Monday, 19 August 2013


Wryneck (vendehals) in Maridalen
Just time for a trip around Maridalen today. An adult Whooper Swan (sangsvane) was on the lake but was on its own – there have been no reports of the breeding birds since the spring so it will be interesting to see if they appear again out of the forest with their youngsters as they did last year or more likely their breeding attempt failed this year.

An adult Black-throated Diver (storlom) with two youngsters were probably the result of breeding elsewhere as the young could fly and I have seen no other evidence of breeding here this year.  Both Canada and Greylag Geese (grågås) have bred successfully this year although I see them VERY infrequently. Today two adult Canada Gesse with two not yet fully grown youngsters showed themselves.

Whilst checking the fields at Nes I looked down into the bay below and saw a tern (my first here this year) which was being harassed by a Hobby (lerkefalk). It was all too quick to see if the Hobby was actually having a go at the tern which is the same size at it but the tern easily rebuffed the attention. In all the excitement I failed to ID the tern although it was probably Common (Makrellterne) and when I relocated it later it was too distant. I also saw the Hobby streaking past later on and with a few sightings in July and August there is probably breeding close by although the lack of sightings in May and June suggests not in the core area of Maridalen.

Whilst checking out some fields which had a good collection of Greenfinches (grønnfink) and White Wagtails (linerle) I picked up Wryneck (vendehals) which was feeding under a bush and occasionally sat up in it with some Greenfinches when it showed itself to be hardly any larger than them. It was not too far from where the breeding birds were in May and June so could well be from that family or possibly a migrant. Wrynecks are very cryptic birds when not singing and the breeding birds have not been reported since 10 June although if breeding was successful would have been around longer.

Wrynecks only sing when they are setting up their territory and for the rest of the season are silent (they don’t even seem to have a contact call). This combined with their general habits makes them very inconspicuous so it is normally only by disturbing a feeding bird that one gets to see them. One good thing though with their quietness outside of the early breeding season is that from late summer onwards you can be sure that it is a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling when you hear that falcon like kii,kii,kii call coming from woodland (the calls of two are notoriously alike). I did play the song on my phone and it got the birds attention but it remained silent.

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