Friday, 5 July 2013

Beitostølen holiday

As usual we started our summer holiday with a week based in Beitostølen on the edge of the Jotunheimen mountain range. This area is great for Scandinavian mountain birds as well as having plenty of things for the kids - also known as a win win win situation. This year though I decided to also take a bit of a holiday from birding hence no early mornings and only one nocturnal expedition.

The birding I did have though was, as usual, of a high standard. My nocturnal excursion was to the Great Snipe (dobbeltbekkasin) lek which is barely more than a stones throw from the bright lights and music of downtown Beitostølen (there might be a few exaggerations there..).
Although it was a bit windy the birds performed admirably with two "singing" when I arrived at 22:20 and upto nine singing in total by the time I left just before midnight. My resulting pictures and video (to come later) are the best I have managed to date.
Great Snipe (dobbeltbekkasin)

A walk on Valdresflya produced fantastic views of Dotterel (boltit). We had two females first and then a male that flew towards and did a distraction display. Later on we had another male that flew repeatedly towards us and performed distraction displays. I located a recently hatched youngster which was about 100 metres away but the male was very persistent in trying to lead us in the other direction. We also had two Dotterel flying over here displaying. I had another two Dotterel on another visit to Valdresflya but only a single Golden Plover (heilo) on our whole trip - which is an unusual result.
Dotterel (boltit)

Shore Larks (fjellerke) and Lapland Buntings (lappspurv) were also to be seen as were a few Reindeer.
A pair of Cranes (trane) had two young in tow very close to Beitostølen and we had Hen Harrier (myrhauk) and Rough-legged Buzzard (fjellvåk). Waterbirds were scarce but I did see single males of Scaup (bergand) and Long-tailed Duck (havelle).

Adult Crane (trane) with two youngsters
From our cabin we had regular sightings of Redstarts (rødstjert), Wheatears (steinskvett) and Kestrel (tårnfalk) with Woodcock (rugde) and Common Snipe (enkeltbekkasin) displaying overhead. A couple of hares were also a regular sight.


male Wheatear with food for youngsters

Ring Ouzel (ringtrost) were easily found on the tree line and in the spruce forests we heard although did not see Siberian Jay (lavskrike).

On our walk on Valdredflya shortly after having passed a pair of Ringed Plovers (sandlo) that were both trying their best to lead us on a wild plover chase we came across a cold, cracked and clearly abandoned egg lying on the path. I took it home hoping to be able to show the kids the embryo inside. On cracking it there was no embryo so the egg was presumably infertile. Due to the cold temperatures up on the mountain though it had not gone off so after a couple of minutes in the frying pan I was able to confirm that Ringed Plover egg tastes the same as chicken egg!

Ringed Plover (sandlo)

I have just included a small collection of pictures with this post and will post more later.

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