Tuesday, 10 September 2013


I set off today to look again for the Bean Geese (sædgås) and see if I could locate more than the 144 I counted on Thursday. I counted 143 so I think we can put that down to counting error rather than a real decrease in numbers

part of the Bean Goose (sædgås) flock taking off from Flakstadmåsen
There were no geese on the stubble field at Neskollen so I continued up to the second feeding location identified from the satellite tag at Flakstadmåsen. This is a large peat bog (over 1km in diameter) with some commercial peat extraction at the northern end but in the southern end looking very much like a bog that you would expect in a taiga forest – fitting for a taiga Bean Goose.

When I arrived at 0840 there were no geese to be seen and I searched the whole bog often sinking up to my ankles. I found a few feathers which I assume to be from Bean Geese but only a couple of droppings so began to wonder if only a few birds rather than the whole flock had been using the bog and a couple of juvenile Peregrines (vandrefalk) that were flying around calling could well have frightened off any geese. The bog also held a male Merlin (dvergfalk) and my first Great Grey Shrike (varsler) of the autumn and had a very good feel about it with Crossbills (grankorsnebb) flying over and Willow Tits (granmeis) and Crested Tits (toppmeis) calling from the edges. Just after 0920 when I was making my way back to the car I heard geese and turned round to see a large flock flying in. From my pictures I was able to count 144. They initially landed but as I tried to watch them half the flock flew up even though I was still at over 200 metres range. These birds flew around calling for over 5 minutes whilst I pulled back even further. The rest of the flock then took off and joined them and after a few minutes all flew off north although a flock of four soon turned round and headed off south.
From my photos I was also able to read a couple of neck rings and identify three birds from the colour of their leg rings. It is good to be able to contribute something to the research project.

in this picture there are four birds with satellite/gps collars of which two have visible colour leg rings and there are two neck collared birds although it is not possible to read the codes with 100% certainty

here you can see some birds feeding on the bog including neck collar 3X

After trying unsuccessfully to relocate I made my way to Hellesjøvannet picking up a few Buzzards (musvåk), a Merlin and a Kestrel (tårnfalk) on the way. At Hellesjøvannet there was a huge feeding flock of 1300 Greylag Geese (grågås). I have no idea where such large numbers come from and saw no colour rings to help me find out. Also here 75 Pochards (taffeland) and a number of family parties of Great Crested Grebes which still had small young and will not fledge for weeks. There were a number of pipits and wagtails in the fields here. I heard two Red-throated Pipits (lappiplerke) but only saw one distantly in flight. Yellow Wagtails (gulerle) showed much better around the feet of some cows and showed off the amazing range of plumages they show in the autumn.

Various other other pictures from today:
light morph Common Buzzard (musvåk). These birds are very striking and equally confusing and have been claimed as all manor of rare raptors over the years

can you see my first Great Grey Shrike of the year?
juvenile Peregrine (vandrefalk)


Yellow Wagtails presumably of the race thunbergi showing a variety of plumages
juvenile Yellow Wagtail - a particularly cold bird with very prominent white supercilium and throat.

another juvenile with slightly less promient supercilium

a much yellower juvenile

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