat on the motorway fence on the opposite carriage way by Rygge airport exactly where I saw one at the weekend. I considered doubling back at the next junction and stopping on the hard shoulder to take a picture but didn't have the nerve.
These two female Eiders (ærfugl) were at Brentetangen minding their creche of youngsters

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