Wednesday, 21 August 2013

On a wild godwit chase

Today was instalment two of the “Curious Incident of the Godwit That Wasn’t”.

I was planning a trip to Kurefjorden today (with the water levels so high at Årnestangen at the moment this is the best site for any volume of waders) and when I saw that two Black-tailed Godwits (svarthalespove) were reported yesterday it confirmed my choice. I have seen a couple of Black-tailed Godwits here once before although on many other occasions I have been there the day after reports of Black-tailed only to find an equal number of Bar-tailed (go figure). I think that the scarcity of Black-tailed plus the variability in Bar-tailed (lappspove) isn’t appreciated and that people call distant feeding birds as Black-tailed without waiting to see them in flight. When I arrived another observer was already looking at what he called as a Black-tailed although it was with the sun behind it and I could not see enough to make a call. As I looked elsewhere and waited for the bird in question to move into a more favourable position it flew and received its correct identification...... In total there were three Bar-tailed Godwits today and yesterday the report was of 1 Bar-tailed and 2 Black-tailed......

Waders were in good numbers though and we had a single Curlew Sandpiper (tundrasnipe), 1 adult and 10 juvenile Knot (polarsnipe), 60 Ruff (brushane), 50 Dunlin (myrsnipe), 20 Ringed Plovers (sandlo) and a Spotted Redshank amongst others. Signs of the autumn were abundant and juvenile waders now far outnumber adults and the migration of Wood Sandpiper (grønnstilk) is now all but over.

In sunny and fairly calm conditions raptors put on a good show and there were at least 9 Buzzards (musvåk), 5 Osprey (fiskeørn), a Honey Buzzard (vepsevåk) and singles of  Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk) and Goshawk (hønsehauk).

Yellow Wagtail (gulerle) numbers are also building up and I had five Red-backed Shrikes (tornskate), 2 Marsh Warblers (myrsanger) and a few Whinchats (buskskvett) on my travels. One other noticeable bird at the moment is Siskin (grønnsisik) which seems to be everywhere in large flocks  - it looks like there is some sort of major movement happening.

My photographic efforts today were not out of the top drawer and this (my best) picture of a Red-backed Shrike sums it up.

I normally like to hear a pipit call to aid in its identification but when Tree Pipits (trepiplerke) are so well marked as this bird it isn't always necessary (it did call aswell though!)

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